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Before - Legends Before the Saga Diary of a Very Sympathetic Padawan (Bant Eerin's diary for the 2020 DDC)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by devilinthedetails , Jan 1, 2020.

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thanks so much for commenting! :)I enjoyed writing the interaction between Bant and Obi-Wan in this chapter very much. It made me smile to have Bant point out the positives of a lovely world but then acknowledge that it wouldn't be a very good training exercise without some challenges.

    I definitely imagine Bant as a very compassionate and affirming friend so it was nice to have a chance to showcase that in this chapter, and I'm so happy to hear those parts resonated with you.

    My heart did break for Bant and her worries about never being able to go on such a training exercise with her Master. I too wish I could assure her that her fears were unfounded...

    @Mira_Jade Thank you so much for your kind words!:D I'm so flattered that you found this to be another lovely update. I'm so glad that you found that bit so quintessentially Obi-Wan since I admit that I was smiling to myself as I wrote it. I really enjoyed being able to explore their bond in that scene, so it makes me so happy you felt that scene encapsulated it perfectly.

    I do feel for Obi-Wan and his uncertainties there, but I also love that Bant was able to reassure him, because she was so right with what she said.

    I couldn't resist the chance to poke a bit of fun at cafeteria food, so it's awesome to hear that exchange amused you as it was meant to[face_laugh]

    I do feel sorry for Bant because sadly her worries aren't unfounded, but I also do agree that a diary is definitely the perfect place to share a bit of teenage drama and exaggeration. Bant may continue to indulge in a bit of that as her diary continues just to keep things fun and interesting[face_whistling]

    @AzureAngel2 Thank you so much for catching up and for commenting!:)I can imagine that youngling discussion would be amusing to a Kindergarten teacher like yourself. You're right that a lot of people couldn't do what you do whether due to a lack of patience, confusion about how to deal with kids, or disliking kids. The illnesses are definitely something to think about and that Bant might encounter if she works with kids who have yet to develop their immune systems. I agree with you about adventure. Sometimes it can be tempting to think about, but going on an adventure in reality can be less glamorous than it seems, and sometimes it is only when we leave home that we can truly appreciate its comforts. Bant will probably come to appreciate the Temple more when she leaves the comfort and safety of it.
  2. BookExogorth

    BookExogorth Force Ghost star 4

    May 4, 2017
    Why did Tahl take a Padawan if she has such doubt in her teaching capabilities, I wonder. Can't wait til we see her finally take Bant on a mission. Lovin' the jedi temple setting. Definitely one of my favorite settings for stories in SW and you continue to use it well. Poor Obi-Wan, glad Bant could be there for him.

    I know most times you do a separate post for responding to reviews, but if you keep them in the same post again, perhaps you could use a dividing line? It's just this tag:
    which, without making sure it shows up as text, shows up as this. Just thought it might be useful for you, sorry if it wasn't.

    Lovin' the story!
    edit: weird... it showed up in the preview but not in the post. second edit: I apparently forgot the closing tag :oops:
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
  3. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @BookExogorth Thank you so much for commenting and sorry about the long wait for a reply[face_blush] In future chapters, there might be more of an opportunity to explore why Tahl took Bant as her Padawan. The Jedi Temple is an awesome setting for me to write in, so I'm so happy you're enjoying the opportunity to read about the Jedi Temple as much as I'm loving the chance to write about it. My heart did go out to Obi-Wan in the last chapter, and like you, I'm glad that Bant could be there for him. Thanks for the tip about the line breaks. I can probably make use of them in the future as you suggest!

    Dear Diary,

    Today I spent much of my afternoon teaching younglings how to swim in the lake. Yesterday evening I was invited or roped into this by Master Meeno, the swimming instructor for the younglings at the Temple and a fellow Mon Calamari. Last night as I took my evening dip in the lake, Master Meeno swam up beside me, strokes smooth as a knife cutting through blue butter, and commented—we Mon Calamari can communicate underwater, of course—“Many of my students could learn a thing or two about swimming from you, Bant.”

    “I’m Mon Calamari,” I pointed out, not to be self-deprecating but also not to take pride in a skill that had come naturally to me—something that I had been born to do. “Swimming is in our genes, Master.”

    “Yes.” Master Meeno’s strokes continued beside me. “Still, there are some tricks you could teach my students if you had the time to join our lessons some afternoons.”

    Since I was stuck at the Temple for the foreseeable future and in my bleaker moments it sometimes seemed like I had nothing but time to try to figure out how to spend meaningfully. I decided that there were worse ways to spend my oodles of unfilled time than at the lake volunteering to teach younglings how to swim, so I replied, “I’d be happy to help with your lessons when I’m at the Temple.”

    “Thank you.” Master Meeno gave a pleased nod before offering the specifics of where and when I should meet him for the youngling swimming lessons.

    Once I emerged from the lake and toweled off, I returned to the quarters I shared with my Master. Tahl was meditating, legs crossed with fingers curled into twin o’s over her knees, on a mat in the corner but she opened her sightless eyes as I entered, asking, “How was your evening swim?”

    “Most refreshing.” I folded myself into an empty spot at the foot of her mat. “I took your advice and volunteered with the younglings, Master. I’ll be helping Master Meeno teach the younglings how to swim starting tomorrow afternoon.”

    “That’s nice.” Following my voice, Tahl’s eyes fixed on me as she provided her typical tart commentary on life’s events. “I hope they don’t drown you or give you the urge to drown yourself. Younglings can be very difficult, you know.”

    “Don’t worry.” I laughed. “Master Meeno will be there to protect me from the tyranny of younglings.”

    Despite Tahl’s warnings last night, today I did enjoy my time instructing the younglings in swimming with Master Meeno even if I didn’t have the most auspicious start. The first youngling I worked with—a small human girl with warm, dirt-brown skin—cried and sputtered as soon as I coaxed her face into the water. Her screams echoing off the artificial sky dome overhead, she wailed, “The water stings my eyes and nose.”

    “You could try closing your eyes,” I suggested gently, hoping to soothe her with my softest tone.

    “Then I won’t be able to see.” The girl snuffled, mopping her nose with her wrist. “And if I hold my nose I won’t be able to swim.”

    “Let’s see how you do with goggles that cover your eyes and nose.” Guiding her out of the lake by the wrist that hadn’t just swiped at her nose, I led her over to a pile of swimming supplies—towels, goggles, and a variety of floating devices—that had been stacked on the shore.

    As I rifled through the mountain of swimming supplies in search of a pair of goggles that would fit the girl, she informed me, “I’m Priya.”

    “Nice to meet you, Priya. I’m Bant,” I introduced myself even though Master Meeno had announced my name to the children at the beginning of the lesson. Younglings could sometimes have very short memories, after all. Pulling a pair of googles that seemed promising from the pile, I slid them over Priya’s head, securing them so they covered her nose and eyes. “These look like a good fit.”

    “They feel like a good fit.” Priya gave her goggles an experimental tug before nodding her agreement.

    “Excellent. Now let’s go for a swim together.” With a light palm on her shoulder, I steered Priya back into the lake.

    After that, she did not scream when she put her head underwater. With one hand, I could shape her arms, hands, legs, and feet as needed for her to swim move through the strokes properly while my other palm hovered beneath her stomach, ensuring she felt no fear of drowning.

