Beyond Chasing Whisperkits (Callista, Mara, Caedus/Jacen, post-Sacrifice) - Complete

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Tarsier, Apr 6, 2010.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Tarsier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    Title: Chasing Whisperkits

    Author: Tarsier

    Timeframe: LOTF (sometime after Sacrifice)

    Characters: Callista, Mara (ghost), Caedus/Jacen, Tahiri, Luke, Ben

    Genre: drama/angst, short story

    Keywords: Callista, Mara, Jacen, redemption, ghost, whisperkits

    Summary: Jacen captures Callista to lure Luke and Ben to him. Callista and Force-ghost Mara race to save Jacen before he can corrupt Ben.

    Notes: This is something of a companion story to Worth Fighting For - they do not need to be read together, but I think of them as occurring in parallel universes.

    Any comments/critiques/criticisms are much appreciated.

    For a little background on Callista and the two unnamed characters, check out You Found Me.

    For a snippet about Ben taking place after this story, check out Not the Beginning.



    [IMG]



    Dedicated to Ambassador Cara Jade. You never knew it, but I couldn't have finished this story without you. @};-




    Prologue

    It was the kind of tapcafe that reminded Luke Skywalker of Mos Eisley. And Obi-Wan’s comment about scum and villainy. It was hard to believe he was bringing his son here to keep him safe.

    Though their disguises were thin, Luke wasn’t too worried about being recognized—he didn’t think the scum and villainy crowd was likely to be on the lookout for Jedi.

    Luke found an empty table in a relatively quiet corner of the cantina and sat down. Ben slid into the seat across from him, looking as shattered and miserable as Luke felt. He wanted to comfort Ben, but he could think of nothing positive to say. He was lost without Mara.

    He didn’t know what to do without her, so he decided he would do nothing. Would be nothing. He wouldn’t be a solider, he wouldn’t be a Grand Master, he wouldn’t be a Jedi.

    If it wasn’t for Ben sitting across the table from him, Luke would have screamed in frustration. He’d given everything trying to reestablish the Jedi Order and protect the Republic, and what did he have to show for it? His wife had been killed, his son traumatized, and his sister’s family torn to pieces. Now Luke had only one goal, only one thought: He would protect his son.

    If only he could figure out how. Fighting back had led his nephew into darkness. A preemptive strike had cost Mara her life. If he couldn’t longer fight, he could think of only one other option—running.

    So that’s what Luke had been doing for the last several weeks. Running from one obscure planet to the next. Hiding in the fringe. Disappearing into the crowd of smugglers and mercenaries and bounty hunters where no one would notice him.

    Luke knew he couldn’t run forever, but at the moment it seemed the best option. Maybe things would settle down on their own. Maybe it was time for someone else to take the reins for a while. As Luke’s mind wandered, he noticed an intense conversation going on at a nearby table.

    “We have to go after her!”

    “No, we don’t.”

    “Callista was our friend. We can’t just abandon her to a Sith Lord!”

    “That’s exactly why we aren’t going after her. We can’t take on a Sith Lord.”

    “We have to try.”

    “She’s probably already dead.”

    “It doesn’t matter. Someone has to face him.”

    “Not us.”

    The conversation broke off and Luke realized it was because they were both staring at him, as he had moved to stand right next to their table without being aware of it. “What do you know about Sith Lords?”

    There was a man and a woman, each perhaps a few years younger than himself. From their grimy flightsuits and the weary yet suspicious look in their eyes, he guessed they were smugglers. “What’s it to you?” the woman asked.

    “Maybe you haven’t heard. Luminya is dead. There are no more Sith Lords,” Luke replied.

    “Maybe. Maybe not,” the man said, his pale green eyes scanning the room.

    “What do you mean?”

    Ben appeared beside Luke and he put his arm protectively around his son’s shoulders, not sure he wanted Ben to hear the conversation, but not knowing how to keep him safely away. The smuggler seemed reluctant to continue and Luke wondered if he was looking for credits. Luke didn’t have much on him and was trying to think of something to barter with when the man continued. “A friend of ours, Callista, claimed another carried the mark of the Sith—he had yellow eyes. She could see it on the Holonet feeds. They looked brown to me and everybody else, but she said it was a trick of the Force. Only she could see because she was immune to the Force. And now she’s gone.”

    Callista? Immune to the Force? Could it be? Callista, the Callista who had broken his heart so long ago, still alive after all these years?

    “What happened to her?” Luke asked.

    “She was taken. By the Sith Lord’s minions.”

    Luke swallowed hard. He knew he didn’t want to know the answer, but he had to ask. “Who is this Sith Lord?”

    The man didn’t answer right away. Holding out for credits? Or unsure how Luke would react? Finally, he replied “Jacen Solo.”

    The words fell softly from the smuggler’s lips, but they hit Luke like a dreadnaught. “No!” Ben cried from Luke’s side, taking a step toward the smuggler. Luke pulled Ben closer to him. Ben stopped and looked at his father. He shook his head defiantly. “No, it can’t be.” Luke looked sadly back at Ben. “Not Jacen,” he whimpered, then shuddered and collapsed into Luke. “Not Jacen,” Ben cried again, his face buried in Luke’s tunic.

    It was Jacen, Luke could feel it. Jacen was a Sith Lord and Jacen had Callista. For the first time in a long while, Luke knew what he had to do. He had to protect Callista.
    Last edited by Tarsier, Aug 8, 2013
  2. Tarsier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3

    Chapter 1

    What do they want with me? Callista implored the void around her for the thousandth time. What have I done? Every inch of her body hurt. Her head was pounding and she could still hear the metallic shriek of the interrogation droid.

