still stood.

She imagined Master Zallow, commanding the Jedi Knights and Padawans, fighting Sith warriors in the shadows of those statues, just as she had fought the Sith warrior in the midst of the Alderaanian statues. She imagined him falling, dying.

Tears welled anew. She tried to fight them but failed. She could not level out her emotional state, wasnt even sure she wanted to. The pain of Master Zallows death was all she had left of him.

A thought struck her, and the thought transformed into an urgent need. An idea rooted in her mind, in her gut, and she could not unseat it.

She wanted to know the name and face of Master Zallows murderer. She wanted to see him. She had to see him. And if she could see the Sith, learn his name, then she could avenge Master Zallow.

The more she pondered the notion, the more needful it became.

But she could learn nothing on Alderaan, as part of a peace negotiation. She knew what Zym, Darnala, and Am-ris would decide, what they must decide. They would put up a show of negotiating, then they would accept whatever terms the Sith offered. They would betray the memory of Master Zallow, of all the Jedi who had fought and fallen at the Temple.

It was obscene, and Aryn would not be party to it.

Unable to contain her emotion, she shouted a stream of expletives, one after another, a wide and long river of profanity of the kind she had not uttered since her adolescence.

Moments later, an urgent knock sounded on her door.

Who is it? she called, her voice still rough and irritable.

It is Syo. Are you well? I heard

It was the vid, she lied, and powered off the vidscreen. I want to be alone now, Syo.

A long silence, then, You dont have to carry this alone, Aryn.

But she did have to carry it alone.

Supported By US NAVY