    When she had shown some progress with the stroke, I moved onto another youngling—a human boy with hair the color of sunbeams.

    At the end of the lesson, Master Meeno allowed the younglings to climb all over as as if we were play pieces in the rec dome. Giggling and shrieking their delight, the children Master Meeno had unleashed upon us pushed us under the water. I came up laughing and with a better understanding of Master Tahl’s cautionary words about drowning. It turned out Master Meeno hadn’t been much protection against the tyranny of younglings, after all, but I didn’t mind. Like Master Meeno, I enjoyed the gleeful, whimsical tyranny of younglings. Master Tahl would probably roll her eyes if she could hear my thoughts, but that only made me laugh all the louder as the younglings began to splash at Master Meeno and me in what seemed to be the closing ritual of their swimming lesson.

    As I wrap myself in my blankets tonight and shut my eyes on another day, it occurs to me that there are worse ways for me to spend my time than swimming and splashing with a bunch of excitable younglings. Their innocent joy is infectious, and I’m glad that Master Meeno invited me to join their lessons. I look forward to future swims with the younglings although not as much as I look forward to my first mission.

    Swimming with the younglings is an excellent way to fill the empty time between now and my first mission, however, so it doesn’t feel quite as empty. Being around younglings—teaching them—feels so meaningful that it is hard to feel empty inside or as if I’m wasting my time. Perhaps mischievous younglings are a good influence on me, reminding me of the dual virtues of patience and joy in life that are essential to being a Jedi and to being a sentient in general.

    Good night, dear diary, and don’t worry. I won’t take you on any of my swims with the younglings. I know that water would turn your pages to mush and splotch the ink on you into incomprehensibility. I will protect you from the tyranny of younglings even if I refuse to protect myself.

    Author's Note: I apologize if this chapter seems a bit slow and light on the action. Next chapter should have more in the way of plot and rising tension for the story if all goes according to plan, so the theory is for this chapter to be a bit of a calm before the storm. Hopefully that ends up working out how I picture it!
  4. Kahara

    Kahara FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 3, 2001
    I was so pleasantly surprised to see a Bant Eerin diary this year! Always liked her character, and miss her from the books (and from very much of fanfic anymore). She's such a sweetheart, and you've captured that so well here. The difficulties she's having with her Master-Padawan relationship are done very well. From the outside, we can see that Tahl adores her Padawan and is probably overprotecting her as much as she is declaring independence. But Bant is in the middle of the situation and doesn't have as easy of a time recognizing that, even with her natural patience and tendency to see the best in everyone. I really liked her conversation with Obi-Wan about the training exercise; she's such a good friend and knows him and Qui-Gon so well.
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    This was a delight! You captured Bant's natural warmth and the infectious joy of the younglings very well! Bant seems to have a talent for knowing jhow to ease fears, as she did with Priya, making her feel comfortable and safe in such a gentle, patient fashion.

    Through it all, there is the thread of Bant's wistfulness for excitement and purpose, which is understandable. Usually though those things come with a lot of unpleasantness. :oops: :p
  6. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Kahara Thank you so much for reading and commenting! :) I'm so happy with the enthusiastic response this diary has received. It seems that there are many people like me who remember and love Bant from the Jedi Apprentice books. I agree that she is such a sweetheart, and it has been a joy to try to slip into her mind as I write this diary. You're definitely right that from the outside we can understand that Tahl loves Bant and wants to protect her as well as having a desire to be independent, but from an inside perspective Bant's innate desire to be understanding is warring with the pain that she as a sensitive person feels. It's a lot of emotions for Bant to deal with. It was nice to have a chance to explore her friendship with Obi-Wan, so I'm so glad that you enjoyed that conversation as it was a fun one for me to write!

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha I'm so glad that you found this chapter to be a delight since I was a bit afraid that people would find it to be slow but I really wanted to be able to showcase some of Bant's natural warmth and infectious joy with the younglings by giving her a chance to help with the swimming lessons. I agree that Bant seems to have a calming impact on others, always knowing how to ease fears in a gentle, patient fashion as she did with Priya. It is a true gift that not that many people have, making Bant a real treasure. :D Bant definitely does always have that thread of wistfulness, of longing for excitement and purpose in her tone. Right now, she is very much an innocent, but with more experience, she may learn what you say about excitement sometimes equating to a lot of headaches, heartaches, and general unpleasantness. Sometimes the simple life is the sweetest life.
  7. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Dear Diary,

    My morning meditation with my Master began serenely. We were sitting cross-legged on our mats when the comm console chimed with an incoming message. Muttering her irritation at this early interruption, Tahl accepted the transmission. As two beautiful girls who couldn’t have been older than sixteen and who looked so identical they could only be twins materialized above the console, they greeted her in unison, “Tahl, it has been too long since we talked!”

    As their voices washed over her, Tahl’s irritation disappeared behind a wide smile as she exclaimed, “Alani! Eritha! I haven’t heard from you in years!”

    “We apologize for the lack of communication on our end,” one twin said as the other nodded.

    “Never mind that.” Tahl dismissed the apology with a brisk wave of her hand. “How are you? How is your father?”

    “We’re in hiding and in fear of our lives.” This time it was the other twin who spoke. Each one wore a grim cast on her face. “Our father was assassinated shortly after his re-election as Supreme Governor.”

    “Who’s replaced him as Supreme Governor?” Tahl frowned, and I could sense her mind already working overtime to put the political puzzle pieces together.

    “Roan,” the twin who had spoken first answered again.

    “He was a trusted associate of your father’s.” Tahl’s frowned deepened, furrowing her forehead. “Surely he can protect you.”

    “We don’t trust Roan. Trusting Roan got my father killed.” The twin who had done most of the talking continued to do so. “Once Roan was admired by many Workers as one of the few Civilized who called early on for social change, but after my father’s death, many Workers have come to suspect that he was behind our father’s assassination. We can’t trust Roan. Trusting Roan might have been what killed my father.”

    “We need your help,” added the other twin, folding her hands in a pleading gesture Tahl would never be able to see but could probably hear. “Please come and give us safe passage to Coruscant where we may find asylum.”

    “I will do everything in my power to help you girls as I always have.” Tahl inclined her head. “I will speak to the Council at once, requesting permission to escort you safely to Coruscant. I’ll be in touch when I have it and am on my way.”

    I noticed that she said “when,” not “if,” as the twins thanked her in a rush of gratitude and the communication ended.

    “Who were those girls, Master?” I asked as soon as the girls I referred to had vanished from the air above the console.

    “Alani and Eritha,” Tahl replied as if I might have missed her earlier exclamation. “Qui-Gon and I were assigned to a mission on their world six years ago now. During that mission, I got to know those girls when they were only ten and they looked up to me as their protectress. I can’t fail to protect them now.”

    Before I could ask anything else, Tahl, mumbling something about needing to arrange an urgent meeting with the Council, pulled out her comlink and I fell silent, knowing I would have to do the research needed to make sense of the situation for myself since Tahl was too distracted to provide me with the information I so desperately craved. I could only hope that this meant I’d be going on my first mission—my first adventure outside the Temple.

