The lives we live, the wars we wage.

<Personal journal of Caer Estherian>

Some of the best things come from the worst situations and as I contemplate this I realize that Arten has had one of the worst situations thrust upon him like a bad pazaac hand in a tournament of cheaters. I sit here and as I write this as I watch my crew sit around a campfire, share cake and talk about life that maybe I take my crew for granted. Maybe just maybe I just assume that they’ll always be okay and we’ll always come out on top.

Watching Arten on Trayleen through the holo-viewer as he fought a Sith Lord, watching him tear through those Imperials without flinching, without failing or stumbling was something that made me realize just how far he’d come. Seeing him really summon up his true abilities, his true skill and show the real part of him that he’s buried under layers of insecurities, fears and doubts only served as a reminder that none of us did a thing to uncover the true potential of that gawky, stuttering kid and turn him into a sure and brilliant man.

Even on Trayleen when it was discovered the one soldier who helped lead the assault against the palace where Arten fought his enemy we learned that the man who called himself Knight was Artens father- a callous cold-hearted man who I wanted nothing more to do was throat punch him then make him grovel before Arten for abandoning his kid. Arten, the starcrossed son of an Imperial spy and a Republic spy handed to the Order like so much garbage to be tossed out with the other living abortions that so many feel they can hand to the Order in the hopes that will absolve them of the guilt they might feel if they had actually just done the deed.

I hope I never meet that man again. Bogan help him if I do.

He’s a Knight now and some part of me feels the pride I think all masters feel when they realize that the padawan who they kept safe and taught everything they could is now free. Free to become the person they’d trained their whole lives to become. It’s with great pride I can see Arten for the person he really is and while it terrifies me to no end to know that he could have so easily become something else, something darker. I recall all those nights seeing him surrounded by Sith and as they toyed with him, played with his insecurities, his innocence in incensed me. I saw a kid who somehow always managed to skirt the grasp of darkness and each time I saw him, I was always internally surprised he somehow managed to make it another day without being some jerk offs apprentice or worse a corpse in a dark alley somewhere, his throat torn out or even worse no mark on him at all.

I took him on. It took every ounce of humility I had to go crawling back to the Order to ask them to allow me to return so I could teach him. I never told anyone who hard I had to fight them, how every dirty trick I had to pull to convince them not only was I worthy enough to come back, but to train a kid they’d let fall through the cracks.  I argued long and hard and I fought long and harder still to earn the right to make sure Arten didn’t become another idle statistic in their little hall of Jedi. Arten was too good for that- is too good for that.  I won’t ever tell him what the cost of training him was, I won’t ever tell brother or Tom either.

They don’t need to know that once I was done training Arten I can’t go back; it was the agreement I made with the Council that once I was finished training Arten, I was considered retired permanently and I would never be able to return as a Jedi or anything other than a guest to Tython. Those doors are closed to me forever and the sound of that still echoes in my ears almost as loudly as the sound of my saber being placed on the table was. I gave that to Kaeden and I know he will take care of it, I know deep down he’ll put it someplace safe and never let anything touch it.

You chased away my nightmares Master, now it’s time for me to pursue new ones.

I look to my crew and I see tired faces, sore muscles and healing wounds. But I also see hope and contentment. I see so much potential for our futures that I can’t help but smile. Even Lyrae’a who has remained on the fringe of our little group with Alistere and Remii is welcomed here now and I see all of them eager to find out what the next chapter of our little saga may take us.

I watch Tom and I feel the heaviness about our shoulders- his shoulders weigh him down. The decision to remain with us and retire as a Jedi or to go our own ways and he remains with the Jedi is one of those proverbial bricks around the neck in which we find our private life sharing.

I gave him the choice and I remain beside it. I would and could cut our ties so he could continue to be what he has always been meant to be; a Jedi. To remain and teach at the temple and pursue his lifes long ambition of teaching and imparting his knowledge on young minds.

Would it kill me somewhere inside to let him go? Yes, it would, but as I told him that sometimes we have to sacrifice the one to save the many.  I’m willing to be a sacrifice if it meant Tom doing what he loved and was meant to do. Sometimes I find myself wondering if I was a fool for falling in love with a jedi in the first place and even now I cringe at the thought that even just a simple act of love is deemed unclean by a supposed Order that teaches compassion. I suppose even the light has its contradictions.

The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone, but I won’t be responsible for someone turning their back on something they love. That kind of sacrifice I couldn’t have a clear conscience with that hanging over my head and I know somewhere, someday he would only regret ever leaving.

He could stay a Jedi and still do good, maybe even still help us out like I’m hoping Arten can continue to do. I don’t want to lose any of my crew to anything. Even if it means sacrificing some things for our own good. It’s hard, it’s a tough, bitter sharp pill to swallow; but sometimes it’s a necessary thing. Leaves your chest aching and your stomach queasy but all that passes.

Doesn’t it?

I’m scared to find out.

 

I, I could be anything
But for the fault that I’ve acquired on my way
We, We were the end of it
But now we see the sun shining in our face
We see the sun shining in our face

So come on, come on we can be saved
The lives we live, the wars we wage
When everyone just tells us how to feel
We’re sleeping at the wheel

And I, I would give anything
But for the grace of God I’m here and still aware
We know the end is overrated
We’ve became the walls we raise
We don’t believe enough but we still cared
Standing on the edge without a prayer

So come on, come on it’s all we got
Our hands are full, our lives are not
The loose affiliation with the real
We’re sleeping at the wheel

All of the time we’ve lost
All of the love we gave
And now these hands are tied
I can’t help thinking
That I was in a daze, I was losing my place
I was screaming out at everything
Waiting for the walls to come down
Before my moments starts to fade
But everything that’s perfect falls away

So come on, come on we can be saved
The lives we live, the wars we wage
When everyone just tells us how to feel
We’re sleeping at the wheel
We’re sleeping at the wheel
Just sleeping at the wheel

 (Matchbox 20- Sleeping at the Wheel)

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