The Funeral of a Jedi, a friend...a Brother|
Monday, 26-Jun-2000 15:23:15
Like I said, this happened 5 maybe 5 and a half years ago. Dandor was slain in a battle with Blackstone...the battle which resulted it the loss of both of Rayloth's legs and his brother. However...it was Stone's first real defeat. Now, I had written this after I retired from EoTF and had sent it to a few people...but now that I'm comming back (thanks Dave)I thought I'd go ahead and post it. I hope you all enjoy.
Now...on to the funeral:
*A cool breeze blows softly threw the open window and lightly touches Rayloth Zafner’s face. Slowly the Jedi Lord fades out of the dream world and into the real, leaving behind dreams of the past and those he’s had to leave there. Rayloth blinkingly opens his eyes and smiles as they focus and his brain recognizes the woman lying next to him. It is his wife, the Jedi Mistress Moraya Silvershadow-Zafner. The breeze blows in again and pushes a strand of her auburn hair back off her face. She stirs for a second, her eyes moving lightly behind closed lids. The morning sun, flooding in threw the window, washes her face in a golden-orange glow. Rayloth can’t help but watch her sleep; wondering what she is dreaming.*
“I love you, my Jedi bride,” he whispers as he leans over and softly kisses her forehead.
*It is then that the Jedi Lord gently, as not to disturb his sleeping beauty, rises and gets out of bed; there is a lot to on this day and he knows that it is going to be a day he won’t soon forget. It is also a day he doesn’t wish to meet.*
*For today is the day Rayloth Zafner and his family and friends must say their good-byes to his brother and Padawan Learner, Dandor Zafner. A young man the courageously gave his life to help Rayloth and Silver to, if only momentarily, defeat the Dark Lord Blackstone. It is a day that Rayloth and his bride have been preparing themselves for over the last few weeks. It is a day for memories, tears, and—for some—heartache.*
“Where are you going?” comes the soft, soothing voice of Moraya from behind the Jedi.
*He turns and smiles over his shoulder*
“I’m going to get a shower and get ready before Sheni wakes up so you don’t have to worry about her later.” He leans over and kisses his bride. “You go back to sleep, I’ll wake you again in a couple of hours.”
*Silver kisses her husband and smiles determinedly as she sits up.*
“Not a chance, dear heart,” she says as she swings her feet over the edge of the bed, “If you’re going to be up, I’m going to be up.”
*The young Jedi Master chuckles softly as he watches his beautiful wife stand and stretch her slender graceful body.*
“Well,” he says as Silver moves for the small bathroom connected to their bedroom, “I’m going to hop in the shower and get ready. There’s a lot to do before the guests start to arrive.”
*Silver turns and regards her husband with a loving and sympathetic gaze. She knows what must be going through Rayloth’s mind as this day will be one of the hardest days of either of their lives.*
“You are doing a fine job, dear heart.” Says Silver as she comes out of the bathroom; she makes her way to her husband and places a hand on his cheek and then embraces him. “Dandor would be proud and honored to have the service you have put together for him.”
“Yeah, I know…I just wish that I didn’t have to have the service in the first place.”
“That’s something else entirely, loverly. I wish beyond wish that Dandor was still alive, for us and for Eva. But what happened was the will of the Force and he died so that we might live. You know that as much as I do.”
*Rayloth bows his head and kisses his wife on the forehead and releases her with a forced smile.* “I know,” he says, “I’m sorry if I keep refueling old pains.”
“Never tell me your sorry for feeling the things you feel,” says Silver, “I have the same thoughts you do, I’m just glad that we have each other and Sheni. I’m just worried about Ev…”
*Rayloth glances at the chronometer next to the bed and frowns as he looks down at his wife and places a hand on her cheek.* “As far as Eva is concerned, I want you to know that I am here for you and her alike. I don’t know her as well as you do, though, so I regretfully can’t offer any advice. However, I really have to get a shower,” he pauses and Silver smiles, “Besides, that’d be Sheni.”
