Beyond "The Shadow of Fate" (SJRS Challenge: Episode VII) Updated 21 December

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by JadeLotus, Jun 9, 2014.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    May/June 2014 SJRS Challenge
    The challenge is simple:
    Write Luke’s opening scene in EP 7 (note that it does take place in 34 ABY). Include an opening crawl of some sort giving some context. And seeing that this IS the Skywalker-JADE Revival Society, include our favorite red headed female.


    Episode VII: The Shadow of Fate

    Peace has been restored to the galaxy. The GALACTIC EMPIRE has fallen and a NEW REPUBLIC, lead by LEIA ORGANA SOLO, has ensured freedom for all citizens.

    Jedi Master LUKE SKYWALKER has rebuilt the Jedi Order to once again become guardians of peace and justice within the Republic. However Skywalker has sensed a disturbance in the Force, an unseen threat that may cast a shadow on everything he and Organa Solo have achieved.

    Skywalker has dispatched his Jedi across the galaxy to discover the source of this threat and ensure continued peace in the galaxy…


    The space above Coruscant was always crowded. Luke Skywalker had once imagined that if there was a bright centre of the universe, his home planet of Tatooine would be the planet that it was furthest from. Not even in his wildest dreams had he imagined actually visiting that bright centre of the universe, let alone making it his home. Luke remembered the first time he had seen Coruscant, its surface covered by one, immense city; a million lights mirroring the tightly packed stars in the sky. It had been almost overwhelming.

    Luke reflected on this as he pulled his X-wing out of hyperspace above Coruscant, the sight still incredible to him, thirty years later. Yet this time a sense of unease permeated him, and Luke scanned the horizon, reaching out through the Force to discern the cause. Numerous Republic-Class Star Destroyers and smaller, naval frigates were stationed around the planet, which was not unusual. As Capital of the New Republic, Coruscant airspace was tightly monitored, however all that was required to pass through was simple Republic vehicle registration.

    “I have a bad feeling about this,” a crisp female voice came over the comm. It was his wingmate, Kara Ravenlok, and Luke saw her X-wing hover in his peripheral vision.

    “I feel it too,” Luke confirmed. He noticed a cluster of unfamiliar ships ahead, as squadron of snub fighters was launched from the primary Star Destroyer. Clearly, these ships were unregistered and needed to be disabled on the chance they posed a threat.

    “Unidentified vessel,” a voice hailed him over the comm. “This is Republic Star Destroyer Defender. Please transmit your registration codes immediately.”

    “This is Luke Skywalker,” he advised them, and punched the button which would transit his codes. They would allow him to pass, but Luke was curious as to the situation “Callsign Red Five.” In a recent bought of nostalgia, Luke had taken to using his first codename as his private signal which would ensure his presence was brought to the attention of the ship’s commander.

    “Copy, Red Five,” the voice answered more warmly. “Please hold for Admiral Antilles.”

    “Luke!” Wedge’s rich voice flowed over the comm. “Good to hear your voice.”

    “Yours too,” Luke answered with a smile. “What’s going on?”

    “Probably nothing,” Wedge said, but Luke could hear the uncertainty in his tone. “Nestiin pirates, maybe,” he continued.

    “Need a hand?” Luke asked, grinning. He and Ravenlok had just spent a few supremely uneventful weeks on Dathomir, and he was itching to get back into the fray. Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things. Master Yoda’s words came back to him, and Luke smiled to himself. He didn’t crave those things, he rationalised, he just was not adverse to them.

    “Help yourself,” Wedge answered with a chuckle.

    “Kara?”

    “You know me, Master,” Kara answered, a hint of humor slipping through her formal Coruscanti accent. “Ready for anything.”

    “Alright,” he grinned. “I’ll take point.” Luke maneuvered his X-wing closer to the unidentified ships, and tried to hail them on the open comm. “This is Jedi Master Luke Skywalker,” he said. “Please respond or I will disable your ships.”

    The only response was from the ship’s guns, which began to fire on him. Luke swerved the shots easily and remained on course. “Don’t fire,” he ordered Kara and also sent the message to the Republic snubfighters. NR navy was disciplined, but wouldn’t be too concerned if they blasted those ships out of the sky rather than disabling them as was policy. For Luke, it was a simple task.

    All it took was a barrel roll and one proton torpedo and he’d knocked out the largest ship’s weapons and sublight engines, leaving the gravity and life support intact. Kara’s X-wing soared overhead and did the same to one of the smaller vessels. In a few moments Luke had disabled the final two, leaving all four dead in space.

    “Unidentified ships,” Luke hailed them again. “Your weapons and engines are disabled. Please wait for collection by New Republic Navy.” He smiled to himself. “Have a nice day.”

    “Thanks Luke,” Wedge’s came through the secure channel. “It’s always good for the newbies to see how it’s done.”

    “No problem,” Luke answered easily, keeping his voice casual. “I’d be interested to hear what the pilots of those ships have to say for themselves.”

    “I’ll keep you in the loop.” Wedge promised him.

    Luke’s unease hadn’t lessened with the disabling of those ships, if anything it had increased. A few months previous, he’d had a vision which continued to haunt his dreams – the Force had sent him a warning, he was sure of it. But Luke hadn’t had much luck deciphering the vision, only that it signalled danger to the New Republic, the Jedi and the galaxy itself. And now pirates were trying to infiltrate Coruscant? It hardly seemed like a coincidence.

