The question was not an easy one. Les, his eyes fixed on the featureless silver mask, knew the warrior behind it would accept nothing short of truth drawn from the deepest well of his soul. He took a long moment to reflect on those depths before forming his answer.
“I don’t know,” he confessed at last, dropping his gaze. “By all rights I shouldn’t be here. What I do know is that – what my mother did…someone believed in me enough to give me another shot. But…I know don’t deserve it. I feel….” His voice trailed away, and he found himself having to dig deeper, long past the surface, to that which lay beneath. Looking the warmistress in the mask again, his face revealed the same pleading that had shown itself in Tag’s office. “I admit to the privilege it is to stand before you here and now, and that so many have given so much, for me. I honestly want to do right, I want to be true to my master, to the Light, to those who expect so much, who are owed so much. I want to atone for my mistakes and be the Jedi I ought to be.”
“But….” Karinlyyn prompted perceptively.
“I am deeply grateful, and yet – I resent her for it,” he said in reference to his mother’s interference. Then he did not restrain the coldness from entering his eyes, for it was nothing short of the truth. “In a way, I am proud of what I did.” The flinching of the muscles in his face spoke of the hatred he still harbored against his former master. He envied Janet that final blow, and hated himself for it. “I know I shouldn’t be. I wish I wasn’t. But I am. On the one hand I want to be here, to unlearn and relearn; and yet, I don’t. After having tasted the other side, it feels so…so right; so…good.” So good, to act upon the anger, to unleash the feelings he had so long restrained. It was like being set free – but then why did he feel so imprisoned? Exasperated, he went on, “I just wish everyone would go away and leave me alone. I wish I…I….” Unable to go on, to further unravel the confliction raging inside him and tearing him apart, he stopped and swallowed hard; his concession, now out of his mouth and hitting his ears, struck fear in his heart. “What do I do?” he asked. “Because I don’t know anymore.”