Saga Spirit Warriors of Angharad *COMPLETE* Link to MS Word version available 8/4

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  1. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    New and (kind of) improved! 100% less reader replies in the Word-format version. Chapters and chapter divisions have been marked and the stupidest of typos and spelling errors removed. Sneaky spelling errors will be removed when someone feels like proofreading a 624-page document. (2.25 MB)
    10/13/04: SWoA has now been added to the 100,000 Word Club. Woo-hoo!

    [image=http://a.imageshack.us/img411/9954/wedgie.jpg]

    2/28/05 I actually managed to hit 200,000 words. This is sort of like being able to swallow an entire coney dog at once: impressive, in a way, but my God, *why?*

    There is no 200,000 word club, for pretty much the same reasons that there isn't a "Swallowed an entire coney dog at once club." I do have this enigmatic yet strangely adorable image by Arin_Atona, however:

    [image=http://img214.exs.cx/img214/7617/alert200kindi6rx.jpg]

    5/26/05 I kind of feel like I shouldn't admit this . . . but I hit 300,000 words last night. There aren't even icons for 300,000 words. I had to make one specially. I just don't know what to say about this. I'd claim that words failed me, but that would *so* obviously be a lie.

    [image=http://a.imageshack.us/img714/8743/3000000words.gif]

    Note: This story is tagged

    Title: Spirit Warriors of Angharad

    Characters: Anakin, Obi-Wan
    Incidentally, Obi-Wan and Anakin have a relatively warm-n-fuzzy relationship in this fic. There's some camaraderie, father/son type h/c, etc. It's not a "Geez, I hate that guy!!" Obi/Ani fic.

    Categories: Adventure, Romance (Obi/Other), Angst

    Timeline: Pre-AOTC, Anakin is 16

    Rating: PG

    Summary: A group of volunteer philanthropists have vanished on a troubled outworld at the brink of war, and Obi-Wan and Anakin are sent to rescue them. Soon they are stranded deep in the mountain country of Angharad, where they discover darkness, intrigue, and what is even more dangerous for a Jedi: love.

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with George Lucas or Lucasfilm in any way, although I secretly wish I was. No profit is being made by the use of these characters and no copyright violation is intended. Please don't sue me.

    Author's Note: I haven't read much Star Wars pro fic, and I tend to play fast and loose with the expanded universe.

    This story is slightly AU in that R2 is with Obi-Wan and Anakin between TPM and AOTC. Look, I screwed up when I was first plotting the story, and now I can?t get rid of him okay?! :p

    Author?s Other Note: This is a revised version of a story I began back in 2002.

    Author's Other Other Note: Thanks, Uncle George. I'll put the keys back on the desk when I'm done driving this thing.

    ****************************************

    All was quiet in the Anghara spirit country. Afternoon sunlight shone full into the Vale of Moroara, turning its foliage into a carpet of green, seemingly worlds distant from the overshadowing Akitlán Mountains. Other than the wind that whistled down from the high places, nothing seemed to stir.

    Perhaps even a Jedi's gaze would have slid past the dark figure crouched in the branches of a xhotha tree. Darth Vengeance was an Illorian, a long, thin humanoid being with a covering of stiff brown body hair over his grayish-blue skin. His race had evolved among the treetops of his homeworld, and he was well-suited to creeping quietly through a forest canopy.

    He had lain in wait for nearly three quarters of an hour, and impatience was wearing at him. He wondered where Skywalker could be. Frustrated, he sunk his claws into the gray bark of the xhotha's trunk and raked deep furrows into the fibrous wood.

    Skywalker and Kenobi had taken refuge in the nearby mountain village of Nidawi several days ago, after Coridani blockade ships blasted their Aethersprite out of the sky. Vengeance hadn't even had to orchestrate that--the Coridani had apparently disapproved of Kenobi's stated mission of searching for a trio of l/>
  2. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    Anakin zigzagged his speeder bike up the steep mountain slope, the landscape a green-and-brown blur on either side of him. The thrill of speed was finally taking the edge off his frustration at spending a good part of his afternoon in a mud-filled hollow with a trapped sherqa calf. He'd pitied the hairy little creature as it wallowed and cried, but mud-wresting a terrified farm animal was not exactly how he'd hoped to occupy the day.

    This gem of an assignment had come from Obi-Wan, who insisted that since the people of Nidawi were running some risk by allowing them to stay at the village, the two of them ought make themselves useful. Anakin couldn't argue with that. He simply didn't care much for Obi-Wan's definition of the "two of them."

    At any rate, the sherqa was finally reunited with its owners, and Anakin was free to do a job he considered far more important: checking on the movements of the mercenary troops on the other side of the mountains. Though he was forbidden to actually enter Coridani-controlled territory, he was able to gather some information about their military technology with the home-built scanning device he'd strapped to the barrel of his blast rifle. Its major components were parts of three stardrive diagnostic units, each carefully fastened to the feet of an old transmitter tripod. The idea was that as energy escaped a reactor's exhaust ports, it would interact with the beams of the diagnostic units and provide information about the device it came from.

    The scanner worked, mostly, although Obi-Wan had pointed out that Anakin would have to get excessively close to get reliable readings on particulate matter. "Close enough to read the serial numbers off the reactor housing," was actually how he'd put it. But the scanner could sense some types of energy emissions from a long distance away. And if you and your astromech droid happened to be able to tell the energy signature of Kuat's LE-50 stardrive from the LE-50a, using the little scanning device was well worth it.

