Targon carried his master’s belongings with him to the shuttle and returned to the planet. There was no time to continue the work of diplomacy, for the Jedi Council summoned him. He had no real desire to remain on this world much longer, anyway. There had been no word about Marc Avis, and that concerned him. Yet, somehow, he had the distinct feeling that he had not been killed, and that he would see him again. That gave him a small bit of comfort.
All charges against him had been dropped; some of the officials figured it was well enough that he had stopped the threat that had slaughtered the people on the station. Those that weren’t so convinced decided that the Council would likely try Targon for his actions in aiding enemies of the Republic. And that was enough to sate them.
A transport was leaving to the Core Worlds, and Targon boarded it silently, carrying his master’s things along with his own. Jedi do not have many possessions, so there was no issue in carrying too much.
Targon then made the long and silent journey back to Tython. Alone.
He stood before the Council, the wise and respected masters regarding and speaking to him calmly. Finishing his report of what occurred on Ord Mantell, there was a long moment of silent thought. Then there was discussion, questions, clarifications…all the sort of business that is to be expected with such a unique development. Over all, they showed great remorse for Tieru’s death, and the deaths of so many others – Jedi and civilian – by the hand of Khan.
There was only one master who remained on the Council that witnessed the exile of Khan Arc-Saal. He was Iotar Wixas, a small creature with gray fur and long pointed ears, like a rabbit’s.
He nodded at the padawan’s story. “Yes, it is better for the galaxy that Khan is dead. His intent and ambition were dangerous then, half a century ago, and it would appear that his power was too great for anyone to ignore. I believe Targon is to be commended.”
“I agree on that matter,” Master Karus Salar said. He was a human with a signature head of platinum blonde hair. “But what about his actions on Ord Mantell? Master Tieru should have taught him better than to fraternize with…”
Targon felt a rush of indignation prepare to burst from him. How could he dare to judge what Tieru should or should not have taught? How would he know what the circumstances on Ord Mantell were if he wasn’t there to see them? Targon had seen both sides of the conflict, and government was certainly not any better than the separatists.
Fortunately, a voice that shared his view kept him from making an outburst and shaming himself before the Council.
“Let’s not speak out of ignorance or personal prejudice,” Master Arbir Cyrus said. “I’m sure Master Shan would tell you the same were she here with us.”
“You should not speak for the Grand Master in her absence,” Master Salar countered.
“We should all show more respect for Master Tieru,” Master Shado Nalos, a violet-skinned Twi’lek, stated.
“Yes, you are correct,” Salar admitted.
“Padawan Targon Karashi,” Wixas said. “Please return this evening while the Council deliberates the recent events and what shall follow in consequence of them.”
Targon bowed and exited.
“You intend to discuss whether he is ready to be named a Jedi Knight?” Master Salar supposed.
“I do,” Wixas replied.
“He is old enough, surely,” Nalos stated. “And he shows a great affinity to the Force.”
“Yes, but his master is no longer here to present his own recommendation,” another of the Council stated.
“Then we must make the decision ourselves,” Wixas said.
“He showed a disregard for politics and attempted to work with members of the separatist movement on Ord Mantell,” Salar stated. “That is not fitting for a Jedi, who is meant to protect the Republic.”
“We Jedi show little interest in politics on a regular basis,” Shado said. “Besides, we do not follow the directives of the Republic as some branch of the military.”
“True,” Cyrus said. “And I would point out that Targon showed the compassion and kindness of a Jedi by giving aid to the starving citizens.”
“Aid that he stole from the planetary government,” Salar held up a finger.
“This is one situation that has been seen in the lives of many Jedi Knights over the years,” Wixas said. “How can we judge him on an act that is repeated by others? Even ourselves?”
“Are you suggesting…?”
“Let’s consider the bigger issue,” Cyrus cut in, before the debate went in an off-topic direction. “The issue of Khan.”
“He showed prowess in skill and connection to the Force in defeating such an opponent,” Shado said. “Khan killed four Jedi and countless more people in his rampage. Including Targon’s own master.”
“Those four were aged and venerable,” Salar said.
“But no less powerful,” Wixas stated. “I knew Masters Urak, Boreos, and Eseri, back during the time when Khan was exiled. And we all are familiar with Tieru. He may have had…different techniques and philosophies, but none can dispute his strength.”
“And I would venture to suppose that he passed on his knowledge and strength to his apprentice,” Cyrus said.
“That does not prove…” Salar started to get agitated.
“Calm yourself, Karus,” another of the Council said. “What is your reason for getting upset with young Targon?”
“Too many Jedi are starting to slip away from the direct code. They are following tangents that can lead to the Dark Side. Targon Karashi is no different. He flew into a rage with the death of his master. To knight him would be to accept a great risk.”
“Orthodoxy is a difficult thing to enforce and follow entirely,” Shado tapped his chin. “None of us can claim that we adhere strictly to the code at every given moment. There are temptations of the Dark Side for all of us, no matter our position or strength.”
“Targon is no different,” Cyrus added. “And he overcame his fury with the final guidance of his master. Such is to be admired given the circumstances.”
Shado continued. “You, yourself, are upset at this moment. Peace is the first edict of the code, Karus. If you – or any of us – do not always show complete discipline, then how can we ask of such perfection from a young man such as Targon?”
“I see your point,” Salar conceded. “But I still have my reservations.”
“As do we all,” Wixas said. “But Targon is young. His journey as a Jedi is still just beginning. Even a Jedi Master has much to learn.”
Salar nodded slowly. “Yes, that is true.”
The Council continued its discussions on the matter for a while longer, and it was quite some time before they contacted Grand Master Shan. All the while, Targon was out in the gardens outside the Temple. He sat on a bench by himself, reflecting upon himself, and what had happened. His feelings were full of sadness. He knew it was over, but he couldn’t come to terms with the death of his master and the rage that had filled him.
And now the Council was deliberating on his fate. Would he be assigned to a new master? Given new assignments as a janitor or gardener? Expel him from the Order? That was a bit extreme…but it might be a possibility, given his actions. Tieru may have approved of his escapade with Greyhawk, but the Council did probably not share the view.
Still, from what he heard, he might have supporters among the Council. Wixas knew Tieru for many years, and knew the history behind Khan. Masters Nalos and Cyrus seemed on his side…and they were rather strong voices on the Council…but so was Master Salar. It didn’t take great insight to see there was something Salar saw in Targon that he did not approve.
As he wandered, he did not notice the sun begin to set behind the forest. Soon, several hours had passed and he was summoned to go before the Council again. Sighing with resignation, he returned to the Council chamber.
The light was dim, and at first, Targon suppose that no one was there. Then the light of a holoprojector illuminated the faces of the Council members in their seats. The image of Grand Master Shan appeared; her kind eyes seemed to pierce into him.
“Take a knee, padawan,” she said softly.
He did so. The other Council members stood up and kept their eyes directly on him. Targon felt a twinge of nervousness tingle his senses – a feeling of fear that he was to be punished. Still, he subdued the emotion.
“Targon Karashi, after reviewing your actions and the training you received from Master Tieru, the High Council names you a Knight of the Republic.”
The words echoed in his ears for what seemed an age. He was shocked…he hadn’t even considered being knighted. It simply wasn’t something he had thought about. Yet the feeling of gladness at this step forward was lessened, as he realized that his master was not here to see him attain knighthood. Honor was mixed with sorrow in his heart.
“I can sense your pain,” Master Shan said. “Your master lives on through the Force, Targon. He no doubt is very proud of you. Rise a Jedi Knight, Targon Karashi.”
He did so, and stood to his full stature before the Council. There was a smile on his lips, and tears trickling down his cheek. His emotions were confused – caught between joy and grief. He had become a Jedi Knight, as he had worked so hard to achieve, yet he knew a great deal of responsibility came from such a rank. And he would not have his master’s counsel readily available.
“Thank you, masters,” he bowed. “I am greatly honored.”
The stars were out, silently watching Targon as he entered the clearing in the forest, walking between the great ruins. He came upon the same spot where he and his master had knelt not too long ago. Only now it seemed so much longer.
He found the flower next to the stone. It seemed to glow in the starlight. He watched it for a while; studying the details his master had wanted him to notice…and pondering on what else he might learn from it.
There was a soft whisper of the night wind. He shivered from the sudden breath of cold air. Staying for a while longer, he then returned to the Jedi Temple. In one of the shrine rooms, he worked with the librarian to find a proper place to display his master’s deerskin cloak. It soon joined the belongings of the many masters of the Order, objects that signified their legacy and lasting work for the galaxy.
Tieru’s staff was hung on the wall as well. Targon stared at it a long while. He could see the strains on its frame, after his master’s long use of it – especially his heavy leaning. It was incredible to him that he had once seen it flaming with energy of the Force.
“You taught me well, master,” he said softly. “Now I am a Jedi Knight, and I stand alone, without your protection. I still have your wisdom…and I promise that I will not disappoint you in my duties to the people of the Republic. Be at peace, master. May the Force be with you.”
He then tied his padawan braid on the staff, next to the ornamental feathers that Tieru had kept during his many years as a Master. Targon walked slowly away, looking back at his master’s staff before leaving.
Conclusion of Episode One
So, that was the beginning...again. As with most stories, all comments and opinions are welcome. I'll try to get an episode or two up each day so I can get everything caught up...and then I'll be trying to reach the end of the series.