Author: Findswoman Title: Learn From It (Fatherly Advice for a Sith) Type: One-shot Genre: Drama, family Era: Before—Legends, before the events of KOTOR: around 3956–57 BBY Characters: Stanislauff “Stann” Rzewanczkowski (OC, viewpoint character), female Darth Revan (semi-OC Katts Rzewanczkowski), Darth Malak, assorted Sith henchfolk, oblique mention of Bastila Shan Notes: Written for the Disney Animated Movie Quote Challenge. My quote: “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it” (Rafiki, The Lion King, 1994). This story is also part of my KOTOR AU series about Revan (Katts) and her dad; links to the other stories in the series, as well as some closely related stories, are below the spoiler tag. Spoiler: Katts and Stann Stories Just Ask Dad; or, Talking Things Through on Taris The Prodigal Knight and the Tragic Cupcake Related Stories Cupcakes for a Cupcake (coauthored with Ewok Poet) Family Is What You Make It (fic-gift by Ewok Poet) As always, many thanks to @Raissa Baiard and @Ewok Poet for beta reading, invaluable feedback, and much-needed encouragement to stop waiting and post this, already. If you happened to see someone in a trenchcoat and wool cap coming up the front steps of the Sith stronghold on Korriban one dark and stormy night, that would have been me. I better introduce myself: Stanislauff Rzewanczkowski, Stann to my friends. Human male from Carida. Foreman of Aratech’s munitions division for over 40 years, now happily retired. Married a little over half that long, now not-so-happily widowed. Avid player of pazaak, sabacc, and cantina trivia. Occasional Primeday-morning podracer. Not only that, but I’m the proud father of one of the most powerful beings in the universe, if I do say so myself. Yep, you know that Darth Revan person who pretty much runs the known Galaxy? That’s none other than my little girl, Katts Rzewanczkowski. (Get it? Revan? As in Revan-chkowski? She’s always been clever like that.) And that’s who I was about visit that dark and stormy night, because I had something important to tell her. So yeah, I got to the top of the stairs, and some guard in that funny plastoid-looking red armor came up to me and barked, “YOU. STATE YOUR BUSINESS.” Well, I wasn’t fazed at all, because I’ve gone through the whole rigamarole lots of times before. So I just said, “I’m here to see Ka—Lady Revan.” And then he held up his fist and did that thing where he tries to throttle me using the Force or whatever. Didn't feel good, of course, but I’m used to it by now. “Lady Revan doesn't take kindly to uninvited guests,” he sneered. "Oh, she'll see me,” I answered, as well as I could with a huge, invisible hand squeezing my neck. "PROVE IT!" Well, that was a stroke of bad luck, because I’d left my creditfold with my identicard back in the shuttle, and even if it had been in my pocket I couldn't really just pull it out in the situation I was in, you know? So I guess it was lucky for me that Katts’s bald, lockjawed assistant or apprentice fellow (and speaking as her dad, I hope that’s all he is) decided to show up just then. Malak, I think his name is. "Out of the way, you abject idiot!" he hissed in that gravelly vocabulator voice of his, and threw up his hands and sent the red-armored guard flying against a wall. Me, I fell down onto the rain-slicked landing and probably ended up with a bruise or two, but at least I could breathe a lot easier. Malak gestured to me with a gray-gloved hand. "You. Up. Come with me." “Thank you, sir, I’m sure.” I hoisted myself up, touching the bill of my cap. “Don’t thank me,” he rasped. “If it weren’t for Lady Revan and her little whims, your worthless carcass would be soaking up the rain at the bottom of those stairs.” I just nodded, because I was used to that kind of thing too. “Now, this way.” * * * Holding my cap in my hand, I followed him through the twisting, torchlit, gray-black halls of the stronghold. Finally we reached the heavy black metal door of Kattsie’s—I mean Lady Revan’s—private rooms. It had one of those huge metal knocker type things, which Malak knocked with. “He has arrived, Lady Revan.” The door swung slowly open to reveal a familiar figure. Tall, masked, armored, shrouded in black robes—yep, that was my girl, ruler of the known Galaxy, and all that. She stood there for several moments, not moving, looking at me. I did the same, because what else could I do? “Good,” she said at last. “Now leave us, apprentice.” “Yes, Lady Revan.” Malak bowed slightly and left. The door clanged shut, and I heard a locking mechanism clack into place. One of those Force-activated things, I reckoned. She’s always been good with that sort of thing, that daughter of mine. We stood for a few moments looking at each other. Then she reached up, took off her mask, and lowered her hood—and I found myself looking at the face of my own little girl, my Katts. Not so little anymore, of course; she was a real, grown woman now, had been for years. She kind of reminded me of how Nolene looked back when we were first going out; same little dark brown ponytail and everything. Except ever since she’d taken up this Sith gig there had been something not quite right about her eyes... “So, Dad,” she said. “Hullo there, princess,” I said. “You can hang up your coat and hat if you want.” I did. There was a coat rack by the door. Then Lady Revan gestured to me to come further into the room. “I can guess why you’ve come,” she began again. “Yup.” “I can always guess why you come.” I chuckled despite myself. “My girl’s guesses are better’n most folks’ facts.” I wasn’t sure, but I think the sound I heard for one tiny fraction of a moment was her chuckling too. Then her face went firm and serious again. “You’ve come to warn me about the Jedi again.