    Why won’t they just let me die?

    Because he isn’t done with you yet.

    Callista jumped at the voice. Had she really just heard that? Was there someone in the room with her? Where was the voice coming from?

    He needs something. Someone.

    Though her body was too weak to move, Callista was sure there was no one in the room with her. She would have seen or heard them before now. The voice must be in her head. Generated by her own mind or something else, she didn’t know. She couldn’t recall exactly what she’d been through the last few days, but it wouldn’t surprise her at all to discover she’d been given something that caused her to hallucinate.

    You have to fight.

    Callista was blinded as a bright light poured into the dark room. She heard someone enter, turn on the overhead lights. The light was painful, but she tried to open her eyes enough to see who had come in.

    “Are you awake?” His voice was gentle, almost soothing. Callista could make out only a dark silhouette. She squeezed her eyes shut again, willing them to adjust to the light.

    Callista could sense the man as he knelt beside her. He stroked her hair and she forced her eyes open. The light was not quite so blinding now and she looked up at him. And into his yellow-red Sith Lord eyes.

    She could do nothing but stare into them. When she was young she had heard horror stories of the Sith, always including a reference to their mark of evil—the unnatural contrast of red and yellow corrupting the very windows to their souls.

    “Do you remember me?” he asked. His tone was calm, as though they were long parted friends just getting re-acquainted.

    She managed to break her stare from his eyes and take in the rest of his features. As horrifyingly unfamiliar as his eyes were, the rest of his face was easily recognized.

    “Because I remember you,” he continued. “I was afraid you would steal my uncle away.” He smiled at that, with the slightly lopsided smile of his father. “Who would have ever thought it would be just the opposite?” The smile faded from his face and it occurred to Callista that she ought to be afraid. But she was too exhausted to be afraid. She drifted into unconsciousness hoping that she wouldn’t wake up again.





    Chapter 2

    The sun was warm on her face as she walked through a grassy field dotted by wildflowers. She took a deep breath of the sweet air and glanced over her shoulder. She couldn’t help but smile when she saw him. Luke. His gentle blue eyes gazed back at her. He took a step closer and grasped her hand. Her heart beat faster.

    A little behind them was his sister, wearing a simple dress, her hair done up in braids. Beside her was her husband, who always seemed to have one eye on Callista, like he didn’t quite trust her. But Callista didn’t mind, she knew he was just protective of his best friend. Between them was their youngest son. He smiled and pointed ahead of them.

    Callista turned back around. There, racing out of the woods, came the twins. Close on their heels was a furry whisperkit. The twins came screeching to a halt in front of the group. As soon as they did the whisperkit climbed up Jacen’s side and sat on his shoulder. The whisperkit’s fluffy tail curled around the young boy’s neck and he scratched the fragile creature behind the ear.

    “Is she yours?” Callista remembered asking him.

    “Sure is!” Jacen replied excitedly. “You can pet her if you want. Be gentle! She likes to be rubbed behind the ears—”

    Wake up.” The command shattered her dreamworld, the sense of warm contentment replaced with searing pain. The face of the brown-eyed boy was replaced with that of a Sith Lord. She blinked her eyes several times trying to make sense of the earsplitting voice and the anguish that burned through every part of her body.

    “Good. For a minute there I was afraid we had lost you. I moved you in here so I can keep a closer eye on you. You’re very special, you know. You’re going to bring me my apprentice. What would a Sith Master be without his apprentice?”

    “Master?” a voice called from across the room.

    “Yes, Tahiri?”

    “Your presence is needed on the bridge.”

    Jacen sighed. “Very well.” He got up to leave, but first he turned to Callista. “I guess we’ll just have to catch up later. Don’t go anywhere.” He gave her a final half-smirk and left.

    Callista lay on the floor for several minutes and tried to drift back to the pleasant memories from her dreamworld. If her body could have moved, it would have stiffened with an abrupt realization—it wasn’t real. It couldn’t have been a memory. The last time she saw Luke, the twins were barely more than toddlers, Anakin just a baby. And that planet—she’d never seen it before.

    So I embellished.

    Callista froze. It was the same voice as she’d heard before. Was her captor using some kind of mind-control?

    Surely I don’t sound like him.

    It was true, the voice definitely didn’t sound like her captor. Not knowing what else to do, Callista responded hesitantly. “Who are you?”

    I’m going to need your help.

    Callista’s head was swimming. She wasn’t sure what was real. The sunny planet, the meadow, Luke…She wanted to escape back to the dreamworld. At least then she would know none of it was real.

    But it was real. At least, the part about the whisperkit was. That’s the important part.

    Whisperkit? Why the whisperkit? Callista didn’t understand. She couldn’t concentrate, her head hurt too much. She felt unconsciousness tugging at her and she welcomed it.
    Last edited by Tarsier, Aug 8, 2013
  3. divinerose Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2009
    star 1
    I'm definitely intrigued by this story! I'm assuming it's Mara's voice that Callista is hearing?

    Do you have a PM list so I can know when this is updated? :)
  4. Tarsier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    divinerose - I can't believe someone actually commented! Thank you!! :D I'd say it's a pretty safe bet the voice is Mara's. :) I don't have a list yet, but I can PM you when I update. The story's finished and not very long, so the updates should be pretty regular.