    With Tahl consumed by her endeavor to arrange an urgent meeting with the Council, I considered our meditation session unofficially concluded. I rose from my mat and returned to my room where I turned on the datapad at my desk, pulled up the search engine I regarded as most reliable, and entered Supreme Governor Roan in the search bar. Barely a second later, a link to an encyclopedia article that informed me that Supreme Governor Roan was the current leader of New Apsolon lit up my screen. New Apsolon. That must be where the girls were from—the planet where my first mission would be.

    Aglow inside, I snatched up a spare piece of flimsi from the pile on my desk and scribbled: New Apsolon. New Apsolon gave me a planet to search the records of Jedi mission reports for the record of the mission Qui-Gon and Tahl must have filed with the Council upon their return from New Apsolon six years ago.

    Feeling almost as if I were on a mission already, I left our quarters—calling out a farewell to Tahl, who gave me an absent wave as she continued to make arrangements on her comlink for a meeting with the Council—and entered the hallway, striding down it with adrenaline driving every step. At the end of the corridor, I came to a turbolift bank and hit a button to summon one.

    I had to remind myself to be patient—to focus on slowing the thud of my heart and the pounding in my veins—as I waited for the turbolift to arrive. When it did, I pressed on the button that would take me to the Archives level.

    Minutes later, I stepped into the studious silence of the cavernous marble-floored Archives that were lined with shelves full of blue-tinged holobooks and holofiles. At the head of each shelf was a noble bust. Opposite the busts were amber-glowing datascreens where Jedi of all ages sat inputting a variety of search criteria into hundreds of different databases.

    I located the corner cabinet that contained the holofiles of official Jedi reports filed with the Council over the past twenty years. Opening the drawer for reports involving planets with names that started with the letters “Na-Nj,” I frowned when I discovered no record of any report filed for a mission to New Apsolon.

    Frustrated but reluctant to ask for Madame Nu’s assistance when she could be testy about any hint that her records were incomplete, I retreated to an empty datascreen to consult an index of planet names to discover whether New Apsolon had any other names by which I could research records. It didn’t take me long to find out that New Apsolon had been referred to simply as Apsolon as little as six years ago.

    Pleased with the results of my search, I returned to the holofiles of reports filed with the Council. This time, I searched under “Apsolon” and found that the very first holofile was a report filed by Tahl and Qui-Gon after their mission to the planet six years ago.

    Removing the holofile from the drawer, I carried it over to a vacant table and began to read the report. As soon as I opened the report, I saw that it was not a joint report as was conventional with two Jedi Knights assigned to the same mission but rather an opposing report. Each report described how Apsolon had been ruled by a totalitarian government in which a wealthy elite known as the Civilized ruled over the Worker majority responsible for making the tech products that made the Civilized rich—a wealth that never trickled down to the Workers. The reports agreed that the Workers had tried to achieve a bloodless revolution by sabotaging the production of tech parts. According to both reports, that these measures despite violent pushback from a secret police force referred to as the Absolutes had been successful at forcing the government to organize free elections that saw the Worker leader Ewane come to power as the Absolute police force was disbanded.

    Where the two reports diverged was their perception of the proper endpoint for their mission. After Ewane was elected and the Absolutes disbanded, Qui-Gon was adamant that it was time for the Jedi to leave the planet, while Tahl was equally insistent that Ewane and his family were in danger, the new government was too fragile to survive without Jedi support, and the Absolutes had merely been driven undercover rather than truly eradicated. In the end, the reports noted, Qui-Gon’s vision had prevailed, and the two Jedi had left the planet after Ewane’s election and the official disbanding of the Absolutes.

    Reflectively closing the holofile of the reports, I realized that Ewane must have been the father of the twin girls who had intruded on my meditation with Tahl to provide me with what I hoped would be my first mission. Their father had been assassinated, they couldn’t trust the successor who had once been their father’s close ally, and they had turned to Tahl—and to me—for help. Tahl and I wouldn’t let them down—we’d see them safely escorted to Coruscant. They wouldn’t have to live on a world torn apart by violence and distrust any longer.
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wriggles! I am as excited as Bant is over this fascinating mission/return to New Apsolon and hope the twins will be safely extracted from this dire situation. It's heartbreaking to lose their father and also to feel that a close and trusted associate is responsible. :( =D=
  9. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for your kind comments! I'm so glad that you share Bant's excitement. The situation on New Apsolon is definitely a heartbreaking and tense one, while the twins are in a very complicated situation as well.[face_nail_biting]
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and BookExogorth like this.
  10. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Author's Note: Bant will get to New Apsolon at some point, I promise. Just not quite yet...

    Dear Diary,

    Looking back at my last entry, I can’t help but shake my head as I reread it. I was so naive, imagining that Master Tahl would allow me to accompany her on her mission to escort Alani and Eritha off New Apsolon. I use the term “her” mission because when Tahl returned from her meeting with the Council it became increasingly apparent that was how she perceived it.

    “The Council has granted me permission to escort the twins off New Apsolon,” Tahl announced when she entered our quarters after her meeting with the Council had concluded.

    “Might I come with you, Master?” I asked, releasing the disquiet I felt about her employment of the singular rather than the plural pronoun into the Force.

    “Not this time. It’s a short mission that requires such a deep understanding of the planet’s political history that it’s not worth it for you to learn it.” Tahl opened the door to her room, rummaged under her sleep couch for a luggage bag, and began to pack it while I watched from the doorway and debated inwardly whether it would be awkward if I offered to assist her in this endeavor. “You’d be better served training here at the Temple.”

    I was tempted to say that I had done some of my own research that I’d done some of my own research into New Apsolon and the record of her last mission to the planet in the Temple’s Archives after she had received the comm from the twin sisters, but I was too afraid that this might make it appear I was sneaking behind her back. Instead, I ducked my head and murmured, accepting my disappointing fate, “Yes, Master. I’ll train hard while you’re gone, I promise.”

    “There’ll be other missions for us to go on together, Padawan.” Obviously sensing my disappointment in the Force, Tahl paused in her packing.

    “Yes, Master.” I nodded, telling myself that I couldn’t blame my Master for my disappointment. She hadn’t been the one to build up my hopes that I would be going on my first mission only to crash them down again. I’d be the one to do that to myself in a nasty bit of self-inflicted torture. My Master hadn’t disappointed me; I’d disappointed myself. I was responsible for my own feelings and the pain they caused me.

    “I’ll only be gone a couple of days, and I’ll be in touch if anything changes. Besides, you shouldn’t be alone at the Temple while I’m gone.” Tahl’s lips quirked, and a second later I understood why. “Obi-Wan has returned from his training exercise on Ragoon-6.”

    “He has?” I was stunned because training exercises on Ragoon-6 tended to last weeks, not days, and Obi-Wan had just left. “How do you know?”

    “Because Qui-Gon burst in on my meeting with the Council, showing all the social grace of an enraged nexu, and tried to worm his way onto my mission in the name of friendship.” Tahl made an indignant noise that sounded like a cough in her throat as she finished throwing her belongings into her bag with more force than the task demanded.

    As I frowned, thinking that it was unlike Qui-Gon to act in so impulsive and inconsiderate a fashion, Tahl went on brusquely, “Then I had to inform him in no uncertain terms that if he valued my friendship he would need to give me space to breathe instead of smothering me with his overprotectiveness.”