    Luke and Kara descended onto Coruscant and landed their X-wings in perfect formation on the main landing pad of the Jedi Temple. Ground crew scurried around them, removing Artoo and Kara’s own R6 unit from the ships. Artoo beeped at Luke that he was off to find Threepio, and wheeled away. Luke pulled off his goggles and helmet and gratefully inhaled the cool Coruscanti air which had become as familiar to him as the dry heat of Tatooine had once been. He ran a hand through his hair, a touch shaggy after the weeks he and Kara had spent on Dathomir. Kara pulled off her own helmet, her dark features alight with a charming smile as she handed it to an aide who had appeared to assist her with removing her flightsuit. Kara wore her hair short – practically shorn - and Luke ran his fingers through his own hair again ruefully.

    An aide appeared at Luke’s side as he removed his own flightsuit and took the proffered Jedi robe, folding it around him in a comforting shroud. When Kara had put on her robe, the pair travelled across the landing pad together, Kara’s perfect posture accentuated by the lift of her chin as she walked.

    She had been the granddaughter of an Imperial Moff and had an aristocratic bearing of the Ravenlok House, an ancient Coruscanti family. But she had been born after the Empire fell, and like Luke’s own son, like Leia and Han’s daughter, Kara had only ever known times of relative peace. She had been Luke’s padawan before she’d been knighted several years ago, but they still made a good team. It wasn’t easy to find another Jedi with the same affinity for X-wings as Luke had, but Kara was a gifted pilot with a particular fondness for Rebellion history.

    Luke smiled to himself. To someone like Kara, the Death Stars, the Alliance, the Empire, Emperor and Darth Vader were all distant history, something her generation had studied in school and watched holofilms about. Luke had lived it. All too well, he remembered a time when there had seemed to be little hope and no justice in the galaxy. His generation had been raised during war; he was determined to ensure that younger generations would continue to live in times of peace.

    “You are uneasy, Master Skywalker,” Kara observed as they walked. “Those were not ordinary pirates,” she continued.

    “I do not think so,” Luke answered evenly. “We cannot afford to treat any disturbance as coincidence.” He sighed. “But we can ruminate on that later, when I make my report to the Jedi Council. For now, it is good to be home.” Luke could not keep the grin from his face as he saw two women at the entrance to the Temple, waiting for them.

    Both were pale-skinned, but that was where the similarities ended. The younger of the two, barely out of her teens, was dark-haired with a petite, heart-shaped face and a lopsided grin; his niece, Jaina Solo. And the other – Luke’s heart leapt when he saw her, as it had done every day since they had met. Her red-gold hair, accentuated by a few streaks of grey, glinted in the sunlight and when she saw Luke approach a wry smile graced her lips, her green eyes alight. She wore the outer brown cloak of a Jedi out of deference, but refused to wear the cream-coloured tabard and surcoat as the rest of the Jedi did, complaining that the coarse fabric made her skin itch. Instead, she wore dark trousers, knee-high boots and a slim-fitting tunic; a smuggler’s ingenuity beneath a Jedi’s bearing.

    Mara Jade had been raised in the very heart of the Imperial regime, by the Emperor himself. She had been groomed to become his most trusted assassin, to carry out his every will while being kept blind to Palpatine’s true, evil nature. Her final order had been to find and kill Luke Skywalker, and she’d been fully committed to fulfilling that mission even after they had met.

    Naturally, Luke had fallen in love with her.

    “Mara,” Luke greeted her as they approached, wanting desperately to take her in his arms but having some sense of decorum. “Jaina,” he greeted his niece warmly. “It’s good to see you both.”

    “I’m so glad to see, you, Uncle Luke!” Jaina exclaimed with the exuberance of youth. “I mean,” she corrected herself quietly and cleared her throat. “Master Skywalker.” She smiled at Kara. “Jedi Ravenlok.”

    But Luke wasn’t bothered with formalities, and pinched Jaina’s cheek playfully. “Miss me, huh?”

    Jaina looked sheepish, the same look Han had given him a million times. “Aunt Mara always takes it easier on me when you’re here,” she admitted and beside him, Kara laughed quietly. Although she was Jaina’s senior by several years, the two had always been close friends. “The longer you’re away,” Jaina continued. “The more bruises I seem to get in combat training.”

    “I thought padawans were supposed to respect their Masters,” Mara said, although there was nothing but affection in her tone, and she tugged on Jaina’s padawan braid playfully.

    “Has everything been okay here?” Luke asked, changing the subject. Ever since his vision, he’d sent out pairs of Jedi to search for anything which may be the cause of the disturbance in the Force.

    However Jaina was still a padawan and Luke would not allow her to leave Coruscant. That decision had the added advantage of leaving Mara in charge of the Jedi Temple and Academy, and there was no one he trusted more to keep the Order running smoothly in his absence.

    “As well as can be expected,” Mara told him. “Master Horn and Jedi Zekk have reported nothing suspicious on Naboo, and Master Durron and Jedi Ka have made inroads into a pirate ring on Hapes, but found nothing which would indicate the Dark Side.”

    “I know there’s something out there,” Luke said almost to himself. “We just have to find it.”

    “We will, Master,” Kara said resolutely. “I can go through the Archives again for new leads,” she suggested.

    Mara was excellent at concealing her emotions, but no one present noticed that she blanched at the idea of them leaving again so soon.

    “It will take a few days, of course,” Kara added quickly, giving Mara an apologetic look. “Perhaps I should get started,” she suggested. “I’m sure you and Master Skywalker have much more to…er…discuss,” she added awkwardly.

