As a Jedi Initiate, Ahsoka Tano had never seen or experienced much death.
It was talked about a little, especially when she first arrived at the Temple, around the time the Battle of Naboo happened. A Jedi Master had died, and suddenly it seemed like the whole Temple was in mourning.
At the time, she didn’t quite understand it. She didn’t understand the concept of death, the idea that someone could be alright one day, and then gone the next.
Her Clanmaster had always said that when a Jedi died, they would join the Force. But how would he truly know that without having experienced it himself? To Ahsoka, it was just another mystery.
In any case, Ahsoka grew up in the Clawmouse Clan, and though the Republic seemed to be slowly descending into conflict, death was uncommon, especially for a Jedi initiate.
That all changed when the war started.
212 Jedi—including Masters, Knights, and Padawans—were sent by the Republic to Geonosis to rescue a Senator, a single Knight, and his Padawan. Only 31 survived, only two of whom were Padawans.
The Jedi Order had suffered a massive blow, the first of many. And more than that, the Clone War had begun.
Rumors had exploded then, whispers of the Sith-Killer Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice, the Hero With No Fear. Count Dooku, who the Jedi assumed had retired to Serenno to live a peaceful life, had reappeared as a Sith, joining the ranks of those who had fallen from the Light.
Since then, everything changed.
Knights and Masters became Generals, their apprentices—Commanders. The push for Initiates to get chosen as Padawans became increasingly problematic as the death toll climbed. Ahsoka’s classes became more focused on war combat and strategy, and an increasing number of her teachers were being sent out to the frontlines, many of whom never returned.
Death was very quickly becoming a part of her life.
The war was killing the Jedi, killing the clones, even killing her friends.
And all she could do was stay in the Temple and watch.
She wanted to be a Padawan, to go out there and help, but no one had chosen her.
A part of her couldn’t help but think she would never be chosen, that she would eventually be sent out to the AgriCorps to become a farmer, and that would be it. As insane as it sounded in the midst of a war, it was still possible.
Blinking, Ahsoka brought her attention back to Master Tiin, who was staring at her from the front of the classroom, squinting at her slightly. She realized from the tone of his voice that he must have called her name a few times already.
“Please tell the rest of the class about the events leading up to the Ruusan Reformation as well as its consequences,” Master Tiin requested, crossing his arms over his chest.
Shifting slightly in her seat, Ahsoka caught the glances of her classmates, all staring at her with at least some level of sympathy in their eyes.
“I, uh…” she began eloquently, trying to remember anything she could about what Master Fisto covered a few weeks ago about the Ruusan Reformation, a few days before he was sent off to fight in the war.
Master Tiin sighed. “Please, Initiates, it is vital for all of you to pay attention in class,” he said, then launched into some sort of long explanation about how the reformation brought power back to the Senate after the end of the New Sith Wars.
Ahsoka found herself staring at the board, her mind once again taking her lightyears away from the Ruusan Reformation, to conflict and destruction beyond.
The war was all anyone ever talked about, especially her classmates. Right now, according to the Holonet, the campaign on Jabiim was not going well. Masters and Padawans were dying left and right, the Temple had very minimal contact with Master Kenobi, who was in charge of the mission, and the Force felt murky, darker than it had in weeks.
Ahsoka blinked, and for a moment, she thought she was standing in an endless onslaught of murky rain. Blinking again, she found herself squinting into the darkness, seeing the off-white armor of clone troopers, racing out into the night.
Rain, mud, and fire coated her surroundings, the distant roar of gunfire filling her senses.
She shook her head, briefly noting the classroom, Master Tiin’s voice echoing slightly as he rambled on and on about the Ruusan Reformation, before she found herself pulled from the classroom once more.
There was death everywhere.
Around her, the mud-splattered bodies of clones, droids, and other humans lay, almost discarded or even forgotten.
Jedi, left behind, their deaths shrieking into the Force violently.
A few feet ahead, a walker exploded, and the Force erupted into chaos. Ahsoka’s heart skipped a beat as pain rushed through her senses. A wall of orange-red fire rose rapidly from the ground, curling into the night, heat blasting her skin.
Then, a scream, echoing both through the air and in the Force.
Ahsoka stumbled as the presence of one of the brightest lights in the Jedi Order shattered into nothingness.
With a harsh thump, she crashed onto the hardwood floor, dry-heaving slightly at the disorientation, the shock of the brightness of day, of light.
“Initiate Tano, are you alright?”
Ahsoka blinked, looking up into Master Tiin’s concerned face. The Iktotchi Master was kneeling next to her, a gentle hand placed onto her shoulder.
With wide eyes, Ahsoka looked around, finding herself back into the clean, clear, dryness of a Temple classroom.
She thought back to the rain, the fire, the voice shouting into her soul.
Obi-Wan…that’s Master Kenobi. Why would—
No, it can’t be; Master Kenobi killed a Sith, he can’t possibly die. Not like this.
“He’s…he’s dead,” Ahsoka whispered hoarsely. She could feel everyone staring at her, but it didn’t matter. None of it mattered compared to the agony she felt coursing through her veins. She couldn’t understand it completely, but…
“Who is?” Master Tiin asked, gently bringing her up to her feet. Ahsoka swayed as a strong wave of dizziness overcame her, but his grip was strong, grounding her to the Temple, to reality.
“Master Kenobi.” Ahsoka felt her breaths getting quicker as panic began to consume her. “There was—there was an explosion, and…”
She shuddered as tears spilled from her eyes. With shaking hands, she wiped at them.
No one believed her, not the mind healers or even the Council. They ruled it out as some sort of crazed vision, an Initiate’s imaginative mind run wild from the notion of war.
Three days later, a short transmission from Anakin Skywalker arrived.
Obi-Wan Kenobi had joined the Force.
Upon receiving the news, Ahsoka closed her eyes, feeling tears slip past her eyelids and down her cheeks.
As much as she had wished otherwise, she was right.
For the first time, she had experienced death close-hand, and it hurt. Echoes of pain and suffering lingered in her heart from Padawan Skywalker’s cry. Master Windu had questioned her as to how she could’ve known, but she did not have an answer as to why she—and only she—had seen the vision.
Weeks and weeks trudged by. Ahsoka kept her thoughts as far away from Jabiim and the war as she possibly could.
She couldn’t afford to think about it without remembering the fire, rain, and death.
Ahsoka kept to herself, sitting alone in the refectory and staying quiet in class, even when the teacher encouraged her to communicate with others.
It just wasn’t…fair.
What had made her so special? For so many years, she’d longed to do something more, to serve the Jedi and Republic, but this…she was trapped in a spotlight from which she had no escape.
She settled into a routine of sorts, keeping her emotions as far away as she possibly could from her actions.
It was just easier that way.
Day after day, Ahsoka fell into the same cycle. Becoming a Padawan hardly mattered anymore; why would she want this if she would only be sent off to her death right away?
There was no hope, none whatsoever.
A few months after her vision, in the middle of the night, a damaged shuttle brought Obi-Wan Kenobi back to the Temple, somehow alive after months of brutal torture.
Against all odds, Master Kenobi had survived.