*Both the Jedi share a loving gaze and smile as they both sense the awakening of their daughter Shendrian. Then they part and head in two different directions; Rayloth to the shower, and Silver to Sheni’s room.*
*Two hours, two showers, a short breakfast, and a rather rushed dressing of a two-year-old later and the Zafner family is ready for the arrival of several of the guests that will be attending the funeral. The service is to be held in an old religious temple at the base of Landor’ran Mountain; a temple that closely resembles the temple on Naboo where the great Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn was cremated in the days before the Clone Wars. Just outside the temple is an open docking bay with a silver-lined walkway leading to the temple itself. The walkway is now barring two figures, the first of the guests to arrive. One is an average sized man with sandy-blond hair and blue eyes that at one time were the bright blue eyes of a Tatooine farm boy. Those same eyes now mirror the great hardships that this man has endured over his shot lifetime. This man is dressed in the long version of the traditional Jedi robes; they are a mix of grays and blacks—not an evil mix but one that conveys mourning. Walking beside the Jedi Lord is another great presence. A Jedi Master that radiates power and a feeling of serenity; the Force itself seemed to be materialized in this one person…a person who stud no taller than his friend’s kneecaps.*
*As the two Jedi approach Rayloth Zafner bows in great respect to both of them in turn. As he catches the slight smile across the taller man’s face he also smiles…as best as he can and greets his two friends.* “Greetings, Master Skywalker,” he turns and nods at the smaller Jedi, “And to you as well Master Yoda.”
*The two Jedi nod and the taller shakes Rayloth’s extended hand.* “Listen, Rayloth,” says Luke, “When you achieved the status of Jedi Lord you gained the right to no longer put Master in front of my name. Just call me Luke.”
“Call me Master, you will, young man.” Says Luke’s small green companion.
“Don’t worry Master Yoda,” says Rayloth with a smile of respect, “The day I can stop calling you Master, I will be a glowing projection of my former self.”
*The three Jedi turn and head into the temple, sharing small talk and catching up; an inadvertent effort to keep from talking about the events of the day that were yet to come. They reach the main hall and there Moraya and the Protocol Droid that would be working as Usher for the guests greet them. They pause just inside the entrance and wait for Moraya to finish giving the droid orders. When finished she turns and does her best to put a warming smile on her stressful face.*
“Hello,” she says to her husband and then notices who he is accompanied by and bows to each of them, “Greetings Master Skywalker, and Master Yoda. I trust that the trip here was…uh, uneventful?”
*Luke smiles and opens his mouth to repeat his “Master” speech; only to have Rayloth rest a hand on his shoulder and stop him.*
“I wouldn’t even bother with saying it,” he laughs, “You may get me to quit calling you Master, but she’s as stubborn as a Bantha when it comes to things like that.”
*Silver sets him with a mock-stern look and then smiles. The four then engage in the same type of small talk and catch-up. But they all know that the pretense of a happy reunion can’t last forever. It is Rayloth who breaks the ice as he turns to Master Yoda.*
“Master, forgive me if I seem forward, but—“
“Prepared am I,” he says, holding up a three-fingered hand, “A great eulogy for a great Jedi Knight, I will give. Worry not, young Rayloth. Other things to attend to, you have. Go you must, other guests are arriving.”
*Rayloth nods and heads back down to the landing pad entrance and prepares to greet the remaining guests. There is a wide range of people that arrive; Jedi and non-Jedi, human and non-human. In short, it is a rather unexpected rouges gallery of guests that fill the great hall. Yet, there is one guest that even Rayloth is disappointed—if not surprised—has not shown up by the time the ceremony is starting.*
~*~Eva isn’t going to show, Love,~*~ he says to his wife through the Force and receives a feeling of anguish from her.
*~*I knew she wouldn’t be here,*~* she says to him, *~*At least, not where we can see her. Come, now. We’ve got Dandor’s body on the pyre and Yoda’s about to begin.*~*
*About a half an hour later, Rayloth is sitting next to his wife in the front row of pews; directly in front of Yoda’s pedestal with Dandor’s body between them. He watches as Yoda accends the pedestal—which stand six feet off the ground so that he was in plain view of all the guests. The Jedi Master takes in the temple full of guests and nods, in turn, to each of those present that are Jedi. He then raises his hands, palms down and the guests immediately silences. Yoda then slowly nods and begins.*
“Gathered here today, are we, to remember the life of a passed Jedi. Brave, honored, and well-loved, was young Dandor Zafner. Yet, in the face of this tragedy, know we that this young man,” he motions toward Dandor’s body—which is dressed in his favorite set of Jedi robes that much resembles his older brother’s and are colored in the Royal Colours of Naaboo’s green and purple, “has died in a manner that every young Jedi Knight hope to. Die in the heat of battle did he, save the lives of those he loved and loved him, he did. Know I that this young man, much like other fallen Jedi that I have known, wishes not to be mourned. Also know I that he knows that his death was at the hands of the Force and that very much a part of it he now is.”
