A New Beginning

"You are taking this rather well."

"She is doing fine, so the physicians say." Kart tore his gaze from the tank, and the unconscious young woman lying suspended in the clear healing fluid within, and looked at the figure who stood behind him.

Zeratul appeared as he always had, wrapped in his black and red cloth, his grey cape and turban, his bone white gauntlets.

There was, however, one glaring difference. Zeratul's eyes now glowed lime green, rather than blue or orange. Also, parts of his body blurred, wavered or went transparent, and then became clear again, like a faulty projection trying hard to appear tangible. He was there physically, but one could tell that he was fast slipping beyond the confines of material reality.

"What does your Master say ?"

"The usual elder Jedi philosophy thing." Kart shrugged. "'She is a fortunate child. So are you, Kart'" He tried to imitate Master Farid's stern expression, then chuckled as he realized that it was inappropriate. He pushed his fingers through his hair and grinned, realizing again that his padawan braid was no longer there.

"He also told me, that Gaya kicked him to save him from the droidekas." Kart smiled as he looked back down at the sleeping figure of his sister. "I knew it."

Zeratul nodded. "She fought to protect."

"In the Sith … headquarter, she could have cut me in half, but she only hurt me enough to cause pain." Kart continued. "She wanted me to defeat her."

"Your desire to protect each other pushed you beyond your mentally defined limits." Zeratul nodded again. "On the other hand, T'nghal faltered when he realised that he had underestimated you. The power of his will was dampened by doubt, and he was unprepared for your final blow." Zeratul thought about the other taller wave that he had seen as he was immersed in the Ocean of Being, and wondered if it wasn't T'nghal, being of the same class of entities as Enri, and likely just as wise, who pretended to be killed. "That, and the fact that the creation of a true Archon requires the merger of two templar. T'nghal made the mistake of summoning the most powerful of Archons with my body alone, and thus ran out of psionic energy before he could kill you."

"Man, you really should tell me all that you know before we go to battle next time. If you had not imparted me the technique for creating Hallucinations in time, I might really have been killed." Then Kart jerked his head up as he recalled something. "Zeratul, do you know where their headquarters were ?"

"No. I was lost the moment we realized the structure was collapsing." Zeratul shook his head. "How we even escaped that accursed place, I am still not certain."

"Guess so." Kart whistled. "What's going to happen to you now ?"

"We'll see." Zeratul looked down at his right hand, and tried to concentrate his energies onto his open palm. A glowing lime green haze condensed on his palm. A few loose cables and tubings lying around the room suddenly whipped up as if reaching for the luminescent green cloud in his hand. Before they could crash into him, his figure blurred out of sight. The flying debris halted for a few seconds in midair, before dropping back onto the ground again.

"This is something new for me. Perhaps I'll understand it better in the future." Kart heard Zeratul's voice from behind him at the same time that he felt the abrupt shift of air along his side and over his back.

"The future." Kart asked,"What do you plan to do now that this is over ?"

"I will carry on with my search for answers. I must do this. For my people." Zeratul answered. With that, the eery glow in his eyes flared up, and the surface of his skin rippled in agitation. Immediately, he tugged in his robes more tightly around his body to prevent it from dissipating. This appearance that he had taken now, was but an expression of his determination to finish what he started as a mortal. Sooner or later, his psionic pulse would run out, and he would be forced to depart from the physical plane and be one with the Ocean of Being. Hopefully by then, his quest would finally be over, and the survival of the Protoss would no longer be under threat.

Still, he had survived, in a sense, and now he seemed to have gained insights and abilities he never imagined he could possess. His mood lightened as he thought of the interesting new possibilities he could explore.

"So begins another leg of the Grey Templar's journey." Kart quipped, turning around and smiling in relieve to find Grey Templar still in one piece, though slightly exhausted. "And mine too. You know, when I saw Enri burn up right before my eyes, so did a lot of other things. For a while I felt lost. He was like an uncle to me. However, I also felt an overwhelming exhilaration.

It was then that I realized my days as a Jedi Padawan was finally over. I had become something else, no longer just watching as my homeworld gets torched by a superweapon, or following my Master around in his missions, or reciting Jedi principles while my sister turns to the Dark Side …, but actively taking control of my own fate."

"So have I." Zeratul added. "This is a new beginning for both of us."

THE END

Blossom, wither, blossom, wither,

Years and months long as a river,

A myth is a splash of water,

A myth is a drop of tear.

You are in the gather and scatter,

I am in the gather and scatter,

You and I are but hurried trespassers.

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset,

Years and months long as a ballad,

A drop of bitter wine is a book of history,

A drop of boiling blood is an engraved memory.

You are in the calling,

I am in the calling,

Happiness, anger, grief and joy, are in the singing.

Behold the vast smoke and waves through the ages !

Swiftly flows the dream's images !

My dream beseeches ! My dream beseeches !

Swiftly flows the dream's images ! My dream beseeches !

Hear the people sing softly through the generations !

In the end there's only the spirits' motions !

The spirits' legends ! The spirits legends !

In the end there's only the spirits' motions ! The spirits' legends !

Modified from theme song of 1990 TV series 'The God List'.

( Ah, finally done. I hope you enjoyed the story.

Once again, thank you GreyPezzola for your continued support, and all other readers and reviewers as well.

Look forward to GT3, which would probably come after I have played SC2, or when I get tired of waiting again.

No prizes for guessing what Protoss units Zeratul's new powers are based on.

Have a good day/night.

-Star )