    Mara seemed amused and almost smiled, and Kara responded with a grin as she bowed and took her leave. Mara looked at Luke keenly, but he was aware of Jaina hovering at Mara’s elbow, ever attentive to her master. But whilst Luke was deciding on the most delicate way to ask his niece to leave as well, he saw a dark-skinned young man in Senatorial clothes approach, intently tapping on a datapad.

    “Hello, Zeb,” Luke greeted him.

    Zebula Pavish looked up and nodded. “Greetings, Master Skywalker,” he said formally, and Luke suppressed a smile. He had known Zeb for many years, ever since Leia had taken the orphaned boy with a keen mind and political aptitude under her wing. He was now her protégé, and however amiable he was in a familial setting, Zeb took his official duties very seriously. “Chancellor Organa Solo has requested an update on your mission,” he added purposefully.

    “No luck,” Luke answered grimly. “The clans I spoke to have sensed nothing, and there is no evidence of Nightsister resurgence. I will make my full report to the Jedi Council,” he added. “But tell Leia that I’ll come and see her straight after that.”

    “I will inform her.” Zeb nodded. His attention then drifted to Jaina, who had grown very interested in her boots ever since Zeb had arrived.

    “Hi, Jaina,” Zeb grinned, but there was an undercurrent of nervousness to him, his formality falling away as Jaina looked up at him. Luke didn’t miss Zeb fidgeting with the datapad in his hand. Jaina didn’t either, but pretended not to notice.

    “Hey, Zeb,” she said, smiling and biting her lip. “Good to see you.”

    The two began on conversing quietly about the supremely safe topic of that day’s Senate meeting, and Mara tugged on Luke’s robe and tilted her head. He followed her with relief into the Temple, noting that she did not remove her hand from the sleeve of his robe. Luke quickly located a deserted corridor and pulled Mara purposefully into a small alcove.

    As soon as they were hidden from sight Luke crushed Mara into his embrace, inhaling the sweet scent of her hair as her arms went around his neck, clutching him tightly.

    “You miss me too, huh?” he chuckled into her hair, running his hands down her back.

    “You know I did,” she said as she pulled back slightly. His retort was swallowed by her lips pressing against his, and Luke pulled Mara tighter against him, kissing her passionately. There had not been a moment during their separation that he had not thought of her and now that she was in his arms he didn’t ever want to let go. And yet even his exquisite joy was tempered by the knowledge that he would have to, that they both had duties which they could not, and would not, shirk from.

    Mara pulled away and sighed contentedly. “What’s this?” she asked playfully, stroking the greying whiskers on his chin which he had let grow out over the past few weeks. “Run out of vibrorazors?”

    He rubbed his beard sheepishly and shrugged. “Dathomir isn’t exactly a health spa.”

    “Hmph,” Mara dismissed, but she kissed him again tenderly and ran her fingers down the side of his cheeks and jaw. “Come on, Skywalker,” she pulled away and tugged the sleeve of his robe. “Your son is scheduled to comm in.”

    My son?” he called after her as he followed her to the communications room.

    “Yes,” she answered playfully. “He’s says he might of found something, but wouldn’t explain until you were back. When he’s being mysterious and stubborn, he’s your son.”

    “As opposed to when he’s being irascible and rude, then he’s your son?” Luke asked playfully.

    Mara laughed. “Yes.” She took his hand as they sat down at the comm unit together and coded in Ben’s frequency. It took a few moments to connect due to the distance but they were soon patched through to Ben’s ship on Tatooine. Luke had wanted to investigate his home planet himself, but Ben had begged for the assignment and Luke couldn’t deny him.

    After a few moments Ben appeared in miniature, shaggy ginger hair falling into his eyes and a cocky grin on his face. An extremely tall woman with close-cropped, blonde hair stood next to him – Ben’s former master, Eren Pax.

    “Master Pax,” Luke greeted the pair. “Ben.”

    “Greetings, Master Skywalker,” Eren answered in a measured tone. “Master Jade.”

    “Good to see you, Dad,” Ben said with visible relief.

    “And me?” Mara needled him, one eyebrow arching.

    “Of course, Ma,” Ben smiled, his Coruscanti accent tempered with a lilt and informal vernacular he’d picked up somewhere in his youthful travels. “I just…” he trailed off, and looked at Eren, who shook her head almost imperceptivity. “Never mind.”

    “What’s troubling you, Ben?” Luke asked, concerned. Ben had Skywalker blood, had the same deep connection to the Force all of his family did, and Luke wondered whether he’d seen a vision of his own.

    “I’ll tell you when you get here,” Ben said firmly.

    “Oh?” Luke asked, trying to keep his voice light, and he felt Mara’s hand tighten on his leg. “I’m coming to Tatooine, am I?”

    “I think that you should, Master Skywalker,” Eren said seriously. “The result of our investigations have been disturbing.”

    “What is it?” Mara asked.

    “I’m not sure but…” Ben took a deep breath, his gaze darting about, unwilling to look at the viewer. “I felt something…”

    “What?” Mara asked again anxiously, because it was unlike Ben to be so unnerved.