    Anakin kept an open transmission line to R2 for this purpose, and he occasionally spoke to the droid through a comlink headset that had seen better days. The wind had dislocated the mouthpiece for the dozenth time, and he repositioned it before saying, "Nearly there, R2."

    The ground beneath his speeder had begun to level off, and he would soon reach the ridge top where he could peer into the Coridani-controlled Honovi desert. The Akitlán Mountains were above the cloud line, so when thunderheads rolled up from the ocean they poured out their moisture as they struck the range's southern face. On the northern side, the Honovi got almost no precipitation at all. The sharp contrast between the two ecosystems was visible from space; it was as if a chunk of Tattooine had been slapped down next to the green and misty ridges of Naboo.

    The similarity between Mos Espa and the mining town of Turannos ended at the climate, however. While Tattooine's only major commercial product was anonymity, the Honovi was laced with a semi-organic compound used in radiation shielding. For the last 99 years the Coridani Mineral Company had held an exclusive charter to mine the Honovi Desert--a charter that was about to expire under Republic antitrust laws. CMC chairman Keril Sarpedon's motion to obtain an extension on the monopoly had been denied by the Courts. A few weeks later, three civil rights volunteers vanished while trying to substantiate rumors that Sarpedon had hired Auster Perahta, arguably the greatest mercenary general in the galaxy, to gain control of Angharad by force. More ominous still, yesterday Anakin's scanner had picked up a lot of high-frequency energy emissions coming from the desert. The stardrives on massive troop transports could cause this kind of reading. So could the powering up of ion cannons. Anakin hoped to gain more complete information today, particularly since the Anghara rainy season was imminent. If a major assault was coming from the northern side of the Akitláns, it would have to happen before the
  3. red rose knight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2001
    star 4
    Wow. [face_shocked] I really liked that. Love your writing style and the detail you used in creating the world. You definitely have me hooked. :)

    I am so looking forward to more. :D
  4. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    For a little while I can update daily . . . once classes start again, though, heaven knows. :)

    ****
    He powered up the Landcat and headed in the direction the seeker had gone. Once again the mountain scrub became a blur around him. "Anything?" he asked R2. The droid warbled a negative.

    In another few seconds he'd be back among the trees, where the visibility would be worse. "This is not going to work," he said to himself. He veered right, heading for the slope that led down into the Vale of Moroara.

    R2 asked him what he thought he was doing. "I could chase that thing forever back in those trees," Anakin said. "If Sarpedon sent it to spy on us, then it had to come from the desert. That's where it?s going to go back to."

    R2 was frank in his opinion of this line of reasoning, and Anakin grinned into the wind at his comments. "Nice droids don't talk like that," he said.

    The western slope of the ridge was far steeper than the southern one he'd climbed on the way to the lookout point. He'd disabled the speeder's guidance system days ago, so its gyros never protested at the hairpin turns he took as he zigzagged down into the valley.

    Even Anakin wasn't reckless enough to try a straight shot down. The Landcat's repulsors were of barely adequate quality under ideal circumstances, and probably not enough to keep it from colliding with the ground after a free-fall of any height. This particular model also had what the Universal Trade and Resale Guide referred to as an "unfortunate tendency to explode" in the aftermath of sharp impacts.

    The trees grew closer together and the sunlight seemed to fade as he reached the valley floor. Vines that had thickened into woody, vertical branches created potentially deadly hazards, but Anakin neatly skirted them as he zoomed through the forest. Soon the sound of the waterfalls that formed the wellspring of the Shasti River became audible over his speeder engines. He had yet to spot the seeker droid, but he sensed it would not be far behind him. It hadn't dogged him up the mountainside to let him out of its sight now.

    The air grew heavy with mist as he approached the falls, and the chill, mineral tang of the river filled his nose. Moments later he could glimpse the Pool of the Three Sisters through the vines and hanging foliage. He burst out of the shadowy forest into the last of the afternoon's sunlight, skimming over the shallow water at the pool's edge. Three massive white cascades of water poured from a hollowed-out cliff a hundred meters above his head.

    His destination was marked by a vaguely ovoid hollow at one end of the pool, the remnant of a long-dead tributary. "I'm headed into Moroara Pass now, R2," he said.

    The droid's whistle was almost a lament. The canyonlike groove of the dry riverbed was the last place the missing Freespace volunteers were known to have been. Anakin steered his speeder into it now, easily navigating the relatively gentle curves that an ancient current had carved into the hard gray rock of the mountain.

    Moroara Pass was the only easy crossing point in this part of the Akitláns. If a mercenary army was going to storm out of the Honovi and into Anghara territory, it would be here.

    The riverbed's rock walls rose sharply, defining the edges of what had once been a narrow gorge. Soon he was three meters below the canyon's lip, surrounded on all sides by ash-colored stone and a lattice of clinging vines.

    "All right, little seeker . . . there's nowhere to hide down here," he said, risking a glance over his shoulder.

    ****
    End 3/?
  5. JediSolo13 Jedi Master

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    Mar 13, 2004
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    Alright this is getting really good! Great details and describing everything! :D
  6. red rose knight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2001
    star 4
    Oh, Anakin, you silly boy! You?re just going to get yourself into trouble! [face_shocked] I am so enjoying all of the lovely details you have woven into this. :)
  7. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    Thank you! :D
    ************

    As if in reply, R2 burst into a series of excited beeps. Looking up, Anakin thought he saw a small black streak silhouetted against the sky.