*The eulogy lasts for more than an hour, in which Master Yoda speaks of the great things that Dandor did, the people he helped, and the joys he brought to those around him. He even speaks of events that Rayloth had not known. Much to his surprise, Rayloth learns that his younger brother had been involved in a great civil war on the planet of Treshakis; a war in which Dandor played a major part of ending. It is with this knowledge that Rayloth feels a sudden sharpness to the pain of his brother’s loss; a pain that seems knew.*
~*~If only I hadn’t run off like a blood-thirsty fool!~*~ Rayloth thinks to himself, ~*~Dandor would still be here and he and Eva would be together…..Eva, I’m so sorry.~*~
*Moraya Lyr Silvershadow-Zafner senses her husband’s distress and the peak in his heartache and turns to look at him. She feels her own heart twist in a harsh new way as she sees the tears that run down the Jedi Lord’s cheeks and she doesn’t bother to fight her own. She then senses something…no, someONE…else enter her thoughts. Or rather, THEIR thoughts enter HER head. She knows without a shadow of a doubt that it is her dear friend and one-time partner, Evangelara Savage Moonshadow. Silver closes her eyes and opens her mind to the Force…if only to see exactly HOW close her friend was. She flinches as her friend’s presence is suddenly and completely lost to her thoughts. She doesn’t feel fear for she knows that Eva was the reason behind the sudden severed contact. Yet, she had gotten all she needed—no doubt Eva’s doing, a small favor for her friend—before the contact was lost. With a heavy heart, Silver turns back to concentrate on the service.*
“Now a word for you Jedi Master Rayloth Zafner has…” Yoda steps down from the podium and lets Rayloth take his place. The effect is a bit grander as Rayloth towers over the Jedi Master Yoda.
“I—“ Rayloth coughs to try and dislodge the lump in his throat, “My brother was a good man and a great Jedi Knight…without a doubt the best Padawan Learner I have ever had; even if he just came to me for completion of his training. He has brought joy to my life and the life of my wife in the short time they two knew each other. And we are overjoyed that he had had the chance to see our beautiful daughter. For years my brother and I had been separated and I wish that it had been under less tragic circumstances in which we could have been reunited. However, things happen for a reason, and the reason for Dandor’s reemergence was to help his older brother retrieve his son from the clutches of the Dark Lord Blackstone…the very man who dealt my brother’s final blow. For the longest time I felt that I was the reason that my brother was killed. However, as my wife and others have showed me, while Dandor and Silver had been on Keyleon because I was there, it was the Dark Side that was responsible for my brother’s death. It had been the Dark Side that drove me to kill Stone, it was the Dark Side that fueled Stone’s power, and it was the Dark Side that brought Dandor into Stone’s blade. Yet, even after his death, Dandor would not stop his fight…he didn’t give up until the Dark Side had been defeated and Silver’s and my life saved.”
*Rayloth reaches down to his belt and unclips his lightsaber with his left hand, he then unclips Dandor’s saber—which he had been wearing since his brother’s death—with the other hand. Gripping both sabers, Rayloth ignites one then the other—his spews forth it’s emerald blade of energy followed by the bright blue of Dandor’s own blade—and slowly raises then above his head. The Jedi Master fights back the tears that want to burst out as he crosses the two blades over his head.*
“Dandor Zafner I—WE all thank you for your bravery and undying devotion to our family and the countless lives of the galaxy.” He can’t fight it anymore, Rayloth feels the warm liquid of his tears glide unkempt down his cheeks as he looks down upon his brother’s body, “May the Force and our love be with you…always and forever, my brother.”
*Rayloth holds the sabers above his head and watches as all the Jedi in attendance—including Moraya, Luke, and Yoda—light there own sabers and raise the glowing blades above their heads. It was a beautiful array of colors—Moraya’s silver, Luke’s green, and Yoda’s yellow adding to the purples, oranges, and other colors. Together the blades rose and, in unison the Jedi and non-Jedi softly repeated Rayloth’s message to their fallen friend.*
*Two days later, Rayloth—accompanied by his wife—ascends the boarding ramp of the Starcrossed Rogue. Rayloth stops just before entering the ship and turns to look at Moraya, who has placed her hand on his elbow.*
“You sure she’s in there?” he asks her.