    Ben looked directly at them, his expression grim. “A Sith.”
    Last edited by JadeLotus, Dec 21, 2014 at 3:39 AM
  2. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    [face_dancing] SQUEE! I like your OCs and the setup for a short story -- or longer [face_batting] [:D]
    JadeLotus likes this.
  3. taramidala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 1999
    star 4
    Girl, I LOVE this! You had all the newbies! And Lupita! And Gwen! Luke and Mara were perfect, as always. And I wouldn't hate it if you ever wanted to write more... :D
    JadeLotus and Nyota's Heart like this.
  4. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Ha! You got both SJ R S challenges in! The start to EP7 and Mara's reaction to a new beard. I love it! Are we going to see more?
    JadeLotus, Revanfan1 and Gemma like this.
  5. aleja2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2005
    star 2
    SQUEE! I love this. I can so easily visualize it. Loved all your OCs, and of course Luke & Mara. Beautifully done!
    JadeLotus likes this.
  6. Demendora Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2010
    star 2
    Great response to the challenge. And I liked references to new pictures of Mark with a beard.
    JadeLotus likes this.
  7. mattman8907 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2012
    star 3
    i like it. i wouldn't mind if you turned this into a full story or something.
    JadeLotus likes this.
  8. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    Ooh ooh ooh! Very nice!
    JadeLotus likes this.
  9. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    OH! I love that you fit the beard into this - LOL! And how you fit all the recent casting announcements. Great response!
  10. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    Love it! Please tell us there will be more!
    JadeLotus and Nyota's Heart like this.
  11. EmeraldJediFire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2012
    star 4
    Intriguing...definitely a start to something.. *wink wink*
    JadeLotus and Nyota's Heart like this.
  12. Kahara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 3
    [face_laugh] That's Luke, all right.



    Of course. ;) I enjoyed seeing their solid relationship and jokes about when Ben is to be considered the offspring of each parent.

    Liked how you worked in various cast members as the younger characters; great choices that I could picture very well from seeing their photos.
    Last edited by Kahara, Jun 9, 2014
  13. Gemma Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 25, 2013
    star 3
    I enjoyed this sequence above. And of course Mara and Luke sneaking a moment for themselves was just perfect!! Loved that you included the beard reference too. If you continue this please tag me.
    JadeLotus and Revanfan1 like this.
  14. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    Thank you everyone who reviewed! Since a few of you have hinted/asked, yes, I do intend to continue this and have a few ideas for this and maybe "episodes" 8 and 9 as well :D

    @Nyota's Heart - I don't usually write many OC's, so it was a good excuse to think what the new characters may be.

    @taramidala - I really wanted to include Lupita and Gwendoline as Lady Jedi. Episode VII needs more Lady Jedi!

    @Jedi_Lover - I actually had the idea as soon as I saw the pics, so it was a nice coincidence that it was the other challenge!

    @aleja2 - Glad the prose was descriptive enough, I had to start up in space, after all!

    @Demendora - Even though I have grumbled a bit about the beard, it actually inspired the entire fic, so...

    @mattman8907 - Thanks, love the icon btw!

    @Revanfan1 - Thanks, love your icon, too!
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  15. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    @Briannakin - The most recent cast announcement have been the most exciting, so I had to include them!

    @Jade_Pilot - Hee! Yes, there will be more.

    @EmeraldJediFire - Ha! I can take a hint ;)

    @Kahara - Glad you liked those sequences, they were fun to write. I tried to make it easy to guess who was who so glad that worked!

    @Gemma - I like writing Luke a bit snarky, glad you liked that line. I will tag you when I continue.
    Kahara likes this.
  16. mattman8907 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2012
    star 3
    now that's what i like to hear. looking forward to the rest of it.
    Last edited by mattman8907, Jun 11, 2014
    Gemma likes this.
  17. mattman8907 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2012
    star 3
    i'm actually looking forward to seeing how you are going to incorporate Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis and Max Von Sydow's "Roles" into this story.
  18. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    @mattman8907 - I do plan to include everyone, and have some ideas about their "roles" so stay tuned!
    mattman8907 likes this.
  19. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    I'm sorry I am behind in responding. It's been a crazy week. But I love this!!! I love how you fit everyone in and Mara is there, too. [face_love] I love the banter between she and Luke, though Ben's worry over his father has ME worried. In fact, a little 'birdie' wanted me to ask you if I could 'shine' this and I told her that I had a feeling the shine would become sad because it might be L/M's last 'time'!! Or was I reading too much into Ben's relief over seeing his father? At any rate, I see that you might write more and I would love that!! You know I am your #1 fan, gal!!!! [:D]
  20. mattman8907 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2012
    star 3
    i was surprised you involved wedge since the actor who plays wedge turned a role down to appear in E. VII
    Last edited by mattman8907, Jun 13, 2014
    JadeLotus likes this.
  21. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Really? Hope we'll get the Rogues or some kinda squadron, Kyp's Dozen would be nice. =P~ LOL
    JadeLotus likes this.
  22. mattman8907 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2012
    star 3
    calm your self. be mindful of your feelings.
    JadeLotus and Nyota's Heart like this.
  23. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    @ginchy - Thanks, gal! Now, come on, I would never kill Luke...wait, that's exactly what I'm planning to do in another fic I'm working on [face_devil] There will be a scene in the next chapter that would be appropriate for some 'shine, I would love that!

    @mattman8907 - Yeah, I was disappointed to hear that Dennis Lawson turned down the role. It just seemed like he was the right character to use in that moment, and they could always recast!

    @Nyota's Heart - I'm hoping for some Rogues, too!
  24. Theodore Hawkwood Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2014
    star 1
    Awesome beginning to the Episode VII. I could swear that I could imagine watching this on the silver screen with ease.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  25. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    @Theodore Hawkwood - Thank you!

    Tag: @Gemma

    Note: IE = Imperial Era, NRE = New Republic Era. 1 IE = 19 BBY, 1 NRE = 6 ABY


    Chapter 2


    21 IE

    Luke trudged through the swamps of Dagobah towards the small hut Yoda had once occupied. His instincts had brought him back to the planet, even though its lone occupant was now gone.