    Anakin pressed down hard on the Landcat's foot controls and put on a burst of speed, using his momentum to creep up the side of the canyon wall. A second glance back revealed that the little black streak was keeping pace. "That's it," he said. "Come to Uncle Ani."

    He grabbed the shift lever near the base of the steering column and cranked it down, routing all power to the rear propulsors. The Landcat shot up to the lip of the canyon, where Anakin planted his foot and nudged his free-falling speeder into a nose- downward arc. As he re-allocated power to the forward propulsors, the black speck of the seeker shot past him.

    "Let's see you get away from this," Anakin said as he drew his lightsaber. It ignited with a familiar snap-hum and he gave it a preparatory flick of the wrist. Speed and careful handling of the speeder?s steering vanes allowed Anakin to slide down the canyon wall at a shallow angle rather than slam into the ground in a shower of sparks, and soon a near straightaway allowed him to open up his engines all the way.

    Steering one-handed, he held the saber at shoulder height, its blade glowing like a ghostly torch. He rose halfway to his feet as he drew close to the seeker, mentally gauging the distance between himself and the tiny droid. This time, he would not strike too quickly.

    Anakin and the seeker careened around a bend in parallel motion. He could feel the movements of the tiny droid as if it were attached to him by an invisible thread. R2 was squealing something, but he paid no attention.

    There was no fear, no anger. There was nothing but the chase and his quarry. The stress on the seeker?s propulsors was growing critical, and he sensed it re-evaluating its decision to run from him. Anakin could feel the microsecond logic lag as it loaded its evasion routine. The coordinates table coursed through its processors; it selected a vector.

    He was already beneath it as it began a rolling dive. His snap-cut was almost an afterthought--the seeker's own loss of forward momentum had practically carried it onto his blade.

    Orange sparks showered his hand, but he felt no pain. At the edges of his vision he saw both halves of the droid trailing fire as they fell away behind him.

    "I got it!" he called. R2's fearful whistle was almost immediately drowned out by a massive explosion. The rush of hot wind made the Landcat lurch to one side, its undercarriage briefly scraping the rock of the canyon. His ears ringing, he barely made out the sense of R2's panicked beeping.

    "I'm all right . . . it must've had some kind of self-destruct mechanism." That was ominous. Even elite groups of mercenaries generally didn't bother detonating their droids to keep them from falling into enemy hands. That sounded like Black Sun, or the Spynet, or . . .

    R2's whistling was frantic, and Anakin finally started to grasp what his friend was trying to tell him. "Set up? What are you talking about? Who would set me--"

    At that moment he rounded a bend, and the canyon seemed to open out around him. After an instant's disorientation he realized this must be the dry lake bed that formed the northern entrance to Moroara Pass. Sarpedon's territory.

    Even as he decelerated, a half-dozen beings on speeder bikes seemed to materialize from hollows and outcroppings in the rock. Each one of them wore black-and-khaki fatigues and slightly canine-featured helmets that concealed their individual identities. They had to be Auster Perahta's mercenary soldiers. Theirs was a hard look to forget. As he watched, six blaster rifles came up and pointed at his chest.

    Anakin's saber hand dropped from its upraised position and landed on the handle of his speeder. "Ohh . . ." he murmured, "Not good."

    ****
    End 4/?
  8. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    Obi-Wan sat on the floor of Nidawi's meeting lodge, looking across a low brazier at the assembled village elders. Some of the half-dozen men and women sat on woven grass mats, while others perched on low stools. The child Ayita, apprentice to the village healer, sat at her aged master's feet. At the moment, the only sounds were the occasional collapse of charred wood in the brazier basin and the low moaning of the wind in the trees.

    The meeting had not gone well so far. Obi-Wan tried restating his position, cushioning his unwelcome words with as much compassion as he could. "Evacuation is your only hope for survival," he said. "If you choose to stay, my student and I will help defend your village for as long as we can, but please don't deceive yourselves. We can only delay defeat, not prevent it. I fear there would be much loss of life."

    Ayita translated his words into the Anghara mountain dialect.

    The younger generation of Anghara all seemed to speak Basic fairly well, but many of the elders either could not or would not do so. Apa Dar, the healer, seemed to sink further forward on his stool when he heard the words. All of Nidawi's elders were called Apa or Oma, meaning ?grandfather? or ?grandmother.? These titles seemed to be used with roughly the same attitude of respect as the Jedi term "Master."

    Apa Dar drew his rough-woven shawl a little closer around his shoulders as he spoke. Ayita translated for him as the old man's thready voice continued in the background. It was a little odd hearing the words of a village leader spoken in the piping tones of a child, especially since Ayita's otherwise-unaccented Basic contained the slightest of lisps over the sibilant /s./ The combined voices had an eerie, otherworldly quality, neither old nor young.

    "It is hard for us to hear these things, Master Jedi," Dar said. "The spirit country is holy to us. This is the land where our ancestors went to earth, and leaving is not something we can do lightly. Perhaps this is difficult for you to understand."

