When Saw was speaking, for a moment Jyn saw him the way he used to be. A starry-eyed young man with a dream of justice and freedom. He must have been so brilliant then. But that young man died when Steela did, and in his place was this bitter, angry fighter.
“The Resistance against the Empire needs Steela,” Saw said. He searched Jyn’s eyes, waiting to see if she understood.
“More fighters like her?” The idealistic, the heroes who stand up in the face of certain death.
“They need more fighters to die like she did,” he growled. “The Resistance needs a martyr. A tragedy. Something so horrific that people can’t help but stand up and fight. You understand?”
“They need someone they can believe in,” Jyn said, looking into Saw’s eyes. He nodded like he was glad Jyn was understanding. “Like the Jedi during the Clone Wars.” It was impossible to study the galaxy without hearing something of the Jedi, and considering how the Empire loathed even a mention of the religious cult, Jyn had assumed Saw would love and admire all Jedi.
Instead, he snarled.
“Don’t give them another thought,” Saw said, glaring. “Jedi think they can do anything, but where are they now? All dead. And before that? Sure, they helped. But not enough.”
He stared down at his hand, and Jyn thought he was looking at the long jagged scar that cut through the thin skin between his thumb and first finger. But he made a fist.
“They talked about the Force, the Jedi did,” he said in a lower voice. “Never understood what it was, but I saw it. It was like magic. They could move things with a wave of their hand.” He swept his arm out.
Nothing in front of him moved.
“But they couldn’t hold on,” Saw continued. “For all their power, they couldn’t hold on, not when it mattered.”
Saw stood and started pacing down the gauntlet of droid bodies. He punched one, sending it swinging from its noose, the clanking of metal against metal reverberating across the island. “That’s something neither side’s figured out yet,” he told the ground. “All you need is one good, solid tragedy, and the people will flock. Nothing unites people like that. If Idryssa wants to really rally people behind her, she needs to do it while standing on some graves.”
There was a gleam in Saw’s eyes, a spark that terrified Jyn.
And it excited her.
Saw turned to Jyn and swooped toward her in long strides. He wrapped his big hands around hers, pressing her fingers against the truncheons she still held. “That’s what Steela taught me,” he said. “One fighter with a sharp stick–” he held Jyn’s hand up, brandishing a truncheon–“one fighter with a sharp stick and nothing left to lose can take the day. You just have to make sure the fighter believes.“
—Rebel Rising, by Beth Revis, pgs 59-61.
To read my review of Rebel Rising, go here.
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