    It had been many months since the death of the Emperor, and it had been a time of struggle and triumph for the Alliance. With both Palpatine and Vader gone, the Empire’s structure quickly crumbled and many officers defected to the Alliance. Worlds which had been held in check through fear now rebelled openly against the Empire and called for the restoration of the Republic. The siege of Coruscant had lasted many weeks, but the Rebels had prevailed and once they held the Capital, the end for the Empire had come very quickly.

    It was a relief to get away from Coruscant. After months of battles and negotiations and public appearances urging Imperial-controlled worlds to join their cause, Luke was exhausted. Yet the fight was not over, and whilst Leia was in her element arranging peace talks and elections and Senate meetings, Luke felt utterly ill-equipped to assist in politics. Reconstruction of the Republic was her mission, he had told her, restoring the Jedi Order was his.

    The Jedi Temple still standing on Coruscant was of little use in that regard. Its great archives had been stripped and erased, its training tools destroyed. It was a hollow shell of what it must have once been, still standing only to give Palpatine pleasure at the thought that he had gutted the building just as he had the entire Jedi Order.

    And yet Luke remained. He was the last, but as long as he lived the light of the Jedi had not completely gone from the galaxy. So he had returned to his own training grounds, hoping for guidance. Luke brushed aside the vines and moss which had already begun to grow over the front door to Yoda’s hut. Crouching low, he entered the dwelling, lighting the fire and taking a seat cross-legged on the floor. The chair Yoda had died in was still there, an empty blanket the only remaining evidence of the Jedi Master who had taught Luke so much, and yet had not given him any guidance on how a Jedi Order should be constructed.

    Yoda had taught him about the Force with some level of philosophy, but ultimately he had been trained to be a soldier. There were thousands of years of Jedi teachings that he did not know. Luke had not seen Yoda, Ben Kenobi or his father since Endor, and they had not spoken to him on that occasion.

    Luke moved beside Yoda’s chair, the one where the old Jedi would sit in the evenings and tell Luke about the nature of the Force. He gently brushed his fingers against the brown blanket which he had lain so tenderly over his ailing master, asking him not to die. And yet, the blanket was not empty, as Luke had thought when entering. His fingers hit something hard, and he pulled aside the blanket to reveal a cubed, crystal-like device. A holocron.

    That was what the Force had drawn him to Dagobah to find, Luke realised, knowing that the holocron must contain Jedi Archives that Yoda had been able to keep safe. And yet why had it only appeared now, Luke wondered – why had Yoda not given it to him before? Because he had not been a Jedi, then, Luke reasoned. At that time it was unknown what would become of him. Only after he had completed his final test, and faced Vader, could Luke call himself a Jedi, and so only then could he access their archives.

    Luke smiled as he held the holocron in his hand, the crystals glinting in the firelight. Yoda had told Luke to pass on what he had learned – now he had given him the means to do so.

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


    29 NRE

    Luke stroked his beard thoughtfully as he regarded his Jedi Council. The Council chamber had been in ruins when the Alliance had liberated Coruscant, but it had been lovingly restored - not to a be a replica of the room where the Old Republic Jedi had held congress, but in a new style. It was symbolic of the New Order Luke had built, on the foundations of old but with regard to new ideas, unbound from the restrictions and dogma of tradition.

    Luke’s council consisted of his most seasoned Jedi; Mara of course sat in the chair to his right, his wife, his most trusted friend and greatest ally. They had built the Jedi Order together, which was why Luke had asked her to stay on Coruscant when he had sent most of the other Masters out to investigate the source of the disturbance in the Force he’d felt.

    To his left sat Tionne, keeper of the Jedi Archive. She had rebuilt it using the holocron Yoda had left him and her own painstaking research, and knew more about Jedi lore than any other being in the galaxy. The only other Masters physically present were Cilghal, a Mon Calamari female who was the Order’s expert in the healing arts and Kam Soulser, Tionne’s husband and Master in charge of the Academy younglings. Present via holoprojections were Corran Horn, Kyle Katarn and Kirana Ti, the remaining members of the Council.

    In the centre of the circled Masters was a holoprojction of Ben and Eren Pax from Tatooine, who had been explaining to the Council what they’d told Luke and Mara.

    “It was a disturbing precense,” Eren explained in measured tones. She had Utapaun ancestry as well as human, which accounted for her height, dark eyes and stripes of grey skin on her cheekbones. “Although we have not yet found its source, we are certain that it is a Sith.”

    “And how can you be sure?” Corran Horn spoke up. “There have been no Sith in the galaxy for thirty years, and neither of you have ever come into contact with one.” His gaze shifted to Luke and Mara. “Indeed there are only two who can claim that privilege.”

    “Which is why we ask that Master Skywalker come to Tatooine and assist our investigation,” Eren continued, unoffended by Coran’s skepticism.

    “What exactly have you sensed, Master Pax?” Tionne questioned. “Your report seems rather vague.”

    “If there is something out there,” Mara spoke up, “it is unlikely to make it easy for us to find.”

    Tionne nodded. “This is true,” she admitted. “In the last days of the Old Order, the Jedi found the threat against them difficult to sense.”

    “We must be vigilant,” Kyp Durron declared. “And not make the same mistakes as the Jedi of Old.”

    “No, we have the privilege of making all new mistakes,” Mara added humorously. Luke looked over her and smiled, although he knew there was an undercurrent of truth to her words. He had not spoken yet, as was his habit. He liked to hear the opinion of his Council before making his own opinion known – often it was swayed by their wisdom and perspective.

