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The Broken Circle

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I stood over my father's body, unable to believe what was happening. The rage built inside of me, so quickly that I was unable to control it even if I was of a mind to. The building was burning around us, another causality of my greed and my father's need to build an empire. My body shook with the force of my emotions, the Force pulsing around me in dark waves.

"Xanatos." His voice, speaking to me rather shakily, and I looked up at the man who owned that voice. The voice that had lectured me, taught me, berated me, praised me, but had never shown me the affection I knew I deserved. In his eyes, I knew, I was never good enough. In his voice, I heard it day after day, despite the fact that he never said the words.

Qui-Gon Jinn, my wise and revered master, a Jedi of great standing and respect, stood there, his lightsaber still activated and glowing a rich green. There was no blood on the laser blade, despite the fact that it had just recently sliced into my father.

I saw black and red, felt hate and rage. I could speak no words for nothing could convey what I felt. This man, who I had diligently tried to please, to emulate and eventually exceed in Jedi mastery, had killed my only family and now he seemed to expect forgiveness!

I cast my gaze about for my weapon. There, on the ground some feet away, was my own lightsaber, dropped when I stumbled into the room to discover my father and former Jedi master in the midst of battle. Our plans had gone awry, falling apart because of Master Qui-Gon. I had wanted to please my father, my sire, because pleasing Qui-Gon was impossible. Someone had to care that I did something right!

With a new energy suffusing my body, I called the lightsaber to my hand. It ignited as if of its own accord, a brilliant red haze, a perfect match for my current emotional state. You killed him, murderer! I told Qui-Gon through our training bond. He did not flinch, but for a moment I fancied there was sorrow in those ice-blue eyes. It was fleeting, if it was ever there, replaced by that self-righteousness that had always grated me the wrong way.

Padawan, look at what you both have done. See the hurt and destruction your greed and insecurity has caused. I immediately closed the bond. I would listen to no more of his excuses, of his lies and blame on me. He got one last plea in before the link was severed completely. Do not do this, Xanatos. Please.

I let the words fall on deaf ears. I wanted nothing more from this man. I never got much, not what I wanted anyway. I lunged at him. He seemed startled by the attack, as if he really hadn't expected me to fight him. Did he expect that I would not avenge my father and my dreams of greatness? The fool!

"You were always unable to see the big picture, Qui-Gon," I taunted as I parried and blocked. My rage continued to build as I saw everything slipping away: my legacy, my life as a Jedi, the family I held onto even at the Temple...the master who's approval I would have died for. I would never have those things now. "It's gone!" I shouted, unable to hold it back. "You took it away!"

I backed off and he let me, amazingly enough. I wondered what tactic this was. Was it one he hadn't taught me yet? I searched for a sign of strategy, quickly looking around for ways to attack or block an attack coming from Qui-Gon. A flash caught my attention.

My father's ring. It was lying on the edge of some flickering flames, slowly being heated.

I looked to my father and saw that his hand had been partly severed by Qui-Gon's blade. The ring had been cut off his finger and had bounced into the fire. Impulsively I snatched up the ring and slapped it to my cheek. I wanted to drop it as the hot metal seared into my flesh. It was all I would have of my father, of my legacy he had wanted for me, and I would not leave without a reminder of that. Without the reminder of my legacy and Qui-Gon's betrayal against me.

Qui-Gon's eyes widened as I faced him and he saw the mark that the ring had made. I clutched the ring still in my hand, unable to let go, despite the pain of the hot metal against my palm. I glared at him defiantly, willing him to see what I had done, willing him to see what it meant.

"Xanatos." His voice seemed weakened and for a brief second I thought it was the emotion of loss, of despair, of hurt. I thrust the notion aside. Qui-Gon felt nothing, never had, never will. He was closed off from everyone and he would never let himself feel anything, let alone those deep emotions.

"This will remind me of everything you did to me, Qui-Gon." My saber clashed with his yet again and we battled. He seemed to flag for a moment then with a sudden burst that I did not expect, his saber caught mine and my weapon went skittering out of my hand. I fell backward from the energetic push of his saber against mine. I hit the ground, barely avoiding landing in one of the flickering flames.

Qui-Gon stood over me, saber poised to make the killing strike. I felt his hesitation, though, and wondered at it a moment, but then I scurried back as far as I dared and stood up. I watched him as his saber lowered. Something in him just couldn't kill his student.

Something in the dark Force that now enshrouded me I knew I must fight this battle some other time, some other way. This was not the time to make Qui-Gon pay. There would be another day for that.

I fled. I turned and ran, though it went against the every fiber of my being. Live to fight another day, I told myself repeatedly as I dodged revolutionaries, palace guards, flames, and fallen structures. I expected Qui-Gon to follow me, believing he could change me or determined to bring in the evildoer after all, but I never sensed him behind me. Soon I was leaving my homeplanet of Telos in my father's escape shuttle and the planetary treasury.

I have often wondered what he did after I left him standing there with only the flames and my father's body there to keep him company. Did he wonder what he did wrong? Did he blame himself for my fall from being the perfect apprentice he always thought I was? Did he realize how much of a laughable failure he truly was?

I hoped so. I still do.

The wind is picking up here on Bandomeer. The Monument will land soon, after having been temporarily put down on some forsaken planet because of my Hutt cohorts' incompetence and space pirates. The new empire I have, Off-World Mining, is going to be everything I need it to be and it's going to give me everything my father wanted to give me himself. I do it for him, and Qui-Gon. I do all of this empire-building in my father's memory and to show Qui-Gon that I am indeed better than he ever hoped.

There is so much power to be found in the Dark Side.

My Off-World people onboard the Monolith tell me that Qui-Gon has a boy companion. A new padawan learner no doubt. Qui-Gon probably thinks he still has something important to teach. He really knows nothing. Funny, I once thought he knew everything and that the only person who could know more was Master Yoda. The insignificant green troll that he is, Yoda has lived a long time, a longevity does breed some experience that is useful.

Qui-Gon, and the Jedi, took everything away from me. I'll see that they pay for that.

I'll start with Qui-Gon and his new lapdog apprentice. No doubt the kid is snot-nosed, wet behind the ears and thinks Qui-Gon is the sun and moons of Coruscant. This brat will have to be educated.

What did they say his name was? Kenobi. Obi-Wan or something. Yes, Obi-Wan Kenobi. I vaguely remember the mention of Kenobi when I was an apprenticed still to Qui-Gon. It seemed that even then he had great prospects. Kenobi probably thinks he got a windfall of fabulous luck getting Qui-Gon for a master.

What a joke.

It's time to leave my calling card. A simple greeting should suffice, I would think, just to let Qui-Gon know how relieved Bandomeer is that the Jedi are keeping an eye out for our pitiful population. Yes, a warm welcome to throw Qui-Gon off his guard, with my own special seal, just to let him know who sends it.

A broken circle. A broken circle, just like the one that now adorns my cheek, that came from father's ring. A symbol of my power and strength.

And his downfall.