    Chapter 3

    “I can’t. He’s a Sith Lord.” Callista was arguing with the voice in her head. She knew it probably meant she had lost her mind, but at least it provided something of a distraction from the throbbing in her muscles, the ache in her bones. Callista had been hoping to escape back to her dreamworld, but it had been some time and she couldn’t recapture the sensation. Despite that, the pain had lessened more than she would have expected, to an almost bearable level. She was still exhausted and weak, but was at least able to focus on the voice enough to have a conversation.

    I know he’s a Sith Lord. That’s why he needs to be saved.

    “Then you know he can’t be saved.”

    No. He can. He must. It’s the only way.

    “Only way what?”

    There was no response. Callista wondered why until a shadow fell across the small cot she was laying on. She nearly jumped out of her skin with surprise, she hadn’t heard anyone enter the room. The shadow belonged to a slight girl with thick blonde hair. She leaned over Callista and soundlessly examined her as though she were a piece of equipment. The girl gently lifted Callista’s arm and examined the bruises on it, rotating it under the light like it was a faulty motivator. Still not certain what was going on, Callista stared at the girl as she worked, trying to figure out what she was up to. Callista noticed the girl had a deep scar on her forehead.

    Tahiri . . . The name came to Callista, though she wasn’t sure if it was from her own memory or someone else’s.

    Tahiri’s eyes were cold and her conversation skills apparently non-existent, but her hands were warm and Callista found herself relaxing beneath Tahiri’s touch. Callista was about to drift off when she heard heavy boots enter the room. Her whole body tensed. Tahiri had been examining her left foot and Callista instinctively jerked away from her and tried to move herself into a position where she could face the intruder.

    “How is she?” Jacen asked as he entered the room.

    Callista then noticed Tahiri was staring oddly at her, perhaps miffed at her sudden lack of cooperation. “Well enough to survive another round. But perhaps not without permanent damage. Her bones have healed soundly so far, but I doubt they will continue to do so much longer.”

    Jacen nodded. “Thank you, Tahiri. You may go.”

    Tahiri made no move to leave.

    “Is there something else?”

    “I would suggest it is time to begin asking questions, Master.”

    Jacen gave her a lopsided grin. “You misunderstand, Tahiri. There are no questions for this one.” Jacen’s smile suddenly faded and his eyes narrowed. His features took on the faraway look Callista had long ago recognized as that of a Jedi sensing trouble through the Force. “Imbeciles,” he muttered under his breath. “Must I do everything myself?” With a sigh he headed back out the door, pausing in the doorway to give a final command to Tahiri. “Restrain her. We’ll hold off on another session for now, but I’d hate for her to get any ideas about escaping.”




    Chapter 4

    He must be saved! The voice was practically screaming at her and the words echoed throughout Callista’s mind. It had been some time since Tahiri had bound her hands and feet to the small cot—hours or days, Callista couldn’t tell because she continued to fade in and out of consciousness. The voice had been accosting her since she had last awakened and it was about to drive her mad. You must save him!

    But why? Callista mentally cried back. You ask the impossible—you must at least explain why you think it can be done. She didn’t speak out loud because Jacen was in the room. He was sitting at his desk a few meters away, with a datapad, a computer, and several datachips arranged in front of him. Callista had gathered that this room served as Jacen’s office, where he took care of the business of running his mini-empire. Callista guessed he spent time in here almost every day, sometimes furiously typing at the computer, other times just staring out at the nothingness of space through the veiwport above his desk. Presently Jacen pushed the datachips to one side and stood up. He started pacing around the room, his path circling near Callista’s cot.

    Because he cannot be killed, the voice offered.

    Callista was going to persist with the argument, but Jacen had stopped beside her. She watched him out of the corner of her eye, hoping he would continue to ignore her as he usually did.

    And because . . . the voice continued. Suddenly Callista felt something building deep in her chest. She felt the adrenaline rising in her veins as something akin to panic took over. Her heart beat faster, so fast she was sure it would burst. Her whole body felt hot and her skin prickled. Yet deep in her stomach she felt nothing but cold dread. She couldn’t focus her eyes on anything and she lost all sense of the room. There was just one shape that she could make out—Jacen’s silhouette standing beside her cot. She felt so much pressure building in her chest she couldn’t stand it. She had to move, had to do something. All at once she did. She struck outward with all her limbs kicking and hitting, trying to release the pressure. She felt her legs tear loose from the restraints and her foot landed solidly against something. Against the silhouette. Against Jacen.

    Surprised, Jacen whirled around towards her, unhooking his lightsaber from his belt and igniting it in one smooth motion. He held the lightsaber high and in the glow from the blade his hair looked red. No, it wasn’t the glow—his hair was red. Dark red. And his features were no longer those of Jacen Solo, but of a younger child. One with a sprinkling of freckles and a striking resemblance to Luke Skywalker.

    Callista didn’t move, didn’t even flinch. The idea of being struck down by someone who looked so much like her beloved Luke was unbearable, her mind could scarcely even fathom it, much less react to it.

    Callista must have blinked, because suddenly everything was different. Jacen was once again Jacen, right down to the brown hair and yellow eyes. His unignited lightsaber handle was lowered at his side and he stared unblinking at her for several long seconds.

    When Jacen finally spoke his voice trembled, as though he was as disturbed by what just happened as Callista. “Your eyes—they were—” Jacen broke off. “What happened?” he demanded. When Callista didn’t respond, he backed quickly away slipped out of the room, muttering to himself as he went. “It couldn’t have been. She’s dead. Dead. Callista’s eyes are grey, not green . . .” He slammed the door closed and then Callista heard him engaging a series of locks she hadn’t realized were on the door.

    Callista was still petrified. She was trying to make sense of things when the voice returned.

    I can’t let that happen to my son. That won’t happen to my son. That’s why you have to save Jacen.

    And with that Callista finally knew the voice was real. It belonged to Mara Jade Skywalker, the late mother of red-haired, freckle-faced Ben, who looked so much like his father. Mara was afraid if Jacen wasn’t redeemed then her son would be corrupted. Luke’s son would be corrupted. Callista agreed with Mara about at least one thing—there were few thoughts more intolerable than that.

    “Alright,” Callista said, still trying to calm her nerves. “How do you suggest we go about redeeming a Sith Lord?”
    Last edited by Tarsier, Aug 8, 2013
  5. divinerose Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2009
    star 1
    At first I was confused as to why Mara would argue so hard for Jacen being redeemed, considering that he killed her, but I like your explanation. I just hope Callista doesn't fail spectacularly.

    Thank you for the PM! :)
  6. FelsGoddess Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2004
    star 5
    Ooo, very interesting idea. I wonder how Mara plans to help Callista redeem Jacen.

    =D=
  7. Tarsier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    divinerose
    At first I was confused as to why Mara would argue so hard for Jacen being redeemed, considering that he killed her, but I like your explanation. Glad to hear it! I think it was kinda silly the way Mara went after Jacen by herself, and in part I wanted to explain her actions a little more. I just hope Callista doesn?t fail spectacularly. You don?t sound like you have much faith in Callista...but a legitimate concern. Thanks for reading!

    FelsGoddess
    I wonder how Mara plans to help Callista redeem Jacen. Well, this is my first attempt at any sort of redemption fic, so I guess we?ll see how it goes...Thanks for reading!



    Interlude

    Luke listened to the hum of the hyperspace engines as he watched Ben sleep. Ben had fallen asleep on a couch in the living quarters of the small starship. They had borrowed the ship from Callista’s friends in exchange for a loaded credstick and a stack of ration bars. He wasn’t sure if the unbalanced deal was more a tribute to the sort of friendship Callista inspired or to just how hungry the smugglers were.

    Luke intended to get some rest himself, but he couldn’t stand the thought of leaving Ben where he’d fallen asleep playing dejarik and going to his own quarters. He didn’t want to be even that far away from his son. Luke had thought about carrying Ben to his bunk down the hall, but figured Ben would find that rather undignified. When had he gotten so grown up? It seemed like just yesterday Mara was still pregnant.

    Mara . . .

    Every time he thought of her, it was like a fresh knife in his gut. It killed him that he hadn’t known. Hadn’t seen it. The fear of losing her son gnawing at her, a voxyn of dread chewing up her insides. Luke hadn’t seen how desperate she was, how close to the edge. How near the end.

    Mara had blocked her anguish from him, kept it buried deep inside. And he had let her. He should have known. Should have seen it.

    It grew inside her even as she fought to keep it hidden. When she could no longer hide her pain from him she confronted it head on. In a battle that she lost, as she knew she would.

    He hadn’t known she was on the brink of desperation. Hadn’t seen that she was on the verge of death.

    She was protecting Luke when she went after Jacen. She couldn’t let Luke strike down his own flesh and blood. She protected Luke, protected Ben. But who had protected her?

    How could he have missed it? How could he have let her go alone?

    Alone. He let her die alone.

    He failed Mara. He was damned if he would fail Callista too.
    Last edited by Tarsier, Aug 8, 2013
  8. FelsGoddess Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2004
    star 5
    a voxyn of dread chewing up her insides Love that description.

    Great portrayal of Luke's guilt.

    =D=
  9. Jerisa_Skywalker Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2008
    star 1
    I just stombled across this. I think up to now I like your version better than canon.
    And I'm curious where this is going to take you.
    Keep up the good work, please! :D

    JS[face_coffee]
  10. divinerose Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2009
    star 1
    You don?t sound like you have much faith in Callista...but a legitimate concern. Well, I wouldn't have much faith in anyone in her position. Trying to redeem a Sith when you yourself are completely devoid of the Force, not to mention a prisoner... talk about a challenge.

    Excellent job with showing Luke's guilt! You're making me feel like how I do when I'm reading the LOTF books: It's not his fault, and Mara wouldn't want him to feel that way, but course he can't help it. He's Luke. :p
  11. Tarsier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    First, I'd just like to say how exciting it is to have people reading! Truly, I wasn't expecting even a single comment. Here's hoping I don't mess it up now...

    FelsGoddess
    Great portrayal of Luke's guilt. Thanks so much! I don't have a clue what I'm doing with Jacen and Tahiri, but I hope I can at least write Luke halfway decently.

    Jerisa_Skywalker
    I just stombled across this. I'm glad you found it. And I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I think up to now I like your version better than canon. You're too kind. Thank you!

    divinerose
    ...talk about a challenge. Yes, but she's got Mara backing her up. ;) Excellent job with showing Luke's guilt! You're making me feel like how I do when I'm reading the LOTF books: It's not his fault, and Mara wouldn't want him to feel that way, but course he can't help it. He's Luke. Poor Luke. I hate that the profic authors won't give him a break. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm going to...




    Chapter 5

    It was a few days after Mara’s demonstration when Tahiri woke Callista as she checked the restraints on her wrists and ankles. Since the incident Callista had been visited only by Tahiri. She wasn’t sure what had happened to Jacen. At first Callista had been glad of his absence, but now it made her anxious. Where was he? What was he planning? Would she have enough time?