    Obi-Wan thought he did understand. After all, the Jedi had their sacred places too. However, the last time the Jedi Temple faced direct attack was in ancient times, before the Sith began their centuries of hiding. To the Anghara, danger was something present and real, not the stuff of distant memory. It would be unfair to draw a comparison. He inclined his head, conceding the point. "You know your people better than I, Apa," he said.

    Tiny Oma Dyani spoke next, as Ayita translated: "There is some wisdom in what you say, Master Jedi, but I doubt my people will consent to leave Nidawi. You have seen the shrines in the Grove of Martyrs. It would be a betrayal for us to flee the land so many have died for."

    Obi-Wan had indeed seen the Grove of Martyrs. He'd known beforehand that piles of stones topped with prayer flags were Anghara grave markers, and that red flags indicated the deceased had been killed defending the Akitlán holy land. Yet he had not been prepared for the stand of trees low on the Vale's eastern slope, in which red flag after red flag seemed to declare itself with silent defiance, until a traveler realized he was standing on the site of a massacre. The rough-hewn poles that swayed in the wind were like so many ghostly sentinels, and they'd raised the hair at the back of his neck.

    "Yes, Oma, I've seen your Grove," he said. "I mean no disrespect to your martyrs. I only want to prevent such mass killing from happening again."

    The elders spoke to one another in low voices for a few minutes. None of the comments seemed to be addressed to Obi-Wan, and Ayita didn't translate for him. At last Apa Dar turned to him and said, "You will give us some time, Master Jedi, to think on these things. We are sick at heart from this news."

    "Yes, of course, Apa." He doubted that he'd convinced them, but at least they'd heard him out. He took formal leave of them in the fashion of Nidawi's people, by bowing slightly, touching his fingertips to the floor, and then bru
  9. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    His first thought was that Sarpedon's troops had already begun their invasion, and that his Padawan had foolishly tried to engage them. Anakin often acted as if his abilities were limitless, and at times his idea of helping people involved taking risks that would alarm even the most reckless of Jedi. Obi-Wan's worst fear was that one day his student would "help" himself into an early grave, or something worse.

    Yet indulging such worries would get neither of them anywhere. He closed his eyes a moment, seeking the calm, silent place at the core of his being. Once his mind was free of distractions, his anxiety faded like clouds evaporating in a clear desert sky.

    Moving with the efficient speed of necessity, he went to Hoel Oya's barn, where he and Anakin had been staying in the loft. R2 would be there, and Force willing, he'd be able to raise Anakin over the comlink.

    The little droid was standing on the lift platform outside the barn's second floor doors, the transceiver dish on his domed head spinning. As soon as he saw Obi-Wan he started squealing and beeping some largely-unintelligible story.

    "Is he down there?" Obi-Wan called up. R2's mournful wail was as good as an affirmative.

    "Tell him I'm coming," Obi-Wan said as he headed for the ladder.

    The droid relayed this message, then started to repeat his warbling tale. This time Obi-Wan caught something about "soldiers" and "trap" or "ambush." This was grim news, but not a total surprise. Using a young Padawan's distress to lure his Master into a deadly position was a classic method of dispatching Jedi. The only puzzle was how the Coridani forces had discovered Obi-Wan and Anakin hadn't perished when their Aethersprite crashed.

    The Jedi's few belongings were piled along the loft's far wall, away from the mounds of dried grass that filled most of that space. The clothing Anakin had muddied and then hastily washed out after rescuing the sherqa calf was hung over beams and on protruding nails, some of the hems still dripping. Obi-Wan resisted the urge to hang up the sand-colored undertunic that had fallen into a puddle on the floor.

    "I wish he wouldn't get himself into these sorts of things," he said, as he pulled a rickety comlink headset from a half-unrolled pack.

    R2's apologetic-sounding series of beeps was probably a defense of his young friend. Unlike Anakin, Obi-Wan wasn't fluent in astromech, but he frequently got an empathic sense of what the droid was talking about. Not that it should have been possible to form an empathic bond with a droid.

    "At this point it doesn't matter whether it's his fault or not, does it? We just have to get him out of there." Settling the comlink set on his head, he added, "I'll need you to patch me in to his frequency."

    R2's obedient chirp was nearly drowned out by the roar of someone kick-starting an ancient swoop. Looking out of the second-floor doors, Obi-Wan could see Hoel Oya powering up his formidable rustbucket of a craft. The sherqa farmer and village metalsmith wore a blast rifle slung across his broad back.

    "Oh, no . . ." Perhaps he'd done too good a job of alerting his hosts to the Coridani threat. Speeder engines began to whine from elsewhere in Nidawi as other villagers apparently decided to join in the action. This was a disaster in the making--his Padawan in danger and civilians getting in the way.

    ****
    End 6/?
  10. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    ophelia! This is fantastic! You've clearly put a lot of work into the details of the situation on this planet and the peoples. Not only that, but so far I love your characterisation of Anakin and Obi-Wan. Not to mention R2 who, though he isn't technically supposed to be there, is a welcomed addition ;) I also like the bits of humour you've added in. Those kind of dry, SWsy things in the midst of dangerous situations. Very cool. This is such a well-written piece thusfar. Can't wait for more!

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  11. JediSolo13 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2004
    star 2
    Ooh, this is getting good! Great work! :D
  12. red rose knight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2001
    star 4
    Yikes! [face_shocked] Missed a few posts! I am so loving this story and all the details. (Of course, I've already said that.)