    When Tahl was done packing, I saw her off at the hangar bay. As the ramp of the ship that would carry her to New Apsolon lowered, I felt an odd tightening in my chest even when I tried to assure myself that I would see her again in a matter of days.

    “May the Force be with you, Master.” I bowed and bit my lip before any words about staying safe could come shooting out. the words would have been well-intentioned but no doubt Tahl would have bristled at them as smothering her with their overprotectiveness.

    “And with you, Bant.” Tahl’s crooked grin flashed like sunlight on the durasteel wing of a spinning ship. “I’ll be back soon.”

    I stared at her as she disappeared up the open ramp, which closed with a snap behind her once she had entered the craft. Then my eyes could only follow her vessel as it rose from the landing pad in the hangar bay to be swallowed by Coruscant’s sky as dusk crept closer.

    Once she and her ship were gone, leaving me waiting for her return in what felt like the story of my apprentinceship to date, I pulled my comlink out of my tunic pocket and dialed Obi-Wan’s number.

    “Hello, Bant.” Obi-Wan answered on the first ring as he almost always did.

    “A doki bird told me you were back at the Temple.” I thought that I truly did need doki birds to update me on the whereabouts of my best friend sometimes since he was prone to forgetting to let me know that he had returned to the Temple.

    “Your avian sources are impeccably accurate.” Obi-Wan’s dry reply reached my ears as I strode out of the hangar bay and down a hallway toward a turbolift bank, where I pressed the button to summon a turbolift to my level.

    “I’m riding up to your residential level.” The turbolift arrived with a chime, and I boarded it, hitting the button so it lit up gold for the level where Obi-Wan lived with his Master.

    “I’ll wait for you by the turbolift bank.” Obi-Wan hung up without a proper goodbye. It was a sign of our rich friendship how we could avoid or ignore such formalities with each other.

    True to his word, Obi-Wan was waiting for me on his level when the turbolift halted and its doors clanged open. Clasping his wrists in affectionate greeting as I emerged from the turbolift, I commented, “I’m glad to see you, but you’re back early from your training exercise with Qui-Gon. Surely you didn’t finish it so quickly?”

    “No.” Obi-Wan’s forehead furrowed as we began walking down the hallway, deciding by unspoken consensus to continue beyond the door to the quarters he shared with his Master to a balcony at the end of the corridor where we could gaze out at the sun setting muja over Coruscant’s gray cityscape. “We were in the middle of a normal conversation when he got a strange look on his face as he trailed off and closed his eyes in some trance. He seemed so troubled when he came out of this vision—as if some cloud were hanging over him—but when I asked what he saw, he only told me it was dangerous to interpret visions and we must return to Coruscant at once. Then he had us rushing back here at lightspeed. I’m worried about him, Bant. It’s not like him to be so impatient. I’m supposed to be the impetuous one in our relationship since I’m the teenager, after all.”

    “He rushed into the Council chamber when Tahl was having a private meeting with the Masters.” I clutched the railing for the feeling of something solid amidst all this confusion, seeking a steadying anchor in a turbulent ocean. “He tried to accompany her on her mission but she refused thinking he was being overprotective.”

    I swallowed a lump that had suddenly swelled in my throat before forging on with a question I feared the answer to: “Yet what if he wasn’t being overprotective, Obi-Wan? What if his vision was about her?”

    “Visions are as unreliable as sinksand.” Despite his calming words, Obi-Wan’s lake blue eyes were wide as they met mine. “Even when they’re true, they’re often so in a symbolic rather than literal fashion. You know that and so does Qui-Gon.”

    “Yes.” I felt as if my stomach was sinking into the canyons that divided Coruscant’s skytowers and superskytowers. “It’s just when she left I had a strange feeling, one I couldn’t acknowledge fully until now, that I’d never see her again—that we’d said farewell for the last time.”

    I shivered as the truth of why I had longed to tell Tahl to be safe washed over me like a chilling wave.

    The two of us stood there silently until the sun set, each worried in our own ways about our mysterious Masters and each as helpless to save one another as we were our Masters.

    It was on that balcony as the sun set over a restless, never settling and never sleeping city that I realized just how naive I had been at the dawn of the day, dear diary. On that balcony beside my best friend, I understood just how much I didn’t know about the universe, and it made me cold as entropy inside.
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  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_nail_biting] Oh dear! The rushed nature of Qui-Gon's arrival and insistence on being protective ... Bant's undefined but undeniable sense of dread that she has said farewell to Tahl for the last time... :eek: Eagerly awaiting more!!!!! @};-
    Kahara and devilinthedetails like this.
  12. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for commenting! :)

    There is definitely a sense of dread hovering over this entire chapter from the rushed nature of Qui-Gon's return and his desire to protect Tahl to Bant's eerie feeling that she has said farewell to Tahl for the last time. Next chapter might pack even more tension for our dear characters...[face_nail_biting]
  13. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Gah, but we are getting into THOSE events already. Oh no! Time for everyone to buckle in for a wild ride of angst and adventure, that, sadly, we already all know how will end. As soon as I saw those two girls pop up my blood went cold for everything poor Bant is going to have to endure coming up.

    But! Before getting into that, I have to apologize for falling behind on reading! I will try my best to fix that now. :)

    The update with Bant teaching the younglings how to swim was just so soft and beautiful to read. Definitely a needed chapter chock full of characterization and just as essential as plot and action! I love how contrary her view on younglings is to Tahl's! There's a reason she went so long without an apprentice, after all, and it says a lot about Bant that she was willing to break that streak for her!

    Although, oh boy, my heart broke for Bant being left behind, again.
    And knowing that she's being left behind for the last time - they never will be able to go on a mission together. =((
    Of course she's hurt and upset and trying not to be confused. Tahl is as protective as she is stubborn and independent. All good qualities in moderation that are unfortunately combining for the worst here. She's diving in without looking first and denying Qui-Gon's help without considering just why he is so frantic and overbearing. It has nothing to do with doubting her abilities and everything to do with his premonitions. Tahl's pride doesn't let her see that though and now here she is rushing off alone.

    Bant has every reason to have the trademark SW Very Bad Feeling About This - especially after hearing the other side of the picture from Obi-Wan. I am both dreading and can't wait to see how you take Bant through this tumultuous next phase in her life. I eagerly await the next update! =D=
  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh... Bant! =(( [:D] [:D] Now I want an AU that I can glomp onto where things take a right turn into "Yes, Master Tahl, let's go have some rollicking adventures!"
  15. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Mira_Jade Thank you so much for commenting, and no need to apologize for falling behind. I'm only happy that you caught up:)

    Sorry, but, yes, we are coming to those tragic events now in part because I hope to eventually move the story beyond those tragic events into a more hopeful ending by the end of the year.

    My blood did go cold writing about those two girls popping up, so I know exactly how you feel sadly.

    The chapter where Bant taught the younglings how to swim did make my heart go all warm and melty so I'm so glad that you enjoyed that chapter for its characterization and found it to be a beautiful interlude in the story. Hopefully you'll enjoy getting a final glimpse of Bant with the younglings before she takes a big step out into the galaxy in this chapter.

    It did amuse me as I was writing how I could contrast Bant's perception of younglings with that of her Master, and you're right. It's totally a mark in Bant's favor that Tahl was willing to make an exception for her and ask her to be her Padawan. Just shows how awesome and sweet our Bant is.