“Yes. And she knows we’re coming.” She says after closing her eyes, she then stops him as he starts into the ship again, “You sure you want to do this?”
*Rayloth looks down and smiles at his wife, he then leans over and kisses her gently on the forehead.* “Yes, I do. If anyone deserves this, it’s her… Besides, she going to need it anyway, I don’t expect her to make her own anytime soon.”
*Without further hesitation, the two Jedi head into the open hatch of the freighter and head for where they know their friend will be. Only to find that she has been waiting for them. Eva stands in the doorway of the cockpit, with one arm over her head leaning on the jam; a look of utter weariness on her face.*
“I don’t mean to be a total…well, you know,” says Eva, the past nights of not sleeping making itself completely known in the hoarseness of her voice, “But I still kinda wanna be alone.”
*Moraya steps forward and places a hand on her friend’s weary shoulder.* “Evangelara Moonshadow, you know bloody well that I know if you didn’t want us in here you would have at least kept the boarding ramp up.”
*Eva doesn’t even attempt to deny the statement. She merely turned and took the few steps to the pilot’s seat and let her body fall heavily into it.* “Okay, then, Shady, make this quick. ‘Cause I really DO want to be alone still.”
*Rayloth steps forward slipping into what Moraya referred to as “Jedi Mode” and lets his left hand rest on the back of Eva’s chair.* “I just wanted to give you something…I…I would have given it to you a while ago…but you kind of made yourself scarce.” *He lets his head drop. It isn’t until Eva places a hand on top of his that he snaps out of his trance and takes a deep breath.* “Well, I know that Dandor would have wanted you to have this.”
*The Jedi Lord reaches into the confines of his cloak and produces the silver and black hilt of his fallen brother’s lightsaber. With his right hand under the left—which holds the weapon—Rayloth drops to one knee and holds the saber out; his head bowed. Behind him, Rayloth notices that Moraya has dropped to one knee and assumes that she is in the same position that he is…minus the lightsaber.*
“I…I…” Eva stutters, choking back the lump in her throat that threatens to explode into sobs of pure heartache and unrellentless pain, “I can’t take that from you, Rayloth…it’s the only thing you…you have of your brother.”
*Rayloth looks up to her and cocks an eyebrow.* “Are you kidding me? I will ALWAYS have memories of my brother; I have things of Dandor’s that Stone would NEVER be able to take away. And there are other items of his that I have…holostills, his ship, and a few other trinkets that I have…Eva, Dandor was my brother, I spent most of my life with him, I grew up with him. Yet, in all that time…with all those memories, the one that I will cherish most is the knowledge that Dandor loved you, with all that he was. He may not of known it at first…and figured it out too late… But he DID love you; that I’m sure of. So, I want YOU to have his lightsaber.”
*Eva doesn’t say anything, just reaches up and grasps her love’s saber from Rayloth’s hand and grasps it in both hands. It is then that Rayloth and Silver stand and bow to Eva.*
“Now, I know that you wish to be alone, for know…” Says Rayloth, as he turns and heads for the door, “I just pray that you will find it in you heart to come back to us. Moraya, Sheni, and me…We are your friends.” *With that having been said, Rayloth exits the cockpit, leaving Silver to hang for a moment longer.*
“Tell her that I love her…I always have…” says Moraya.
“What?” gasps Eva.
“Those were his lasts words Ev…he used his last breaths to confess his love for you… And I am SO sorry for what has happened…”
*Eva lets her head drop and Moraya moves for the doorway.*
“Will you train me?”
“What?” *Silver is shocked and can’t believe what she just heard as she watches her friend rise and stand as straight as her exhausted body will allow, she then clips the lightsaber to her gunbelt and looks her friend eye to tear-filled eye.*
“Dandor told me that I have the potential to be a Jedi… Damn the Fates Shady, I loved him…” she stops and looks away, the tears swelling again. Once she has them under control she looks back to her friend. “Will…you…train me, Moraya Silvershadow-Zafner?”
*For the first time in her life, Moraya Silvershadow-Zafner is speechless. She NEVER expected this out of Eva…EVA of all people asking MORAYA to be her Master… This time it is she that looks away to fight the tears that threaten to pour fourth. When she feels that she has herself under the best control she can manage…Moraya Silvershadow-Zafner whispers the one word answer that she had NEVER imagined she would hear. It is a simple word that she has said thousands upon thousands upon thousands of times in her life. Yet, there is only ONE other time she can remember when she said the word with all the joy a woman could feel.*