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re: Remembering Coruscant: Jariel Shemesh

I should have run. I knew what would happen. I felt it as it began. My stillness broken by a hundred hateful echoes. I saw the desolation they would wreak before the first Jedi fell, much less the Temple. But I couldn't run. Soraya would go out to meet them. Of course she would. As fear drove me from the meditation chambers hard down the great halls, I felt the battle explode in my mind. Wave after wave of rage beating against the slowly diminishing peaceful presence...I ran harder. My feet wanted to turn around, find my ship and leave this soon to be forsaken place, the Force willing me to run and fight another day, but I wilfully ignored it. I...just couldn't bear to consider losing her.

Fear clouded my senses. She was the only one I could feel, burning so brightly. When I came upon them, sabers blazing and death in the air, I realised my folly. I saw an awful darkness with a body murder Master Ven Zallow. Any false hope I had of fending off this attack left me then. I stood, stunned, on the edge of the battle, until I felt a sweaty body collide with mine and sweep me into the corridor I had come from, out of sight. You can guess who it was.

“Jariel...? Why are you here?”

“I came to...”

“You need to leave.”


“Shhh...” She reached to stroke my face, but that last caress was stolen from me. A Sith had found us. We flew further back into the corridor, reeling under his Push. Soraya flung me away and kept him busy.

“Run, Keren!”

“Dove, I swear I will find you...” I hesitated.


I ran.


Tears hot on my face, I prepared my Defender to flee Coruscant. I was glad for the memorised pre-flight routine to distract me from the beating I was giving myself for following the promptings of the Force. Even Soraya knew I was not being asked to stay. As the engines fired up I tried to extend my awareness to see whether the Sith had set up a blockade to stop fleeing Jedi like me, but all could see was her face, all I could feel was my fear of her death. So I flew blind straight into a wall of Sith Interceptors. With my senses addled by fear and shame, I didn't last long. Within seconds one of my engines was gone. Not foolish enough to go to my death after the Force had guided me this far, I nosedived into the Factory district. Ejecting just before my ship slammed into the ground, I hoped the explosion would mask my survival. I landed in a sooty mess, robes singed and tattered, only half conscious.

The next two days were a blur. Tossed back and forth between fear, shame and self denigration, I hid as deeply as I could in the abandoned darkness beneath the city. I heard the colossal explosion that destroyed the Temple. At the time I was huddled in a pitiful heap thinking about how worthless I was. I said to myself, “I should have died with them...with her.”. I wish I had been truly awake then. I would have liked to say goodbye to the dear friends I lost to the Sith that day. But I was too absorbed in my sorrow to even think about what it was. At the end of the second day as I was wandering through a back alley trying to look like no one important, I saw a broken pipe dripping clean water onto a piece of discarded metal sheeting. I knelt down in front of it, and, listening to the steady sound of the water hitting the metal, began to let go. My ragged breathing slowed, and my hands folded onto my knees. Peace began to return to me, and my fear was replaced with an unexplainable assurance. For the first time since I crashed, I began to sense the city around me. It made me weep, because that was all I could see. I saw the rubble of the Temple, the great hole in the heart of the city where the Jedi once made their home. I saw the remaining Jedi grieving for those lost to the violence of the Sith attack, and...the Treaty? I felt a great sadness and some anger associated with it, and resolved to seek out the Jedi to find out what had happened. Halfway through standing up, I froze. Soraya! I couldn't feel her in the city. Was she dead? Murdered by the Sith for protecting the will of the Force for me? Had she fled, like me? I put away the further feelings of shame for allowing my senses to be addled so that I could not have sensed her passing. If I was supposed to find her, I would find her. If not, she died well. Once again I was filled with unexplainable assurance and peace.

I took a good look at myself. While I had the sense to keep my lightsaber safely hidden, I did not have very much of my trousers left. Somewhere along the way my shoes had also disappeared, and my feet were blackened and cut. After rummaging around uncerimoniously in a skip or two I found cloth enough to cover my legs and leather to strap to my feet to avoid any more injuries. As I made my way back towards the remains of the Jedi Temple, the marks of suffering I felt made it hard to walk. I had seen first hand on the Outer Rim what the Sith were capable of, but this outstripped it all. The city was utterly desolated. As I drew near to the Temple mount, amongst the scars and the grief, I felt the Force Nexus that had been the reason the Temple was built on this spot. I allowed a small smile to play on my lips and croaked to myself, “The Force does not need walls...”.


A Consular found me at the ruins, meditating. “Jariel...? Jariel! I thought you were dead!”
I stood up. “Not yet, dear friend, not yet. It was close though. What happened? I sensed something about the treaty, but this mess drowned out the details. Why did the Sith attack us here?”
“The negotiations on Alderann...”
I squatted down and sighed, “So they used us as a bargaining chip. That makes sense of their offer of peace, at least. I take it the terms weren't particularly favourable?” The Consular shook his head. “And we're to blame. Or at least we will be once the Senate recovers. The Sith assasinated the Supreme Chancellor and occupied us under military rule until the treaty was signed, so it might take a little while. But who can they blame if not the Jedi?” He smiled wryly.
I stood again and smiled with him, “Who else indeed. Do you think you could find me some clothes and shoes? I find crash landing in the Factory District speeds up the wear and tear process.”
My friend shook his head, as if astonished he hadn't thought of this more quickly, “Of course! Sorry!” He frowned. “What happened to you, Jariel?”
I shook my head, “Not now. I can't speak about it now.”
He nodded with a worried look on his face, “I'll take you the shelters. We should find some clothes there.”


Over the next few months Jedi bled from Coruscant like it was an open wound refusing to heal. As my Consular friend had predicted, the Senate blamed us for failing to protect the Republic. With no Temple and lessening respect, some started to leave for Tython, to rebuild and recover. Eventually, I went with them. There was nothing left for us on Coruscant but painful memories. I wrestle with them as much as anyone who lived through those days. Though, in my heart of hearts, I have to admit I hoped to find my dove waiting for me.
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