    My heart does break for Bant being left behind as well and for her confusion. I agree with you that one of Tahl's fateful mistakes maybe that she doesn't listen to Qui-Gon and consider why he wants to come with her instead of just dismissing it as him being overprotective and not respecting her independence. As you say, that sort of fierce independence can be very admirable in moderation, but it can become a dangerous flaw if taken too far. Perhaps one day Bant will understand this as well as she comes to terms with these harrowing events.

    Bant definitely does have a reason for the trademark SW Bad Feeling, and that Bad Feeling will make another appearance in this chapter. I am dreading writing about this difficult phase in Bant's life, but I also know it will be a character-defining one for her, so I very much want to do it justice and hope that I can do so, capturing all her complex and deep emotions throughout this rough period.

    Thank you again for your comment, and I hope you'll continue to follow Bant's journey through these rocky times.

    Dear Diary,

    Tahl was gone for far more than a few days. A few days grew into a week that then swelled like a boil into two. During this time, Tahl never contacted me. Nor, according to Obi-Wan, did she contact Qui-Gon. I had a sick feeling in my stomach because I knew, deep down, that something must have gone dreadfully wrong on New Apsolon for Tahl to be stuck on the planet for so long without contacting those closest to her at the Temple…Perhaps, I thought, that was how Qui-Gon had felt when he got his premonition on Ragoon-6 that had sent him rushing back to Coruscant with Obi-Wan.

    Maybe Qui-Gon got another worse premonition, because he and Obi-Wan left the Temple without telling me they were going. I would’ve begged to come with them if I had known they were going.

    Instead I sat alone on a bench at breakfast the morning after they left without a word to me, trying to force myself to eat a porridge with some sort of crushed nuts on top even though my stomach felt more like vomiting than ingesting anything. I was staring blankly across the table, wishing Obi-Wan or Tahl were there when Ali-Alann, caretaker for the younglings who had taught me numbers and letters, slid his broad frame onto the bench across from me.

    “Master Meeno tells me that you’ve a knack for teaching the younglings how to swim and that the younglings are very fond of you, Bant,” Ali-Alann commented, and I supposed that if I had to be the topic of gossip at the Temple at least it was for a good reason.

    “I enjoy teaching the younglings how to swim.” I spiraled my spoon through my porridge, finding it difficult to muster any genuine enthusiasm for anything when I had been abandoned at the Temple when I had a nasty feeling that my Master needed me the most.

    “Yes, you are a patient, gentle soul.” Ali-Alann smiled across the table at me, and I wondered if it was pity I saw warming his gaze as it fixed on me. “The patient, gentle souls always enjoy working with the younglings.”

    “Thank you, Master.” I ducked my head not so much out of modesty as out of a desire to avoid seeing any pity that might have existed in his eyes.

    “Perhaps you would like to volunteer in the creche sometime as well,” suggested Ali-Alann, and I suspected that he was only inviting me to volunteer in the creche because he saw me as a charity case—as the Padawan continually left behind at the Temple like some sort of hapless lost pet.

    “Perhaps I’ll come by this afternoon.” I spun more patterns in my porridge as I decided that it was better to be a charity case than to be alone all day. Better to have some company even if the company came in the form of shrieking children.

    My first afternoon in the creche was spent doing artwork at a table that was much too small for me. In my miniature chair, my knees almost touched my chin as I drew an ocean with tropical birds flying above it, a fantasy of a pacific world I had never seen. While I worked, I was interrupted with requests to help children draw parts of their own masterpieces—a sun for a Rodian boy and a flower for an Iridonian girl.

    I had just finished my own drawing when Priya thrust her picture between my hands, proclaiming loudly and proudly, “I made this for you.”

    “Oh, it’s very beautiful.” I studied the picture, cocking my head as I considered what it could possibly be intended to represent. As near as I could tell, it was a salmon-colored blob with silver circles at the top. I hoped Priya would explain what it was before I said something stupid that was meant to be complimentary.

    “It’s you.” Priya placed her thumb in her mouth with a solemn air.

    “It’s the loveliest portrait anyone’s ever made of me.” I figured there was no need to mention that was only because nobody had ever made a portrait of me before. Gently, I extricated her spit-soaked thumb from her mouth and guided her over to a sink to scrub her hands clean.

    Perhaps this was what got me sick two days later with a clogged nose and a cough that Ali-Alann informed me were a common complaint among those charged with caring for younglings. As Ali-Alann told me, childcare workers got more used to breathing through a congested nose than a clear one, which somewhat dimmed my eagerness to work with younglings in the future. Anyhow, I couldn’t be certain that it was Priya that gave me the cold because it seemed like every time I turned around I caught a youngling with their finger or equivalent appendage in their mouth for a suck or in their nose for a gold-digging.

    At any rate, I was breathing through a clogged nose as I helped Ali-Alann wrangle the younglings onto the carpet where they always gathered around him as he read them a story aloud. He had just coaxed a human boy onto the carpet when his comlink rang.

    I gestured for him to take the call with my free hand as the other shepherded a Gran girl onto the carpet beside the human boy.

    A moment later, Ali-Alann returned his comlink to his pocket and approached me with a frown between his forehead.

    It was rare for Ali-Alann to show any distress in front of the younglings, and so I felt the anxiety that was normally tramped down inside me when I was in the creche heat to a fever pitch inside me.

    “The Council wants to see you at once, Bant.” Ali-Alann laid what was doubtlessly intended to be a steadying hand on my shoulder but it was shaking. At least I thought it was shaking, but it might have only been my own trembling that made it seem so.

    “I’ll go at once then.” I should have left quickly, but instead I stood numb where I was, sensing that I was on the verge of stepping out into some unknown that I wasn’t fully prepared for—that I could never truly be prepared for even if I trained at the Temple for a hundred more years.

    When I left the creche to speak with the Council, I somehow knew that I would be stepping out of my childhood entirely and walking into a world of maturity that suddenly seemed threatening and unfriendly to me. I was about to be swallowed up by the galaxy, I realized, and I wished that I could stay safe at the Temple. Yet I knew I couldn’t no more than Tahl had. I would have to follow my Master into the galaxy into the great unknown.

    First, I would have to meet with the Council. Alone. Without my Master beside me. I hoped Mace Windu wouldn’t stare at me too sternly. That always made me nervous, and that wouldn’t be an auspicious start for my newfound, fragile maturity. I was like a tentative butterfly that had just emerged from its chrysalis and was afraid to fly with its new wings. It would be so easy to crush me before I found my confidence.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Nice moments of sympathy and levity with Ali-Alann and Priya over the portrait.

    Love the poignancy and great balance of readiness and anxiety Bant is feeling as she realizes things have changed forever. [face_thinking]
  17. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for commenting! :) I'm glad that you enjoyed some of the lighter moments of sympathy and levity with Ali-Alann and Priya since those were in many ways my favorite moments to write in this entry of Bant's diary. I did want to strike that balance between readiness and anxiety on Bant's part that you describe, so I'm so happy to hear you felt I succeeded with that, and next chapter will prevent even more of a chance for Bant to realize just how much things have changed forever...
  18. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh don't mind me as my heart just squeezes and threatens to spill over here. This entry was chock full of emotion - it really felt like the eye of a storm. You know there are events conspiring beyond Bant's control, swirling all around her, and she's just stuck away from the heat of it all trying to weather the hurricane as best she can. I just wanted to hug her here and applaud her strength and fortitude!

    And, in particular . . .

    Swelled like a boil - a great, visual sentence! =D= Bant knows something is wrong; this has gone beyond that quintessential SW bad feeling, but there's nothing she can do. That atmosphere of trapped hopelessness stifling her was really strong here, and completely understandable.

    Oh Bant. [face_love] It's understandable that she feels that way - as much as I adore Tahl, being left behind so constantly has to be hard for a young one's self confidence, but Ali-Alann has the right of it here. Bant is a patient, gentle soul, and far from expressing pity, he's instead - perhaps - helping her find her niche.

    Ha! I loved this moment, even as I cringed in sympathy. Yep! That sure is the other side of the coin working with children: all of those lovely germs. [face_laugh] :oops:

    Oh oh oh, Bant! =(( This paragraph was so spot on poignant and powerful. She knows something intrinsic has changed forever, and that she's not going to be the same person by the end of the day. This really is a moment of chrysalis, and her self-awareness shows a maturity that is beautiful for all that it no doubt feels tenuous!

    I am thinking all of the thoughts of fortitude and encouragement for Bant! This is a rough, awful time for our dear girl but she will come out of it on the other side. Really, lovely work capturing Bant's thoughts here! I was sucked in and holding my breath for every word! =D=
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  19. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Mira_Jade Thank you so much for your kind and detailed comment:) Sorry to make your heart squeeze and threaten to spill over especially because this chapter will be even more painful for Bant, who definitely has some rough times ahead. Being in the eye of the storm is a great way to describe the position Bant was in at the Temple, away from the action, while she sensed that something very bad was happening on New Apsolon that she couldn't do anything to change. What a terrible, helpless position to be in. Like you, I so often want to give Bant a hug for her fortitude and strength.

    I'm so glad that you liked the boil comparison since to me it felt like it perfectly described that growing, ugly feeling Bant was getting that as you say goes beyond standard Star Wars bad feeling and into something even more ominous.

    I agree that being left behind all the time can definitely be hard on a young Padawan's self-esteem, so it made me happy to have Ali Alann reach out to Bant, let her know how special she truly is, and give her a chance to sort of discover a niche for herself.

    Yeah, working with children can be fun and magical, but it can also be messy and gross with opportunities to get germs[face_laugh] Bant discovers both the joys and the challenges of working with younglings...

    That paragraph was like a gut punch to me as I wrote it, to be honest, because it is this moment of powerful transformation for Bant. I'm always drawn to that idea of chrysalis of tentative but beautiful transformation. In the coming chapters, Bant will feel the pain of growth but she will come out a very beautiful butterfly at the end of all her suffering. I think she will be truly transformed by the end of this story, and her diary should reflect that growth if I can write it well, which I hope that I can.

    Again, thank you so much for your supportive comments! I hope you'll continue to find that I do a wonderful job capturing our dear Bant's thoughts. :)

    Dear Diary,

    My fingers are still numb and cold as an icecap as I write this. When I entered the Council Chamber, every Master’s eyes were fixed on me, not sternly but sympathetically, and somehow that was scarier than if they had looked stern, because anything that could make the Council look sympathetic was going to be the sort of bad news that could upend my entire existence, I was certain of it.

    I tried to be brave and meet their gazes, feeling as if I were trapped in some too-tight fish bowl, as I bowed and stepped on shaky legs into the center circle of the floor’s mosaic. I don’t know if it was courage, fear, or simply numbness that kept my feet rooted to the tile floor as Yoda began in a grim, gravelly voice, “Grave news we have for you, young Bant.”

    My shiver shot up my spine as it occurred to me that a “grave” was where a thousand species scattered from one spiral arm of the galaxy to the other chose to place their dead in eternal repose.

    “A communication we have received from Obi-Wan,” Yoda went on, and every nerve in my body continued to prickle as if poked by a needle because I understood that only the direst circumstances would cause Obi-Wan rather than Qui-Gon or Tahl to be the one to contact the Council. “Reports he does that abducted Tahl was by the Chief Security Controller of New Apsolon and taken to a hidden base of the secret police where confined in a sensory deprivation device she was.”

    My nose got stuffy and my eyes watery. I wanted to blame it on the head cold I had picked up in the course of my volunteer work at the creche. However, I knew that it was truly the image of Tahl again being trapped inside one of those horrible sensory deprivation devices that had stolen her vision that made my body revolt.

    “Rescue her Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were able.” Yoda’s green hands folded over his gimer stick the way a youngling’s might cup the flickering light of a glow-moth. “Able to receive medical attention she was at the home of Manex, the brother of the assassinated leader of Roan, the assassinated leader of New Apsolon.”

    My mind was whirling too dizzyingly fast to make sense of anything, mirroring how impossibly rapidly pivotal events seemed to unfold in the galaxy. Last I had heard about Roan—only a few days ago—he was the leader of New Apsolon the twins who had appealed to Tahl for help had suspected of being behind the assassination of their father, Ewane. Now he was dead himself. None of it fit together in a way that made any semblance of sense no matter how I twisted and turned the puzzle pieces in my mind. It all remained a confused jumble.

    “However, too late it was to save Tahl.” Yoda’s lids drifted over his eyes, an echo of the pain and grief I could feel rippling from him in the Force the way a sinking, thrown stone might leave little waves on a once still pond. “Become one with the Force she has.”

    I couldn’t think of my Master as becoming one with the Force because that meant that she was no longer by my side to guide me. To teach me. To encourage me to reach out with all my senses as I honed my lightsaber skills against droids. To remind me that Jedi don’t need to fear the dark because we are the light in the universe. To wander the Temple gardens with me and sniff at the flowers with radiant colors she could no longer see, identifying what they were by scent alone. To stand in the refectory’s line and complain about the burned nerf casserole.

    Even the idea of no longer having my Master made me feel adrift in some endless ocean that was raging so wild I couldn’t swim, but I could almost hear—or at least imagine I heard—her whispering in my ear, urging me to be brave.

    I swallowed and managed to speak around the lump in my throat. “Shouldn’t the Council have been contacted as soon as Master Tahl was kidnapped? Isn’t that standard procedure?”

    To my own ears, my tone sounded colder and harder—hard as stone—than I had intended, but I could only assume that the stone that made my heart so heavy had spread to my voice as well. Maybe that was for the best. Maybe the stone in my voice would keep me from crying until I left the Council Chamber, and maybe the stone in my heart would be strong enough to prevent me from crumbling in on myself in grief.

    “That is standard procedure.” Mace Windu nodded. “But Qui-Gon has never been one to adhere to standard procedure.”

    I had always known that Qui-Gon was never one to concern himself overmuch with following the rules, but I had thought that Obi-Wan, my best friend, would’ve been loyal and responsible enough to contact the Temple as soon as Tahl was kidnapped. It was, I decided, a stupid, bitter thought, one not to be spoken before the Council. One that ached for expression, however, because bitterness was less painful that mourning my Master.