    Boy, when Anakin gets himself into trouble, he gets int trouble. And poor Obi-Wan, worried about over stapping his mandate and now having to deal with villagers ready to jump into a fight.

    As always, looking forward to more. :)
  13. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    Ask, and ye shall receive. ;)

    ****

    "I don't need this." The stern little voice which represented all the teachers who'd ever instructed him pointed out that it didn't matter what he wanted or needed. As a Jedi, his duty was to accept the will of the Force without question or complaint. He could only hope he would not be made to choose between rescuing his Padawan and protecting Nidawi's citizens. Grimly, he slung his own blast rifle over his shoulder and descended the ladder.

    Static filled his headset as R2 connected him to Anakin's frequency. "Anakin?" Obi-Wan called out. When he got no reply, he held the earpiece more firmly against the side of his head and tried again, ?Anakin!" The seconds ticked by without a response. Obi-Wan told himself this didn't mean anything; radiation could play havoc with short-range comlink signals.

    He reached Hoel's farmyard and began scanning the area for a transport. Unfortunately, nothing presented itself. Obi-Wan made the short run to a neighboring farm, only to discover that someone had even taken the listing Landcat Mach I that usually leaned against the stone wall of the house. An oil-stained spot marked the place it had been. "Wonderful," he said, looking around at the deserted property. "I suppose I'll just walk, then." He could feel his pulse rising, and with an effort of will he re-centered his mind on the Force. Where immediate action was impossible, patience must win out.

    He tried contacting his student on the comlink again. "Anakin, do you read me?"

    To his relief, he got an answer. "Master! I've run into a little problem."

    "Yes, I gathered that," Obi-Wan said. "Where are you?"

    The sound of blaster fire came over the headset and the channel dissolved into static, drowning out Anakin's reply. "See if you can adjust the frequency, R2, I can't get a clear signal," Obi-Wan said. The droid whistled that he'd try.

    The screech of off-frequency feedback was followed by more static, and then the whine of overworked speeder engines. "Anakin! What did you say? I didn't copy," Obi-Wan said.

    "I said I'm in the Pass, and I've picked up sort of an escort," Anakin said. "Judging by the uniforms I'd say they're friends of Perahta's. They're--ah . . . not too happy to see me."

    Obi-Wan ran his hand back over his hair, assimilating the fact that his fears had been justified. Sarpedon had indeed hired one of the galaxy's most bloodthirsty--and fabulously successful--mercenary captains to see to his interests on Angharad. And Anakin, dear, sweet, lightning rod for trouble that he was, was apparently leading some of his soldiers this way.

    "Hold on, I'm coming after you," Obi-Wan said. Then he added to himself unhappily, "As soon as I can find a way to get there."

    He returned to the path that led back to the village center, and soon found himself on Nidawi's deserted main street. The center court was empty now except for a lone sherqa, which bleated and scraped its spiral horns against the post it was tied to. Those residents who had chosen to stay had closed the shutters on their houses, perhaps expecting the catastrophe he'd warned them about. The only structure where lamplight still shone through open windows was the local public house.

    "When in doubt, try the bar," Obi-Wan said to himself. In his experience, bars and temples were the two places that always filled up when things were looking grim. It turned out there was a vehicle on the building's far side, a rattletrap swoop in even worse shape than Hoel Oya's. The brown splotches of rust-retardant on the sides were distinctive, and Obi-Wan recognized it as belonging to Pepik Ketanqa, a man known as the village ne'er-do-well. A quick glance in the tavern revealed that Pepik was nowhere in sight.

    Within the Republic, Jedi had the right to appropriate civilian transports in times of emergency--not that this was the Republic. Still, his decision wasn't hard. He got astride the rusty craft and flipped its ignition switch. About half of
  14. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    And Anakin, dear, sweet, lightning rod for trouble that he was

    That was great. It completely sounds like the kind of wry thing Obi-Wan might think in a situation like this.


    "When in doubt, try the bar," Obi-Wan said to himself.

    [face_laugh] He would say that, wouldn't he? ;)

    //Oh good,// he thought //I'm stealing something *loud*.//

    Haha, once again, you've pegged Obi-Wans ability to have a dry sense of humour even in the most dire of situations. And along with it, Anakin's ability to understate the seriousness of his sitations. But things really do keep getting more and more tense. Keep up the awesome writing, this is just fantastic!

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  15. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 4
    Excellent! I really like the characterization of Anakin in this. And I'm not a huge Anakin fan, as a rule.
  16. VadersMistress Jedi Grand Master

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    Apr 7, 2004
    star 6
    Great job! Really, I mean it. I love Obi-Wan and Anakin together. You have made sure they are in character and I applaud you! Magnificently done.
  17. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    Yay!! Thank you for your comments. Feedback always makes my day. :)

    solojones wrote: He would say that, wouldn't he?

    Well . . . he does have that little . . . problem, doesn't he? ;)

    [image=http://www1.theforce.net/jc/icons/attackoftheclones/obiwan_aotc_GLK.gif]

    ****

    The swoop lurched forward, and after a wobbly start, it began to pick up speed as he guided it onto the main street. For the moment, it did not seem inclined to fall apart. He spared one hand long enough to hold the comlink transmitter closer to his mouth as he said, "I'm leaving Nidawi now, Anakin."

    "Yes, Master," Anakin replied.

    A horrendous explosion echoed up from the valley and static interrupted the signal once again. As the noise receded, Obi-Wan could hear R2 squealing. "I know--I noticed," Anakin said. "Master, I've got crossfire from the canyon lip. They . . . uh, seem to be firing on Perahta's scouts, but some of those shots are coming awfully--" Rounds of blaster fire drowned out his voice, and again they lost contact. Perhaps it was just as well, since Obi-Wan's comments didn't set a very good example for his student at that point.

    He deeply regretted settling for "responsible" but unreliable continuous-wave comlinks. Traditional comlinks used subspace signals that were unaffected by radiation, but their use was strictly regulated within the atmospheres of most worlds. However, the mountain wilderness of Angharad was not a place likely to suffer channel jamming. He resolved that in the future he would opt for standard comlinks and tell the Republic Communications Service what it could do with its "reasonable use guidelines."

    As the disruption passed, Anakin could be heard uttering a string of Huttese monosyllables. Apparently Obi-Wan had set a poor example for him in the past, too. He nudged the swoop into greater speed as he passed the white stone posts that marked the boundary of the village.

    The surrounding trees grew dense almost at once, and the going was treacherous. Woody vines and vertically-dangling buttress roots turned the mountain forest into the terrestrial equivalent of an asteroid field.

    Shouting over the swoop's engines, Obi-Wan said, "When I get down there, I'm going to try to draw them off you. Once they follow me, I want you to get out of there as quickly as you can. I'll meet you back in Nidawi."

    "I'm not leaving you down here alone," Anakin said, as if surprised Obi-Wan would even suggest such a thing. "Once I get out of this canyon I can at least turn around and return fire."

    The first response that came to Obi-Wan's mind involved the word "insane," and he wisely bit his tongue and waited for the second response. He had managed to learn a thing or two since the days when he was Anakin's arrogant and impatient young Master. "Have some faith in me. I'm doing what I can to protect you, not to get myself killed." Fear had always been the boy's besetting vice, and he had never forgotten the pain of losing both his mother and Qui-Gon in such a short period of time.

    Anakin made no immediate reply. Just as Obi-Wan was beginning to dread the start of an argument in the middle of a pitched battle, his Padawan answered unhappily, "Yes, Master."

    "A wise decision, young one," Obi-Wan said, with quiet gravity.

    The terrain was a little hard to assess at the speed he was traveling, but he thought the slope was starting to become shallower. Cava trees, massive succulents that supported themselves with buttress roots, were more numerous here. Obi-Wan knew the river must be nearby.

    Moments later, he sighted the green-and-white surface of the Shasti River through the trees. He had just guided the swoop onto the riverside trail when another explosion echoed through the valley. This time he was close enough to feel the vibrations through the vehicle's frame.

    "Anakin!" He got nothing but interference over the comlink for a few heart-stopping seconds. //Force, protect him.// "R2, can you do anything with that frequency?" The
  18. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    "I'm not far from Three Sisters Falls. Where are you?" Obi-Wan asked.

    "Maybe half a kilometer north. I should see you just about any second," Anakin said.

    "Good. I'm going to pull off the trail on the east side of the river mouth. Get a few lengths ahead of them if you can, and lead them by me," Obi-Wan said.

    "Yes, Master." Something in Anakin's voice made Obi-Wan worry that he was going to start arguing again, but all he said was, "Good luck, Master."

    "I've never had good luck in my life," Obi-Wan answered, with a trace of humor. The phrase referenced a much earlier conversation held under safer circumstances, and it reminded him how fond he was of this boy. The two of them had essentially agreed to disagree about the role blind fortune played in the workings of the galaxy.

    There was little time for talk, however. At the speed Anakin would be traveling, half a kilometer would take no more than several seconds to cover. Obi-Wan detached his saber from his belt as he began decelerating. The ancient swoop shuddered hard, and there was an alarming moment where the frame seemed ready to buckle. Fortunately, the strongest of the vibrations ceased as he slid to a stop beside the dense foliage of a mourning lace bush.

    A moment later, Anakin tore by, sending dark, scallop-edged leaves flying in his wake. In the blur of his passage, Obi-Wan glimpsed some sort of green-energy producing device attached to the front of his speeder. Obi-Wan had never seen anything quite like *that* before. He could only surmise that this was one of Anakin's mechanical "improvements."

    Shaking his head, Obi-Wan swung halfway out of the swoop's seat. He planted his right foot on one of the swoop's outrigger bars and dug his left boot toe into the soft dirt of the ground behind him. His unlit saber rested loosely in one hand. It was the classic Jedi swordsman's stance, modified slightly for pressing circumstances.

    Obi-Wan remained still, wasting no movement, as the enemy speeders roared closer. The Force would tell him when to act.

    The lead scout was practically on top of him before he lit his blade. At the last possible instant, Obi-Wan slashed upward through the scout's steering vanes. Sparks flew as the severed vanes arced awayinto the bushes.

    The damaged speeder spun wildly out of control and mushroomed into a ball of fire as it struck a tree. Although Obi-Wan had aimed the blow at the machine and not the man, the scout's death had been a certainty from the moment he lit his saber. Even still, Obi-Wan always regretted having to end any life, however necessary it might be.