    “I worry about us having so many Masters away from Coruscant,” he said, voicing his concerns. “That was a mistake of the old Jedi at the end.”

    “We agreed that it was necessary,” Kam Soulser pointed out. “There were too many leads to follow to avoid it.”

    Luke rubbed his chin again thoughtfully. “And now a lead has turned into a prospect.”

    “It’s more than that Da – Master Skywalker” Ben spoke up. “This is it – I’m sure.”

    Luke saw both Corran Horn and Kyp Durron smile at Ben’s confidence. At twenty-five, his son was an experienced Jedi, but he was still young. Every day Luke was thankful Ben had not had to deal with the sorrows and trials he himself had gone through by that age.

    “We believe your conviction, Jedi Skywalker,” Cilghil said, ever the voice of reason. “But you have not given us much information.”

    “I sensed it – something out in the Jundland Wastes,” Ben said, the faraway look in his eyes visible even through his blue and white projected image. “It was darkness, not just the absence of light,” he continued. “A shadow created from the darkness, eating the light until there was no more.”

    Luke had already heard this, and so looked to the reactions of his Council, which were primarily concern and unease.

    “A vision?” Kirana Ti asked, and Ben nodded gravely in response.

    “I will leave for Tatooine tomorrow,” Luke announced. “Masters Horn, Durron and Ti, can I recommend that if your missions are complete you return to Coruscant.”

    Kirana and Kyp nodded in assent, but Corran was reluctant. “Although Jedi Zekk and I have not found anything of concern here on Naboo,” he told them, “I believe further investigation is warranted.”

    “Very well,” Luke nodded. “Please report if you find anything.” He turned back to Eren and Ben. “Master Pax, Jedi Skywalker, I’ll see you in a few days.”

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


    When the Council had been adjourned, Luke swiftly made his way to the Senate Chambers were Leia kept her offices as Chancellor. However on arriving, he was informed by Zeb that Leia had already left for the day. After confirming that Zeb would be attending the family dinner later that night, Luke made his way to Leia and Han’s apartments at 500 Republica. As his and Mara’s apartment was located in the same building, albeit some floors below, he stopped briefly to shower and change before appearing at Leia’s door refreshed.

    His sister looked somewhat harried as she answered. She was dressed casually and her dark brown hair, streaked with the occasional grey, was drawn into a simple bun at the nape of her neck. But her dark eyes lit up when she saw him, and gave him a fierce hug. He held her tightly, relief and happiness flooding through him. The bond he and his sister shared was unparalleled, and it often felt as if they were merely two halves of the same person, so much so that sometimes it was painful to be apart for long periods of time. A byproduct of their connection was that it was nigh impossible to conceal their feelings and moods from one another, and Luke could sense that Leia was distressed.

    “Are you alright, Leia?” he asked as they moved into the living room.

    Leia shrugged and took a seat on the couch and Luke sat beside her, taking her hand. “It’s been a stressful time in the Senate,” she told him. “Senator Avarice continues to question my every decision, and it is getting irksome.” She sighed deeply. “I know I asked Zeb for your report, but I was feeling a little tired, so thought I would come home.”

    “Are you unwell?” Luke asked, concerned. It was not like Leia to get tired.

    “No, no,” she waved her free hand dismissively, but Luke was not deceived. He was about to question her further when he remembered the date. In a few mere weeks it would be the anniversary of…

    “I’m sorry, Leia,” he said, squeezing her hand, already regretting that he had asked. "If you need anything..."

    “It’s fine,” Leia gave him a weak smile. “Tell me about the Council.”

    Luke filled her in on the details and his concern regarding Ben’s vision. It worked in distracting Leia, and she quickly became her usual analytical self. “Eren’s right,” she told him. “If the Sith have returned, you are best suited to sense it.” She furrowed her brow in thought. “I think it best not to inform the Senate until we have more information.”

    Luke nodded in agreement. “There’s no need to cause concern until we know more.”

    “But enough dreariness,” Leia said airily and patted his hand. “Are Mara and the kids coming tonight?”

    “Of course,” he told her, smiling. “Except Ben, obviously. The others wouldn’t dare miss it and risk a lecture from you, Leia.”

    Leia laughed lightly. “What kind of Chancellor would I be if I can’t even run my own family?”

    There was one tradition in the Solo and Skywalker families, and that was a weekly dinner at Leia and Han’s. The early days following the liberation of Coruscant had been even busier than the wartime preceding it, with Han given more and more military duties, Leia working hard on the reconstruction of the government and Luke studying and searching for Jedi heritage. Once, when they had gone many months without seeing each other, Leia had decreed that the situation could not continue. She had informed them both and Chewie that once a week they would have dinner at her and Han’s apartment, and if any of them were on Coruscant they must attend. Being offworld was the only excuse, and it ensured that they made time for each other. Over the years the order was extended to Mara when she and Luke married, and of course their children. They had also picked up a few strays over the years, such as Zeb Pavish whose part of their family had been confirmed when he’d failed to appear one night due to a late Senate meeting and Leia had been cold and snippish to him for three days straight. After that he had been sure to attend every one.

    “It’s good to be home,” Luke told her. “I’ve even missed your not-so-subtle reminders about dinner so I don’t forget.”

    Leia laughed. “Well I know how you get caught up in things, Luke.”

    “Leia, they’ve been once a week on the same night for close to thirty years!” he chuckled. “I think I can remember on my own.”