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement, so I couldn’t really say anything besides, “Yup.” “You do realize, Dad, that I’m a big girl and can take care of myself.” “Aw, I know that, darlin’, I know that for sure. I still remember that time when you were nine an’ got lost during our Mon Cal vacation an’—” I felt my throat clench up for a moment as her gloved hand shot forward. “Less of that, please, Dad.” “Sorry, hon.” What else was there to say? “It’s not like I haven’t dealt with the Jedi before. Is there a reason this time is different?” I swallowed. “Well, I have it on good authority they’re mobilizin’ in the Outer Rim.” “Oh? And what counts as ‘good authority’? One of those Resh-Nern-Nern evening reports? I can see it now.” Her cloak billowed up as she gestured grandiosely with her hands. “‘JEDI FORCES PLAN SECRET STRIKE AGAINST SITH! DETAILS AT 2300!’” I nodded, impressed. Like I said, Katts’s guesses are better than most folks’ facts. ““Whoa, you’re good. But anyway, yeah. I think they’re tryin’ to… set some kinda trap for ya.” “Fine, then.” She shrugged. “I’ll send a fleet to intercept.” “But here’s the thing, y’see… they’ve got this one Jedi with them who has somethin’ called battle medication... I think it’s some kinda Force medicine that you throw into a middle of the battle an’ it makes your side stronger? I dunno, but anyway—” “Then I’ll send shock troops, too. Easy.” “No, no, no… y’see…” I swallowed again, because I wasn’t sure how I was going to say this to her. “Someone who can change the tide o’ the battle like that, with the Force an’ all? You c’n be the most powerful Sith in the Galaxy—which you are, I know you are—an’ you’re still never gonna win against someone who c’n pull stuff like that. Even your old dad knows that much. So maybe…” Another swallow. “...maybe you should go with ’em instead.” “Go with them?! Like, surrender to them?!” Her eyes flashed that weird Sithy yellow color. “Dad, are you out of your mind?!” “Sorry, s-sorry, precious. That didn’t quite come out quite the way I wanted. I—I just meant—I was thinkin’—it could be a chance to start to… turn things around, y’know?” “Oh, don’t talk to me about turning things around!” she retorted, her eyes still flashing in that Sithy way. “I already have turned things around! How do you think I got where I am today?!” She loomed closer to me and continued through clenched teeth. “All those pathetic excuses for sentient beings who hurt me long ago? All the the Normelius Pavanthwaites, the Phyleena McSpoonses, the Florissa Spevverley-Antilleses? Who ridiculed me and lorded it over me and shut me out because they were jealous that I was smart and talented and had the Force? WELL, GUESS WHAT! I RULE OVER THEM NOW! I can send fleets to destroy their miserable little rockballs if I want! And they’d DESERVE IT!” She clenched her teeth and her fists, and I swear the air around her began to crackle, sort of lightning-like. I’d seen her get like this before, but it always gave me the creeps just a little. “I know, darlin’, I know.” I took a deep breath and tried to keep calm. “Those were rough times for ya, I remember. But y’see, that was all way back when. Years ago. In the past.” “The past is what make us who we are today,” she snarled. “In case you didn’t know.” “Katts, doll.” I came a little closer and dared to give my daughter’s hand a squeeze. “C’mere and siddown with me a minute.” I should mention that we’d been standing up this whole time, which as far as I know is standard practice for welcoming guests in Sith strongholds. At least in my experience. Anyway, there was a sort of bench or hard-backed couch type thing nearby (black and red, of course, because everything there was black and red), and I gestured to that. There was silence for a moment or two. I thought she might pull her hand away or lash out at me or something, but she didn’t. Instead she let me guide her over to the bench thing, and we sat down. “What now, Dad?” “Look, darlin’. I know the past makes us who we are today. It made you, it made me… an’ it made Mom.” I took a breath in; it was never easy talkin’ about Nolene, even just for a second. “An’ I know the past can hurt. But the way I see it”—I leaned close to her—“you can either run from it or learn from it. An’ between you an’ me, Kattsie m’girl, you’ve been runnin’ from it too long.” “You can’t really blame me for wanting to run from all that, can you?” she said, much quieter than before. I even thought I heard her voice shake a bit. “No, no. ’Course not.” What else could I say? Who could blame her, really? “And what could I possibly learn from it anymore?” She spread her hands questioningly. “How could giving myself up to the Jedi possibly teach me anything? How could that make anything better?” “Hey, remember what your mom used to say. Life’s a school, an’ we’re all learners.” (And no one would have known this like Nolene—she was a guidance counselor at the Carida Academy for decades.) “Yeah, fat lot of good that did her,” Katts sniffed. “What’d she learn? That the Republic Department of Education couldn’t be bothered to spend the time and money to keep its facilities safe. And she learned that too late.” “Hey, now, you know that had nothing to do with—” My throat caught again—this time on its own, not from any Force thing—and I took another deep breath. “Anyway. Look, my point is, we don’t always know what life’s gonna teach us. We just have to be ready to learn whatever it is. Sure, all those school brats made fun of you because you were a star student and had the Force and all. That wasn’t so nice o’ them, ’course it wasn’t. But that gift the Force gave you? It’s bigger than they are. An’ it can do big things for you.” “You—you don’t think it already has?” She looked sad. Worried, almost. “Has it?” Now it was my turn to sniff and cross my arms and throw a little fatherly sternness into the mix. “You’re gonna tell me the Force was the one that conquered all those star systems and bent them to the rule of the Sith?” “Dad…” “You’re gonna tell me the Force was the one that killed all those millions o’ beings in the name o’ the Sith Empire?” “Dad, please…” “An’ tortured an’ enslaved billions more? No, that’s not how the Force works, an’ you know it. That was all you. That was all Katts.” “Revan, Dad. Please.” It was barely more than a whisper. “Sorry, sorry, your silly ol’ dad just has these silly ol’ habits, y’know. Look...” I touched her hand again, and again she let me. “Remember how proud Mom was when you got into the Dantooine academy? Her Jedi girl?” “Yeah,” she replied, and I have to say that whole black-and-red room lit up like a supernova from the smile she cracked. “She wouldn’t stop showing the neighbors that letter. I think she framed it and hung it in the living room, didn’t she?” “It’s still there, darlin’. Still there.” She gasped, and her eyes widened like she was a kneeb that had just noticed a nexu was sneaking up on it. “Really? You still have that?” “Oh yeah, ’course I do. Look… I know you left the Jedi long ago, but… I bet they’d take you back.” I gave her hand an extra squeeze. “I bet the Force’d take you back.” She didn’t say anything. She just sat there, holding my hand, and her forehead wrinkled up the way it does she’s thinking real hard about something. (Nolene used to get that face sometimes, too.) And then she sighed. Yup, Darth Revan, Dark Lady of the Sith, supreme ruler of the Sith Empire, sighed. “All right, Dad,” she finally said. “I’ll tr—I’ll do it.” My heart just about busted open with joy and pride. “That’s my girl.” “It won’t be easy, you know.” “I know.” “But I’ll... do... what I can.” “Spoken like a true Rzewanczkowski,” I beamed. So did she, and for just a moment it looked like her eyes changed from that Sithy yellow color back to their normal hazel-gray. “Now, lemme give you this, just in case.” I pulled out a scrap of flimsi and a stylus and wrote down “Dad” and my comm code. “You need anythin’, just call. I’ll be here.” “Thanks, Dad,” she smiled, tucking the piece of flimsi into an inner pocket of her cloak. “I will.” “An’ whatever happens, I love ya.” “Love you too, Dad.” And with that she hugged me. How many folks out there can say they got a hug from Darth Revan, Dark Lady of the Sith, conqueror of the Galaxy? Well, I can. Only lasted a moment, though, because then she said, “Now you should get going before Malak comes back in here.” “Sounds like a plan.” I took my coat and hat and made for the door. “May the Force be with ya, darlin’.” “You too, Dad. You too.” As I took one glance back, I saw her pull up her hood and snap her mask back on. It was my last view of her before I headed back down the hallway and out into the storm. * * * I found out what happened later, and I gotta say, it wasn’t quite what I’d expected to happen. Sure, the Jedi forces ambushed Katts—I mean Revan—in her flagship near Deralia on the Outer Rim, just as the Resh-Nern-Nern report said they would. But then that Malak fellow ended up betraying her and turning his guns on her just at the same moment the Jedi captured her. (I always knew he was no good. Dads just know these things.) She was pretty badly hurt. And I think there was some business about a memory wipe too...? Anyway, the Jedi have got her now. I don’t know what’s gonna happen to her next. I don’t know if she’s gonna choose to run or to learn. Force, I don’t even know if she’s gonna be okay. But whatever happens, I’m gonna keep an eye on her from my easy chair here on Carida. And she’s got that scrap of flimsi in her pocket, so she can comm me whenever she needs to. ¶ Spoiler: Notes Sith stronghold on Korriban: Not based on any particular place in the established lore, though it would make sense for Revan and Malak to have a hideout or two, and Korriban is a nice Sithy place. I have @Raissa Baiard to thank for Resh-Nern-Nern (Republic News Network, of course!) and the whole “DETAILS AT 2300!” business. Nolene, Stann’s late wife and the mother of Katts (Revan), is likewise an OC and is first named in Cupcakes for a Cupcake (coauthored with Ewok Poet). Normelius Pavanthwaite, Phyleena McSpoons, and Florissa Spevverley-Antilles: These former classmates of Katts’s are all mentioned in previous Katts and Stann stories (see links in the header). Everything that happens at the end is borrowed directly from the backstory to KOTOR (see the Wook article on Revan, especially the last paragraph under the heading “Dark Lord of the Sith”). I don’t think Deralia is mentioned specifically as the location of that showdown, but I recall it being named as Revan’s presumed homeworld, so it seemed to make sense.