    Tahiri shortened the chains attached to the ankle restraints, but left Callista enough slack on the wrist restraints that she could sit up. As she worked Callista noticed, not for the first time, that Tahiri’s eyes never quite seemed to focus on her, as though Tahiri was looking through her instead of at her. Callista had not known Tahiri before the Vong got their hands on her, but she was certain the scar on Tahiri’s forehead was nothing compared to the damage done to her on the inside.

    Jacen appeared in the doorway. “Is she secure?” Callista felt the tiniest tinge of pride—though Jacen was not exactly cowering, he did seem reluctant to enter a room where Callista had free range of movement.

    “She is,” Tahiri replied, straightening up and casting a final glance toward Callista. Though Callista pitied Tahiri, she knew deep down that she was the enemy. It broke her heart to look into Tahiri’s not-quite-focused eyes, but she didn’t trust her for a second. Callista had the smallest hope that she might save Jacen. For Tahiri, she feared there was nothing left to save.

    Tahiri left the room and Jacen sat down at his desk. Callista noticed that Jacen kept his chair at an angle to his desk, so his back was not fully turned to her.

    Jacen worked quietly, reading his datapad and typing at the computer for some time. Callista thought she saw an extra tenseness in his posture when he began, but after a while he seemed to relax—at least as much as he ever did—and appeared lost in thought, gazing out the viewport. It was time for Callista to go to work. She just hoped there was enough time left for Mara’s plan to succeed.

    “Tell me, Jacen. Why do you hate your little brother?”

    Jacen turned abruptly, coming to directly face Callista. “I love Anakin,” he snapped, fixing Callista with a withering glare. “More than anyone. Everyone else has forgotten him, but I remember.”

    “Then why do you take advantage of his best friend?”

    Jacen’s eyes narrowed and he seemed to grow with anger. Callista continued quickly, before he could object. “You wait until she is broken and vulnerable and then you seduce her.”

    Jacen’s eyes flashed and he stood up. His temper was even quicker than Callista had imagined. “I’ve never touched Tahiri!” he roared.

    “That’s not what I meant,” Callista replied levelly. She knew she was playing with fire, but she looked Jacen in the eye, refusing to let her fear show.

    Jacen balled his right fist and struck Callista across the face. Callista would have gone sprawling but instead she only fell halfway off the cot. Her ankles were still secured to either of the bottom corners of the cot and her upper body hung awkwardly off the side. One arm was twisted painfully behind her, the chain attached to her wrist becoming taut when her face was just inches from the deck. She paused, gathering her strength as the blood began to gather in her freshly split lip. The blood trickled down her chin as she looked up at Jacen. “How could I ever think you would take advantage of someone who was defenseless?”

    Jacen stared hard at Callista, his nostrils flaring with silent rage. For a moment Callista thought he would attack her, maybe even finally end it all. But eventually he turned on his heel and strode out of the room without a word, his cape fluttering aimlessly behind him.

    With an effort Callista managed to haul herself back onto the cot. She wiped the blood off her chin and closed her eyes, waiting for Mara to help her plan their next angle of attack.



    Chapter 6

    “All I want is peace. Sacrifices must be made for the greater good. It is the only way. I don’t make the rules, I just play the game,” Jacen explained to Callista a few days later. Despite his recent outburst, Jacen had started to open up to Callista. It seemed he liked having someone to talk to about his grand plans.

    “This is not a game,” Callista replied. She ran her tongue over the tender scab on her bottom lip. Mara seemed to think they were making progress, but Callista was intimately aware of the fact that Jacen was as dangerous as ever.

    “You’re right. It’s much more than that. It’s not about you or me. It’s much bigger than any one person,” Jacen continued. He was leaning back slightly in a high-backed chair, his chin resting thoughtfully against the fingers of his black-gloved right hand.

    “So you’re saying it’s okay to kill people, to kill anyone, everyone, as long as it’s the name of your grand scheme?”

    He stared at her, his eyes deadly serious. “The greatest gift I can give anyone is to make them a part of something greater.”

    It was clear to Callista that Jacen’s belief in his purpose and principles would not be shaken by a direct attack. She would have to try something a bit more subtle. But what?

    Callista would have liked to talk things over with Mara, but she was afraid Mara was losing her connection to the living world. Mara had not spoken directly to Callista for some time, though Callista still often felt her presence, as she did now. One of Jacen’s words still echoed through Callista’s mind: sacrifice. She figured it was Mara drawing her attention to the word. After she thought for a moment, Callista decided that was what Mara was to Jacen, a sacrifice. So he was willing to sacrifice his aunt to his delusion. But what about his friends? His cousin, his sister? Would all of them fall victim to the madness? What about Jacen himself? Would he take his own life if it came down to it?

    Yes, Callista mused, he probably would take his own life if he thought it would help his purpose. But there were things that were more important to Jacen than life and death. When Callista had mentioned Anakin, Jacen had asserted that he remembered Anakin, though others had forgotten. Was that really what this was about? Being remembered?

    The whisperkit. That’s the important part . . .

    It seemed like a long shot, but Callista decided to try to appeal to Jacen from a different direction. “What happened to your pets?” she asked.

    Jacen had stopped staring at Callista and was once again focused on his datapad. If he was thrown by the sudden change of subject he didn’t show it. Rather he scoffed and replied, “Pets are for children.”

    “You really think so?”

    “Animals just get in the way. Warriors and leaders don’t have time for anything so frivolous.”

    “You used to love animals.” Jacen scowled, but Callista continued. “You thought someday you could learn to communicate with them through the Force, remember?”

    “I was just a stupid kid.”

    “No, you weren’t. Your love of animals, your compassion for other living things, is a part of you and it always will be. It doesn’t matter how deep you bury it, you can’t change it. Pretending to be someone else won’t change who you used to be.” Jacen looked down at her with disdain, but didn’t say anything. “How do you expect others to remember you if you’ve already forgotten yourself?”

    “I haven’t forgotten anything.” Jacen replied, contemptuously. “I’ve just learned what the galaxy is really like. Bloodshed and suffering, everywhere you look. But I can change it. If I’m willing to do what it takes. And I am.”

    “No matter the cost?”

    “I would gladly give my life to make the galaxy a more civil place.”

    “Many people are willing to give their own life to their cause. But you, Jacen, have so far only given the lives of others.”

    “I’m not a coward. I do what is necessary. Speaking of which, I have somewhere to be.”

    Jacen was halfway to the door when Callista asked, “What if there was another way?” Jacen did not acknowledge her final remark, but Callista thought she detected the slightest falter in his stride as he walked away.
    Last edited by Tarsier, Aug 8, 2013
  12. FelsGoddess Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2004
    star 5

    He stared at her, his eyes deadly serious. ?The greatest gift I can give anyone is to make them a part of something greater.?
    Ah, the rationalization of murder.

    Callista's use of psychology on him is interesting. Wonder if it will work.

    =D=
  13. divinerose Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2009
    star 1
    For Tahiri, she feared there was nothing left to save. No, don't say that! I feel bad for Tahiri. D:

    Well, here's hoping that Mara's advice works and that Callista gets through to Jacen.
  14. Raptor517 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2006
    star 4
    This be good. PM's, please.
  15. Tarsier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    FelsGoddess
    Psychology is about all Callista?s got right now. Thanks for the comments!

    divinerose
    I?m not all that familiar with Tahiri, but she has always seemed to me to be a very tragic character. Thank you for reading!

    Raptor517
    Glad you like it! Thanks for reading.

    There is an epilogue, to be posted in the next few days.



    Chapter 7

    “I’ve tried other ways,” Jacen declared as he appeared in the doorway to the room where Callista rested idly, her hands and feet still bound to the cot. “They don’t work.”

    Callista regarded Jacen for a moment. It hadn’t been long since their last talk, but she had been hopeful Jacen would return soon. She hoped his more frequents visits were a sign that she was making progress, and his need to justify himself to her an indication that he would not be lost forever. “Maybe it’s not the method that fails. Maybe it’s just you.”

    Jacen glared down at her but didn’t respond.

    “You seem to have inherited the Chosen One complex. The galaxy needs saving and you think you’re the only one who can save it. Maybe you’re not.”

    “You’re a nothing but a has-been Jedi. You have no idea what the galaxy needs,” Jacen snapped.

    “Fair enough,” Callista said simply. Jacen gave her a suspicious glare, seemingly surprised and perhaps a bit disappointed that she had given up so easily. He sat down facing the viewport and began going over his datapad.

    Callista waited for him to get settled. She stared at the ceiling, she didn’t know how long, until she felt the time was right. Then she took a deep breath, hoping Mara was right about Jacen’s greatest weakness. “Did you ever make her laugh?”

    “What?” Jacen replied turning abruptly around and striding over to her.

    “Tenel Ka. I know you were always telling silly jokes to try to get her to laugh.”

    Jacen was beside her now and Callista was suddenly very aware of the fact that her hands were bound too tightly for her to even raise her arms defensively. She continued quickly. “Because if you couldn’t succeed at making one single person laugh, how do you expect to rule an entire galaxy?”

    Jacen tilted his head and his upper lip lifted into a snarl. His unnatural eyes came to a deep focus on Callista and seemed to pierce through her, as though he could see through her physical body and straight to her soul. “Don’t talk about Tenel Ka.”

    Callista was unnerved, but forced herself to keep going, trying her best to keep her voice from trembling. “I hear she has a beautiful daughter. It’s a shame she’ll grow up without a father. Without even aunts or uncles or grandparents.”

    Jacen held his stare, daring her to keep talking. A muscle in his cheek twitched. Callista swallowed hard and continued. “I bet her father is someone big and important. So big he doesn’t have time for her.”

    Callista stared back into his red-yellow eyes, wishing she could see through them, see what Jacen was thinking. “Too bad—if her father was a simple Jedi Knight he’d be able to watch her grow up. And she wouldn’t live her life wondering what it was that her father thought was so much more important than her.”

    For several moments Jacen remained still, his eyes still locked onto Callista. The only indication of any inner torment was a slight quivering of his lip. Finally he replied, “She’ll be fine without a father. Her mother will take good a care of her.”

    “I’m sure she will be fine,” Callista agreed. She was silent for several seconds before adding, “But doesn’t she deserve better than just ‘fine’?”

    Jacen seemed to falter for a moment. He appeared to be gathering his thoughts, but before he responded there was a twitter from his comlink. He flicked it on and was gone from the room in an instant.

    She couldn’t be certain, but for a moment Callista thought maybe, just maybe, she’d seen a glimmer of brown in Jacen’s sithly eyes.



    Chapter 8

    Callista had played her final gambit. She and Mara had decided Tenel Ka was to be the last move, the grand finale. She wasn’t sure if it had worked. If it hadn’t, she didn’t how to proceed. She thought she’d seen Jacen’s confidence waiver, thought he had begun to question his path, but she feared it wasn’t enough.