    “Well the day I don’t remind you will be the day you’ll forget,” she shook her finger at him, but there was a charming grin on her face. “Mara’s been coming, of course.”

    “She wouldn’t dare risk your wrath, either,” Luke joked, and Leia laughed again in response.

    “She’s missed you, Luke,” Leia continued more seriously. “She always does of course, when you’re not here. But she seemed to feel it more keenly this time.”

    Luke sighed and rubbed his eyes. “I know.” He’d felt it in her kiss earlier, in the way she’d clutched his leg, under the table so Ben couldn’t see, when they’d spoken to him. It was unlike her to admit to missing him, her concerns usually more closely guarded. “She’s worried about me – about the visions I’ve had.”

    “We all are.” Leia shifted closer and rested her head against his shoulder, and Luke put his arm around her in response. “Be careful on Tatooine, Luke. Please.”

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

    The sun had already set when Leia and Jaina had finished their afternoon training. Mara was pleased with her apprentice’s progress, knowing that she soon would be ready for her Trials and Knighthood.

    “Come on,” Mara tugged on Jaina’s padawan braid, observing sadly that she soon would no longer be able to make the playful gesture. “Or we’ll be late.”

    A young man was waiting for them as they left the training room, slouching casually against the wall. He wore a fashionably cut jacket, trousers with second-class Corellian bloodstripes and impeccably polished black boots. He had auburn hair which was close-cropped in the style favoured by Coruscant’s glitterati and was grinning charmingly and chatting to a pair of female Jedi.

    “Micah,” Mara called to him as they approached, before giving a disapproving look to the girls, ensuring that the scurried off. “Enjoying yourself?”

    “I was,” he answered with a smile. “Until you showed up to cramp my style, Ma.”

    Mara rolled her eyes. “I thought you were on Rodan?”

    “Karrde’s given me a few days off,” Micah explained. “Just landed planetside, thought I’d pick you up on the way to Aunt Leia’s. Hey Jaina.”

    “Hey, Micah,” Jaina greeted her cousin with a lopsided smile. “I wouldn’t bother with those two,” she continued, indicating the young women who were retreating down the hallway. “They only have eyes for each other.”

    Micah shrugged. “Scintillating conversationalists, though,” he grinned.

    Mara shook her head and sighed with a mixture of exasperation and affection. Micah was twenty-one and currently apprenticed to Talon Karrde, the smuggler for whom Mara had worked following the death of the Emperor. He had briefly worked for New Republic Intelligence, where he had earned the bloodstripes during an undercover operation on Corellia, but was on sabbatical with Karrde’s organization to, as he had put it, explore his options in the private sector. Micah had always been a stubborn and free spirited boy, and had no desire to be a Jedi.

    Everyone had expected Luke to be unhappy at his son’s choice, particularly Micah, to the point where he had confided in Han long before he had Luke and Mara. But the old smuggler knew his brother, and advised Micah to be honest, knowing Luke would never want his children to be forced into a life they had not chosen. If anyone knew what it was like to chafe under the weight of expectation, it was Luke, first being pressured by Owen Lars into a farmer’s life, and then the overwhelming responsibilities he’d had as the galaxy’s only Jedi. Luke had supported Micah’s decision to join NRI, and then persuaded Mara to arrange for his apprenticeship with Talon.

    And as it was unlike her old boss to give his staff time off for no reason, Mara could only assume that he had heard Luke was returning to Coruscant and so had sent Micah home as well. Mara was grateful to Talon for his foresight, for Mara had been missing her boys dreadfully. She’d had Jaina to keep her company, and of course her youngest child Cilla, but she longed for the company of her husband and sons. Time had tempered her, Mara thought wryly; if the girl who’d been in the Emperor’s service had been told she would one day be a Jedi Master and also the loving mother of three children, she would not have believed it. She didn’t know what her younger self might find more preposterous, motherhood or the fact that her husband would be Luke Skywalker.

    “Have you seen your sister?” Mara asked Micah as they walked to his speeder.

    “Yeah,” Micah shrugged. “The little squint was around here somewhere.”

    As if on cue, a blonde fourteen year old appeared in a flurry of movement, her hazel eyes alight. “Hi, Mum!” she called out. “Guess what Master Soulser taught us today? Levitating! It’s so cool,” she gushed. “I was able to float three rocks and a datapad.”

    “Wow,” Micah said sarcastically, and Mara cuffed him around the ear.

    But Cilla ignored her brother’s comment. “Wanna see, Mum?”

    In looks and temprement, Cilla was was so much like the father that doted on her. Luke had desperately wanted a little girl, and Mara had found herself unexpectedly pleased upon finding that she was pregnant again. “Maybe later, Cilla,” she told her, smoothing back the hair from her daughter’s braid that had come loose. “We have to get to Aunt Leia’s.”

    But Cilla’s excited chatter did not abate once they were in the speeder and hurling through Coruscant’s traffic. “Alema told me that there was a space battle up there today! So cool, was it Dad? I told her I thought it was Dad coming back. I should have asked Myri, her father’s the Admiral, so she would know.”

    Jaina gave her young cousin an indulgent look. “But how would she if she was in class with you?”

    “She’s in the older class,” Cilla said, as if that explained everything. “Oh, and we had history class as well, it was actually interesting for a change,” she continued, already on her next thought. “We’re getting to the stuff Dad did, now, like rescuing Aunt Leia from the Death Star. Do you know she told Dad he was too short for a stormtrooper?” Cilla laughed. “She’s so funny. Next class we’re going to learn about the Battle of Yavin, although I know most of that.”