    “Missions often fail to go according to plan.” Ki-Adi-Mundi’s head drifted above his long, slender neck. “Events could’ve occurred in too swift a succession for Qui-Gon and his apprentice to contact us before now. Questioning our fellow Jedi, especially from this distance, does no good.”

    He was right, I knew. Blame was useless, yet I couldn’t resist the temptation to engage in it because everything was useless now that Tahl was dead, so why not indulge in some blaming that might make me feel better? It certainly couldn’t make me feel worse. Nothing could possibly make me feel worse. This was the worst pain I would ever have to experience.

    “We promised Obi-Wan we’d send a Jedi team to help him and Qui-Gon resolve the situation on New Apsolon.” Mace Windu, face somber as his voice, stared at me as if I were a viewscreen he could see through. “I will be part of that team, and I invite you to be the other part of that team if you wish.”

    That was the moment that I had waited for most of my life—the offer to go on my first mission—and it tasted bitter as grief in my mouth. I would indeed be going on my first mission but only because my Master was dead. If I’d known that her death was the price I’d have to pay to go on my first mission, I would’ve been content to stay at the Temple forever, never venturing into the broader galaxy that now seemed so ugly in its random ruthlessness rather than beautiful in its possibility. Anything could happen in the wideness of the galaxy, but that anything was often more awful than I wanted to imagine.

    The Force, I thought, could be cruel about giving us our desires, which was perhaps why Jedi were taught to ignore and never to yield to our desires. The Force could give us what we wanted in a way that made us weep and realize that what we had wanted wasn’t so wonderful after all. Our desires brought us grief, nothing more.

    “I will join your team in honor of my Master’s memory.” The words felt like sand in my mouth as I bowed my head toward Mace Windu.

    “Pack and meet me in the hangar.” Mace Windu rose, a figure of unfaltering and indefatigable strength. “We’ll depart as soon as you arrive.”

    “Yes, Master.” I bowed again and took my leave of the Council Chamber, wondering if I’d break down into a sobbing mess as soon as I left that room where I always felt I had to be so formal and composed even when my world was shattering into a million smithereens, broken beyond repair by even the most deft and patient hand.
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Mira_Jade like this.
  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    I couldn’t think of my Master as becoming one with the Force because that meant that she was no longer by my side to guide me. To teach me. To encourage me to reach out with all my senses as I honed my lightsaber skills against droids. To remind me that Jedi don’t need to fear the dark because we are the light in the universe. To wander the Temple gardens with me and sniff at the flowers with radiant colors she could no longer see, identifying what they were by scent alone. To stand in the refectory’s line and complain about the burned nerf casserole.

    Heart tuggingly touching! The what ifs and if-onlys. :(

    To my own ears, my tone sounded colder and harder—hard as stone—than I had intended, but I could only assume that the stone that made my heart so heavy had spread to my voice as well. Maybe that was for the best. Maybe the stone in my voice would keep me from crying until I left the Council Chamber, and maybe the stone in my heart would be strong enough to prevent me from crumbling in on myself in grief.

    A very understandable reaction and a very valid question. [face_thinking]

    Ki-Adi-Mundi has a plausible explanation for why Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan did not contact the Council earlier; they truly could have been swept up in events and also in their own feelings of disbelief.
    Even while Bant recognizes this and knows passing blame is pointless, a large part of her still wants to indulge in it.

    That was the moment that I had waited for most of my life—the offer to go on my first mission—and it tasted bitter as grief in my mouth. I would indeed be going on my first mission but only because my Master was dead. If I’d known that her death was the price I’d have to pay to go on my first mission, I would’ve been content to stay at the Temple forever, never venturing into the broader galaxy that now seemed so ugly in its random ruthlessness rather than beautiful in its possibility. Anything could happen in the wideness of the galaxy, but that anything was often more awful than I wanted to imagine.
    The Force, I thought, could be cruel about giving us our desires, which was perhaps why Jedi were taught to ignore and never to yield to our desires. The Force could give us what we wanted in a way that made us weep and realize that what we had wanted wasn’t so wonderful after all. Our desires brought us grief, nothing more.

    Yikes! That is a cynical and pessimistic worldview!! :(

    You continue to do absolutely superbly with these life-changing events.

  21. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for commenting! I did sort of want to ground Bant's grief for her Master in specific details and experiences since that tends to be a big part of how I mourn as well--remembering all the things I will never be able to do with that being again. That's a big, painful part of experiencing loss for me, so I decided to have Bant experience that as well with the loss of Tahl.

    I do think Bant's reaction was understandable and she did ask a valid question though I think Ki-Adi-Mundi has a very plausible explanation as well. I think sometimes grief can take the form of wanting to blame others for the loss, which is part of why I think that Bant gets bitter and begins to engage in blaming others for the loss of Tahl, but in the end, I think she'll be able to move beyond blame into peace in what I believe is ultimately true Bant fashion. It's ultimately not Bant to remain blaming and bitter forever, so she will move beyond those emotions and in a sense find true healing when she does. In this diary, she has only really begun her grieving process but by the end of this diary, she should have obtained more of a peaceful acceptance.

    I agree that is a cynical and pessimistic worldview, but I believe that is why Bant will ultimately abandon that perspective and settle on something more hopeful and more her. In a sense, that is the grief speaking through Bant more than Bant speaking through the grief. Her pain is very raw, but once the wound has begun to heal, Bant will emerge again with hope but also more strength than before because of her experience with grief. At least, that is what I hope to achieve.

    And I hope that you'll continue to think I'm doing a superb job with these life-changing events:)
  22. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Dear Diary,

    It was hard for me to pack with tears blurring my vision. Since I’d never packed for a mission before, I couldn’t rely on autopilot either. Trying to blink away my tears, I dredged up the painful, jagged with the sharp edges of grief, memory of what I had seen Tahl pack before what would turn out to her final mission to New Apsolon. I tucked those things into my duffel, hoping to the Force that they would be enough for me, even if they hadn’t been enough for her.

    The recollection of the last time I had seen Tahl—when she had been so certain that her mission to rescue the twins would be a swift, successful one done in a matter of days rather than the one that would kill her, snuffing her bright spirit from the universe forever—made a new, raw knife wound in my heart. Fresh tears welled in my eyes and streamed into rivulets salty as the oceans of my homeworld down my cheeks as I zipped my duffel shut and slung it over my shoulders.

    Deciding in what was almost a defiance of my grief that I would not embark on my first official mission with tears in my eyes like some youngling who had just lost the chance to play with her favorite toy (the creche comparison came unbidden to me after all my time volunteering there), I stepped into the refresher. I snatched up a cloth, dampened it with cool water, and pressed the cool cloth against the red rims of my eyes, a classic Mon Calamari trick to conceal the tell-tale traces of sorrow.

    When the redness had largely disappeared from my eyes, I dumped the cloth into the laundry basket to be washed upon my return from New Apsolon. I didn’t want to see something salted with my tears whenever I did get back from New Apsolon. I couldn’t foresee much, but I could foresee that.

    After cleaning myself up in the refresher, I made my way down to the hangar to meet Master Windu by the ship that had apparently been assigned to us for this mission. He returned my bow with a grave nod, and, as we boarded the vessel, if he noticed any lingering moisture around my eyes, he was gracious enough not to comment on it.