    Blaster fire began to rain down upon him, tearing apart the bush he'd used for cover. He dropped back into the seat and pulled out in front of his attackers. Apparently, they didn't share his philosophy of restraint and reluctance to endanger sentient life. The air around him was luminous with blast energy, and the sharp tang of ozone stung his nostrils. The scouts' small, speeder-mounted blaster cannons appeared difficult to aim, but they made up for any inaccuracy by sheer volume of firepower. Obi-Wan held his blade one-handed over his shoulder, using a series of circular wrist-snaps to catch and deflect those blaster bolts he couldn't dodge. He quickly discovered a problem, however. The swoop's engines stuck out some two-thirds of a meter behind the pilot's seat, forcing him to hold his saber at a shallow angle that badly lessened its blade coverage. He could defend his head or his engine housings, but not both at once. Worse, the rusty old frame had begun trembling again. He doubted any part of the swoop could take much of a hit without the whole thing disintegrating.

    ****
    End 9/?
  19. Kynstar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 2, 2004
    star 5
    Uh oh! Obi-Wan in possible danger! Possible? *snrk* to say the least! hehehehe

    Great work! Can't wait for more :D :D love the play between Obi-Wan and Anakin! :D
  20. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    Thank you. :D

    ****

    A slight prickling through the Force alerted him that at least one of the scouts had just gotten the same idea. Obi-Wan risked a glance over his shoulder and saw his remaining pursuers hunkered down over their handgrips, streaking along in a wing formation about a dozen meters behind him. As he watched, the closest one drew a blaster from his thigh holster and took careful aim at his head.

    Suddenly, Obi-Wan's Jedi senses alerted him to a more immediate danger to the front. He turned just in time to dodge a massive buttress-root barring his way. The scout's shot vaporized a chunk of root at approximately the spot Obi-Wan's skull would have slammed into it.

    He didn't need the Force to know what his enemy had in mind. The shot was meant to force his guard as high as possible, leaving his engines vulnerable. Obi-Wan had no intention of escaping until Anakin was well away, but it was obvious he needed a more defensive strategy. He nudged the swoop to greater speed, hoping to put as many obstacles as possible between himself and his pursuers.

    The riverside path was a twisting, narrow tunnel through the dense vegetation, and he had to follow it precisely or meet an explosive end against a tree. At first his crazily-shifting trajectory helped prevent the scouts from drawing a bead on him.

    Then the path began straightening out, and he entered a long stretch where the only available cover was the thick buttress-roots and hanging vines that walled him in on all sides. The scouts opened up their laser cannons on him, taking full advantage of the situation. Obi-Wan rolled away and under the hail of blaster bolts by throwing his weight to one side and sending the swoop into a sickening, semi-controlled corkscrew.

    This was starting to look like a good way to get killed. "I'm going to need to get off the trail," he told Anakin through the comlink. "Where are you?"

    "I'm where you told me to be, Master, heading east up the slope toward the village." Anakin said.

    "An admirable observance of duty, Padawan," Obi-Wan said, with gentle authority. He knew it was very hard for Anakin to walk away from a friend in trouble. ?I'm heading west over the river.?

    "Yes, Master," Anakin said. He sounded unhappy but resigned.

    After another glance behind him to gauge the scouts' location, Obi-Wan began scanning the thicket to his right for a gap big enough to admit the swoop. Now and then he could see flashes of the river through the vines, but none of the spots seemed safe enough to plow through.

    Then a blaster bolt scored his engine housing and sent a heart-stopping jolt through the rusty frame. The swoop lurched to one side, nearly throwing Obi-Wan off. That caused him to refine his definition of "safety." The next time he caught a glimpse of pale green water through thetrees ahead, he pulled his craft into a neat arc and sped straight toward the wall of hanging vines. He whirled his lightsaber overhead to cut some clearance, and after a tremendous crash of breaking branches and an alarming squeal of something inside the swoop, he was through. He'd plainly surprised the scouts; he could hear the engines of their speeders drop in pitch as they overshot the place where he'd turned.

    His satisfaction was short lived, however. The swoop shuddered and slowed as soon as he had water under him. "Oh, don't you dare," he told it.

    "Master?" Anakin asked.

    "I'm having sort of a . . . minor repulsor problem," Obi-Wan said. Many older repulsorlift craft didn't function well over water. The constantly changing surface could cause the relatively slow lift processors to miscalculate, throwing the vehicle into uncontrollable convulsions. As he struggled with the non-responsive steering vanes, Obi-Wan could hear the scouts circling back toward the gap he'd created. He supposed it served him right for stealing a vehicle from the town drunk.

    "Have you tried engaging the manual override?" Anakin asked.

    Obi-Wan flipped the proper switch, and the toggle poppe
  21. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    "I'm having sort of a . . . minor repulsor problem," Obi-Wan said. Many older repulsorlift craft didn't function well over water.

    "You dope, McFly! Hoverboards don't work on water! Unless you've got power! Ah ahahah!"

    :p Sorry, couldn't resist.

    I absolutely love the way you've written this. I don't know how to describe my appreciation for your writing ability. You manage to work in believable technical details of the fight and chase that are just enough to make it really interesting and suspenseful but not too much to be boring. Honestly, this is really briliant!

    As if that weren't enough, your characterizations are spot on. I especially loved the idea of Anakin trying to explain with his hands and Obi-Wan knowing that was exactly what he'd be doing. You manage to display what their relationship is like and what they are like with seemless effortlessness. I love Obi-Wan's wry comments and Anakin's playing down of serious situations, trying to keep calm ;)

    Keep up the great work.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  22. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    Thank you, solojones. :D I'm writing ch. 7 as we speak (this bit here would be the middle of ch. 2). I hope people like the later bits as much. They are *not* going to take me two years to finish . . . unlike this first part. ;)

    ****

    Unfortunately, the poor visibility didn't alter their willingness to open fire. Blaster bolts vaporized the river surface all around him, sending up plumes of chemical-smelling steam.

    Half-submerged tree trunks and boulders formed obstacles in this slower and wider part of the Shasti. Obi-Wan sped toward a boulder large enough to provide some cover, hoping to use it for an instant's respite from blaster fire.

    He sensed a hound-like instinct rise up in his pursuers as they guessed what he was doing. In their minds, their prey was quavering in the face of superior force, and this was their opportunity to run him to ground. Obi-Wan heard their engines kick into high gear. When he glanced back, he saw the scouts fanning out, hoping to come at him from both sides once he reached the far side of the boulder.

    Obi-Wan stretched his senses out to the Force. He asked it to guide his hand, so he would not stray into darkness despite what he was about to do. The scouts had stopped firing in their eagerness to pull ahead of him. Obi-Wan allowed two of them to draw close behind his own craft, and they matched the arc of his turn as they neared the boulder. Obi-Wan stood up on the outrigger bars just as the huge rock blocked his view of the lone scout on the other side.

    He sensed the puzzlement and alarm of the scouts just behind him as he raised his saber to a one-handed defense position, the blade right of midline and the tip pointed downward. One man began to shout a warning. His comrade on the other side of the rock never stood a chance. When the hapless scout emerged from the far side of the boulder, the Jedi's reflexes were faster.

    Obi-Wan's blade became an arc of light an instant before his adversary fired. He caught the blast bolts in a whirling overhand snap, flinging them back at his attacker as if throwing water droplets from his saber. Deflected blast energy pelted the scout's speeder, and the man flung one arm up in a futile attempt at defense. For an instant as their craft passed, Obi-Wan and the doomed scout looked straight at one another.

    A second later, the speeder blew. As violent turbulence spread across the normally-glassy Shasti, Obi-Wan was nearly blown into the water himself.

    The wild fluctuations in the water level were too much for the swoop's limited processors. Bone-jarring vibrations ran through its frame. Scalding droplets of vaporized river water rained down upon Obi-Wan as he half-fell against the handlebars, his boot soles skidding against the worn treads of the accelerator pedals. The lift processors were making a horrible noise, and he recalled what Anakin had said about remembering where to hit them. He had no idea how to repeat what he had done earlier, and didn't dare release his grip on the craft to try.

    Worse, the blast's radiation had cause his comlink signal to dissolve into furious static. He silently willed Anakin to do the sensible thing and continue on back to Nidawi. The last thing he needed was one of Anakin's patented "rescues," which tended to be spectacular studies in disaster.

    Fighting for control of the shuddering vehicle, Obi-Wan glanced in the direction he'd last seen the remaining scouts. They had steered wide of the blast and continued some way down the river in apparent panic, but now they were arcing back toward him. It was clear that their more modern craft were not destabilizing. They forged ahead over the waves, making slower-than-usual progress over the peaks and troughs but traveling with the smoothness of bobbing corks.

    For once, they didn't seem eager to begin shooting up everything in sight. But then, this time they could afford to wait for a good shot. Obi-Wan was nearly defenseless as he clung to the ancient, disintegrating vehicle.

    He h
  23. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    This is only the middle of chapter 2? :eek: I wish I had yet developed the skill to put the necessary detail into chapters to make them as substantial as yours. And to know you're that far ahead is great. And hey, I've had stories that took two years to complete before, due to months of writer's block and such. Keep at it, you're doing great now :D

    I really have to say that, honestly, in my opinion, this is professional quality writing. There's really good fanfic and then there are the very few elite pro fic quality ones, and I have to tell you this is one of them. Your writing style reminds me of Michael Crichton's, and he's my favourite :) So you have my utmost respect as a writer. Continue on!

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  24. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

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    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    solojones wrote: I've had stories that took two years to complete before, due to months of writer's block and such.

    For a long time I couldn't get the interaction between Obi-Wan and Anakin right. It seemed off no matter what I did. I finally decided that the problem was I couldn't bear to take Obi-Wan off center-stage, 'cause he's my favorite. ;) Then Anakin would invariably get too obnoxious, because *he's* got to have center stage. For the purposes of this story anyway, Obi-Wan seems to work best as the "stable center" George imagines him to be. Of course, after a while Anakin goes off and has some adventures by himself, so then I can do whatever I want to Obi-Wan. Ahahahahahaaaha!!!!!!

    Your writing style reminds me of Michael Crichton's, and he's my favourite.

    Whoa! That's high praise indeed. Thank you. [face_blush]
  25. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    You're welcome, you deserve it :)

    I know what you mean about making the story center around Obi-Wan... considering I'm writing the ENTIRE saga in relation to him [face_laugh] However, I'm also working on a story that centers around Anakin, so that should be completely different and interesting. It's always good to challenge youself, eh? For what it's worth, I think you've done a great job thusfar of characterizing both of them.


    -sj loves kevin spacey
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