    “When are you going to get to the class about sitting quietly and not talking?” Micah asked with good humor. “Cause I think that needs some practice.” Mara almost cuffed him again, but as he was driving the speeder decided against it.

    “Go on, Cilla,” Mara told her daughter, but Cilla was already on the next subject. Cilla was her baby, but Mara had to admit that Luke handled her exuberance better than she did. No matter how many long-winded, tangent-filled stories the child told him, he always listened with rapt attention.

    Although she had started training at the Jedi Academy, Cilla had yet to make up her mind about becoming a Jedi. She had aspirations to a military lifestyle, the command of a fleet of Star Destroyers her dream. Mara had reminded her that she could be both, for the new Order was not inflexible on such matters as the old had been. No children were taken from their homes, and indeed were not permitted to start training until they were thirteen.

    Families should be together was Luke’s creed, and refused to train anyone unless they were cognizant enough to make the choice to become a Jedi. Mara had never appreciated the meaning behind those words until now, when she was longing for all of her family to be together. Yes, Luke and Micah had returned, Jaina and Cilla were with her, and she would see Leia and Zeb tonight, but it wasn’t the whole family. Chewie had been on Kashyyk for the better part of a year, Han had been called in to assist with a situation on Corellia and Ben was of course still on Tatooine. It had even been a while since she had seen many of the extended family, Lando Calrissian and his wife Tendra, Wedge and Iella Antilles, Corran and Mirax Horn. Even Talon Karrde had been too busy to drop by for several months.

    In fact, Mara couldn’t remember the last time all of the family had been in the same room together. Between that, Luke’s vision and the presence Ben had sensed on Tatooine, a deep sense of foreboding settled in Mara’s heart and refused to be moved.

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


    It was late into the night; more likely the early hours of the morning but still Mara could not sleep. Dinner at Leia’s had been wonderful, and Mara smiled at the memory of Luke and Micah talking seriously about the developments in Karrde’s organization, Leia listening patiently while Cilla recounted the story of Leia’s own rescue from the Death Star that she had learned in class that day, and Jaina and Zeb’s adorably awkward flirtations. And of course the added happiness of the night had come when she and Luke had finally been alone.

    In the moonlight, Mara watched Luke as he tossed fitfully in his sleep. It was the visions still plaguing him, made worse by Ben’s information. She shifted closer to her husband and rubbed his arm, sending out soothing waves through the Force and willing him back to consciousness. He awoke with a start, his eyes bright in the dim light.

    “The same dream?” she asked quietly, gently stroking his brow and pushing sweat-slicked hair out of his eyes.

    Luke nodded, but did not speak, still troubled.

    “And here I thought our reunion had exhausted you enough not to dream,” she said playfully, kissing his shoulder.

    That made him smile, and Luke rolled onto his side so that he was facing her, running a light hand down her side and over her hip. “I’m not too exhausted for another reunion,” he suggested, kissing her lightly.

    Mara pulled him close. “Well technically it would be a farewell,” she observed. “You’re leaving in a few hours.”

    Luke pressed his forehead against hers. “Don’t remind me.”

    “I should be going with you,” she whispered, holding his gaze.

    “You know you can’t.” He reached up and stroked her hair lightly, brushing it behind one ear before taking her hand in his and kissing her palm.

    “If there’s one thing you know by now, Skywalker, is not to tell me what I can’t do.” She gave him a wry smile. “Jaina’s almost ready for her Trials,” she added seriously.

    Almost ready,” he repeated back to her. “Is not ready.” He sighed and squeezed her hand gently. “I don’t think it’s safe for a padawan to leave Coruscant right now, not until we’ve assessed this threat. I want you with me, Mara, more than anything. But no one is above the rules.”

    “Not even Luke Skywalker?” she prodded.

    Especially not Luke Skywalker,” he responded seriously.

    “I know,” she admitted. “I just like to be the one to watch your back.”

    “There will be three other Jedi to watch my back,” he reminded her.

    “I know,” she smiled and kissed him gently. “But I have more of a vested interest in it,” she teased, running her hands down the bare skin of his back.

    Luke chuckled and pulled her close, rubbing his nose against hers playfully. “I know.”

    “So smug, Farmboy,” she said, but let him kiss her.

    “After thirty years, I’m still a Farmboy?” he whispered against her lips.

    “Yes,” she said resolutely, pulling back to give him a smirk. “Same as the day I met you.”

    “And you took me for one the moment we met, huh?” he reminisced.

    “How could I not?” she teased him. “With your unfashionable haircut and vulgar ‘Rim accent?”

    Luke laughed. “You weren’t watching my back, then,” he observed.

    “I was,” she told him with a smile. “But I was trying to figure out where to stick a vibroblade.”

    “I hope you are better disposed in your current observation,” he said playfully.

    “Oh I am,” she confirmed. “I’ll miss watching it. And I’ll miss your smile,” she added as she kissed him on the upturned corner of his mouth. “And I’ll miss your…hands,” she said somewhat breathlessly as he ran his fingers over her skin gently. She smirked. “I’ll even miss this stupid beard,” she added, tapping him on the chin.

    “I’ll shave it off before I get back,” he promised her.

    “No, don’t,” she protested, arching into him as his touch skirted her side and over her hip. “I kind of like it.”

    Luke smiled. “You like anything that makes me look stupid.”

    But Mara was unable to think of a suitable reply, and instead kissed him again.
    Last edited by JadeLotus, Jul 23, 2014
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade