14 BTC. Rrudobar, one of the orbital cities of the planet Duro.
Jedi Padawan Colran Niral kept himself busy most days. His superiors considered that a good idea; even seven years after he had voluntarily defected from the Sith, they always seemed anxious to ensure that neither his mind nor his hands were ever left idle for long.
Twenty-three years old, and still having to sneak around to get time away from his babysitters.
The alleyway outside the Jedi enclave in Rrudobar City was dark and confined and powerfully smelly, but it was one place where he could reliably get time alone. Today he had his holocommunicator in one hand, but kept it down at his side as he paced.
There were places out there in the galaxy where he could take some time to think just because he wanted it. Places where his superiors would either make their orders clear or honestly expect to be challenged on them. Places where nobody would be examining his every move for moral correctness. Old, familiar complaints, but they never seemed to get tired.
There is no emotion, there is peace. Start pacing towards the trash heap at the back of the alley. He was safe with the Jedi. The people he ministered to were safe, because of his work, because where he lived now nobody accepted casual murder or recreational cruelty. People were always glad to see him. Everyone who didn't know about his past was grateful to have a Jedi near.
Peace is a lie. There is only passion. Turn around, start back towards the street. But everyone who did know considered him tainted forever. And he was. He hated the Sith way, the Sith code, everything about it, but it was the soil and corrupted sunlight in which he had grown. He could never change that. Some part of him could never stop responding to raw emotion when he saw it. And, yes, when he felt it.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. Turn toward the trash heap. He had admitted his roots to the Jedi Order, to his teachers, to anyone who asked. He had admitted more recent emotional lapses to his master. Most of these authorities forgave him. Most of them thought he could still make something of himself, something good. Starting Sith didn't have to end badly.
Through passion, I gain strength. Turn toward the street. Still, was that the fight he was supposed to be fighting? Do a lot of Force busywork while his primary conflict was explaining himself to some of the very people he was trying to help? He hated being questioned by Jedi Masters who demanded justification for his existence. And as long as he was thinking about unnecessary fights, he remembered a recent struggle with a beautiful Force-blind woman. He hadn't healed the blaster wound she had left on his arm; he found the shame of it was...useful. Back when he was a Sith acolyte he would have flattened her long before she could've hurt him like that. Had his Jedi identity already forgotten what real self-defense was?
There is no passion, there is serenity. Turn toward the trash heap. Dolarra had been an Imperial. Of course she wouldn't know how to deal with anything except through combat. He could be better than that. He had to be. That was the whole point of his defection, wasn't it?
Through strength, I gain power. Turn toward the street. 'Better'? 'Better' might be trying to improve things back on Dromund Kaas. But going home would be costly. His father and brothers wouldn't accept his failure, his years spent trying to behave like a Jedi. He would have to shed blood just to get back on equal standing among the Sith. And yet, equal standing there had so much more influence than a Jedi Padawan under a thousand stupid restrictions could hope for...
There is no chaos, there is harmony. Turn toward the trash heap. No. Going home was Dolarra's idea, a suggestion thrown at him to weaken his resolve. She was playing on his years of doubts, but he could pacify them again. He mustn't be impatient just because he was young and relatively powerless now. He needed to do what good he could where he was, in his proper place; this was the entire point of his training.
Through power, I gain victory. What had Dolarra said about doing good? Do it by ending the war. And only the Empire had the resolve to do that quickly. Do it by using his power to establish the good that the rabid face of the Sith never thought to. He wouldn't have believed it was possible, but she clearly did. Would it start in blood? Yes. It would have to, especially as he established credibility among his kind.
There is no death, there is the Force. It would likely end in blood, too. Sith careers always did. But was that really something to fear with this opportunity? How much more could he do as a Sith Lord, even a short-lived Sith Lord, than as a mistrusted padawan using the resources somebody else permitted him, on the schedule somebody else permitted him, while thinking the thoughts somebody else permitted him...?
Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall free me.
Colran pocketed his holocommunicator without dialing anything. I'll call you, Dolarra. But there are things I need to do first. You see, I never quite finished my Sith training. He exited the alley into the sunless murk of Rrudobar City, and for the first time since taking the title of Padawan he understood where he was going.