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A Lesson in Death | OC Fall Challenge | Angst

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Kit', Oct 7, 2021.

  1. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    Title: A Lesson in Death
    Author: Kit'
    Timeframe: 50BBY (1 year before USJS)
    Characters: Jedi Padawan Kirsh'of Aleski (OC) , Jedi Master Healer Idriss (OC)
    Genre: angst, introspection,
    Challenge: OC Fall Challenge - Background Character Challenge

    Summary: What is the point of calling yourself a healer if you can't save someone from dying?
  2. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999

    This wasn’t supposed to be how people died.

    Kirsh watched the young Barundi stagger through the crowd. His arms were a mess of lacerations, one eye had swollen closed, and blood dripped from his fingertips. He swayed and staggered down the narrow corridor of people, as they belted him with flowers. The large purple flower heads bobbed with the movement, their pollen a cloud of yellow dust as they swung through the air. The rest of the Barundi were singing, their high-pitched voices joined together in what would have, in other circumstances, been a beautiful song.

    The man coughed. Blood bubbled from his mouth. Kirsh bit his lip as he watched the man’s aura shift from vivid blues to soft greys of impending death. The colours were tinged with the deep cerulean of pain that seemed to grow with every blow of the pretty, purple flowers. Kirsh shuddered, unused to seeing so much pain contained in one thin, bruised body.

    His Master held out her hand as he took a step forward.

    “I can’t watch him die,” Kirsh said, looking down at her.

    Master Idriss looked back at him, her own face as pale and sick as he felt. “You have to padawan. This is the Barundi’s way of enforcing order. It’s their justice system.”

    Kirsh frowned, but his eyes never left the staggering figure. The Barundi’s dark blue skin was slowly turning grey and the splotches of colour that surrounded him in the Force were changing. “You were there when they sentenced him Master, he took a loaf of bread to feed his family. Surely that doesn’t warrant death.”

    He felt Idriss’ hand on his shoulder. “They don’t see it as death, padawan. Merely as helping him on his path to reincarnation.”

    The figure stumbled and coughed. Bright red blood splattering across the dirt. His Master’s grip tightened.

    “We have to save him,” Kirsh whispered. His chest was tight and he could feel a coil of anger rustling into life in his stomach. This wasn’t what he was supposed to do as a Jedi. “A Jedi’s job is to protect and serve.” The words bubbled out, anything to stop the anger from growing.

    “Padawan,” his Master cautioned. Kirsh rolled his shoulders back and straightened, feeling her hand slip off his shoulder. He was too tall for her to easily reach now if he stood at his full height.

    The anger whispered through his mind. He was also much stronger and heavier than her. It would be easy to push past her, to make his way through the crowd and do what was right. No-one would be able to stop him. So simple. Just a simple choice and the suffering would stop.

    Kirsh’s chest felt so tight he couldn’t breathe. “I didn’t become a healer to stand by and watch someone die. I wanted to be a healer because I thought I could save people, but you’re telling me that even in the face of death I can’t do anything.”

    He shook his head as the anger whispered again.

    He would not give into it. That was not the Jedi way. His job as padawan was to respect his Master and she in turn would teach him the ways of the Force. He breathed, trying to release his feelings to the Force, but all he could focus on was the figure making his way towards him. The Barundi was almost ash grey now. The vivid scarlet and wine-red of the blood that dribbled from his mouth and the numerous lacerations on his body made a mockery of the fact that he was dying.

    “Padawan, release your emotions to the Force,” Master Idriss said softly. He could feel the soft cloud of support that always emanated from her surrounding him and saw the shift in the pastel auras that edged his vision.

    He breathed again.

    “I’m sorry Master.”

    “Your compassion does you credit, Kirsh’of,” Master Idriss said quietly. “However, healing is not about saving everyone. Sometimes it’s about relieving suffering.”

    Kirsh frowned. “What do you mean? Is that not the same thing?” He turned to find Master Idriss looking up at him, the tholothian’s face a picture of concern. Kirsh suddenly wondered if she’d felt the pull of the anger through the Force. She gave him a small smile.

    “Not at all, padawan. Watch.” She shifted so that her hand extended slightly through the robe. Kirsh watched the colours change and then glanced at where the Barundi was, half walking, half crawling. The crowd still surrounded him, singing joyfully as the long stems of the flowers whipped through the air to lash the falling figure. Kirsh could see the colours flow from his Master’s hand and settle around the man who shuddered and collapsed.

    The crowd stopped singing.

    “You’re killing him,” Kirsh whispered reaching out to grip her arm as if that could stop her. The Force whispered that the Barundi's breathing was becoming shallow.

    “He’s already dead,” Idriss said softly. “The crowd won’t stop until he is no more. Watch the colours, padawan. Your answer to what I’m doing lies there.”

    Kirsh watched. The flares of pain, a deep cerise were dimming to a blush pink and then gold. He could barely see the figure through the legs of the now eerily silent crowd, but he could hear him. The sounds of ragged breathing were becoming smoother, easier.

    “You’re taking his pain,” he breathed.

    Idriss nodded. “He still dies but it is a better death.”

    Kirsh nodded, trying to understand. His Master glanced at him and dropped her hand. He saw the pink darken from blush, to rose, magenta and then finally back to deep cerise.

    The man groaned, audible in the silence.

    “It’s not that you die, but how?” Kirsh ventured. He found his own hand extending, trying to take the pain away and watched as the colours slowly faded back to blush and then into a deep gold.

    “This is the way, padawan,” Idriss said. Kirsh felt tears slide down his cheeks as the colours faded. This was his job. He was a healer and that meant he would have to learn to do what was necessary, even if he didn’t like it. He bit the inside of his lip, watching the colours change and even out until there was nothing but gold.

    There was an eerie rattle of breath and the gold faded into nothing.
    Mira_Jade likes this.
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    A deeply touching story with the healers helping the victim of a harsh justice. We know where they do that here.
    Jedi Knight Fett and Kit' like this.
  4. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    Thanks @earlybird-obi-wan :) The inspiration is from the quote though not from real life. I came across the quote on the Star Wars wiki when I was looking for names of plants.
  5. PlanetSmasher

    PlanetSmasher Jedi Knight star 2

    Mar 14, 2017
    Damn... I feel for Kirsh. On the one hand, I can see why he wanted to intervene. On the other hand, what his master said, "This is their Justice System..."

    You can't interfere with the law... You know?

    This must be a rare situation among the Barundi… I mean, he stole a loaf of bread. There must be very, very, VERY little crime among their people, otherwise there'd be "beautiful singing" and flower whippings all of the time.
    Kit' likes this.
  6. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    Their Wookieepedia entry is really interesting and kind of does lead to the idea that any stepping outside cultural norms or promoting disharmony is a really, really bad idea.

    Which, to my mind at least, would be kind of like 'happiness through fear'? Although according to their belief system you get reincarnated so you can do better next time.

    Yep and a particularly harsh lesson for the happy-go-lucky, look after everyone Kirsh!

    Thank you for reading and for the comments :) It was such an interesting Star Wars culture to accidently stumble upon that I wanted to use it somehow.
  7. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh wow, but doesn't this answer the challenge parameters with a wallop? :eek: :( This was hard to read, and I mean that as a most sincere compliment, because death is something that we naturally fight against. It's just as instinctive for us to want to relieve the pain and suffering of others whenever and however we can. Yet, here . . .

    I have to echo this. What a fact to have stumbled across on the wook!

    This was a great pivotal moment. Because Kirsh'of did have the strength to see his will done and his own version of justice served . . . but that's not the Jedi way, no matter how horribly wrong his inaction seems to him at the time. This was really thought-provoking.

    This was morbidly beautiful, and certainly a lesson that Kirsh'of will take to heart as a healer in the future.

    Thank for sharing this response to the challenge with us! =D= This is definitely something that's going to stick in my mind for quite some time . . .
    Kit' likes this.
  8. PlanetSmasher

    PlanetSmasher Jedi Knight star 2

    Mar 14, 2017
    I just remembered a story that I read - YEARS AGO. Well, actually, I don't remember what story it was from, but I remember the scene.

    It was supposed to be in the 1960's or maybe earlier in time. Palestinian terrorists were fighting and attacking Jews and Jewish soldiers in Jerusalem. The fighting was fierce. A Jewish doctor was treating wounded people in his office. People who got caught in the crossfire. The patients were able to be evacuated, as the Palestinians were overrunning a Jewish military checkpoint. The people had to leave.

    This Jewish doctor and his teenage son took what medical supplies they could carry and left the office. Machine gun fire, sniper fire, combat rifle battles, were all only a few blocks away from his street. Mortar fire started to fall on his street. The Jewish doctor and his son took cover in a store. When it was over, he and his son left the store and continued towards safety.

    As they ran, they came across a wounded man. He was in agony screaming and writhing in sheer pain. Without missing a beat, the Jewish doctor stopped and knelt by the man. It was a Palestinian fighter. A piece of shrapnel destroyed his intestines, but didn't kill him.

    Even though he was in terrible agony, the Palestinian became fearful when he saw the man who knelt by his side. In his eyes, he was just a Jew, and he knew that the Jew would kill him.

    The doctor saw the fear. He opened his bag and pulled out some medical supplies and showed it to the Palestinian fighter. That calmed him and alleviated his fear. The doctor then cut the clothing were the cloth was shredded and blood soaked.

    Under the current situation, there was no way for the doctor to save his life. A piece of shrapnel had destroyed his intestines, but didn't kill him right away. The man was going to be in intense agony all the way until he bled to death in a few minutes.

    The doctor took a syringe needle and filled it with a lethal dose of morphine. He smiled reassuringly to the Palestinian fighter. The Palestinian smiled back and nodded his permission for treatment. The doctor gave him the shot and almost immediately, the pain went away. The Palestinian gave the doctor his thanks in his language. Even if the Jewish doctor could not understand what was said, he could sense the sentiment that was expressed. The Palestinian fighter faded to a deep sleep, and died peacefully.

    Then the doctor and his son continued to run to the evacuation area.

    This is basically what Idriss did.
    earlybird-obi-wan and Kit' like this.
  9. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    This was a very moving story, and I'm sure it was a very difficult experience for Kirsh and Idriss to go through. I liked seeing all of the incongruities in the story: from the beautiful colors representing blood, pain, and dying; to the Barundi being killed by flowers that we normally interpret as symbols of peace and happiness; to the larger aspect of healing by not extending a life. The dichotomies were smooth and well done, and that's hard to do without it coming across as jarring.

    This was surely a very memorable experience for Kirsh.

    Excellent work! =D=
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2021
    earlybird-obi-wan likes this.