    Callista couldn’t discuss it with Mara, because Mara had not appeared for some time. She worried that Mara’s connection to the world was too tenuous at this point for any communication. Worse, Callista had the sinking feeling that time was about to run out.

    Callista jumped as she suddenly realized there was someone standing beside her. Tahiri, of course. As usual, Callista had not heard her enter. Callista relaxed—until she saw what Tahiri had in her hand. A tiny metal syringe, small enough to be concealed in her palm. For the first time Tahiri’s eyes were not empty, her face not emotionless. Tahiri looked pained, but underlying the pain was an unquestionable resolve. She stuck the needle in Callista’s side before she could react. The effects were immediate, a burning sensation radiated from the point of contact throughout Callista’s body, followed shortly by numbness.

    Seeing the emotion in the young girl’s face made Callista realize that perhaps Tahiri was not as far gone as she had assumed. When she spoke, Tahiri’s voice sounded distant. “Forgive me.”

    Is she speaking to me? Callista wondered faintly. Or someone else? Someone much farther away?

    With an effort, Callista shifted her gaze away from Tahiri as she heard Jacen run in through the doorway.

    “Tahiri, what have you done?” Jacen rushed forward and pushed Tahiri away from Callista.

    “I was just following the protocol,” Tahiri replied, her voice as impassive as ever.

    Callista’s head began to get fuzzy from the poison. Most of her body was numb now yet she felt oddly peaceful. Have we done enough? she wondered idly. They had done all they could; that would have to be enough.

    Her eyelids grew heavy and fluttered closed as Jacen lifted her up into his arms. She fought the final unconsciousness as long as she could, focusing on Luke. And his precious son Ben.

    And their enduringly beautiful blue eyes.
    Last edited by Tarsier, Aug 8, 2013
  16. divinerose Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2009
    star 1
    ?Tahiri, what have you done??

    That's a good question! You just can't end the chapter there! You're evil. :p
  17. FelsGoddess Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2004
    star 5
    :eek: Tahiri, what are you doing?

    Gah, cliffhanger. I hope what Callista said worked.

    =D=
  18. Raptor517 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2006
    star 4
    Good cliffhanger. Thinking that maybe Tahiri mightn't be doing what it would seem. But we shall see.

    Rapto517
  19. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    Clicked in here out of curiosity and... am intrigued. Like that Mara's trying to do from beyond what didn't occur to anybody in the physical: save Jacen. And... what did Tahiri do? Woah.
  20. Irish_Jedi_Jade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2007
    star 4
    WHHHOOAAAAA THERE!!!!!!

    You left us hanging THERE!??!?!?! RIGHT THERE!!??!!?!?

    :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

    That's so not cool!!!!! Lol, just found this story....wow what an absolutely fascinating idea!!! I am on pins and needles, dying to see when you tell us how you work this all out! Does it have a happy ending though? No sith Ben's?! Cause that would make me so sad!

    If you would please, add me to the PM list?! I want to know when you put me out of my misery!! :)

    Huggles,
    [face_good_luck] Irish
  21. Tarsier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    divinerose
    I don't mean to be evil! That's just where I ran out of words. :p Thanks so much for sticking with this story all the way through.

    FelsGoddess
    Thanks for reading and commenting throughout this story!

    Raptor517
    You may be overestimating my prowess as a writer. But as you said, we shall see. Thanks for commenting!

    DaenaBenjen42
    If you can't kill 'em, save 'em, I guess. Thanks for reading!

    Irish_Jedi_Jade
    Wow, thank you, I never thought someone would be so excited about this story! Hope the ending doesn?t disappoint.




    Epilogue

    “Whisperkit” was Callista’s last word. She spoke it while resting in Luke’s arms, her system compromised beyond repair by the poison. Luke had found a way onto Jacen’s ship only minutes too late. Oddly, the image that came to Luke’s mind when she whispered her last word was not that of a large furry rodent, but rather of tiny songbirds.

    Luke immediately recalled the songbirds. Years ago, before they were even engaged, Mara had spoken to him about the tiny songbirds that sing cheerily in the mines of Varn. Though he had once been to Varn, Luke had not noticed them. Few people did, for their song, though beautiful, was inaudible over the racket of the mining operations. When she had mentioned the tiny birds so long ago Mara had been making a point about not getting so caught up in the big picture that you lose sight of the small stuff. Luke had taken her advice to heart and it had changed his life. But since then he had forgotten, he had once again gotten caught up in saving the galaxy and had been neglecting the details of life.

    Luke thought maybe he had misheard Callista, he couldn’t imagine what she intended, using the last of her strength to mention a child’s pet. He held her in his arms and gently stroked her cheek, silently pleading with her not to leave him, not her too. For several seconds they stared into each other’s eyes, but then Callista turned away. Luke followed her gaze and saw that she was watching Ben and Jacen.

    Jacen was still on his knees, having stumbled the last stride before he reached Luke. “Help her,” was Jacen’s plaintive request, staring up at Luke and lifting Callista towards him. Luke had taken Callista into his arms, but it was too late. He knew immediately that there was nothing that could be done for her. Now Jacen was staring blankly at the deck. Ben approached him and Jacen turned away. As he did so, Luke got his first clear look directly at Jacen’s face. Jacen looked terribly young in that moment, yet at the same time he looked at least as jaded as Luke himself had been feeling lately. There was something else in Jacen’s expression—was it fear, or shock, or concern? Yes, all of those, but something else too. It was a moment before Luke recognized it. Shame.