    Upon completing the pre-flight preparations, we received clearance for takeoff and lifted out of the hangar into Coruscant’s durasteel gray atmosphere. Quickly, we rose higher than the tallest, stratosphere-piercing skytowers and superskytowers and then were enveloped in the blackness of space. In space, the glittering golden stars—even in the Core where they were closer together than in the Mid and Outer Rims of the spiral arms of our galaxy—seemed to be spread further apart than they had ever appeared from any balcony where I had gazed up at them in a nighttime sky.

    For a moment, I felt alone, floating through dark vacuum and void of space that I knew was empty of gravity and the air I needed to survive even though Master Windu was beside me at the controls. Then the navicomputer finished calculating the hyperspace leap to New Apsolon, Master Windu engaged the hyperdrive, and the ship shivered for a moment as it made the transition to from real space to the alternative dimension that was hyperspace.

    From my Temple lessons, I understood the astrophysics behind hyperspace well enough, but the central concept of an alternative dimension remained somehow unfathomable to me as if it were a mountain too large for my mind to scale. Were there alternative dimensions where Tahl had returned successfully from her mission to New Apsolon? Were there alternative dimensions where Tahl had never traveled to New Apsolon at all? Were there alternative dimensions where Tahl was still alive and vivacious as ever? Were there alternative dimensions where Tahl had never been imprisoned in a sensory deprivation device? Were there alternative dimensions where Tahl had never been blinded? Were there alternative dimensions where I had never met Tahl and she had never been my Master? Were there alternative dimensions where I had never been born—where I didn’t exist and never would?

    My head dizzyingly aswirl with unanswerable questions, I rose from the co-pilot’s seat and drifted into the cramped ship’s lounge. Pulling my datapad out of my duffel, I accessed the copy of the written report Obi-Wan had filed with the Council and the Council had forwarded to me. The fact that it was filed by Obi-Wan should have stirred some sympathy in me because it must have meant that Qui-Gon was too devastated by Tahl’s death to write the report himself, but I was too numb to muster any pity for anyone but myself. I was trapped in the selfish shell of my own loss and grief.

    The holofile was detailed, thorough, and organized around facts, but that didn’t surprise me. Obi-Wan was always meticulous and logical. He would never affix his name to anything that was sloppily or shoddily written any more than he would allow his living quarters to become a mess. That was a quality I had always respected and admired about him, so why did I feel a strange, bitter surge I could barely recognize and name rising like a wave in my chest? Why did I resent him for having the strength to stay controlled when I lacked the grace to hold myself together, feeling as if I were unraveling as I mourned Tahl?

    Shaken by my own bitterness, I tried to discipline my mind to ignore the name of the person who had filed the report and fix all my attention on the facts contained therein. No matter how much I strove to distance myself from the impact of every word, each fact cut me as I read the details of how Tahl had been kidnapped; how she had been held hostage in a sensory deprivation device; how Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon had tracked her across a planet to rescue her from the secret headquarters of the Absolute police force; how they had taken her back to the house of Manex, the wealthy businessman brother of the assassinated leader of New Apsolon, for medical care; and how that medical care had failed to save Tahl. How Tahl had died.

    At that point, my eyes were swimming with too many tears for me to continue reading the report. The words on my datapad were smeared by my tears, and I heard and sensed in the Force Master Windu’s entrance into the lounge rather than seeing it.

    It should’ve been embarrassing for a Padawan to be seen crying in front of one of most senior and most severe members of the Council. I should’ve made some clumsy, frantic attempt at wiping the tears away from my eyes so he could pretend not to see them. Yet I found it impossible to muster the energy to care enough to do so. Why bother with the deception, I thought, when he could sense the truth of my terrible grief in the Force?

    “Every Master-Padawan bond is unique and deep.” Master Windu squeezed my shoulder as he sat beside me, and I could hear in his tone and feel in his touch how gentle this Jedi Master who was always so stern was trying to be. “To lose one’s Master is one of the hardest things a Jedi ever has to go through, Bant.”

    “Every Padawan has to deal with losing their Master eventually and learn to go on living,” I said, and I knew Master Windu must be able to hear how brittle my voice was—how on the verge of breaking because I was perilously close to shattering myself. “Unless if the Padawan dies before the Master, and that’s even sadder, I suppose.”

    If there could be degrees of sorrow, that is. Grief and loss seemed so impossible to label, to quantify, and to compare. All grief and loss in its own way felt inexpressible and as if it could never be recovered from although it had to be because what was the point of being alive if you didn’t go on living after a loss?

    “Yes, but it can be difficult at first to know how to go on living without your Master,” Master Windu agreed, quiet and grave. “Especially when one is as young as you. I didn’t lose my Master until the year after I was appointed to the Council, and it was still took me a long time to find the peace and acceptance I needed.”

    “Your Master saw you appointed to the Council.” My lips stretched into the first watery, wobbly grin I’d attempted since learning of Tahl’s face. It felt odd to even try to smile—almost as if it were a betrayal of Tahl and my own mourning of her—and the smile swiftly faded from my mouth like a mirage in a desert. “Your Master must have been proud to see that.”

    “Tahl was proud of you as well.” Master Windu gave my shoulder a final squeeze before releasing it. “She would be especially proud of you honoring her memory by continuing her mission.”

    “Thank you, Master.” I ducked my head, feeling a little less as if I were drowning in my own sorrow and tears.

    I will continue to work through my feelings of loss and grief between your pages, dear diary. I feel less alone in the universe when I confide everything in you, because you always understand and never judge. You are the mirror I can hold my thoughts and emotions up against to see them more clearly. I thank you for being my mirror, dear diary, and apologize if the image of myself isn’t always flattering. With your help, I hope to become a more beautiful person. Be patient with me in my grief as I try to be patient with myself.
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Poignant and heart-tugging =d= Mace's efforts at comfort seem to have eased some of the burden and I know Bant appreciates the gesture in and of itself @};-

    You portray her sense of loss and fragility very well =D=
    Kahara and devilinthedetails like this.
  24. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh, dear Bant! You did such a good job conveying some heavy, heartbreaking emotions in these two updates. Which can be a trick! But you pulled it off!

    Oh ouch, but I just got goosebumps reading that. Bant has an idea of what's to come, and she's not wrong. Sadly. :(

    Oh ow ow ow! The entire passage of her remembering everything about Tahl that she's going to miss hurt. Even if Tahl is still there with her in spirit - which Bant will no doubt be able to feel and appreciate more when she's further removed from her grief. =((

    You know, I always wondered about this when I first read JA back in the day, even as a young reader. It wasn't fair for Bant to be kept out of the loop - even if just by virtue of JA being Obi-Wan centric :p - but Master Mundi gave a very plausible explanation.

    Even so, it's understandable that Bant feels betrayed and angry. She's lashing out and looking for a place to direct her anger. But the amazing thing is that Bant recognizes that about herself and ends up actively trying to have a better outlook in the next update. It says so much about her character!

    Oh, Bant. =((

    Fantastic introspection, and beautiful prose! =((

    Aw, look at Bant, already trying to smile! I loved Mace's gentle sympathy, too. This was him - both of them - at their best. [face_love]

    Beautiful! =D=

    Bant certainly is figuring out a difficult step in her path, but she's going to heal and be okay. In time. Excellent work, again! I can't wait to read more. [face_love] =D=
  25. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Dec 21, 2016