Vong War Annals – “Predawn” 10.23.2009

            No more words came until he was in the speeder and she was behind the wheel, racing away from the house.  Every time he even tried to speak she simply held up a hand to forestall commentary.  Once they had turned safely onto the roadway outside of the Wyler’s residence on Xenen, Tag cleared her throat, eyes intent on the road before them, her voice even—but barely.
            “You’re going to hate me for saying it, but it has to be said.  You can not play with forces like that until you understand how to control them.  I will not let you make the same mistakes I made and I sure as hell won’t let you make the same mistakes over again—not the deadly ones.  The ones that might get you a little hurt, maybe.  But the life-threatening, world-shattering mistakes?  No.  Not again.  Not on my watch.”  She paused a moment, as if measuring what came next.  “You made a mistake tonight.  I made one, too.  I shouldn’t have sent you home with your parents.  I should have made you stay with Jaq and I tonight, so I could watch you, keep an eye on you.  I trusted you further than I should have.  That was my fault.  But betraying my trust was yours.”  She turned down the roadway that led toward the Kel-Solan home, near the rest of the Bridger’s domiciles.  “Doing things like that have deadly consequences, Les.  Maybe not this time, but the next time, they just might.”
            The speeder slowed the nearer they drew to the Kel-Solan house, down a familiar roadway.  “Jedi fear the Dark Side, yes.  But in the best of us, it’s a caution, not a fear—a healthy respect for our own fears and our own limitations, a knowledge of what hell our touching the darker emotions that exist inside all of us can bring down upon those we love.  It’s not about us, it’s about what we do and the price that those around us pay for what we do.  Every action has a consequence.  Use of what we call the Dark Side tends to cloud our perceptions of those consequences.”  She pulled the speeder up into the driveway and stopped, finally looking at him.  “If you’re going to do any of this safely, if you’re determined to draw on all the emotions you have inside of you, you need to be prepared to unlearn everything Jinx Katarn ever taught you.  I don’t think you’re prepared for that.  I think you’re too mired in the Old Ways of the Jedi.  But there may be something we can do for that.”  She climbed out of the speeder.  “Get out.  Come with me.”  She waited for a moment for him and then started walking down a bricked pathway from the driveway around to the garden gate, a shadow drifting in the predawn.  It was suddenly very easy to see that she’d been trained to be a spy, to be a shadow.
            “Today, you learn to fight in a few way.  You’ll have many teachers along this path, Les, I promise you that, and I promise you that we’re all going to give a damn and you will never be alone like he left you.  But you have to trust us, and to listen.”  She pushed open the gate, which creaked softly, and pointed down a shaded path.  “There’s a door at the end of this pathway.  Go to it.  Knock.  Someone will answer.  I guarantee it.”

~ Erin

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