Coalescence, Chapter 12

Lilandra studied the elder Jedi as he hung, suspended in the air by energy restraints at his wrists and feet. He was in his sixties, if she had to guess by the lines on his face and the mess of gray hair on his head.

Not for the first time, she marveled at what the Force could do for someone. He had been rather tenacious in their encounter, given his age. But it was what had fueled that tenacity that had sparked her interest.

Fear. Anger. These were not the ways of the Jedi.

Lilandra smiled softly with delight as she tentatively reached out to stroke his face, but stopped herself just short of his bearded cheek. Between this Jedi and her new apprentice, she might finally have the subjects she needed, the answers she craved.

She could sense the Dark in this Jedi just as easily as she sensed the Light in her Cathar. Two contradictions, surely the answers to bringing her love back to her lay within these two men. She just needed to discover what made them tick.

The old Jedi stirred, his eyes opened and he strained to take in his surroundings. Lilandra realized she’d left the lights off again, and when he started at the sight of her hand so close to his face, she realized she’d forgotten to withdraw it, which she now did, slowly.

He followed the direction of her hand and inspected her. She gave him a moment to take full stock of his situation, including the restraints. Finally, he spoke.

“Well,” he said with a parched, raspy voice. “That did not go as planned.”

She smiled demurely at him. “For you, perhaps.”

His gaze was surprisingly intense. “Who are you?”

“My name was Lilandra. I do not know what people call me now…” Sadness crossed her face. “And what, pray tell, is your name?”

“I am Galo-ban Dulsaer, Jedi.” He said the last part as if to convince himself. She could sense his doubt.

“And what do you think people will call you now?”

The confusion was evident in his expression, but he said nothing, so she continued. “You are an interesting man, Galo-ban Dulsaer, Jedi.”

His eyes narrowed. Not much of a sabaac player, that one. His emotions were so close to the surface.

“You fight with the prowess of a skilled Jedi, indeed you carry a difficult weapon to wield,” she motioned to his double-bladed lightsaber on a nearby table. “Yet you carry a storm of emotion just below the surface. I wonder: could you perhaps be a wolf in sheep’s clothing?”

Galo-ban pushed his shoulders back and straightened his back in an obvious stance of defiance.

“No, of course not,” she answered herself. “You fight for the Jedi, but with tools the Jedi do not approve of. Do you think they know?”

She watched his thoughts play out on his face. Whether the Jedi Council knew or not, it was clear that he had convinced himself they did not, because he was obviously afraid of being discovered. Perfect.

“Tell me, my dear Galo-ban,” she practically purred. “If it’s so easy for me to notice this tempest, do you truly believe the council has not?”

She could feel his power growing through his fear at being discovered. “The emotions make you strong, but I’m guessing you have only recently learned to utilize them. You do not know how to control them, how to bring them to bear at will, like a true Sith!”

“I am not a Sith!” he screamed at her.

“Of course not,” she whispered, stepping back further into the darkness.

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