Shared Pain

Satchal spun around as a noise pricked his senses. Someone was following him, and he didn’t like it at all. Resting his hand on his lightsaber, he rounded a tree and pressed hard against it. Closing his eyes, he reached out with the Force to prepare himself for battle.

“Rest easy, my friend,” came a voice suddenly from somewhere up the path that he’d been walking down. “I’m not going to fight you. I am Rann I-Kanu. Do you remember me from the base?”

“You know,” said Satchal as he continued to press himself up against the tree. “You should keep your voice down. You never know what might be lurking out here.”

“Actually I do,” he said. “I can sense that there are three hooka birds in the tree to your left and one dancian squirrel above you. That’s just for starters.”

Satchal looked up in the tree and spotted the squirrel moving about and he shook his head with frustration. “I don’t need your help just like I don’t need the help of any of the others,” he shouted.

When Rann spoke again, he was nearly on top of the other Jedi. “You really shouldn’t shout, you know. You don’t know what might be lurking around here.” His words were light, but Satchal only ignored him.

“What do you want? Did Geldar send you?” he asked.

“No,” replied Rann. “I came of my own volition. We all care about you, Satchal, and we are all concerned about your recent troubles. Kyu Tane, Minister of Culture, has even sent several spies to keep an eye on you since you were there when his daughter was injured. They are all afraid that you are turning on us.”

Satchal turned his back on him. “Maybe I am,” he stated angrily. “I don’t know anymore.”

Rann closed his eyes as he took in the anger that Satchal was eminating.

“Satchal. I can sense your pain and anger. I can’t feel how deep it is, but I know it is far deeper than I can sense. Let me help you.”

Satchal closed his eyes to shut out the other Jedi’s words. “There is nothing you can do.”

“That is a lie!” Rann said, his voice louder than Satchal had ever heard him get before. “The Dark Side is deceiving you. You think you are the only person that has been hurt? You think you are the only person with pain and suffering in their lives? You think you stand alone? That is arrogance and pride. Let go of your hatred for this Dark Jedi that has killed your master. Let go of your desire for revenge. Let go of the anger you feel towards everyone that has hurt you. Satchal, the Dark Side only has a hold on you if you let it. Unless you let go of your own pain and suffering the Dark Side will still have a hold on you.”

Satchal turned on him and got up in his face. “You don’t understand a thing,” he snapped. “You don’t know what it’s like to see yourself kill the person that you hold so dearly. You don’t know what it’s like to enjoy killing him only to wake up and feel the guilt of having killed the man you have always looked up to as a father. You don’t how it feels to kidnap a person’s family that you’d like to think is a good friend of yours. You don’t know what its like to see yourself kill the crew of a guy that you would trust with your life. You can’t tell me that others have more pain. You can’t tell me that!”

Tears were streaming down his face as he turned back away from him and supported himself with the tree. Covering his face with his other hand, he weeped openly now.

Rann stood there silently as Satchal wept. “You’re right,” he said at last after Satchal had begun to collect himself. “I don’t know what it’s like except by experiencing your own emotions through the Force just now, and even then it wasn’t to its fullest extent. However, I do know what it’s like to experience tragedy. You see, Satchal. My parents grew up on Nar Shadaa. I was a street rat growing up in the slums. When I was only five, my parents were slaughtered before my eyes. I can still hear their cries and see their faces as they were mercilessly killed by bounty hunters who only wanted them dead because my father had accidentally gotten in their way. I was placed in an orphanage until the Jedi Council discovered me. I was somewhat old, but my master, Ali-Vor, decided I was worth training. She took me under her wing and trained me like I was her very own son.”

“That doesn’t even compare,” Satchal said angrily. “You don’t feel that guilt that I feel when I have those dreams.”

Rann lowered his gaze. “No,” he said. “I don’t have the same guilt, but mine is similar. You see, Satchal. My parents got in the way of those bounty hunters because I ran out into the street where they were. I ran away from my parents because I wanted a toy they wouldn’t let me have. Those bounty hunters killed my parents because they came chasing after me to stop me from getting hit by a speeder. In a sense, Satchal, I was the reason they were killed. It was my fault that they died. If I had not been so greedy, they wouldn’t have gotten in the bounty hunters’ way, and they wouldn’t have died.”

“You were only five,” Satchal said to excuse him.

“Would that make any difference to you?” Rann stated plainly. “I know I was only five, but I still see their faces and hear their screams as I watched from a corner of the alley crying and asking some higher being to save them. I know the guilt of feeling as though you’ve killed someone special to you. It may not be the same, Satchal, but I think it’s close enough to count. The only difference between me and you, is that I knew I needed help. I knew I could not live with myself alone. Master Ali-Vor helped me defeat that guilt. Let me help you defeat yours.”

And with that, Rann stretched out his hand toward Satchal, and the young Jedi stared down at it for a moment in thought. “It’s time to be free, Satchal,” said Rann as a final thought, and as Satchal looked up into Rann’s calm eyes he took a deep breath and took the Jedi’s hand in his.

“Fine,” he said softly. “I guess it couldn’t hurt.”

Rann gave him a reassuring smile, and together, the two walked back through the woods toward the base entrance that was carved into the side of the mountain itself.

The End

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