,()()()!


Syo than five meters of space. Her grief was allowing her to see for the first time.

You do not understand, she said.

For a time he said nothing, then, Maybe I dont. But Im here if you need to talk. I am your friend, Aryn. I always will be.

I know that.

He was silent for a moment, then stepped back from the ledge of his balcony. Good night, Aryn. Ill see you in the morning.

Good night, Syo.

He left her alone with her thoughts, with the night.

Sacrifice, Syo had said. Aryn had already sacrificed much in her life, and Master Zallow had sacrificed all. She did not turn from sacrifice, but sacrifice had to have meaning. And she saw now that it had all been for nothing. Always she had quieted her needs, her desires, under the weight of sacrifice, nonattachment, service. But now her need was too great. She owed Master Zallow too much to let his death go unavenged.

Darnala and Zym and Am-ris and the rest of them could accede to onerous Sith terms to save Coruscant. That was a political matter. Aryns matter was personal, and she would not shirk it.

She returned to her room and flicked on the vidscreen. More commentary on the attack, a Cerean pundit offering his analysis of how it changed the balance of power in the peace negotiations. Aryn watched the vids to distract her, barely saw them.

Vids.

Vids, she said, sitting up.

The Temples surveillance system would have recorded the Sith attack. If she could get to it, she could see Master Zallows murderer.

Assuming the Temple still stood.

Assuming the recording had not been discovered and destroyed.

Assuming the Jedi did not surrender Coruscant to the Empire.

It should not come to that, Master Darnala had said. Should not.

Aryn would not leave her need to chance,
  






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