    Luke looked down at Callista and asked softly, “His eyes are brown, aren’t they?” She nodded weakly. Then she was gone.

    It was not until several days later that the word “whisperkit” finally made sense to Luke. Jacen had not so much surrendered as simply given up his command, locking himself in a room and refusing to speak to anyone. Tahiri, for her part, was never found, though records indicated a StealthX had made an abrupt departure from the flagship shortly after Luke arrived. The major powers of the galaxy had gathered to discuss plans for the future, how to deal with the fall of Darth Caedus. The vessel they had gathered on happened to be orbiting above Triquis, a planet that had been utterly destroyed by the war raging around it. Luke had been gazing out the viewport—he was invited to a meeting but was not really part of it—and the arguing behind him fizzled into white noise as his mind wandered.

    There was a break in the official meeting and a new voice entered the conversation. She had been introduced as Lieutenant Cade, Luke recalled vaguely, and the leaders and bureaucrats had been annoyed by her presence, though no one had said anything out loud. Luke turned around, curious what a junior officer thought she could add to such a vitally political discussion.

    Cade had explained that while surveying the destruction planetside, she noticed a number of small animals crawling among the wreckage and debris that was once a good sized city. She speculated that the animals were former pets, their owners slain during the fighting. She suggested they should be gathered and taken to another planet because given the radiation from the battle and the approaching winter they would not survive for long. The officials scoffed at her suggestion, but Luke was intrigued.

    “These animals, what species did you say they were?” he asked.

    “I’m not certain,” Cade replied, “I’ve never seen one in real life before, but I think they were whisperkits.”

    Luke nodded. “Whisperkits,” he repeated wistfully. Luke knew exactly what he had to do.

    *
    Luke and Ben had taken the next available transport to the surface of the planet. They had been rounding up the furry creatures for the better part of three days. They caught most that seemed likely to be caught and were packing up to leave.

    “But, Dad,” Ben complained. “We haven’t got the red one yet.”

    “It seems the red one does not wish to be caught. Best to leave it alone. We’ve done all we can. Besides, we’re all out of cages now.”

    “The red one isn’t going in a cage. I’m going to keep her,” Ben said defiantly.

    “What about this one?” Luke asked, gesturing to the small grey creature perched on his shoulder. It was the first whisperkit Ben had caught, and he had immediately been smitten with it. With her white paws and the perfect triangle of white over her nose, Luke had to admit she was awfully cute. He had agreed to let Ben keep just this one as a pet. So far Ben had been diligent about taking care of his whisperkit, though the pet rode on Luke’s shoulder while Ben searched the rubble for more survivors to rescue. Initially Luke had been afraid Ben would want to keep all the animals he found, but he had not asked for another until now. “I thought you were going to keep this one.”

    “No . . . that one is for someone else,” Ben said cautiously.

    Luke sighed. “Who?”

    “Jacen,” he replied seriously.

    “Jacen?” Luke repeated slowly. Luke had begun to worry when he realized that Ben had been visiting Jacen while he was stuck in meetings. Ben had seemed far too quick to forgive the former Sith Lord, and Luke was afraid Jacen could still influence him. He wondered what Mara would say. He doubted she would like the idea of Ben and Jacen spending time together. But now a new thought began to tug at the back of Luke’s mind. Perhaps Ben was not simply naïve, but rather was practicing the sort of forgiveness all Jedi should strive for. In the brief glimpses Luke had seen of him, Jacen seemed defeated and ashamed. But that hardly made up for all he’d done. In truth, Luke didn’t think he could ever fully forgive Jacen. Luke lifted the whisperkit off his shoulder so he could get a better look at her. “I suppose at the moment the question is not whether I will ever forgive Jacen. Right now the question is just whether or not I trust him to take care of you.” Luke spoke directly to the grey pet; Ben had already renewed his chase of the elusive red whisperkit.

    The sound of a crash nearby caused Luke to look up. Ben was sliding down the side of a mountain of debris on a sheet of duraplast that had broken off as Ben climbed up. The red whisperkit was at the top of the heap, looking curiously down at Ben as he slipped away. Luke couldn’t help but smile. This is what kids his age should be doing, Luke thought. Chasing whisperkits. Not fighting Sith Lords.

    Luke turned toward the horizon and noticed the sun was getting low. He figured they better head back, with or without the red whisperkit.

    “I caught it,” Ben shouted and triumphantly held a rather nonplussed-looking whisperkit high above his head. Luke broke into a wide grin. As the setting sun shone like fire through the whisperkit’s red-gold fur, Luke knew that though they may have passed on, the ones he loved were never far away.
    Last edited by Tarsier, Aug 8, 2013
  22. FelsGoddess Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2004
    star 5
    As the setting sun shone like fire through the whisperkit?s red-gold fur, Luke knew that though they may have passed on, the ones he loved were never far away. Lovely ending.

    Loved your fic. =D=
  23. Irish_Jedi_Jade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2007
    star 4
    awh! A lovely (sad!) but lovely ending :) Well done!!!!!! Thank you so much, that was a wonderful read, can't wait to see more from you!
  24. divinerose Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2009
    star 1
    I'm sad to see this ending! But I'm glad to see that there's still hope for Jacen. I know it's already been said, but I loved how you ended it.

    I hope to see more from you soon! =D=
  25. Raptor517 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2006
    star 4
    Awww...death comes to all, I suppose. But it was good.

    Thumbs up!

    Raptor517
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade