Saga The Tristan Betrayal (A/P, L/M, OC's) *Sequel to Will of the Force* Updated 11/13 Ch. 43

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by JediMaster_Jen, Sep 4, 2012.

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  1. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Maybe a Sith. Maybe not. ;) Thanks for reading.

    You'll like what Verbeke is up to. Thanks for reading.


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    I have been remiss in tagging you all while I repost the back chapters of this story. Since we're coming up on the new chapters, I thought I would tag you.

    Tag List: @Sara_Kenobi, @jacen200015, @obsessedwithSW, @Luna_Nightshade

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


    Chapter 26


    Several weeks had passed since the unsettling events on Arkania and the entire Skywalker family, plus a few additions, made the trip to Naboo for the annual Freedom Festival. The celebrations were scheduled to last an entire week, culminating with a parade to honor the Heroes of Naboo; Anakin, Padme, and of course, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    Tristan walked alone through the empty halls of the Theed Royal Palace. Large windows allowed him spectacular views of the city of Theed and the surrounding landscape. All in all, he thought the planet quite beautiful.

    When he reached a room that held a granite nameplate entitled Remembrance, he hesitated before entering, somehow knowing what he’d find within.

    There, on display for all to see was a life-size marble statue of his father, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Tears gathered in Tristan’s eyes as he moved closer and reached out to touch the face of the man that had sired him.

    “Are you alright, Padawan?” Anakin questioned in a deep voice from behind the young man.

    Tristan shook his head as he turned. “No, Master. I just…what are you doing here? I thought you were touring some museum.”

    Anakin moved and rested a hand on Tristan’s shoulders. “I got bored. We’ve never discussed what happened to your father and Master Qui-Gon here before, have we?”

    “No, Master,” he answered softly. “I know about Tatooine and you blowing up the Droid Control Ship, but nothing else.”

    Anakin nodded. “Come on then. Let’s take a walk. I’ll tell you how your father became known as the Sith Killer.”

    Together, they walked out of the room, Anakin already beginning his tale.

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

    Theed Royal Palace Hangar Bay


    Thirteen year-old Jedi Padawan Arik Skywalker could barely contain himself.

    “Are we there yet, Master?” he questioned anxiously as they rode together in the back of a speeder.

    Garen Muln glanced at his young apprentice and smiled. The look of anticipation on the young man’s face was comical. His ice-blue eyes were bright with excitement. His dark, spiky hair was mussed from his habit of constantly running his fingers through it when he was excited and his padawan braid had somehow managed to get twisted into a knot.

    Garen reached over and untangled it just as the speeder came to a stop. “Yes, we’re there now, Padawan.”

    Arik was out of his seat quickly, calling for Garen to hurry up. He tipped their pilot a few credits and came up to his apprentice just as their tour guide walked up.

    “You two here for the tour?”

    Garen nodded. “Yes, I’m Jedi Master Garen Muln and this is my apprentice, Arik.”

    The man nodded. “Come along. I’m Colonel Kiran Voth, commander of the Royal Security Forces, Starfighter Corps.”

    “Nice to meet you, Sir,” Arik spoke up.

    “Follow me,” the man instructed.

    Arik and Garen did as they were told and quietly followed the man as he led them on a private tour through the hanger bay housing the newest starfighters.

    Garen watched with amusement as Arik absorbed every detail of each craft the Colonel took them past. There was no doubt in his mind Arik’s love of ships surpassed that of his father’s, something he never would have thought possible.

    “I’m going to build my own ship one day,” Arik had boasted a few days ago after offering to fly the ship to Naboo and quite emphatically being turned down. “Then nobody will be able to tell me I can’t fly.”


    He’d pouted for about an hour after takeoff before Garen could coax him into a game of holo chess.

    “These are our new two-seat fighters,” Col. Voth said, pointing to four ships in the rear of the hanger. “They’re fresh off the assembly line. In fact…” he paused dramatically,”…they’ve yet to be flown.”

    “Wizard!” Arik swiftly climbed up the steps, peering into the cockpit, his bright blue eyes scrutinizing every detail.

    “I don’t think I’ve ever met someone so young with such enthusiasm,” the Colonel marveled.

    “It’s in his blood,” Garen explained with a laugh. “His father is the best pilot in the galaxy.”

    “Really?” the older man drawled, one eyebrow arched. “I’ll wager that the best pilots are right here on Naboo and I don’t recall seeing that young one around with any of them. Who’s his father?”

    “Anakin Skywalker,” Garen replied dryly. “He’s…”

    “Anakin Skywalker!” Colonel Voth exclaimed, his mouth dropping open with shock. “Little Anakin? The one who destroyed the Trade Federation’s flagship?”

    “Well, he’s not so little anymore,” Garen laughed. “But, yes, one and the same. Arik is his youngest son.”

    “I can hardly believe it,” Voth gushed. “Ana…ah…um, Master Skywalker is a legend among the Naboo. Is he here as well?”


    Colonel Voth turned, searching the hanger.

    “I believe he’s touring the historical museum at the moment,” Garen answered, thankful Anakin wasn’t there. He knew Anakin appreciated the genuine affection and gratitude the Naboo had for him, but he was extremely uncomfortable being held in such high esteem.

    “Oh,” his shoulders slumped in disappointment.


    “I know,” he turned to Arik. “Arik, how would you like to be the first to fly one of these new ships?”

    “Really!” Arik’s head snapped up immediately.

    “I don’t think that’s such a good idea, Colonel,” Garen began.

    “I assure you it’s not a problem,” the Colonel replied as Arik jumped to the floor.

    “Master, can I?” he pleaded. “Dad lets me fly his speeder around Coruscant all the time and I promise I’ll be careful.”

    “I don’t know,” Garen replied doubtfully. “A fighter ship is much different than a speeder and as I recall, your father has to be with you when you fly his speeder.”

    “It’s not that much different,” the Colonel interjected, ignoring Garen’s glare and clamping his arm around Arik’s shoulders. “Now just climb inside and I’ll show you how to…,”

    “Wait a minute,” Garen interrupted. “I didn’t say he could fly. He’s only thirteen years old and…”

    “He’s a Skywalker,” Colonel Voth reminded him with an annoyed glance, as if that explained everything. “Besides, this ship isn’t that much different than the ship his father flew when he was ten.”


    He turned back to Arik, helping him into the cockpit.

    “He can’t fly that thing alone,” Garen insisted, tugging the Colonel’s arm.

    “If you’re that worried, you can go with him,” the Colonel sniffed. “In the gunner’s seat.”


    ”Come on, Master,” Arik whined. “Please.”

    Voth stepped down and gestured for Garen to climb into the ship behind Arik.

    “This really isn’t necessary,” Garen said, trying one last time to change the Colonel’s mind. “Arik will be just fine sitting in the cockpit for a few moments.”

    “Nonsense,” the Colonel responded. “Let the boy have a little adventure. I’m sure his father would appreciate it.”

    Great, Garen groaned silently, heading into the gunner’s seat. Several hundred officers in the Starfighter Corps and I get Anakin’s biggest fan.

    “We’re just going to fly around for a minute,” he told Arik as he strapped himself in. “And then we’re coming straight back.”

    “Thanks Master!” Arik beamed as he started the engine.

    Garen took a deep breath, using the Force to calm his rising anxiety as Arik guided the ship towards the open hangar doors.

    ”Force help me,” he whispered softly, clutching the straps of his restraints as the ship lifted off, flying smoothly over the lush meadows and streams below.

    Arik gripped the steering bars, exhilaration flowing throughout his entire body. He’d never felt as alive, as free as he did in that moment.

    “Minute’s up,” Garen announced forcing his fingers to relinquish their tight grip. “Time to head back now.”

    “Awww, Master, couldn’t we just…”

    “Next time,” Garen interrupted. Like in a few more years, he added silently to himself.

    Arik’s shoulders slumped as he turned the ship around. He never got to have any fun. His heart skipped a beat as he suddenly remembered a maneuver his father performed during his own trip over Naboo.

    I should have just enough time, he thought, wrenching the controls to the left.

    “Arik!”

    Arik barely heard his Master’s scream as he twisted the steering bars to the left and right spinning the ship into a series of flips at lightning speed.

    “Yippee!”

    “Arik Skywalker!”

    Arik’s eyes widened as he realized how close they were to the hangar bay.


    “Uh oh,” he mumbled, scrambling to slow down. The ship’s engine sputtered with his efforts as he shakily got it back under control.

    Garen unclenched his teeth as the ship touched down with a bone jarring thud.

    “See Master, we made it!” Arik turned to smile at him as he released the hood.

    Garen was silent as he shakily climbed down from the ship, exchanging an I told you so look with the somewhat stunned Colonel Voth.

    “That…that…was…something,” Voth muttered as Arik joined them.

    “Can I fly us back to Coruscant, Master?” Arik asked oblivious to Garen’s shaken demeanor.

    “I don’t think so,” he replied.

    “But…but I can handle it,” Arik argued, his lower lip beginning to protrude. “I just flew a starfighter and it’s still in one piece.”

    No sooner were the words out of his mouth, when the landing supports beneath the ship collapsed, sending the new spacecraft crashing to the unforgiving ground beneath.

    “Mostly,” Arik corrected, hanging his head.

    “Padawan,” Garen squeezed his shoulder. “I want you to put your mechanical skills to use and help the Colonel and his men repair this ship, no matter how long it takes.”

    “But I was going to go to the festivities that begin tonight!”

    “You can have fun after you’ve fixed the mess you made,” Garen insisted.

    “Awe…”

    “I’ll meet you back at your parent’s villa,” Garen said turning to walk away.

    “Where are you going, Master?” Arik asked.

    “For a drink,” Garen explained without stopping, the sound of Obi-Wan’s laughter echoing in his ears.
  2. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 27


    Leia’s dark eyes were drawn to the exquisite artistry of the palace. The walls were adorned with paintings from all over the galaxy and intricate carvings that told the story of Naboo’s rich history.

    “I never get tired of coming here, Mother,” Leia commented as the pair walked through the halls. “It’s simply beautiful.”

    Padme nodded. “Yes, it is. It’s quite nice that you’re at an age now where you can appreciate the beauty of your homeworld.”

    Leia chuckled as she followed Padme into the throne room, eyes wide with wonderment.

    The newly elected Queen Haera rose from her throne, dismissing her security team with a wave of her hand.

    “Padme,” she smiled warmly. “It is wonderful to see you again.”


    The two women embraced. They had been friends for quite some time. Haera was a good ten years Padme’s junior, but Padme’s willingness to share her experiences as Queen of Naboo gave them common ground on which to build their friendship.

    “This is my daughter, Leia,” Padme introduced, placing her arm around Leia’s shoulders.

    Haera blinked in disbelief.


    “Surly this must be another decoy,” she teased, taking Leia’s hands into her own. “She looks just like you.”

    Leia flushed. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Your Majesty.”

    “I see you’ve inherited your mother’s diplomacy,” Haera laughed. “There is no need for such formalities between friends. Please, call me Haera.”


    She turned to Padme. “Have you been to the Remembrance Room? It was just finished recently.”

    Padme shook her head.


    “We don’t get back home as often as we’d like,” she explained. “And we came straight here once we arrived at the palace.”

    “Then we shall go there first,” Haera announced. “The historical committee has created the most amazing holographs recreating the Trade Federation’s invasion and the fight for Naboo’s freedom that took place after the invasion.”


    She turned to Leia, smiling as they headed from the throne room. “Has your mother told you how incredibly brave she was?”

    “Some,” Leia replied, somewhat surprised by Queen Haera’s question. Padme had explained the invasion and retaking of Theed, but she had always made it seem as if she had played a very minor role.

    She followed the Queen and Padme, listening with amusement as the two compared reigns. Once they reached the room called Remembrance, the mood instantly sobered.

    “I may not have been a part of this historical time,” Haera began. “But walking through the holograms makes me feel as if I were right there, experiencing everything.”


    She smiled solemnly at Padme whose eyes seemed to have taken on a very solemn look.

    “I admire your heroics and your courage,” she said simply before leading them inside.

    Padme stepped inside and immediately froze, her hand covering her mouth and muting the gasp that she couldn’t hold back. There, a few inches in front of her stood a life size statue of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Tears quickly formed in her eyes and fell unchecked down her cheeks.

    “Mom?” Leia questioned, putting a tentative hand on her shoulder.

    “I...I’m all right, darling,” Padme whispered, wiping away her tears.

    “I’m so sorry,” Haera apologized, immediately coming to Padme’s side. “I thought you knew.”

    “I did,” Padme nodded, smiling sadly. “I was notified when the artists began working and when the statue was completed. It’s just seeing it…it’s been so long and I remember exactly how he looked when he and Master Jinn jumped from that balcony.”


    She paused to take a deep breath. “Leia, you probably recognize Obi-Wan Kenobi. If you’re looking for a hero of the Trade Federation invasion of our planet, he was it; him, Master Jinn and your father.”

    “I recognize him from all of the holos that Dad has given Tristan.”


    Leia studied the statue carefully. The details of the statue were remarkably life-like. It was almost as if Obi-Wan were actually standing before them.

    “Now, lets take a look at those holographs,” Haera suggested.

    Leia stayed close to Padme’s side as the trio made their way around the entire room. The holographs covered the Trade Federation’s invasion, occupancy, the retaking Theed and the celebration afterwards.

    She was both impressed and horrified by her mother’s actions, especially considering Padme had been a year younger than Leia was now when everything happened.

    “You never told me you were in so much danger,” she said when they’d reached the end.

    “Well, I wasn’t the only one in danger,” Padme replied. “All of the Naboo suffered during the occupation and many gave their lives during the liberation.”


    She gazed compassionately at her daughter. “I only inspired the resistance. All of us played a role in winning Naboo’s freedom.”

    “But I thought negotiation was always better than fighting,” Leia argued. “Why didn’t you just get the Trade Federation to agree to leave?”

    “We tried,” Padme explained. “We certainly gave diplomacy a chance to succeed, but ultimately it failed. The Trade Federation wouldn’t cooperate and now we know it was because Palpatine was pulling their strings.”

    There was a hushed silence at the mention of the former Chancellor.

    “Mom,” Leia swallowed nervously. “Do you still think negotiation can work?”

    Padme was silent for a few moments. She searched her heart for the answer, and it came rather easily, despite her past experiences.


    “Yes,” she finally answered. “We should only take action when all other options have failed. Fighting should never be the first response. There are always other ways, if only we take the time to look for and implement them.

    “But there may be times when we have to fight,” Leia sighed, the idea of combat weighing heavily in her young heart and soul.

    Padme hugged her daughter to her. “Possibly. As much as I hope that neither you nor any of your brothers will ever have to, I know if you do, you will be just as strong and brave as I or your father, or Obi-Wan ever were.”

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

    Anakin led Tristan across the cavernous catwalks of the power station, stopping at the front end of the service corridor.


    “This is where the tide turned,” he began, explaining how Obi-Wan had been trapped at the last gate as Qui-Gon continued to battle the Sith.

    Tristan closed his eyes, envisioning the battle before him with Anakin’s voice giving him the story Obi-Wan had given Anakin himself so many years before. He could almost feel his father’s frustration and anxiety mounting as he was forced to wait and eventually watch his Master’s death.

    He was silent as Anakin guided him through each gate, stopping next at the melting pit where Darth Maul met his end. Tristan smiled triumphantly, imagining the exhilaration his father must have felt when he struck the killing blow. He quickly sobered when Anakin pointed to where Qui-Gon lay dying.

    “Obi-Wan managed to get to him right before he died,” Anakin whispered hoarsely. “They even had a chance to speak for a few seconds.”


    He paused, pushing back the lingering memories of fear. He’d always wondered what would have happened to him had Qui-Gon died before making Obi-Wan promise to train him.

    “Master,” Tristan’s voice snapped him from his reverie. “Why don’t the Jedi honor my father for being the first Jedi in a thousand years to kill a Sith?”

    Anakin studied him silently for a moment. What kind of a question was that?, Anakin wondered.

    “Your father was made a Knight and Master in the span of a few days,” he finally answered. “That was how the Jedi honored him.”

    Tristan frowned, his brows furrowed in thought.


    “That’s not very much, considering everybody gets to be a Knight and Master…eventually,” he quickly added, noting Anakin’s disapproving look.

    “It’s the Jedi way,” Anakin replied clamping his arm around Tristan’s shoulders. “Besides, Obi-Wan wouldn’t have expected or accepted anything more. As it was, he got tired of his holograph always being shown on the HoloNet. He was famous, and he loathed every moment of it.”

    “It still seems like he should have gotten more,” Tristan sulked; a very unbecoming sight in a twenty year-old Jedi Padawan.

    “Like what?”

    “I don’t know,” Tristan shrugged, lowering his gaze to the floor.

    “Tris,” Anakin sighed heavily. “Let me tell you something about your father.”


    He lifted Tristan’s head to meet his stare. “Obi-Wan was devoted to the Jedi; the Order itself and our way of life. He didn’t want or expect any accolades for doing what he considered to be nothing more or less than his duty.”

    “But shouldn’t there be some kind of reward?” Tristan argued.

    “Being granted the rank of Master is the greatest reward any Jedi can be given,” Anakin explained. “For those that are elevated to a seat on the High Council, which your father was, they consider themselves rewarded beyond their wildest dreams.”

    Tristan was silent for a few moments, pondering all that Anakin had said.


    “Master,” he looked sheepishly at Anakin. “Were you ever…offered anything? You know…from the beings you helped?”

    “Of course,” Anakin laughed, understanding what his apprentice was getting at.


    “Over the years we were offered money, food, all sorts of artifacts and…” he paused to wink mischievously at Tristan,“…we even had a few parents offer their daughters for us to marry.”

    “Mom must have been thrilled to hear that,” Tristan quipped.

    “And Padme,” Anakin said and rolled his eyes dramatically. “The point is your father devoted his life to helping others. That’s the highest calling one can have in life and Obi-Wan got the greatest satisfaction just from doing his duty.”

    “I understand,” Tristan replied.


    ”Good,” Anakin said. “Now come, let’s go find Luke and Mara.”

    Tristan followed him out of the power station, looking back only once. He wasn’t sure, but he thought maybe he saw a blue shimmering image of his father standing off in the distance. It was gone before he knew for sure, but he smiled anyway, believing that it had been his father.

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

    Bassa Bridge
    Theed


    Luke was having a wonderful time showing Mara around Theed.

    “Do you ever miss living here?” she asked as they walked slowly across Bassa Bridge, the Sollue River flowing beneath.

    Luke leaned against the railing and shook his head. “Honestly, I can barely remember living here. I was only five when we left here and went back to Coruscant.”

    Mara nodded as she stared out across the river. “What’s that out there?”

    Luke turned and smiled. “That’s Broadberry Meadow, it’s a park. The only way to get to it is by boat. An old woman named Thessa runs a gondola service that goes out there.”

    Mara didn’t have time to ask her next question. Both teens heard a voice call their names from below the bridge. They leaned over just in time to see Anakin, Padme, Leia, Arik, Garen and Tristan in two gondolas.

    “We’re going out to Broadberry Meadow, jump down,” Anakin called to them.

    Luke and Mara shared a smile as they climbed together onto the ledge. Mara grasped his hand suddenly. “Together. We jump together.”

    Holding her hand tightly, Luke smiled. “Always.”

    And together, they leapt from the bridge and landed softly, aided by the force, into the gondola.
  3. Skywalker_Angel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2004
    star 1
    Oh, so much to love about these last chapters!!! :D

    That is so completely Skywalker! :p I love that Arik is so adventurous. He's very much like Anakin, maybe more than his brother and sister.

    Even I could hear Obi-Wan laughing. [face_laugh] Poor Garen.

    :_|This was so touching, and so sad. I miss Obi-Wan!

    Last, but not least, I enjoyed the little scene between Luke and Mara on the Bassa Bridge. Those two are gonna end up together, right? ;)

    Terrific work!!! =D= Are we close to the new chapters yet?
  4. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Thanks @Skywalker_Angel! Now on to the next two chapters of the re-post.

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



    Chapter 28


    Several Weeks Later
    Jedi Temple
    Coruscant



    Anakin rose from his chair, stretching his long legs and massaging the ache in his back, thankful the Council meeting had finally ended. Three hours of parent after parent presenting their complaints and requests for changes in their children’s training was definitely not what he envisioned when he voted for their involvement.

    He sighed wearily as he made his way to the door. Today the High Council had been able to placate the parents but he sensed things would only get more difficult as time went on.

    ”Are you alright?” Garen asked as he stood next to his friend. He could see the worry on Anakin's face and he could sense it through the Force.

    Anakin nodded. “Yeah, I just…I never imagined that having parents involved with their children’s training might not be the best thing.”

    Garen could understand that sentiment. As the years went by, more and more demands were made. Some parents had, in recent years, even taken their children from the Jedi after being told that their demands would not be met because they were not within the best interest of their child.

    “Sometimes things just don’t work out, Anakin,” Garen offered. “For the most part, having parents involved has been quite successful. It’s only recently that we’ve had some trouble, and it’s been isolated to the parents of the younger students.”

    Anakin nodded, trying to draw some comfort from Garen’s words. “I’ll see you later.”

    Garen watched as Anakin headed out of the large circular room.

    *******************************************************************
    Anakin hadn’t gotten too far when he noticed Yoda hobbling towards him.

    “Skywalker,” Yoda greeted as the tall master approached.

    “Master Yoda,” Anakin nodded, slowing slightly.

    “A word with you I need,” Yoda continued, walking beside him.

    Anakin bit back a moan, hoping it wouldn’t take long. ”Concerning what, Master?”

    But Yoda didn’t tell him. “Meet me in my quarters in ten minutes you and your padawan will.”

    Anakin stopped dead in his tracks, slack jawed.

    “You...you want to meet away from the Council?” he asked, clearly perplexed.

    “Arisen, a serious matter has,” Yoda replied with a nod. “To investigate further I need, before bringing it to the rest of the Council’s attention.”

    Anakin frowned. “Isn’t the Council supposed to…”

    “No,” Yoda interrupted firmly, taping his gimer stick.

    Anakin opened his mouth to protest, stopping when Yoda held up a clawed hand.

    “Explain more I will when meet we do.”

    “Yes, Master.”

    Anakin watched in bewilderment as Yoda hobbled from the room, his thoughts heading in only one direction. I have a bad feeling about this.

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

    Anakin and Tristan settled as comfortably as they could on the small rounded cushions in Yoda’s quarters.

    Yoda waited silently, a blank expression on his face until both men had gotten settled and looked to him.

    “Received a message from Dathomir I have,” Yoda announced.

    “Dathomir?” Anakin repeated; brows burrowed together in concern. He knew the basics of the primitive planet and the witches who inhabited it and could think of no reason why anyone would want to contact the Jedi. “From who and why?”

    “Best it would be if see the message yourself,” Yoda replied.

    Turning to the table beside his cushion, he activated a small holo-projector. Instantly, a hologram of a middle aged woman appeared. Standing ten centimeters tall, the woman had long raven hair with streaks of gray scattered throughout and wore a simple tunic with a hide robe.

    “Greetings, Master Yoda,” she began, bowing slightly. “I am Mother Tuija, leader of the Singing Mountain Clan. I have been selected to represent the nine clans of Nightsisters on Dathomir to bring our petition before you,” she paused, gazing straight ahead silently.

    Anakin studied the woman closely. It was hard to get any real sense of someone when they were no more than a hologram, but he tried anyway, reaching out with the Force. He searched for…anything, but came away only with the feeling that something seemed out of place, and very wrong.

    “The nine clans have collectively decided we have been wasting our gifts on just our clans and would like to expose ourselves to other beings throughout the Galaxy, offering assistance and comfort where we can. Therefore, we humbly request training from the Jedi Order for our children.”

    Anakin gasped, turning in shock to Yoda. He simply couldn’t believe what he’d heard.

    “They want to be Jedi!” he exclaimed.

    Yoda didn’t answer, his eyes remaining fixed on the hologram.

    “We do not seek a place in the Jedi Order,” Tuija continued serenely. “We wish only for our children to form an alliance so that we may be able to assist the Jedi in the future.”

    Anakin remained silent as the image faded.

    “What gifts do the people of Dathomir have to offer us?” Tristan wondered; looking from Yoda’s still expression to Anakin’s troubled one.

    “Force sensitive the women are,” Yoda replied.

    “They’re witches,” Anakin spat angrily, shocking Tristan, who not used to seeing his mentor become angry.

    “They use the dark side to cast spells,” he sighed, running his fingers through his long hair. “Master, you’re not actually going to consider their request, are you?”

    “A long time have I contemplated this,” Yoda sighed. “Uncertain I am of their sincerity.”

    “I don’t think we can, nor should we trust them,” Anakin countered. “Their entire history has been using the dark side. The entire planet radiates evil.”

    He cast a sideways glance at a stunned Tristan. “I don’t think exposing anyone off Dathomir to their influence is a good idea.”

    “Hmm…” Yoda rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Good point you have, but if genuine their desire is to change, help them only Jedi can.”

    “And what if they’re plan is to taint the Jedi?” Anakin countered reasonably. “We struggle enough with the dark side without having any internal encouragement.”

    “Make that choice each one of us must,” Yoda pointed out. “If only train children we do, significantly less the risk will be.”

    Anakin nodded silently, grudgingly admitting that Yoda was right.

    “Master,” Tristan began, turning to Yoda. “You said the women were Force sensitive. What about the men on Dathomir?”

    Anakin snorted earning a sharp glare from Yoda.

    “No one knows,” Anakin replied, facing him. “The men of Dathomir are property of their female owners. Their job is to fulfill their owner’s every demand, be seen and not heard.”

    “Oh,” Tristan looked away uneasily.

    “Sending you to Dathomir, I am,” Yoda announced. “Meet with Mother Tuija and report back to me you will.”

    Anakin glanced sharply at Yoda. “Master?”

    “Not an official assignment this is,” Yoda continued, ignoring him. “When a decision is made, informed the Council will be.”

    Anakin and Tristan exchanged worried glances. It was Tristan that spoke up.

    “Master, if the witches hold men in such low esteem, perhaps a team of female Jedi would be better…”

    “No,” Yoda snapped, shaking his head adamantly. “If honest the witches are in wanting to help other beings, get used to dealing with men they will have to.”

    “When do we leave?” Anakin asked.

    “Tomorrow morning,” Yoda replied. “May the Force be with you.”

    Anakin and Tristan rose together and bowed.

    “May the Force be with you as well, Master,” Anakin said before he and Tristan exited the small Jedi’s quarters.

    Tristan was quiet as he practically ran to keep pace with Anakin's ground-eating strides. He could easily sense his mentor’s turbulent emotions and was at a loss as to what was causing them. Finally they reached their own quarters and Tristan took his chance.

    “Master, what has you so…anxious about this mission?” he questioned as he sat down.

    Anakin sighed deeply, sitting himself next to his apprentice. “To be honest, I don’t know. Looking at that hologram of that Nightsister, it was…I just was overcome with a feeling of…wrongness. It felt for the entire galaxy like our going to Dathomir could change the course of fate.”

    Tristan didn’t know how to reply. He’d learned over their years together that Anakin’s feeling were usually right, but never before had any of his feeling scared Tristan; this one did.

    “I’m certain everything will be fine, Master,” he spoke after several moments.

    Anakin looked at him. “I hope you’re right.”

    Tristan gave a smile as he stood and walked to his room, not noticing the look that came over Anakin’s face as he left the room.

    “I fear nothing will be fine ever again, young one,” Anakin whispered into the air.
  5. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 29


    ”Master Skywalker, we’re entering the Dathomir system,” the pilot of their craft said over the comm.

    Anakin stood to activate the comm in the holding area where he and Tristan were seated. “Thank you, Captain.”

    Tristan settled into his seat and secured his crash-webbing as Anakin then did the same.

    “Still having bad feelings, Master?” the young man questioned.

    Anakin didn’t answer right away; he closed his eyes and reached out with the Force, probing the planet as best he could. When he sensed nothing definite, he opened his eyes.

    “Not bad necessarily, just…uneasy,” he decided on. “Keep your senses sharp when we get out there, and…”

    “And what?” Tristan asked.

    “Be ready for anything,” Anakin instructed.

    Tristan nodded just as they both felt the ship entering the atmosphere of Dathomir.

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

    Anakin led Tristan down the ramp of their ship, his eyes taking in the dense forest in the distance before settling on the four women waiting expectantly a few feet away. The women were dressed in traditional reptile skins, thick robes, helmets with soaring antlers and all carried blasters.

    He didn’t need the Force to feel the barely contained hostility emanating from all but one of the women. Inhaling deeply, he whispered a silent prayer for the wisdom to handle the meeting with Mother Tuija.

    “Welcome, Jedi,” a young woman intoned lightly as she stepped forward, dipping her head formally. “I am Riema of the Singing Mountain Clan. I will be escorting you to the fortress.”

    “Riema,” Anakin returned her greeting. “I am Master Anakin Skywalker and this is my student, Tristan Kenobi.”

    “Hello,” Riema smiled at Tristan, her green eyes lighting with interest.

    Tristan gazed at her in stunned silence, slowly taking in her beauty, earning hushed snickers from the three other women.

    “P-p-pleased to meet you,” he finally stammered, his cheeks reddening with embarrassment. He had grown accustomed to young girl’s attentions over the years, but never had a woman affected him so.

    Anakin glanced at him sharply as Riema lead them to the rancors that would carry them to the fortress.

    “It will be a short trip through the forest,” she explained, easily climbing on her rancor. “We have prepared a special feast in your honor, we hope you will enjoy.”

    “I’m sure we will.” Anakin replied. He glanced quickly at Tristan, perched atop his mount, staring at Riema with a dazed look on his face and sighed. This was a complication he definitely did not need.

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

    Riema lead the way through the forest, followed by Anakin and Tristan, with two of the women flanking their sides, the third bringing up the rear. Anakin took in the sights and sounds of the native wildlife and vegetation, settling into a light meditative state.

    He enjoyed the calm energy flowing throughout the planet, until they began their approach to the fortress. No announcement was necessary; for the peace began to evaporate into a dark malevolence the closer they came to the witches’ home. The dark side was pulling at his senses. He recognized it well.

    Anakin regained full awareness as they started up the trail.

    “Where does the other path lead?” Tristan wondered aloud.

    “To the slaves’ quarters,” the woman to his left answered in amusement.

    “Oh.”

    Tristan exchanged an uneasy look with Anakin. He’d known about the slaves, of course, but he hadn’t given much thought to the reality of the situation until that moment. He could clearly see the disgust on Anakin’s face and he could feel his wish to do something about it.

    Reaching the fortress, they quickly dismounted and were lead inside the triangular building. In the center of the room, a large animal roasted while two men basted and turned the spit. Several dozen women were scattered throughout the room, watching the guests wearily.

    The woman from the hologram immediately stepped forward, a warm smile on her aged face. “Greetings, I am Mother Tuija. I welcome you on behalf of the nine clans of Nightsisters.”

    Anakin introduced himself and Tristan as Tuija led them to several leather cushions in the back of the room.

    “I did not expect Master Yoda to send...” she paused, considering her words,“…two male Jedi.”

    Anakin bit back a retort as he settled on the cushion. He could feel her unease and awkwardness and knew it was because she was being forced to negotiate with two men. Serves her right,” he thought to himself.

    “Master Yoda felt you may be more comfortable dealing with the men in the Order in the future if you met with two now.”

    “Humph,” Tuija sniffed. “Perhaps I’ll understand that decision as time passes. As you know, the men of Dathomir are treated quite differently.”

    Anakin nodded, shifting uneasily on his cushion. ”Yes, I’m aware.”

    “What time are you set to depart for Coruscant?” Tuija asked, getting right down to business. “We hope you will be willing to stay for this evening’s feast but we can have them ready…”

    “Actually, a final decision has not yet been made,” Anakin interrupted.

    “I beg your pardon?” Tuija stiffened. “Why else have you come if not to collect our female children and their mothers?”

    Anakin inhaled deeply, pushing back the flash of anger threatening to overwhelm him at Tuija’s disdainful attitude towards the males. He cleared his throat, and his thoughts, before he answered.

    “We have several concerns,” he began evenly. “First, your history of…using spells.”

    “That’s our heritage,” Tuija pointed out.

    “They would not be permitted,” Anakin continued firmly. “A Jedi may use the Force for guidance, strength and defense, never for personal gain.”

    Tuija sighed heavily.

    “I’m sure our children can become accustomed to that,” she replied. “What else?”

    “If we train your children, they will be trained at one of our undisclosed training academies where visits from parents or other clan members would not be permitted.”

    Tuija’s head snapped up in horror. Her eyes glittered with anger.

    “What!” she exclaimed. “How can that be a condition when I know full well the Jedi Order has been allowing parents to be a part of their children’s lives and training for years?”

    “You can’t argue your children would be special cases,” Anakin replied. “They were born to women who’ve spent their entire lives using the…,” he paused, not wanting to completely offend his host. “Using spells the Jedi would consider inappropriate.”

    “They have not been trained to use spells yet and you will instruct them not to,” Tuija flared indignantly. ”Their mothers should not be excluded.”

    “Perhaps,” Anakin conceded. “But providing the children with exposure to your culture and traditions could put our teachings in jeopardy. That is why we cannot risk the children having any contact with their clans until their training is complete. I’m afraid that this condition is non-negotiable.”

    Tuija clenched her jaw in frustration. “Anything else?”

    “One more thing,” Anakin steeled himself for her reaction. “The Jedi Order does not discriminate, and we feel that your male children should have the same opportunity as the females.”

    Tuija gapped at him slack-jawed. “What?”

    “The male children should have…”

    “I heard you,” Tuija snapped. “I was just hoping I’d heard wrong.”

    She glanced around the room. “There is no reason for the males to be part of the training. They are quite satisfied with their lives as they are.”

    Tristan snorted earning a sharp kick from Anakin.

    “Nevertheless, it should be considered,” he argued.

    Tuija studied him silently for a few moments.

    “Very well,” she finally said, rising from her cushion. “I will bring your conditions to the attention of the other clan leaders.”

    She waved Riema over.

    “Escort the two Jedi to their sleeping quarters,” she ordered before turning back to face Anakin. “I will summon you when our meeting is concluded.”

    Anakin nodded, bowing politely.

    Riema motioned for them to stand, her eyes never leaving Tristan. “This way, please.”

    Anakin and Tristan followed her the short distance to their quarters. She moved aside to allow them to enter. Anakin thanked her politely and stepped inside, missing the heated look that passed between Riema and his apprentice.

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

    Tag List: @Sara_Kenobi, @jacen200015, @obsessedwithSW, @Luna_Nightshade, @Jedi_Tyler
    Last edited by JediMaster_Jen, Aug 25, 2013
  6. Skywalker_Angel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2004
    star 1
    I've got a bad feeling about Dathomir. [face_worried]

    Anakin better keep an eye on Tristan.

    Great chapters. =D=
  7. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    A bad feeling? Why? ;) Thanks for reading. :)

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


    Chapter 30


    Anakin stepped into the large sleeping chamber, gingerly walking past the dozen straw mattresses to the opening in the back of the room. He felt a strong sense of melancholy beckoning from that direction.

    Riema watched him quizzically. The tall Jedi was a mystery to her.

    “Your friend doesn’t talk much,” she observed, Tristan following her into the center of the room.

    “Master Anakin is just focused on the mission,” he replied, his heart skipping a beat at her nearness. “”He’s usually much more talkative.”

    “Master?” Riema frowned. “Are you his slave?”

    “No,” Tristan replied, gazing into her twinkling blue eyes. “I am a Jedi apprentice, Master Anakin is my teacher.”

    “But you call him Master?” Riema curled a lose strand of her dark hair around her fingers. “Why?”

    “He’s a Jedi Master,” Tristan explained swallowing the lump in his throat.

    She’s beautiful, he said to himself.

    “Someday I will be too,” he told her with a bright smile on his face.

    Riema smiled back, gazing steadily into his eyes.

    Several minutes of silence passed as the two continued to star unabashedly into each other’s eyes.

    “I…should be going,” Riema finally stammered, looking away shyly.

    “Do you have to?” Tristan didn’t bother to hide the hopeful tone in his voice. ”I mean, couldn’t you stay and we could talk for a while?”

    Riema paused before answering. What was it about this young man that captivated her so? While she hadn’t taken any slaves yet, as a woman she was used to having the upper hand with any man she came into contact with but Tristan completely unnerved her.

    “I’m sorry, but I really do have to be going,” she replied apologetically. “But I will return when Mother Tuija is ready for you.”

    Tristan watched her go, a sly grin on his face. ”I can’t wait.”

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

    Anakin stood on the parapet, his long hair being tousled by the gentle breeze as he gazed at the valley below. His attention was fixed on the tendrils of smoke coming from the slave’s quarters. The melancholy he’d felt was coming from there.

    He sighed heavily, head hanging. Judging by Mother Tuija’s strong reaction, it was unlikely the men of Dathomir would experience any change in their lives. Frustration mixed with anger at the unfairness of it all began to well up inside him. He slammed his hand down on the railing in his anger, not even realizing that he drew blood.

    He wanted nothing more than to charge down the hill and free everyone. He knew he was being irrational but sometimes he wished the Jedi would forget politics and force others to do what was right. Memories of his own childhood sprung to mind then, as did memories of the Jedi Master that risked everything to free him from that childhood of slavery. How he wished he could be these peoples Qui-Gon Jinn.

    “Master?” Tristan stepped beside him. “Are you all right? You’re bleeding.”

    Anakin turned to face him, pushing his thoughts aside as he pulled a bandage from his utility belt and wrapped up the small wound Tristan pointed out.

    “Stretch out with your feelings,” he instructed. “What do you sense?”

    “A test,” Tristan mused.

    Anakin chuckled as Tristan closed his eyes. Reaching through their bond, he felt Tristan opening himself to the Force.

    “Sadness…weariness…and resignation, coming from there,” Tristan pointed to the slave’s quarters without opening his eyes.

    Anakin nodded his approval. He was still amazed at how easily this young man reached for the Force, and how readily the Force reached back. Like his father before him, Tristan Kenobi was a beacon. The Force leapt to do his bidding at even the slightest urge.

    “Do you think the Nightsisters will let us train the boys?” he asked as he reached further into the dense forest.

    “No,” Anakin sighed. “At least not…”

    He jerked back abruptly as an intense wave of evil washed over him.

    Tristan gasped loudly, his eyes flying open in shock.

    “Wha…what was that?” he breathed.

    Anakin gazed silently at the area the evil was coming from. His eyes found nothing, but he could sense something…elusive; something he’d only heard about.

    “I think it’s the Chu’unthor,” he whispered in amazement.

    “What is the Chu’unthor?” Tristan questioned, curiosity coloring his tone.

    Anakin took a deep breath before replying. He was stunned at the power of the dark side surrounding the ship after all this time. It was immensely powerful.

    “The Chu’unthor was a traveling Jedi Academy about four-hundred years ago,” he began slowly. “The ship was sent here to back up the Jedi who were battling the witches. It was damaged and forced to crash land in the forest, where it remains to this day.”

    “Why didn’t the Jedi repair it when they left?” Tristan asked.

    “They tried,” Anakin said sadly. “But they were repelled by the witches.”

    “The Jedi were repelled by the witches?” Tristan shuddered. “Master, how is that possible?”

    “I don’t know,” Anakin answered honestly. “But I do know that Master Yoda was one of the Jedi who tried to retrieve the ship. He’s never explained the details and the official record only states the Jedi were unsuccessful, both in retrieving the ship and defeating the witches.”

    “But why would Master Yoda be so secretive?” Tristan wondered. “What could be so important that he would keep the details to himself for four-hundred years?”

    “I don’t know for sure,” Anakin began. “Obi-Wan believed, as do I, that it has to do with the power the witches wield. The dark side is strong on this planet and within the women living here. Master Yoda has always believed it’s better to limit one’s exposure to such powerful influences. The dark side weakens your senses and your judgment. It leaves you vulnerable.”

    “That’s why he’s so concerned about training them,” Tristan concluded. “We’re opening ourselves and the entire Jedi Order to something dangerous by being here, Master.”

    “Yes, we are,” Anakin nodded. “That is why they will need to undergo very specialized training…if they agree to our terms at all. Honestly, I’m hoping they’ll decide the terms are unacceptable to them and we’ll be on our way with no harm done.”

    ”Do you really think it’ll be that simple, Master?” Tristan questioned. “They contacted us for a reason. I’m beginning to think it has nothing to do with them wanting their younglings to be trained as Jedi.”

    Anakin shivered at those words. Slowly, something he hadn’t truly felt since he was a child living on Tatooine began to creep into his mind, his heart…and his soul.

    Terror; stark, powerful terror.

    The two men fell into an uneasy silence. Tristan shivered along with him as a cold wave of malevolence washed over him. Suddenly, he was very worried about training anyone from Dathomir.
  8. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 31

    Several hours passed. Anakin and Tristan both made use of the time after their talk to meditate, seeking guidance and wisdom from the Force. Finally, as the sun began to dip below the horizon, Riema appeared, clearing her throat to get their attention.

    “I’m sorry to disturb you,” she apologized softly. “The clan leaders have completed their meeting and Mother Tuija would like to meet with you now to discuss the outcome before dinner is served.”

    Anakin and Tristan shared a look before both rose quickly from their mats, following Riema back to the main room of the fortress. Several dozen Nightsisters were gathered around the cooking fire speaking in hushed voices while Mother Tuija stood regally in the far corner of the room.

    “Jedi Skywalker, Kenobi,” she greeted formally before lowering herself onto her mat and gesturing for Anakin and Tristan to follow suit. Neither man missed the fact that despite her somewhat friendly tone of voice, her gesture was more a command than a request. Nevertheless, they both took a seat.

    “My fellow clan leaders and I have decided we will honor your request to train our daughters at an undisclosed location without their mothers,” she began, her tone laced with disapproval at the very thought of it. “However, we would like to communicate with our daughters in letters or messages once or twice a month.”

    She gazed squarely into Anakin’s eyes, her look making it clear the request was not up for debate. Anakin held her gaze with his own for several moments before he answered.

    “The Masters in charge of the initiates will need to approve the outgoing and incoming messages first,” Anakin replied firmly.

    Tuija recoiled but offered no protest.

    “The messages will not be altered…” Anakin paused momentarily for effect,”…as long as they do not attempt to influence our teachings.”

    “We’ve already agreed on that,” Tuija huffed angrily.

    “What about the males…?”

    “No,” she interrupted. “We are all in agreement the males are to remain here.”

    She glanced across the room at the male slaves preparing the evening meal. “Even if there are a minute few among them who possess the ability to use the Force, it is irrelevant in their lives as slaves.”

    Anakin blinked in disgust, swallowing the bile rising in his throat.

    “Perhaps they deserve a chance to decide for themselves in which direction their lives will go,” he said, struggling to keep his anger in check.

    “No,” Tuija replied more firmly. “They are slaves now. They have always been slaves and they always will be slaves. The gods have chosen that destiny for them and we will not go against them. Discussion of the matter is closed, Jedi Skywalker.”

    Anakin looked away, frustrated he could not free the men. His eyes scanned the room, grimacing at the sight of the men, dressed in scant animal skins, serving the Nightsisters as they lounged around the fire. He had no words to describe the sorrow and disgust he felt for their station in life.

    “Perhaps in the future,” he muttered under his breath.

    Tristan shifted uncomfortably next to him.

    “There is one other request we would like to make,” Tuija continued, oblivious to Anakin’s reaction. “We would like our daughters trained by female Jedi only.”

    “What?” Tristan balked.

    “We’d like our daughters trained only by female Jedi,” Tuija said dryly. “Assuming that in your just and fair Jedi Order you have females capable of training children.”

    “Of course we do,” Anakin breathed, placing a restraining hand on Tristan’s arm. “However, masters do not choose their padawans.”

    “Excuse me?” Tuija gapped at him in shock.

    “The Force guides each master to the padawan best suited for him or her,” Anakin explained. “I cannot guarantee who the Force will guide your daughters to.”

    “We believe females are best trained by females,” Tuija argued. “We understand each other better and…”

    “I’m sure you do,” Anakin conceded in a quick interruption. “But as Jedi, we trust the Force to make the right decision. It always has so far.”

    Mother Tuija was silent for a few moments, chewing on her bottom lip.

    “Very well then,” she finally agreed; rising to her feet.

    “Now that we have agreed to the terms, I am pleased to invite you to our evening feast. In addition, you are welcome to remain here for the night. Our chosen daughters will be ready to leave first thing in the morning, unless…” she gazed at Anakin,”…you insist on leaving tonight.”

    Tristan didn’t need the Force to tell him that Mother Tuija and the other Nightsisters would be pleased if they chose to leave immediately. So of course, Anakin did the exact opposite of what their guests wanted.

    “We’ll be happy to join you for dinner and we accept your invitation to spend the night,” Anakin accepted with a bright smile on his face, no doubt disappointing the Nightsisters.

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

    The next morning, Anakin slipped away from the fortress to send a message to Yoda. Tristan remained behind to begin the work on creating a record for each of the children they would be taking for training. Riema stood by his side providing the names and clans each of the girls belonged to.

    Tristan smiled warmly at the new initiates, hoping to make them feel more at ease. He knew the young girls had already begun the portion of their training as witches that taught them that men were beneath them. He hoped his friendly demeanor would quickly change that view.

    “You’ll find them to be very friendly and eager to learn,” Riema explained. “They will not give you any trouble.”

    “I’m sure they won’t,” Tristan replied as he recorded the last name into his data pad.

    “When will your Master be returning?”

    “Any time now,” Tristan answered, checking the time on his wrist chrono.

    “Perhaps you’d like a little tour of our premises,” Riema offered shyly.

    Tristan’s heart skipped a beat, exhilarated at the opportunity to spend time alone with her. “I’d love it.”

    Riema took his hand, leading him out of the Fortress.

    “We’ll be right back,” she called out to Mother Tuija as they left.

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

    Anakin slid down from his rancor, patting its neck affectionately. He was speaking softly into its ear when he caught a sudden movement from the corner of his eye.

    Peeking around the beast, he froze, his mouth dropping open at the sight of Tristan sharing a tender kiss with one of the Nightsisters. Clenching his jaw in barely contained fury, he stepped around the rancor, clearing his throat.

    Tristan and Riema jumped apart guilty.

    “Padawan, are the new initiates ready for the journey?” he asked, his gaze shifting from Tristan to Riema.

    “Yes, Master,” Tristan gulped. “I followed your instructions completely. All of their information has been catalogued in my datapad and is ready to be input into the central system at the Temple.”

    “I’ll see you inside,” Riema breathed, running into the Fortress, wanting to put as much distance between herself and the angry Jedi Master as she could.

    Anakin gazed disapprovingly at Tristan.

    “We should probably get going,” Tristan said, starting after Riema.

    “In a minute,” Anakin replied grabbing his arm as he tried to quickly move past. “You and I are going to have a serious talk first.”

    Tristan sighed deeply. “Must we, Master?”

    Anakin glared, leaving no room for interpretation in his look. “Move.”

    Tristan understood the message in Anakin’s eyes and did as he was told, moving off to a distance where he was sure he would receive the worst lecture of his life.
  9. Jedi_Tyler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 11, 2005
    star 1
    Looks like Tristan's senses are sharp, but I'm worried about him. [face_nail_biting]Hope he gets a stern lecture from Anakin. :)
  10. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Thanks @Jedi_Tyler. :) Sorry for the break folks. Had a family emergency. Now, back to the story.

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


    Chapter 32


    Anakin, still angry at what he had seen, led Tristan to a secluded spot, keeping the entrance to the Fortress in his line of sight.

    “Did Master Yoda tell you where we are taking the new initiates?” Tristan asked, hoping to put off the inevitable lecture he was about to receive as long as possible.

    “Yes,” Anakin replied sternly. “But that’s not what we have to talk about and you know it.”

    Tristan sighed heavily. In all the years he’d spent with Anakin, he’d never been on the receiving end of any of the lectures he’d heard Arik and Luke getting from their father. In a way, Tristan felt the coming lecture was a right of passage, another sign that he was, to Anakin, another son. But that did not make any more eager to actually hear the lecture.

    “I wasn’t doing anything wrong, Master,” he began defensively. “Jedi are allowed to fall in…” he coughed to clear his throat,”…have relationships now.”

    Tristan knew he’d said the wrong thing when he saw Anakin’s look. He shifted uncomfortably under Anakin’s disapproving gaze, his eyes lowering to the ground.

    “I’m well aware of that,” Anakin mused dryly. “In fact, if you’ll recall some of your history lessons, I’m the Jedi most directly responsible for that. However, no matter the rules, a Jedi must still be very careful about who he becomes involved with.”

    “I know,” Tristan insisted.

    “I wonder if you do. It doesn’t appear that way. Were you truly being careful, you’d know that you shouldn’t be getting involved with a Dathomiri witch,” Anakin chastised.

    Tristan’s head snapped up. His blue-gray eyes blazed in sudden fiery anger.

    “She’s not a witch!” he flared hotly. “Riema is a sweet, wonderful young woman who…”

    “I’m sure she is,” Anakin interrupted. “But she’s filled with the dark side. It radiates off of her in waves, Tristan. I’m sure you can feel it as well as I can.”

    “Yes,” Tristan admitted. “But she doesn’t use spells, Master. She’s not dangerous.”

    Anakin gazed at him incredulously. Does the boy really believe anyone could be filled with the dark side and not use it, Anakin thought.

    “The dark side surrounds her,” he explained. “She may not actively use it, yet, but it is there and influences her whether she wants to admit it or not.”

    “She can’t help that,” Tristan argued.

    Anakin squeezed his shoulder. “Tristan; I know Riema has good qualities but she’s too close to the dark side for you or any Jedi to get personally involved with her. You must end this…dalliance before it goes any further than a few kisses.”

    “Why?” Tristan demanded, pulling away from Anakin’s hold. “Even if what you’re saying is true, I can lo…be involved with Riema without our relationship changing me.”

    Anakin forced himself to take a deep breath before answering. He disliked arguing with his apprentice, and he hated even more the feeling of disappointment in him he felt permeating Tristan’s thoughts.

    “No, you can’t,” he replied softly. “Riema may not call upon the dark side but it does impact her, and in turn could impact you.”

    “It won’t,” Tristan persisted. “I can handle it, Master. I know I can.”

    “Tris, I’m sorry, but it’s too much of a risk,” Anakin replied, shaking his head.

    “I know,” he said, bringing up his hand to stop Tristan’s protest before it began again. “I experienced being too close to someone infused with the dark side as well.”

    “And you resisted,” Tristan pointed out.

    “Barely,” Anakin admitted. “And I wouldn’t have without the support of the entire Jedi Order and the woman I love.”

    “I’d have that as well,” Tristan replied weakly.

    “Possibly,” Anakin acknowledged. “But I want you to think about something. Riema’s life is one of service to the Nightsisters of this world. Their traditions, their use of spells and the dark side are her heritage and her birthright. She will remain true to what she knows, and one day you would be forced to choose between us and her. You would face the same choice between light and dark that I faced.”

    Tristan looked away, unable to deny Anakin’s words.

    “Trust me,” Anakin began, putting his arm around Tristan’s shoulders. “Nothing good can come from your involvement with Riema.”

    Tristan hung his head, his shoulders slumping.

    “It’s not fair!” he cried. “Everybody gets to be happy but me!”

    “You’ll find happiness with someone else,” Anakin offered.

    Tristan glared in response. He hated platitudes.

    “Sorry,” Anakin shrugged. “I know that’s not what you want to hear right now but it’s the truth. There’s a whole galaxy out there filled with women, and one day you’ll find the right one for you.”

    “Don’t patronize me, Master,” Tristan groaned, blinking the tears from his eyes.

    Anakin despised having hurt his padawan, but he truly believed he was helping the young man. In the long run, keeping him from Riema was in Tristan’s best interest. As his master, and more importantly as his pseudo-father, Tristan’s best interests were of paramount concern.

    “Master?” he asked after a few moments of silence.

    ”Yes?”

    “Did…did...the Jedi…” he paused, gathering his courage to ask his next question,”…did my father know about you and Padme?”

    Anakin blinked in surprise.

    “We never spoke about it,” he finally replied. “But I believe he did. I never could get much past Obi-Wan.”

    “Would he have let you see her? If you talked to him about it, I mean?”

    Anakin inhaled deeply as memories surfaced of the weak excuses he’d given of where he’d been; knowing looks and uncomfortable silences exchanged between him and Obi-Wan over the years flooded his mind.

    “I don’t believe he would have ever given his approval,” he finally replied, sadness evident in his tone. “Your father believed in and adhered to the Jedi Code all his life.”

    “But he and mom…” Tristan flushed.

    “Sex was never forbidden, Tris,” Anakin explained gently. “Attachment was forbidden. Most Jedi found comfort and even love with each other, though they would never call it that. You’re not the only product of a relationship between two Jedi.”

    “So they didn’t break the rules?”

    “Only technically,” Anakin replied. “I know they loved each other deeply and not being able to express it freely was probably the hardest thing either of them had to deal with. They both excelled at upholding the Jedi Code.”

    “I wish they would have run off together,” Tristan whispered softly. “Maybe then…”

    “They would never have been happy had they done that,” Anakin said. “Your mother could have adjusted, but not your father. His life was being a Jedi. He needed the Order as much as he loved your mother. That made his choice pretty clear.”

    “What was it like when she left?”

    “Obi-Wan was devastated,” Anakin sighed. “He was frantic to try and find her and when he realized he couldn’t…shouldn’t, he locked himself in his room for days.”

    “And when he came out?”

    Anakin gazed into the distance for several minutes before answering. “He was different; a subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless. Only those of us closest to him noticed the change…the lingering sadness. He hid it well but it was always there.”

    “Did he ever…ah…you know…um….find another…”

    Anakin glanced at him sharply, but Tristan’s eyes were locked firmly on the ground.

    “Not that I’m aware of,” he exhaled. “In his eyes, no one could have measured up to your mother.”

    “That’s how I feel about Riema,” Tristan confessed.

    Anakin grimaced at the heartsick look in Tristan’s eyes. It was like looking into Obi-Wan’s eyes nearly twenty-one years earlier. So similar were father and son in that moment that Anakin would have sworn that he’d suddenly been transported to the past.

    “I…I think I love her, Master.”

    “You don’t know her well enough to love her,” Anakin replied.

    “But you always said you fell in love with Padme at first sight,” Tristan challenged.

    “I fell in love, at nine years of age, with my mother’s romantic ideas of falling in love,” Anakin reminded him. “I didn’t love Padme like that then. She was merely the personification of an idea I’d heard my mother speak of often as a child. It took me a long time to realize that. However, we’re not talking about me.”

    “You don’t understand!”

    “I understand all too well,” Anakin retorted, his voice rising. “I used to be your age myself and…”

    “You always said you fell in love with Padme all over again when you saw her after ten years,” Tristan accused, glaring at him.

    Anakin took several deep breaths, forcing himself to remain calm. Never before had Tristan tried his patience as he was during their conversation.

    “It’s not the same, Tris. Yes, I admit I harbored a crush on her for years,” he ignored Tristan’s triumphant look. “But I also took the time to get to know her and really fall in love with her when we were sent to Naboo.”

    “But…but…I…it feels so…so…” Tristan moaned.

    “That’s your hormones talking.”

    “Master!” Tristan jerked away, his cheeks flushing bright red.

    “I know all about that as well,” Anakin replied. “Do you want to talk about…”

    “No!” Tristan insisted loudly. “No, I do not; absolutely not.”

    Anakin chuckled softly.

    “Tris,” he called, sobering. He waited until Tristan turned to look at him.

    “My biggest regret in life is that I did not trust Obi-Wan with the truth regarding my feelings for and relationship with Padme. I know things would have been different…” his voice broke, causing a pause in his words. ”I should have trusted him. I can only hope that you’ll trust me enough to learn from my mistakes, no matter who you eventually decide to become involved with.”

    Tristan nodded, his heart beating wildly. He couldn’t, wouldn’t give Riema up no matter what Anakin said.

    “I will, Master,” he lied. ”I do trust you.”
    Last edited by JediMaster_Jen, Oct 4, 2013
  11. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 33


    “Can you tell me where we’re going?” Tristan asked as Anakin eased the ship into hyperspace.

    “Dantooine,” Anakin answered, turning the pilot’s chair to face him.

    “Dantooine?” Tristan’s nose wrinkled in distaste. “I thought Dantooine was completely uninhabited. Don’t most beings consider it too remote a planet to live on?”

    “Yes,” Anakin replied, an amused smile on his face. “However, that attitude has been changing a bit in the last few years.”

    “Really?” Tristan shook his head in disbelief.

    “Don’t look so shocked, Padawan,” Anakin chided gently. “It’s not unheard of for some to appreciate and be drawn to a new world that has never been inhabited, modernized, or corrupted.”

    He paused in his thoughts before continuing. “I’ve longed for such a place myself from time to time.”

    “I never will,” Tristan sniffed. “I can’t imagine being…cut off from society like that.”

    Anakin threw his head back and laughed. “You may find yourself changing your mind as the years go by. Maybe you’ll go off to live like a hermit on some desolate, unpopulated world.”

    “I doubt it,” Tristan mumbled, shifting in his chair. “Where will the children be staying?”

    Anakin grinned. “They’ll be housed in the newly constructed Temple.”

    Tristan’s head snapped up in shock. “The what?”

    “The Council authorized building a Temple several months ago,” Anakin explained.

    Tristan laughed heartily. “They authorized building a Jedi Temple in the middle of nowhere? Why?”

    Anakin sighed. Discussion of Council business outside the chamber and with someone not on the Council was forbidden, unless the business concerned that person. Anakin knew he could only reveal so much and nothing else.

    “We realized having a Temple in a remote area may be beneficial to various initiates who were having trouble…” he trailed off before finishing,”…adjusting to the training.”

    “There’s trouble in the Order?” Tristan’s eyes widened. “With who?”

    “I didn’t say there was trouble,” Anakin countered. “I just said we recognized the need for a Temple, that’s all.”

    Anakin held up his hand to stop Tristan from speaking. “And it turns out we were right. Dantooine will be a perfect place for the children from Dathomir.”

    “Hmm…” Tristan bit his lip. He could sense there was more to the story than Anakin had told him but the look on his Master’s face indicated the discussion was over.

    He turned to gaze out the window into the vastness of space, his mind turning to Riema. His missed her fiercely already. He was plotting ways to see her again when a cry from the rear of the ship pulled him back to reality.

    “Sounds like the children are getting antsy,” Anakin announced rising from his chair. “Let’s go.”

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

    Several hours later, Anakin led the initiates down the landing ramp, holding two toddlers. An exhausted Tristan brought up the rear, holding the hands of two very excited and wide-awake children.

    A tall Faleen steeped away from a group of Jedi, bowing deeply as Anakin reached the bottom of the ramp.

    “Master Skywalker.”

    Anakin could only bow his head after returning the greeting. The small children in his arms didn’t allow for anything more.

    “Welcome to Dantooine. I am Alister Orikan. I will be running the Temple and supervising the training until the younglings are ready to be taken as Padawan Learners.”

    “Nice to meet you,” Anakin replied glancing at the waiting Jedi. “Is this everyone?”

    “No,” Orikan chuckled. “I brought six Masters to help transport everyone to the Temple. We have seven more Masters and thirteen Padawans waiting for us there.”

    Anakin nodded his approval. ”Wonderful.”

    “The Temple is much smaller than the one on Coruscant,” Orikan explained as he led everyone to the speeders. “We have room for roughly one-hundred Jedi at a time, though we can add on if the need arises. We can also accommodate more staff if and when we need to.”

    “That sounds sufficient,” Anakin replied settling the toddlers into the nearest speeder. “Are there any settlements nearby?”

    “Only one close to the Temple,” Orikan answered, carefully watching as the remaining children were helped into the speeders. “It’s about one-hundred kilometers away and provides us with most of our supplies.”

    He paused to climb into the speeder. “The locals seem happy to have Jedi nearby, though they don’t bother us at the Temple.”

    “They settle their own disputes?”

    “So far,” Orikan smiled. “They have legal and government type authorities but from what I can tell the beings are content to live quietly and in peace with each other.”

    “I wish everyone would be willing to do that,” Anakin mused. ”Sure would make things easier.”

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

    Tristan sat in the last speeder, his arms protectively around the two children next to him as they all took in their surroundings, or lack of. The grasslands they passed were lush but barren of any sign of life and he quickly grew bored studying them.

    Closing his eyes, he mind once again shifted to thoughts of Riema. He smiled as her beautiful, grinning face materialized before him. Her eyes sparkling with love, her lips slightly parted just waiting for him to kiss…

    An excited cry interrupted his thoughts.

    Tristan opened his eyes, blinking in amazement at the sight of dozens of small huts and domes. They had come out of nowhere.

    “What is this place?” he asked the Jedi driver.

    “It’s a small settlement near the Temple,” the driver called back.

    Tristan leaned back in his seat, a smile beginning to form on his face. Already an idea was forming in his mind.

    “Are they friendly?” he gestured to the curious faces staring at the passing speeder.

    “Very,” the driver replied. “They seem intrigued by our presence.”

    Tristan smiled. He had already decided he would contact Riema and try to persuade her to relocate to Dantooine. If the natives were indeed friendly, perhaps they would be willing to accommodate a newcomer.
    Last edited by JediMaster_Jen, Oct 4, 2013
  12. Skywalker_Angel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2004
    star 1
    I really like the mature Anakin. However, I'm not certain he's the best person to be warning Tristan off a relationship.
  13. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 34


    Two Weeks Later


    Anakin led an exhausted Tristan from the High Council chambers after their debriefing. Yawning, he reached for his comlink to let Padme know that he and Tristan would be home soon.

    “Master Skywalker,” the young padawan on duty at the reception desk called out as both men walked past him.

    Anakin and Tristan stopped in unison, turning to face the young man.

    “I have a message for you from Mrs. Skywalker,” the padawan rose from the desk, a concerned look on his face. “She requests you return to your apartment as soon as possible, Master.”

    “Did she say why?” Anakin frowned, his heart skipping a beat. What could possibly be wrong? he wondered frantically.

    “No, Master Skywalker, she simply indicated that you needed to return as soon as possible.”

    Anakin and Tristan exchanged concerned looks as they hurried from the room.

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

    Anakin docked the speeder, jumped from the vehicle and raced into the apartment without saying a word; Tristan right on his heels.

    “Pad…,” he stopped dead in his tracks when he spotted a familiar figure on one of the twin sofas facing each other.

    “What the kriff are you doing here?” he demanded hotly as Tristan reached his side.

    “Anakin!”

    “It’s quite alright, Padme,” Benjamen Kenobi said softly as he rose from the sofa with a grimace. While he knew he wouldn’t be greeted with open arms, the hostility radiating from Anakin took him by surprise.

    “Anakin,” he nodded politely before turning his attention to Tristan. “You must by my nephew.”

    Tristan blinked in surprise. “Excuse me?”

    He turned to Anakin. “This is…?”

    “I’m Benjamen Kenobi, Luke’s brother,” Ben stepped forward, offering his hand.

    Tristan gazed at him in confusion before it suddenly hit him. He remembered Anakin having told him years before that when he’d gone to Wukkar to tell Benjamen Kenobi of his brother’s death, the older man hadn’t cared.

    “My father’s name was Obi-Wan,” he replied tightly ignoring Ben’s hand.

    “Of course,” Ben quickly dropped his hand to his side. “Perhaps we can be seated?”

    He waited patiently while Anakin and Tristan walked to the sofa opposite him, sitting next to Padme. The fact that they presented a united front, like a family, wasn’t lost on him.

    Padme reached over, squeezing Anakin’s hand.

    “I’m sorry I couldn’t warn you,” she whispered.

    Anakin nodded in understanding.

    “I suppose you’re wondering why I’m here,” Ben said, his gaze squarely on Tristan.

    Tristan shrugged, looking away. ”Not really.”

    “I only recently discovered your existence from a HoloNet newscast,” Ben continued. “Not that they identified you as Lu…Obi-Wan’s son, but there aren’t that many Kenobi’s in the galaxy and even fewer who can use the Force.”

    He laughed awkwardly after not receiving a reaction from Tristan. “So I thought I’d come by and meet my nephew face to face.”

    “Why?” Tristan demanded, suddenly turning to glare at him.

    “Wha…uh…excuse me?”

    “You didn’t care about my father when he was alive. Why should you care about me now?”

    Ben’s mouth dropped open in shock. “Of course I cared about Lu…Obi-Wan,” he protested.

    “Oh, really?” Tristan scoffed. “Is that why you said he deserved to die?”

    “What? I never…,”

    “You said he should have stayed at home and not gotten involved,” Tristan spat, his cheeks reddening with anger. “You said what he did didn’t matter to the Jedi Order or the galaxy as a whole.”

    “That’s not exactly what I said,” Ben mumbled, taken aback by Tristan’s reaction.

    “Did you say you loved him?” Tristan crossed his arms, glaring hatefully at his uncle. “Did you say that you were sorry that he was gone? Did you say that you wished he was still here so that you could know him, spend time with him?”

    “Well I…I…,” Ben turned to Anakin for help. “I...barely knew him, Tris.”

    “Don’t call me that!” Tristan yelled. “You don’t get to call me that!”

    “Tristan Kenobi!” Anakin grabbed his arm. ”Calm down right now.”

    Tristan bit his lip, attempting to control his raging anger.

    Anakin was quickly becoming concerned about his young apprentice. Anger and hatred were easily visible on his face and in his eyes. What he saw there terrified him because he knew the look well. It was the same on he himself had worn as he slaughtered an entire village of Sand People.

    “Look, I am sorry for what happened to Obi-Wan,” Ben offered. “I’m sorry I didn’t know him well enough to mourn his death in a manner in which you would approve.”

    Anakin shot him a thunderous look.

    “All I want right now is the chance to get to know you Tristan, to make up for not knowing Obi-Wan,” he paused, swallowing the lump in his throat. “I hope you’ll give me the chance to make amends.”

    He rose slowly from the sofa. “I’m staying at the Coruscant Regency a few kilometers away. I’ll be here for a week. I hope you’ll contact me.”

    Tristan didn’t respond as Benjamen made his way to the door, showing himself out.

    “Are you all right?” Padme asked softly, patting Tristan’s hand.

    “I don’t ever want to see him again,” Tristan replied tightly, jumping to his feet and storming to his room.

    “There’s somebody I didn’t think I’d ever see again,” Anakin sighed, leaning into the cushions. “How long was he here?”

    “About an hour,” Padme snuggled next to him, her head on his shoulder. “Do you think he really wants to get to know Tristan? Why now? Why after all these years?”

    “I don’t know,” Anakin replied tiredly as he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close. “I didn’t sense any deception or hostility in his presence; just something…odd, right under the surface.”

    “Should we encourage Tristan to spend time with him?”

    “I’ll leave it up to him,” Anakin announced. “There’s no reason to force the issue. If Benjamen has any sense, he’ll respect Tristan’s decision, as will I.”

    Padme nodded. She agreed with Anakin. The decision had to belong to Tristan. He was an adult and fully capable of making the choice for himself.

    *******************************************************************
    In his room, Tristan was seething. His anger was palpable. His hands were clenched at his sides as he paced his room. His face was red and his heartbeat was erratic.

    For a moment he stopped pacing and faced the reflector hanging on the wall opposite his bed. His own face was foreign to him as he stared into the transparisteel. But for some reason, he wasn’t frightened of his appearance.

    Not even of the slight tint of yellow around his eyes.
    Last edited by JediMaster_Jen, Jan 11, 2014
  14. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 35


    Benjamen Kenobi stood at the bottom of the massive flight of stairs leading to the Jedi Temple, his eyes fixed squarely on the center pillar as he contemplated his next move.

    It had been six days since his visit to the Skywalker home and he hadn’t heard a word from Tristan. That didn’t surprise him, though. Anakin made no secret of his feelings for him. It was only natural he would poison Tristan’s mind against him as well.

    He sighed, beginning the long climb. He was determined to see his nephew. If it had to be at the Jedi Temple, a place he loathed, so be it. He would never forgive the Jedi Order for taking Luke away from his home, his family.

    Obi-Wan, he corrected. I must remember to refer to him by his Jedi name in front of Tristan.

    Why his nephew was so adamant about a name was beyond him. He never knew his father, so what difference did it make? Still, if it would make him happy, Ben would do it for the time being. He was sure after he got to know Tristan better, he could influence the boy to see things his way.

    He reached the top of the stairs several minutes later, pausing to catch his breath. Was he imagining things or were the two young men at the doors smirking at him? Shaking his head, he marched determinedly to the entrance.

    “I’m here to see my nephew, Tristan Kenobi,” he announced.

    “Is he expecting you?” asked one of the young men, his tone accusatory.

    “No,” Ben admitted. “But I’m his uncle and I’m sure he will be happy to see me. If you’ll just step aside, I’ll…”

    “I’m sorry, Sir, but I cannot step aside.”

    Ben blinked in surprise as both men moved closer together, completely blocking the entrance to the Temple.

    “No one may enter without an appointment,” Ben was informed. “Nor may you wander the Temple without an escort.”

    “Why you little…”

    “However, I will be happy to let Master Skywalker and his Padawan know you are here.”

    Ben bit back his anger as the young man turned and entered the Temple. He wouldn’t make a very good impression on Tristan, Anakin or the Jedi by forcing his way in the Temple.

    He shifted uncomfortably under the steady gaze of the remaining guard.

    Skywalker is making me wait on purpose, he thought bitterly after several minutes went by.

    Finally, the doors opened once more. Ben was surprised to see Anakin and Tristan exit the Temple and not the young man that had entered.

    “Kenobi,” Anakin began as he and Tristan reached the older man. “What are you doing here?”

    “How are you, Tristan?” Ben asked his nephew, ignoring Anakin completely.

    “Fine,” Tristan answered between clenched teeth. “My master asked you a question.”

    “I came by to see you,” Ben shrugged.

    “Why?” Tristan demanded haughtily. “I thought I made it clear I want nothing to do with you.”

    “I thought you might change your mind…”

    “No,” Tristan interrupted. “I haven’t changed my mind and I won’t change my mind.”

    He glared hatefully at Ben. “Not ever.”

    “Look Tris…Tristan,” Ben corrected hastily. “I understand you’re upset, but I’d like the opportunity to give you my side of the story, if you’ll let me.”

    “Your side,” Tristan scoffed. “You hated my father and said he deserved to die all because you didn’t agree with his choices and you think I want to hear anything you have to say?”

    “I didn’t hate Luke…”

    “Obi-Wan! His name was Obi-Wan!” Tristan shouted, pushing Ben to the ground in a move so quick that neither Ben nor Anakin saw it coming.

    “Tristan!” Anakin snapped, gripping the young man’s shoulders firmly. He pulled him away from Ben as the older man struggled to his feet’ his expression one of shock and barely restrained anger.

    The two padawans at the door were watching them, mouths agape. Anakin could feel his padawan rapidly loosing control.

    “Go back inside; I’ll handle this from here.”

    Tristan opened his mouth to protest, closing it quickly as Anakin tightened his grip.

    “Yes, Master.”

    Ben watched him walk away, waiting until the Temple doors closed behind him before turning to Anakin again.

    “I suppose you’re happy. You’ve brainwashed my nephew to…”

    “Shut up,” Anakin ordered, his voice rough and gritty with anger.

    Ben’s eyes widened with shock as Anakin leaned forward, stopping inches from his face.

    “I’m only going to tell you this once, so I’d suggest you listen very carefully,” he said tightly. “I want you to stay away from Tristan. I want you to stay away from me and my family and I want you to stay away from the Temple.”

    “Or?” Ben taunted.

    “Or I’ll make you wish you had heeded my warnings,” Anakin replied, his icy blue eyes flashing with fury.

    “You’re threatening me?” Ben shouted dramatically, turning to make sure anyone in range heard him.

    “Knock it off,” Anakin warned, his eyes narrowing. “Nobody here is impressed with your theatrics, Ben Kenobi. You’ve been asked, and now you’ve been ordered to leave. You’re trespassing on private property. Now go.”

    Ben shrugged indifferently.

    “Don’t come here again,” Anakin ordered, marching back into the Temple.

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

    Late Evening
    Jedi Temple


    At thirteen, Arik Skywalker was a growing boy, and always hungry. Late night trips to the dining hall were common. It was on the way back to the quarters he shared with Garen that he spotted Tristan entering the Temple, his robes wrinkled and his spiked hair disheveled.

    “Hey, Tris,” he called.

    Tristan turned quickly towards the younger boy, but said nothing.

    Arik, ever the curious Skywalker, walked up the taller man and noticed right away that something was wrong.

    “Tris, what…?”

    Tristan moved quickly away, still not having spoken to Arik.

    “Weird,” Arik muttered to himself as he headed for the lifts.

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

    Skywalker/Kenobi Quarters

    Tristan exited the lift and made the turn towards his and Anakin’s quarters when he saw his mentor exit a lift at the opposite end of the hallway.

    “Master, what are you doing up so late?”

    Anakin smiled tiredly. “I could ask you the same thing.”

    Tristan shrugged uncomfortably. “I just…needed to clear my head. I took a walk.”

    Anakin nodded. “It seems we had the same idea, Padawan.”

    Anakin reached out and activated the door, thereby allowing Tristan to notice a newly applied bandage on his left hand.

    “What happened, Master?”

    Anakin jerked his hand back as the door opened and they entered their quarters. “Oh, I just…I went down to a junk shop in the lower levels. I scraped it on some metal.”

    Tristan accepted the answer and bid his master goodnight, both men heading directly for their beds.

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

    The Next Morning

    Anakin was awakened by the chirping of his comm.

    “Skywalker,” he mumbled, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

    “Anakin,” Mace Windu’s stern voice greeted. “You and Tristan are to report to the Council immediately.”

    “Now?” Anakin frowned. “The Council doesn’t begin session for several more hours, Master.”

    “This isn’t a Council meeting,” Mace informed him. “Coruscant Security will be here in an hour to begin a murder investigation. We need to meet with you and Tristan first.”

    “Master, what…a murder investigation?” Anakin repeated. “Why…what does a murder have to do with the Jedi?”

    “I’m afraid it has more to do with the Jedi than you can imagine. Anakin, the victim is Benjamen Kenobi.”
  15. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 36



    “Tristan, wake up,” Anakin demanded as he walked into the younger man’s room.

    Tristan, always a light sleeper, opened his eyes and blinked the sleep from them. He sat up and ran a hand through his hair before answering Anakin.

    “What is it, Master?” he asked groggily.

    Anakin sighed as he sat down on the edge of the bed. “I just got a call from Master Windu. He had some…bad news.”

    “Is Padme okay? Luke, Leia, Arik?”

    Anakin nodded. “Yeah, they’re all fine. It has nothing to do with them. It’s about your…about Benjamen.”

    “What about him?” Tristan questioned.

    Anakin didn’t miss his student’s anger at the mention of his uncle.

    Deciding that Tristan was grown up enough to handle the news, he took a deep breath and spoke. “Master Windu told me that Benjamen has been murdered.”

    Tristan’s eyes widened. “Murdered? Wow.”

    “I’m sorry for…”

    “For what?” the young man interrupted. “Sorry that he’s dead? Why? He was a despicable human being, Master. He hated my father.”

    Anakin sighed. “I know. But he was your uncle, your only family.”

    Tristan jumped up from his bed and whirled around to face Anakin. “No, he wasn’t. He wasn’t my family at all, Master. You’re my family. You, Padme, Luke, Leia and Arik are my family; Master Garen too, but not Benjamen Kenobi. You told me once when I was a child that biology has very little to do with the things that make people family. You said that love is what makes people a family. Well, I didn’t love that man and I seriously doubt that he cared one little bit about me.”

    Anakin understood Tristan’s feelings. He didn’t like Obi-Wan’s brother at all either, and he too considered Tristan his family.

    “There’s more,” Anakin revealed. “Coruscant Security will be here within the hour to begin their murder investigation.”

    Tristan’s eyes showed shock and his shields slipped slightly revealing just a hint of…something Anakin couldn’t place. Quickly it was gone.

    “Why are they coming here?” he questioned as he sat down at his desk.

    Anakin stood. “I have no idea; perhaps because you and I both knew him, however briefly. I’m sure they just want to ask a few questions and will then be on their way. Get dressed; we have to appear before the Council before they get here.”

    “Yes, Master.”

    Anakin left his apprentice to dress while he want back to his room and contacted Padme and told her what was going on.

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

    After telling the Council of the confrontation with Benjamen Kenobi and their separate late evening activities, Anakin and Tristan were now both repeating the information for the Coruscant Security officer.

    “Where did you go when you left the Temple, Padawan Kenobi?”

    Tristan cleared his throat. “I went for a walk. I needed to clear my mind.”

    “Where did you go?”

    “I went to Dex’s Diner in CoCo Town,” he answered.

    “Can anyone confirm that you were there last evening between 1900 and 2130 hours?” the officer asked in a suspicious tone of voice.

    Tristan nodded. “Sure. Dex worked late last evening and saw me enter around 1920. You can ask him. He took my order and brought my food. I didn’t leave there until at least 2245 hours.”

    Anakin smiled at his padawan.

    “Did you see Benjamen Kenobi on your walk last night from here to the diner?”

    “No,” Tristan answered easily.

    “Master Skywalker, you also left the Temple after your confrontation with the victim. Where did you go?”

    “The Sudime Junkyard,” he answered easily.

    The officer wrinkled his nose. “A junkyard? Did you go there for a specific reason, Master Skywalker?”

    Anakin smiled roguishly. “My sons and I have been building a speeder for quite some time and we needed a few parts. My youngest, Arik, went last time and he nearly got himself killed. So, this time I went.”

    “Get what you needed?”

    “Unfortunately not,” Anakin answered quickly.

    “Is there anyone who can attest to your presence in the junkyard last night, Master Skywalker?”

    Anakin nodded. “The night manager of the Sudime will tell you I was there. He was there the entire time I was searching for the part I needed. I was there for three or four hours, from about 1845 until 2230 when I finally gave up.”

    The officer entered a few things into his datapad then looked up again.

    “Padawan Kenobi, what was your relationship with your uncle?”

    Tristan didn’t fidget, just answered calmly. “We didn’t have a relationship, Sir. He may have been my uncle biologically, but I knew little more about him than his name.”

    “How well did you know him, Master Skywalker?”

    “Not well at all,” Anakin revealed. “I first met him years ago when my wife and I went to his homeworld of Wukkar to inform him of his brother’s death. He was…uninterested at best. My next encounter with him was one week ago when he showed up here on Coruscant. Like my apprentice, I know little more about him than his name and his feelings of indifference where his brother was concerned.”

    “Are you sorry he’s dead, Master Skywalker?”

    Anger flashed in Anakin’s blue depths, but he managed to reign in his feelings enough to answer the question.

    “Yes, I am,” he said softly, compassionately. “As a Jedi I have been taught to preserve life at all costs, and I make it my mission to do so. I feel sorrow and a sense of unrealized promise when a life is lost.”

    “So, you liked the victim and you’re sorry he’s dead?”

    “Yes, I am sorry he’s dead,” Anakin said through clenched teeth. “No one deserves to be murdered, but don’t misunderstand me; I didn’t like Benjamen Kenobi at all. He was a despicable human being who cared nothing for my mentor, his own brother. He dismissed Obi-Wan Kenobi’s passing as something trivial and then he had the audacity to come here and try to be a part of my apprentice’s life. He overstepped his bounds when he made that decision.”

    The officer recorded a few other things and then presented the same question to Tristan.

    “Yes, I’m sorry he’s dead,” he answered. “Like Master Anakin said, no one deserves to be murdered in cold blood. But I’m not sorry he’s gone from my life. I didn’t like him, either. I didn’t like the way Master Anakin told me he spoke of my father and I didn’t like his attitude. Biology made him my uncle, but I felt no connection to him and I won’t miss him.”

    “Well, I think that’s all I need from the two of you,” the officer said in his flat, disinterested voice. “I’ll just be speaking now with the night manager of the Sudime Junkyard and Dex of Dex’s Diner.”

    “Officer Rholar, let me show you out,” Master Windu offered. “Follow me.”

    Anakin and Tristan, along with Yoda watched as the two other men left the room.

    “Very proud of both of you, I am,” Yoda said. “Handled that well, you both did.”

    Anakin shrugged. “We told the truth, Master. I am sorry he’s dead, but only because murder is a terrible way to lose your life. Not even Benjamen Kenobi deserved an end like that.”

    Yoda raised his eyebrows, but didn’t comment. “Dismissed, you both are. May the Force be with you.”

    Anakin and Tristan both bowed and exited the chamber together.

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

    Several Hours Later
    Coruscant Security Headquarters


    “What’s wrong, Rholar?” another officer questioned the veteran investigator.

    The gray-haired man shrugged as he tossed his datapad down. “I don’t know. There’s something…odd about this murder I’m investigating. Everyone I spoke with today corroborates the stories the two Jedi gave me.”

    “That’s a good thing, right?” the other man questioned. “Jedi don’t lie anyway. What did you expect? That you’d find out they had both lied and had murdered the guy?”

    Rholar shook his head. “No, I suppose not. I mean, there weren’t any signs of lightsaber wounds on the victim, and there were mild signs of a struggle. I can’t imagine that a Jedi would have to struggle to kill someone, not with their powers. But there’s just…something I can’t put my finger on. Something is out of place, I know it. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something isn’t right; my gut tells me.”

    “Something like what?”

    “I wish I knew,” he sighed. “I also wish I knew how far the Jedi Council would go to protect one of their own.”

    “You mean; would they lie to protect a murderer if the victim was someone they didn’t think worthy of living, particularly if the murderer was a Jedi?”

    Rholar nodded. “Yes, exactly like that. The Jedi, the famous one, Anakin Skywalker, he’s the one teaching the nephew of our victim, and he’s the former student of the victim’s deceased brother. He’d want to protect the kid if he did it, and the Jedi Order as a whole would probably fight to the death to protect Skywalker if he did it. So I’m just wondering if I’ll ever find out the truth behind all the power and mystique of the Jedi Order.”

    “You don’t really believe that either of them had anything to do with this, do you, Jarek?”

    Jarek Rholar took a deep breath. “I don’t want to believe it. I like the Jedi, I do. I liked Skywalker and his apprentice. They answered my questions honestly and openly and I respect that, but I have to wonder if I would even have known had they not been honest and open.”

    “I guess you’ll just have to take them at their word.”

    “Guess I will,” Rholar agreed. “I’m going to head home. I’ll look at this case with fresh eyes tomorrow.”

    The two men parted and Rholar continued to think the case over as he drove his speeder home.

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

    Jedi Temple


    Tristan and Anakin had spent the rest of their day in the training room sparring. They’d practices advanced katas for hours and now, after a nice hot shower, Tristan was lying in bed. He was exhausted, but also exhilarated. His mind was still twirling a thousand parsecs a minute.

    When he finally drifted off into sleep, his dreams came.

    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    1920 Hours
    Dex’s Diner



    ”Hey, Dex!” Tristan called as he entered the diner.

    The tall Besalisk smiled widely and came out to hug Tristan. “Hey, kid. Good to see you. What can I get you tonight?”

    Tristan smiled. He loved Dex’s friendly nature. “I’ll have the nerf steak, stewed Corellian potatoes and some blue milk.”

    “You got it,” Dex said as he went back into the kitchen.

    Tristan spread a collection datapads out before him as he waited for his meal to arrive. He was brushing up on some of his Galactic History when he noticed Benjamen Kenobi walking past the diner.

    Looking into the kitchen, he saw that Dex was the only employee still there other than one of the droid waitresses and that he was the only customer left. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath and tentatively reached out with his mind. He lightly brushed Dex’s mind with his own and concentrated on planting a vision in the mind of the friendly cook. He’d never tried the technique before and had only read about it in a mission report written by a Corellian Jedi named Valin Halcyon. But his power had grown so much under Anakin’s tutelage that he was confident he could make it work.

    Tristan needed for Dex to believe that he was in the same booth for as long as what he had planned took him to complete. With all the power he had in the Force, he pushed the vision of himself eating and drinking and laughing with Dex into the Besalisk’s mind.

    When he opened his eyes, Dex was standing in front of him, plate of food in hand.

    “Here you go, little Jedi,” Dex said.

    Tristan laughed at the nickname. “Thanks, Dex.”

    He didn’t know if it had worked, but he’d have to take the chance anyway. He took a few bites and then stood. As he walked past the droid waitress, he lightly touched the back, using the Force to short out her power supply. She was fried instantly and unable to ask him where he was going.


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

    ”I would have thought that after Master Anakin’s warning you would have left the planet,” Tristan called out when he caught up to Benjamen.

    The older man turned around and smiled. “I guess I was hoping for one more chance with you.”

    Tristan sneered. “A chance with me for what? Being my friend? My uncle? You should have started with showing some respect for your dead brother, my father!”

    “Listen, kid, I never…”

    He stopped suddenly when he heard a snap-hiss and then saw a glowing blade before him.

    “No, you listen,” Tristan said in a dangerously low tone. “You don’t get any more chances. It ends here, now.”

    Benjamen laughed. “What, are you going to kill me? You, the good little Jedi-in-training are going to kill me in cold blood? You don’t have it in you, kid. You aren’t much like your father near as I can tell. I may not have known Luke, but I saw enough on the HoloNet to know that he was a hero many times over. But you’re so much less than that, aren’t you? You’re…”

    “Shut up!” Tristan yelled, his anger clearly coming through his shields now. His breathing had increased and his eyes were clouded.

    “His name was Obi-Wan! My father’s name was Obi-Wan!” he continued to yell. “He was a great man, but you aren’t! You don’t deserve to even speak his name!”

    “Oh, is the young Jedi losing his calm center?” Benjamen goaded. “How disappointed your father wou…”

    His sentence was cut off as the vibro-blade pierced his chest. His shocked eyes met Tristan’s glowing yellow ones as his hands grasped at his wound.

    “You…”

    Tristan smiled evilly. “Yes, Uncle. I killed you. You don’t deserve to live. You’re a despicable human being who only brings misery to those around you. I’ve cleansed this galaxy of your presence forever. You can die knowing that I hate you with everything inside me, with everything that I am.”

    His breaths coming further apart as he collapsed, Benjamen looked up at the young man that was his nephew and saw pure evil staring back. His eyes closed slowly, but he saw Tristan walking towards him and felt it when he pulled the vibro-blade from his chest.

    “You…wo…won’t get…away…with…th…this,” Benjamen choked out, blood dripping from his mouth now.

    Tristan wiped the blade on Benjamen’s shirt and smiled. “I’m a Jedi. Of course I’ll get away with it, Uncle. You’re just another dead man, but I’m going to be a hero like my father. Goodbye.”

    Tristan sprinted from the scene of the crime undetected while Benjamen lay there bleeding to death. As his life-force ebbed away and finally faded, Tristan carefully entered the diner once more and sat down. He finished his meal just as Dex came over.

    “Sure been good talking with you, Tris,” he said. “You should come down here more often and chat for a few hours.”

    Tristan grinned. “Sure thing, Dex. I had a great time tonight.”


    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Tristan woke up covered in sweat.

    “It actually worked,” he whispered into the empty room. “I got away with murder.”

    He lay back down and closed his eyes, once again drifting into sleep with his victory held tightly in his heart.

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

    “Are you sure this is a wise course of action, Father?” Mara asked her father, Darex.

    The man smiled at his daughter. “Of course I’m sure. You’re grandfather’s fatal mistake was in trying to ruin the Jedi Order, to destroy them completely. I don’t want to destroy them, I want to change them. I want them to become my dark warriors.”

    “Is that even possible? As you said, Grandfather made mistakes. What if you make them too?”

    Darex smiled at his seventeen-year-old daughter. “I won’t. Palpatine chose to reveal himself to Anakin Skywalker too soon. We won’t reveal ourselves until Tristan Kenobi is firmly within our grasp. I won’t make my father’s mistakes.”

    Mara smiled, though she was becoming increasingly unsure of her father’s plans. For now, she’d watch him carefully and decide what to do if he became as unstable as her grandfather had so many years before.
  16. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 37


    Tristan smiled to himself as he read a communiqué he’d received from Riema. He had presented to her his idea of moving to the settlement on Dantooine to be close to the Jedi Temple that had been established. She had readily agreed that it was a good idea, but was unsure how to gain permission from her clan.

    Tristan himself was unsure of how to proceed. He knew he couldn’t go to Anakin for help, and that left him few options. He wished Anakin was more supportive of his feelings for Riema and trusted his belief that she was not dangerous. It would make things much easier.

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

    Anakin was walking slowly though the Room of a Thousand Fountains, his mind awash in turmoil. He knew Tristan was hiding something from him but he couldn’t put his finger on it. The young man had become quiet since the murder of Benjamen Kenobi and Anakin was concerned.

    “Anakin, are you okay?”

    He turned and smiled gently when he saw Barriss Offee. “Yes, I’m…fine.”

    Barriss moved to sit on a nearby bench. “Forgive me, but you don’t seem fine.”

    Anakin chuckled. Barriss had always been perceptive. He sat down next to her and sighed deeply, but remained otherwise silent.

    Barriss cleared her throat. “Do you want to discuss it?”

    Anakin looked at her. She’d recently taken her second Padawan Learner and he knew she’d understand after her own difficulties with her first student.

    “It’s Tristan,” he started. “Ever since Benjamen Kenobi was found murdered and we were questioned by the Coruscant Security authorities, he’s been…sullen, quiet, withdrawn and…”

    “…and you’re worried about him,” she finished.

    Anakin nodded. “Yes, of course. This isn’t like Tristan at all. He won’t talk to me. Every time I ask him what is bothering him, he tells me he’s fine.”

    “Perhaps a change of scenery would do him some good,” she suggested. “I understand that Luke is on Dantooine with Master Olin along with Padawan Jade and Master Shaak-Ti. Perhaps Tristan could do with a visit.”

    Anakin mulled over that idea. They hadn’t been away from the Temple since their return from Dantooine nearly one month before and the entire Benjamen Kenobi debacle had come almost immediately thereafter.

    Anakin smiled. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe we could both do with a change of scenery. Thank you.”

    Barriss nodded regally. “Glad to be of service. May the Force be with you, Anakin.”

    Anakin remained sitting long after Barriss had left. He slid to the stone floor and crossed his legs, arms resting easily on his thighs. He closed his eyes and fell easily into a light meditation. As he delved deeper into the serenity of the Force, he searched for further guidance regarding his apprentice.

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

    Private Senate Office of Darex Jade

    Senator Jade’s comm alerted him to an incoming call from Arkania. After donning his black robe and shielding his face, he pressed the necessary access code; the face of Governor Verbeke of Arkania appeared on his screen.

    “Governor, what news do you have?”

    Verbeke was seated behind a desk. “We’ve discovered something…interesting among the clonetroopers we have here. The microcircuits we were going to implant may be unnecessary.”

    Darex was intrigued. “Why is that, Governor?”

    Verbeke allowed himself a smile. “One of our scientists discovered a code buried deep in the clones’ behavioral programming. In addition to their altered genetic codes which created their accelerated growth, muscle strength, coordination, higher reasoning skills...”

    “Get to the point, Governor,” Darex snapped.

    “Yes, of course,” Verbeke obeyed. “As you know, the clones were created on Kamino, but their creators didn’t have control of them once their production was complete. The Jedi Master Yoda took control of them just prior to the Battle of Geonosis. After which time they were conscripted into the Republic military and placed under the ultimate control of Chancellor Palpatine once he was given emergency powers.”

    Darex knew all of that information. He wanted Verbeke to tell him something he didn’t know.

    “Well, somewhere during the process, when their behavior mechanisms were being written into their genetic code, someone buried a…a failsafe order I suppose you could call it.”

    Jade frowned. “What kind of failsafe? What is its function?”

    “It appears to be an override command,” he stated. “Our scientists believe that this one order would supersede all others the clones were given.”

    Darex was intrigued now. “Do you know what the order actually does?”

    Verbeke smiled. “Yes, we do.”

    Darex waited.

    “The very last order they were programmed with took precedent over all others,” he explained. “All indications are that the order involves the…”

    Darex pounded his hand on his desk, tired of waiting. “The what!”

    Verbeke grinned. “The destruction of the Jedi Order.”

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

    Tristan was studying when Anakin entered his room. He knew Tristan had felt his approach and knew he was watching him, but he didn’t speak.

    “Can we talk?” Anakin finally asked.

    Tristan turned in his chair and nodded.

    Anakin sat down on the bed and pinned his apprentice with his icy blue stare. He wanted his full focus.

    “You’ve been awfully quiet lately,” he began. “I want to know why.”

    Tristan knew he couldn’t tell Anakin the truth; not about Benjamen and not about Riema. So, as was becoming his custom, he lied.

    “I know, Master,” he said. “I’ve just been…I didn’t think Benjamen’s death would affect me. I didn’t want it to and I convinced myself that it hadn’t.”

    Anakin was puzzled. “You mean to tell me all of these changes in your behavior have been due to his death?”

    Tristan nodded. “I didn’t want to tell you, Master. You seemed…I know you weren’t upset that he was gone, whether you thought he deserved what happened to him or not. I thought I felt the same as well, but…”

    “But?” Anakin prodded.

    Tristan sniffled a bit. “But the more I thought about it, the more…maybe I should have given him a chance. That was all he wanted. Now he’s gone and I’ll never know.”

    Anakin frowned. He felt like he should have known that Tristan would have problems dealing with Benjamen’s death despite his insistence that he was fine. Like it or not, Benjamen was a part of Tristan’s family and some part of him must have longed to know the man. Anakin couldn’t help but feel that his own attitude towards Benjamen had influenced Tristan without the young man being able to form his own opinion.

    “I wish you’d told me sooner,” Anakin told the young man.

    “I didn’t know what to say, Master,” Tristan stated. “I didn’t expect to feel that way.”

    He reached out and rested his hand on Tristan’s knee. “I…I think my feelings towards Benjamen have colored your own and for that, I am sorry. I should not have allowed my personal feelings to influence your decisions.”

    Tristan nodded. He had led Anakin where he wanted him, now he had to press the issue.

    “Master, what about…about Riema?” he asked softly.

    Anakin’s shoulders tightened. “What about her?”

    Tristan’s eyes lowered to stare at something on the floor only he could see. “I just wondered if…you want your personal feelings about her to influence my decision? Because you feel she’s dangerous?”

    Anakin cleared his throat. Obi-Wan had always been good at throwing Anakin’s words back at him. All these years, and now he discovers that Tristan shares that ability.

    “I want you to make an informed decision, Tris,” Anakin told him. “The Nightsisters are not ones to take lightly, Padawan, and they are dangerous. I know Riema is young and she’s not fully indoctrinated as of yet, but she soon will be, and what happens then? When the grip of the dark arts is too powerful for her to resist as her heritage takes over? Where does that leave you, the Jedi Knight who has sworn to uphold peace and justice and denounce the dark side?”

    “I don’t know!” Tristan cried out. “I just want…”

    Anakin was sympathetic, but he also knew he had to make certain that his young apprentice understood the magnitude of his decisions, especially as he approached knighthood.

    “I know I ordered you to stop pursuing…whatever was developing between the two of you, but I want you to know that the decision is ultimately yours to make,” Anakin told him. “Please, whatever your decision, will you do one thing for me?”

    Tristan nodded.

    “Talk to me,” Anakin pleaded. “When I was facing the most difficult times in my life, I didn’t talk to Obi-Wan and I should have. I realized that after it was already too late.”

    “I promise, Master,” Tristan agreed softly. “I promise.”

    Anakin smiled as he stood to leave. He had only taken a few steps when he remembered the other reason he came to Tristan’s room.

    “Oh, my initial motivation in coming in here was to tell you to get ready for a mission,” he said happily.

    Tristan brightened as well. “Where are we going?”

    “Dantooine.”

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

    Dantooine

    Mara Jade had managed to escape her master and was walking along the river situated not far from the Temple. She liked Dantooine. It was quiet; lacked the hustle and bustle of Coruscant. Her thoughts were her own and she felt as though things became clearer when she was undisturbed.

    “Hi, Mara,” Luke’s voice broke her reverie.

    Mara was startled to suddenly see Luke standing before her. She’d been so deep in thought she hadn’t even felt his presence.

    When she looked up, she could not stop her green eyes from widening. There was Luke Skywalker, standing before her in nothing but his swimming shorts. His dirty blonde hair was soaked and standing on end and small droplets of water cascaded down his chest and across his defined abdomen.

    Was he really only fifteen years old? Mara thought to herself.

    “Mara, are you okay?” Luke asked, concerned at her silence and in the way she was staring at him.

    Shaking herself awake, she nodded. “I’m fine, Skywalker. What are you doing out here?”

    Luke shook his head sending water flying everywhere, including onto Mara’s perturbed face.

    Luke chuckled. “I was swimming, obviously. Master Olin gave me the afternoon off to do as I wished. I wished to swim.”

    Mara smirked. She had decided long ago when they were children that she would never know anyone as off-beat as Luke Skywalker. He was the dreamer and she was the cynic.

    “Are you finished?”

    Luke smiled. “Yep. Where were you headed?”

    “Nowhere,” Mara informed him. “I just wanted to take a walk.”

    Luke shyly reached out and grasped her hand in his. “Want some company?”

    Mara could swear that her heart skipped a beat when she felt her fingers intertwine with Luke’s.

    “Sure,” she agreed.

    Luke quickly grabbed his shirt and slipped it over his head. “I’m ready, let’s go.”

    Surprising both of them, Mara did not let go of his hand in hers as they set out on their walk.
    Last edited by JediMaster_Jen, Apr 13, 2014
  17. Skywalker_Angel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2004
    star 1
    So, Tristan thinks he got away with murder, does he? :rolleyes: Stupid boy. Someone will find out. Probably Anakin.

    Really liked the last part with Luke and Mara. Keep posting. :) I want to read the new chapters soon.
  18. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 38


    “You mean to tell me the clones are the key to…to destroying the Jedi?” Darex asked in disbelief.

    Verbeke nodded in the affirmative. “We’ve begun deep hypnosis with a few of the clones we have here. Whatever the override order is, it was implanted as a deep hypnotic suggestion. If we hit upon the correct trigger word or phrase, we can enact the order.”

    That gave Darex pause. His initial plan hadn’t been to destroy the Jedi. He’d seen that ambitious goal as the folly that had ultimately ended his father’s attempt to rule the galaxy. His obsession with Anakin Skywalker had been his final undoing.

    “Keep working on it,” Darex instructed. “If you find the trigger inform me immediately. Do not use it.”

    Verbeke nodded his understanding and the two men ended the communication.

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

    Four Days Later
    Dantooine
    Jedi Temple


    Anakin was on the comm letting Padme know they had arrived safely while Tristan was standing on the terrace off the common room of their shared quarters.

    The view of Dantooine from the eighth floor was amazing. Tristan could see the river that ran so close to the temple. Some of the Dathomiri children were playing under the trees with their teachers. Seeing them made him think of Riema.

    “Tristan!”

    Tristan looked down from the terrace and saw Luke Skywalker waving at him from the ground.

    “Jump down!”

    Tristan laughed. Jumping from a terrace eight stories above the ground was something Arik Skywalker would do. Tristan wasn’t so certain it was the best idea.

    “Well, go on,” Anakin said from behind Tristan. “Luke sounds insistent.”

    Tristan shook his head. “I think I’ll walk down.”

    Anakin laughed as he stepped further out onto the terrace. He looked down and waved at his son, then looked over at his apprentice. “Suit yourself.”

    With that, Tristan watched in amazement as Anakin took a leap over the side of the terrace and landed perfectly next to Luke. Both Skywalkers then looked up at Tristan, almost daring him to jump.

    Tristan took a deep breath, one last look down and then he jumped.

    “Good job, Padawan,” Anakin told him when his feet touched the ground.

    “Am I dead?”

    Luke laughed. “No, Tris, you’re alive.”

    “Oh, thank the Force,” Tristan whispered to himself.

    Anakin patted Tristan on the back. “You two boys go find something to do.”

    “Where are you going, Master?”

    “To visit an old…friend.”

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

    Anakin watched from the doorway of one of the training rooms as Jedi Master Ferus Olin work through a very complicated battle kata. Anakin was impressed as he surveyed the fluid movements and precision foot placement Ferus displayed. He’d become a very capable and powerful Jedi over the years.

    “Trying to learn something, Skywalker?”

    Anakin gave a friendly smirk. “There certainly isn’t anything you could teach me, Olin.”

    Ferus chuckled as he placed his lightsaber on a nearby bench and grabbed his towel. After quickly wiping his brow, he held out his hand.

    “It’s been a long time, Anakin,” Ferus said as the two shook hands. “What brings you to Dantooine?”

    Anakin shrugged. “I thought Tristan could use a vacation. He’s been…tense.”

    Ferus smiled slightly. “He reminds me so much of Master Tachi; of them both really. I suppose that’s why…why I’ve stayed away over the years.”

    Anakin nodded in understanding. “Sometimes when I look at him…he’ll move a certain way or say something that…it’s like having Obi-Wan back. Other times…”

    “What?”

    Anakin chuckled. “Other times it’s like he’s the embodiment of the galaxy punishing me for all of the poodoo I put Obi-Wan through over the years I was his apprentice.”

    Ferus laughed out loud at that. “On occasion I’ve thought that I’ve never taken an official apprentice for that very reason. I cannot imagine having to go through everything I put Master Tachi through.”

    Both men were quiet for a few moments as memories of their mentors flooded their minds. Days gone by which had been filled with laughter and moments of tears and disappointment were recalled with perfect clarity. Each man was lost in the fog of remembrance until finally Anakin spoke.

    “I miss them.”

    Ferus’ dark brown eyes met Anakin’s blue. “I miss them, too. I never…I suppose when you’re a child, you never imagine that the people who raise you will ever be gone. I assumed she’d…silly, really. People die all the time.”

    Anakin shook his head. “I never told you how Obi-Wan died, did I?”

    Ferus shook his head. He knew of course; had read the mission report in the Archives. He’d always assumed that it was too painful for the younger man to speak about.

    “I read the mission report you filed,” Ferus told him. “I know it’s been a long time and I’m sure you know this already, but…you couldn’t have stopped what happened that day.”

    Anakin gave a small smile. “I know. The hardest thing was that I knew it then, too. I cried and screamed at the top of my lungs that if I had been with him I could have done something, but…it wouldn’t have mattered. He was just…meant to go that day.”

    “So was Siri,” Ferus offered. “I think she was ready. She wanted to be with him. The hardest part for me was that it felt like she wanted to go to be with Obi-Wan more than she wanted to stay with Tristan. I had…I had a difficult time accepting that.”

    Anakin smirked. “You didn’t trust me with him?”

    Ferus shook his head. “No, that actually wasn’t it. You’d more than proven yourself by that time. It was…it was that kind of love that I just didn’t understand. I couldn’t fathom it then.”

    Anakin noticed his choice of words. “You can now?”

    Ferus reached into the pocket of his pants and pulled out a holo and handed it to Anakin.

    Anakin smiled at the holo of a woman seated on a grassy hill with two children seated beside her. One was a girl of about five with long dark hair and bright green eyes. The other was a boy, perhaps three with the same blonde hair as his mother but with Ferus’ dark eyes.

    Ferus smiled. “That is my family. Yashen and I were married six years ago on her homeworld. Our daughter, Tylana was born the following year. She just turned five.”

    “The boy?”

    Ferus grinned. “Kyal. He’ll be three soon. He’s rambunctious and outgoing and…everything I wasn’t at that age.”

    Anakin handed the holo back. “You have a beautiful family, Ferus.”

    “So do you,” he returned. “Luke is doing very well.”

    “How did my son end up here with you anyway?” Anakin questioned.

    “Master Yoda asked me to come and assess the progress of the children here and he instructed me to bring Luke along,” Ferus explained. “I suspect for the same reason you’re here with Tristan.”

    While the two continued their talk, Tristan and Luke had entered the training room next door.

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

    “Ready?”

    Luke nodded. Each young man stepped to the center of the room and bowed respectfully. They circled one another for several moments before Luke suddenly ignited his saber and jumped at Tristan.

    Tristan ignited his blue blade just in time to block Luke. Back and forth they went, blades slicing and twirling through the air. Both participants danced through the air, neither really trying to win the match.

    “You’ve gotten really good,” Tristan pointed out.

    Luke smiled as he propelled himself into the air and landed behind Tristan. Before he could react Tristan felt the hot sting of Luke’s blade near the back of his neck.

    “Shavit!” Tristan exclaimed; untamed anger flowing through his heated veins.

    He spun on his heels and Luke was taken aback by what he saw. Tristan’s normally clear eyes had taken on a yellowish hew around his pupils. His skin was ashen.

    “Tris, are you okay?” Luke asked timidly. “Tristan!?”

    Luke’s yelling broke the spell that fury had cast over Tristan. He blinked rapidly and when Luke again met his eyes, they were back to the original blue-gray shade they’d always been.

    “Sorry, I…blacked out for a second,” Tristan told the boy.

    Luke frowned. He’d never seen anything close to what he’d just witnessed.

    “Your eyes were…”

    Tristan’s eyes narrowed. “They were what?”

    “Yellow,” Luke answered. “They were yellow.”

    Tristan closed his eyes. His anger was still simmering beneath the surface and he knew he had to get away from Luke before the boy became a problem.

    “I’m going outside,” Tristan announced as he clipped his lightsaber to his belt and walked out of the training room, not even giving Luke a chance to speak again.

    Luke watched him go; all the while knowing that his pseudo older brother hadn’t just gotten a bit angry; he’d touched the dark side.

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

    Anakin came away from his chat with Ferus feeling for the first time like they might actually have a friendship, rather than the friendly acquaintances they’d been for so many years.

    “Dad,” Luke called when he saw his father walking down a passageway.

    Anakin smiled. “Luke, my boy, I’m just on my way to the hangar bay to tinker with some of the new speeders that the cargo ship brought in this morning. Want to come along and help?”

    Luke loved to work on anything mechanical and he loved spending time with his father. So when Anakin offered, telling him about Tristan was the furthest thing from his mind.

    “Sure,” Luke replied and fell in step with Anakin.

    “Can I ask you something?” Luke asked after a moment.

    “Of course you can.”

    They entered the hangar bay and Anakin directed Luke to the speeder they would be fixing. Luke climbed inside and took a deep breath.

    “What’s on your mind, Son?”

    “Mara Jade,” the boy answered with a deep sigh.

    Anakin was careful not to let his son see his smile. “What about Mara Jade?”

    “How did…how did you know you…that you loved Mom?”

    Anakin twirled the hydrospanner in his hands as he answered. “Seeing her made my heart beat faster. I was only nine years old at the time but I knew the moment I saw her and my heart started pounding in my chest.”

    Luke smiled a little. “My heart does that when I see Mara.”

    Anakin looked at Luke. “How does she feel about you?”

    Luke shrugged. “We took a walk the other day. I grabbed her hand and she didn’t let go. I guess she likes me too.”

    Anakin chuckled. “Well, sounds like a possibility to me. Listen, if you want to know if she likes you all you have to do is ask her. It’s not that hard.”

    Luke pondered that advice. “Thanks, Dad.”

    Anakin patted his son on the back. “Now, help me with this speeder.”

    They worked in tandem and within several hours they had all of the new speeders in perfect working order.

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

    Mara spotted Tristan skipping rocks on the bank of the river and she could feel the tension radiating off of him. She knew if she was going to go along with her father’s plan, now was the time to begin.

    She took a deep breath and headed towards him.

    “Kenobi,” she acknowledged as she stepped beside him.

    Tristan looked over at her. “Jade.”

    They had never been friends; neither pretended otherwise.

    “What has you brooding?”

    Tristan nearly growled at her. “I am not brooding.”

    Mara chuckled. “Okay, you’re not brooding. However, the anger is radiating off of you. If I can feel it, then I’m sure…”

    Tristan threw the rock in his hand and turned to face Mara. She could see he was reaching a breaking point. For the first time, she thought maybe her father was right. Maybe Kenobi could be turned; and much easier than she had suspected.

    “What do you want?” he demanded.

    Mara moved a bit away before she spoke. “I just came out here to think. I saw you and thought you might…need to talk.”

    Tristan scoffed. “Why would I talk with you?”

    Mara shrugged. “I don’t know. I thought maybe you’d want to talk with someone who knows how you’re feeling.”

    “What would you know about my feelings?”

    “I know you’re angry about something,” she started. “I know how that feels. I get angry all the time.”

    Tristan’s eyes narrowed. “What have you to be angry about?”

    Mara shrugged as she began walking along the river. “My master, for one; she’s always holding me back. She never let me express my opinion. She never…”

    Tristan held up his hand when he sensed Mara’s emotions running away with her.

    “Why do you stay?”

    “What kind of question is that!” she demanded.

    Tristan sat down and crossed his legs. His own temper had abated a bit while Mara’s was still flaring. “I just mean that you have a father, so if you hate the Jedi so much, why do you stay? You could go home to him and live a normal life.”

    Mara snorted as she sat down. “A normal life? You think I like my father more than I like the Jedi? Well, I don’t. I hate them both.”

    “You shouldn’t hate,” Tristan admonished which made Mara laugh out loud.

    “You hate,” she told him. “I know how you felt about your uncle. You hated him and you weren’t sorry he was murdered.”

    Tristan immediately flashed back to the murder of his uncle. The murder he had committed.

    “I hate him to this day,” Tristan sneered. “I’m glad he’s dead.”

    Mara smirked. “That’s okay, you know? Being angry is normal. I don’t think the Jedi will ever really understand.”

    Tristan agreed with that. As a child, he’d believed that Anakin would understand anything, but now…

    “Master Shaak-Ti has even forbidden me from…” Mara trailed off.

    “From what?”

    “From…seeing Luke and…being…”

    Tristan knew what she was trying to say. “Master Anakin forbade me from…well, from the same thing.”

    Mara nodded. “Well, you’re the good little Padawan, so I’m sure…”

    Tristan stood and walked to the edge of the river. The swirl of the raging water matched his emotions as his thoughts turned to Riema.

    “I just want to be with her,” he whispered softly; so softly Mara almost didn’t hear him.

    “Who?” she questioned as she again came to stand beside him.

    He ran his hands through his hair in frustration. “Her name is…is Riema. She’s…I met her when Master Anakin and I were sent to Dathomir to bring these children here.”

    Mara was surprised. “So she’s a Dathomiri witch?”

    His eyes blazed. “She is not a witch!”

    Mara smiled internally. She’d found Tristan’s trigger.
  19. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 39


    Three Weeks Later
    Arkania



    Senator Darex Jade quickly made his way to the office of Governor Verbeke. The governor had contacted him six days earlier with the information that the trigger to the mysterious order encoded into the clones had been discovered and was ready for use. He’d been so excited by the news, he’d booked transport to Arkania immediately.

    Darex didn’t bother knocking on Verbeke’s door. With his cowl in place, he opened the door and stormed into the office.

    Verbeke startled and gasped when he saw the hooded figure in his office. “Who…who are you?”

    Darex chuckled to himself. “Come now, Governor, surely you recognize my voice.”

    Verbeke’s eyes widened. “You’re…you’re him.”

    Darex moved further into the room and sat down across from Verbeke. He motioned for the man to sit down himself.

    “I received your message and felt the need to come see for myself the research you have been doing,” Darex told him. “I want to know everything.”

    Verbeke swallowed heavily before nodding.

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

    Same Time
    Dantooine
    Jedi Temple


    Luke was all smiles as he stood in the mess hall staring at a lifeday cake which had been presented to him by his father and Ferus Olin.

    “Happy Lifeday, Son,” Anakin chirped happily.

    Luke closed his eyes, made a wish and then blew out the sixteen candles that decorated the top of the cake.

    “Thanks Dad, Master Olin,” he acknowledged the men.

    Anakin draped his arm around Luke’s shoulders and smiled fondly. “I remember my sixteenth lifeday.”

    Ferus chuckled beside them. “So do I.”

    Luke looked at them with interest. “What happened?”

    Anakin and Ferus shared a look. Anakin sighed, and then began his tale.

    “Well, Obi-Wan woke me up early that morning,” Anakin started. “He told me had a big surprise for my lifeday. I crawled out of bed and made my way into our common room and when I got there…”

    Ferus snickered. “Come on, finish the story.”

    “There was a huge cake in the middle of the room,” Anakin continued. “I was surprised, of course, and happy to have all that cake. But then…”

    Ferus burst out laughing. “The Master Yoda jumped out from inside the cake and Anakin…Ana…Anakin was so startled that he…he jumped forward right into the cake!”

    Luke let loose a laugh, as did Tristan as he entered the room, having heard the story. Mara, standing off to one side, also laughed at the picture of Anakin Skywalker face down in a cake.

    Anakin scowled at Ferus. “Yes, I…I ended up face first in the cake. Obi-Wan laughed as hard as I’d ever seen him laugh.”

    “That was also the day you were named a senior Padawan Learner,” Ferus reminded him.

    Anakin nodded. “I remember.”

    He shook off the memories of his own teacher and turned to his son. “So, what are your plans for the day, Luke?”

    The boy shrugged. “I don’t know. Sparring with Master Olin, I suppose.”

    Ferus inclined his head. “If you wish; it’s your day. You can choose anything you want.”

    Luke’s eyes drifted to Mara. He had seen her place a gift for him on the table behind the cake. He was eager to open it.

    Anakin didn’t miss the look shared between his son and Mara. He had to admit, his son had wonderful taste in women. Mara, at almost eighteen years old, was becoming quite the beauty. Her flame-red hair paired well with her expressive, fiery emerald eyes and pale skin tone.

    “Listen, why don’t the three of you head outside, get some fresh air, go exploring,” Anakin said to Luke, Mara and Tristan.

    Tristan cleared his throat. After his conversation weeks earlier with Mara, the last thing he wanted to do was spend more time with her.

    “Actually Master, if you’re free, can we spar?” he asked Anakin. “I’d like to practice.”

    Anakin brightened. “Of course we can. Give me a few moments and I’ll meet you in one of the training rooms. I need to place a call to Leia.”

    Tristan nodded. He then turned to Luke and pulled a small wrapped box out of his robe and handed it to him. “Happy lifeday, little brother.”

    Luke smiled. “Thanks. Dad, when you reach Leia, tell her happy lifeday for me.”

    Everyone dispersed; everyone except for Luke and Mara.

    “Are you going to open your gift?” she asked as she approached him.

    Luke nodded as he reached for her gift. He tore the paper off and gave her a very puzzled look. It was a book entitled Repair Guide to Vaporators.

    “What is this for?”

    Mara shrugged. “It’s in case you ever end up marooned on Tatooine. Lots of moisture farms there.”

    Luke chuckled and shook his head. “Thanks.”

    “You’re welcome,” she returned, while also handing him a much small package. “Here’s your real gift.”

    Luke was amazed when he open the small package and found a necklace with two crystals fused into one; colored a light blue and green.

    “Mara, this is…”

    He was interrupted by her lips pressing against his in a tender kiss. When they pulled apart, Luke smiled and took her hand in his.

    “Thank you. I love it.”

    Mara returned his smile before turning and leaving the room. Luke watched her go. He held the necklace tightly for a few moments before slipping it over his head where it came to rest against his heart.

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

    Coruscant
    Skywalker Residence



    Leia had just opened her last gift when the comm call came in. She and Padme activated it both smiled brightly when they saw Anakin’s face.

    “Daddy, I’m so glad to see you,” Leia told him.

    “I wish I could be there with you, Princess,” he told his only daughter. “Luke says to tell you happy lifeday.”

    He and Leia spoke for several long moments before she left the room and Anakin and Padme were left to speak alone.

    “I miss you, Ani,” Padme sighed.

    “I miss you to, Angel,” he replied. “Tristan and I won’t be here too much longer. I spoke with Master Yoda yesterday and the Council wants us back soon.”

    Surprising him, Padme nodded. “I know. Things here have gotten…interesting.”

    Anakin frowned. “How so?”

    “There have been rumblings in the Senate about the separatist movement being revived on some worlds,” she revealed. “Arik and Master Garen were sent out a week ago to investigate some of those rumblings on Arkania.”

    Anakin took a deep breath. ”What about the upcoming elections? Are you worried?”

    Padme smiled. “No. There were several minor threats against myself and Senator Jade but the parties responsible have already been apprehended.”

    Anakin was immediately worried about his wife. He clearly remembered the last time someone had threatened her life. One¬ of her most loyal decoys and bodyguards, Corde, was murdered by a bomb blast on a landing pad. He wasn’t about to let it happen again.

    ”Tristan and I are coming home,” he stated. ”We’ll leave first thing in the morning.”

    Padme chuckled softly. “You don’t have to do that, Anakin. I’m fine and I’ll be fine until you get back.”

    Anakin knew she was right. He had to trust that she was being protected by the Senate guards assigned to every senator. But he didn’t have to like it.

    ”Okay, you’re right,” he admitted. ”Just promise me that you will be careful and if anything happens or you feel unsafe, you’ll contact the Temple.”

    Padme promised. “I love you.”

    Anakin reached out and touched the screen with his palm. “I love you too.”

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

    Arkania


    Verbeke led Darex into the nearby factory where all of the scientific research had been taking place. He then led him into a holding cell where one of the clones was strapped to a table. He appeared to be unconscious, but he was merely mildly sedated. He would soon be placed in a hypnotic state and questioned.

    “Our scientists have found a miniscule microchip inserted into the center of the brains of each clone,” Verbeke explained. “The information on the chip contains every order the clones were to follow. The simple ones were related to obeying orders from their superiors, getting proper rest so as to perform their duties at maximum function. But the last one on the microchip is encoded as Order 66. We’re not completely certain what it does if given, but we have a pretty good idea.”

    “Which is?” Darex questioned.

    “All of the clones were under the command of the Jedi, for the most part,” Verbeke stated. “What little information we’ve been able to obtain regarding the death of Chancellor Palpatine led us to believe that he might actually have been involved with the plot to destroy the Jedi, rather than just being the so-called scapegoat we were all told he was.”

    “How does that relate to this mysterious order these clones have been programmed to follow?” Darex asked, not even hinting at his relation to Palpatine.

    “Also written into the instructions on the chip are the words post-Order 66 you will obey only the Chancellor of the Republic,” he said. “It seems that Chancellor Palpatine was the creator, or at least the one who made certain these clones could be controlled, and only by him, once the last order was carried out.”

    Darex nodded. “Well, let’s find out exactly what this order does. Issue the order to this clone.”

    Verbeke motioned to the scientist standing near the clone. “Do it.”

    The scientist, a middle-aged man with slightly graying hair and a sturdy build stepped up to the clone.

    “CC-1138, this is Doctor Kumari, I want you to execute…Order 66.”

    The clones’ eyes snapped open. “It will be done, my lord.”

    Verbeke, Darex and the two scientists in the room were speechless. The clone began trying to break the restraints which held him down and he tried reaching for a weapon he didn’t have.

    Darex stepped a bit closer to him. “CC-1138, what is Order 66? What are you instructed to do with this order?”

    CC-1138, nicknamed Bacara, turned his gaze to Darex. “Order 66: in the event of Jedi officers acting against the interests of the Republic, and after receiving specific orders verified as coming directly from the Supreme Commander, Grand Army of the Republic commanders will remove those officers by lethal force, and command of the Grand Army of the Republic will revert to the Supreme Commander until a new command structure can be established.”

    Darex was floored. Verbeke was right. It was an order that would destroy the Jedi. “CC-1138, why wasn’t Order 66 ever enacted during the war?”

    “The Supreme Commander of the GAR was eliminated before the order became necessary,” the clone answered. “The Jedi were never deemed to have been acting against the interests of the Republic.”

    “This man just gave you Order 66,” Darex pointed out. “You tried to break free from your restraints. Are you going to carry out Order 66?”

    The clone stared at him. “Order 66 must be followed once given.”

    Darex smirked. So, the order could come from anyone. His father had counted on being the only one who knew of its existence. Well, that had certainly changed.

    Verbeke had begun moving closer as well when Darex reached down to the blaster he kept at his side and fired directly at the clone, killing him instantly.

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

    Dantooine

    Anakin and Tristan had been sparring for just over twenty minutes when Anakin lost his concentration and Tristan flipped over his head and landed behind him. The next thing Anakin knew, he felt the hot sting of Tristan’s blade near his ear.

    “Kill point, Master,” Tristan happily said. “I win.”

    Anakin turned around and smiled at his twenty-year old apprentice. “Yes, you did. Well done, Tris, very well done.”

    Tristan beamed. Anakin watched the young man. He knew Tristan had become a capable young Jedi. He was very proficient in lightsaber combat. Between himself and the Temple battlemaster, Tristan had become the most accomplished swordsman in the padawan ranks, and he rivaled some of the knights and masters as well.

    Meditation came easily to Tristan now. He’d had trouble as a child quieting his mind, but as he’d grown in strength and power, it became easier for him. His shielding skills matched Anakin’s own. Learning from the Chosen One had sharpened his mental shields beyond most others in the Temple.

    “I’m very proud of you,” he told the young man. “I think…”

    Tristan sat down on a bench and toweled off. “What, Master?”

    Anakin took a seat next to his apprentice and made his decision. “I think when we get back to Coruscant; I’m going to…I’m going to nominate you for the Trials.”

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

    Arkania

    “You…you killed him,” Verbeke stuttered.

    Darex didn’t utter a word, but simply turned to the scientists and cut each of them down as well. Verbeke screamed and tried to run from the room before a blaster bolt caught him in the back on his shoulder. He fell to the floor; wounded, but alive.

    Darex holstered his blaster and swept from the room.

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

    “Did you hear that, Master?” Arik asked Garen as they made their way towards Governor Verbeke’s office. “It sounded like blaster-fire.”

    Garen had heard it and he feared Arik was right. “Be ready for anything, and stay close to me. Remember your training; defense, never attack.”

    “Yes, Master,” Arik responded.

    They slowly entered the building where Verbeke’s office was located. His assistant told them he’d left over an hour before, but should have been back.

    “Do you know where he went?”

    “He left here with a man wearing a hood,” the assistant spoke. “I didn’t see his face. But, the Governor said they were going to the Scientific Research Factory. It’s the building next door.”

    Garen thanked and led Arik back outside. They stepped into the sunshine just in time to see the hooded man running towards a speeder parked not too far away.

    The two Jedi took off after him, Garen leading and Arik trailing behind.

    “Stop!” Garen called out, getting the man’s attention.

    Darex grabbed his blaster and began firing at the two Jedi. Garen was able to block three of the shots, but the forth got past him and he heard Arik scream behind him. He stopped running and turned to see his young apprentice on the ground, a blaster burn visible on his abdomen.

    “Mas…Master it…it hurts,” Arik choked out, blood seeping across his clothing.

    Garen clipped his lightsaber to his belt and knelt down, his hands going to cover Arik’s wound. “It’s going to be okay, Padawan, I promise.”

    “I’m…I’m co-cold,” he muttered.

    Garen closed his eyes and tried to remember his first aide training. He sent as much healing energy into Arik as he could, and then produced several bacta patches from his utility belt. He pressed them to the wound and took a deep breath.

    Verbeke’s assistant and other citizens ran outside and saw Garen knelt over Arik’s form. Several of them came over to help.

    “He needs to get to a medical facility,” Garen calmly told them.

    A tall dark-haired man with a stately beard pointed across the courtyard. “My speeder is over there. I can take you both.”

    Garen nodded. He leaned down and scooped Arik up in his arms and followed the man, all the while praying to the Force not to take his apprentice from him.

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

    Darex was shaking by the time he reached his ship in the spaceport. He’d recognized the young Jedi apprentice he’d shot. He knew if he was ever figured out, Anakin Skywalker would make him suffer for injuring, possibly killing his son.

    “Pilot, I’m ready to return to Coruscant,” he said. “Now.”

    The pilot acknowledged his order and the ship was airborne within moments, headed into the blackness of space.

    While sitting in his quarters, Darex began to contemplate his plans. Destroying the Jedi had been his father’s plan all along, just like Dooku had told Darex many years before, along with the fact that Palpatine was his father.

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

    Naboo
    Years Earlier


    Darex Jade was working in the Registrar’s Office when an older gentleman stepped up to his desk and called his name.

    “Can I help you?”

    “No, but perhaps I can help you,” the man said. “My name is Gavrem Dooku and I have information you’ve been looking for.”

    Darex knew he’d heard the name before, but he couldn’t place it. “Yeah, what information is that?”

    “You’ve been looking for you father,” Dooku told him. “I know who he is, and where he is.”

    Now Darex was interested. His mother had never told him who his father was, only that she had briefly been married to the man when Darex was conceived, but by the time he was born, she and his father had separated.

    “Can you take me to him?” Darex wanted to know.

    Dooku smiled. “Of course I can.”


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

    Over the next few days, Dooku had told Darex all about his true father, Darth Sidious and his public personae, Senator Palpatine. He’d been stunned to find out that Naboo’s powerful senator was his father, and that he was Force-sensitive, and that he wanted to destroy the Jedi.

    Dooku had warned him to stay away from Palpatine, that he wouldn’t hesitate to destroy his own family to get what he wanted, which was the total destruction of the Jedi and domination of the galaxy.

    Dooku was dead now. At least, Darex assumed he was. He hadn’t even seen the man until a few weeks after the Clone Wars had begun, when Dooku again showed his face and warned Darex to never reveal his relation to Palpatine. Silence and secrecy were the only things which would save him.

    “If I issue the Order, I may be killing my own daughter,” Darex spoke out loud.

    There were many things to consider, such as Mara’s place within the Jedi Order. Also, the clones had all been rounded up at the end of the Clone Wars and decommissioned. Darex didn’t even know if getting them back into the Republic military would be possible.

    For now, he would send Mara a message. He needed an update on Tristan Kenobi. He would save Order 66 for a later discussion with her.

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

    Dagobah

    He had seen many things in his lifetime. He’d been a Jedi. A Sith. A traitor. A warrior. Now, he was just a very old man living, dying, on a swamp-covered world cloaked in the dark side of the Force.

    He hadn’t touched the Force in many years, not since his master had been killed by Anakin Skywalker. He’d fled his hiding place and come to Dagobah, resigned to living out his days in squalor. But now, for the first time in longer than he could remember, he felt the Force prodding at his mind.

    Dooku closed his eyes and cautiously reached out. Surprisingly, all he felt was light. There was no darkness. He delved further into the subtle eddies of the Force and let them carry him away as he fell into a deep meditation.

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

    Dantooine


    Tristan had gone to his quarters after Anakin had told him he would be nominating him for the Trials. He was ecstatic. Taking and passing the Trials meant freedom. He could accept missions on his own, go where he pleased.

    He was still contemplating his future when his comm chirped an incoming message. He activated it right away and found a recorded communication from Riema.

    Tristan,

    I wanted very much to come to you on Dantooine. I miss you greatly. Mother Truija has forbidden and I must not disobey her rule. I have never wished to hurt you, but I feel I must tell you that our being together will not be possible.

    I do care for you, Tristan, and I wish with all of my heart that we could be together. I will think of you often and of what might have been. I wish you a wonderful life.

    Riema
    .

    Tristan’s breathing increased and his eyes watered. He stood, fists clinched at his side. He angrily wiped at his tears and reached for the closest object he could find and hurled it across the room.

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

    In her own quarters, Mara had just finished reading a message from her father asking of her progress in her mission to thrust Tristan into the grasp of the dark side. She composed her response, shut down the system and went in search of Luke.
  20. Skywalker_Angel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2004
    star 1
    Lots happening here in this one. :) Tristan seems pretty far gone to me already. Seeing Dooku still alive on Dagobah was a surprise. I wonder what he's up to and where he'll fit into the story moving forward.

    Great job, Sis!=D= Give Jay a big hug for me. :cool:
  21. Jedi_Tyler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 11, 2005
    star 1
    I'm liking the developing relationship between Luke and Mara. :) She's questioning her father, which is a good thing, but definitely not happy with her still pushing Tristan. He's close enough to the dark side already without her help.

    Good work. =D= Looking forward to the next chapter.
  22. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Tristan is pretty far gone. Too far? We'll see. ;) Keep a watch out for more Dooku.

    Mara is being a good daughter, isn't she? Obeying her daddy at every turn. :)

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

    The below tag list is people who previously read and replied, or are currently reading.

    @Sara_Kenobi
    @jacen200015
    @Luna_Nightshade
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    @KELIA
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    ************************************

    Enjoy the next chapter! :)



    Chapter 40


    Six Months Later
    Coruscant


    Arik Skywalker, now fourteen years old, was in a training room. His lightsaber was activated and he was working against remotes. His defensive skills had improved in the six months since he’d been shot in the abdomen.

    He blocked several in a row before shutting down his saber.

    “Well done, Padawan,” Garen remarked. “You’ve improved greatly.”

    Arik smiled as he sat down to take a drink of his water. “Thank you, Master. I don’t ever want to be wounded by a blaster again.”

    Garen understood that feeling. He’d had many flashbacks over the past six months to Arik’s three-week stay in a medical facility on Arkania. He’d nearly died twice. Anakin and Padme had come to stay with their son during his recovery and the four of them had traveled back to Coruscant together once the boy had been released.

    Now, only a faint scar could be seen on Arik’s abdomen; the only reminder of the day they had almost lost Arik Skywalker.

    “Come on, we’ve been summoned by the Council,” Garen told him.

    Arik grinned. “A mission?”

    Garen ruffled Arik’s sweaty hair as they left the training room. “I don’t know, but please do not get your hopes up. You’re not completely healed yet and a mission might be asking a bit too much at this point.”

    Arik groaned as they walked.

    Always wanting the next adventure, Garen thought and chuckled to himself.

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

    As Anakin had stated, when they returned to Coruscant, he had nominated Tristan for the Trials of Knighthood. He’d informed the Council that while Tristan still had much to learn, he was at the point where experience would be the better teacher. There was little else Anakin could teach him.

    Now, Tristan was in the middle of his Trials in the Jedi Trials Chamber deep within the Temple. He’d been at it for three days. Anakin was worried for his apprentice, but he had confidence that Tristan could handle whatever the Council threw at him.

    The first of the trials, the Trial of Skill would be Tristan’s easiest. Tristan was highly skilled with a lightsaber and had great command of other physical skills.

    The Trial of Courage; the Council had already deemed Tristan had passed this trial by displaying courage on many missions with Anakin.

    The last three trials; Trial of the Flesh, Trial of the Spirit and Trial of Insight would be the true tests for Tristan.

    While Anakin paced, his comlink chirped. He unclipped it and answered.

    “Skywalker.”

    ”To the Council chambers you will come,” Yoda instructed.

    “Yes, Master,” Anakin acknowledged. “I’ll be right there.”

    Anakin took a deep breath and headed for the Council chamber, all the while wondering why he would be summoned when his apprentice was in the midst of his most trying days as a Padawan Learner.

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

    Council Chamber

    Jedi Masters Yoda and Mace Windu were standing together, peering out into the setting sun as it dropped on another day.

    “You’re worried about the renewed talk of war,” Mace commented softly.

    “Yes,” Yoda replied. “Headed again to war, I fear the Republic is. Concerned for the Jedi, I am.”

    They were quiet for several moments. Mace then looked at his colleague and spoke.

    “The election of the new Chancellor is in four days,” Mace pointed out. “Should we assign security as Chancellor Organa has requested?”

    “Assign security we will,” Yoda affirmed. “Protect Senator Jade and Senate Liaison Skywalker, we must.”

    They continued an easy conversation until they were informed that those they’d summoned had arrived.

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

    Anakin, Garen and Arik, Ferus and Luke all arrived outside the Council chamber at nearly the same time.

    “Anyone know why we’re all here?” Garen asked as he looked at his companions.

    “A mission, Master,” Arik quipped. “I know it.”

    Anakin laughed at his youngest son. He was beyond joyful to see the teen smiling and laughing. After he’d come so close to losing his boy, Anakin enjoyed every moment spent with him.

    “You’re a Council member; don’t you know why we’re here?” Ferus asked Garen.

    Garen cleared his throat. “Well, yes, I’m a Council member, but…it’s been more in name only the last few years since Arik became my apprentice. I truly have no idea.”

    Quickly they were ushered inside the chamber and the doors were shut behind them.

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

    “Know why you have been summoned, do you?” Yoda asked the group.

    As a Council member, Garen stepped forward. “No, Master.”

    Anakin thought it odd that only Yoda and Mace Windu were present. He’d learned long ago not to question Yoda’s motives. The little Jedi always had a reason for the things he did.

    “As you know, six months ago we became aware of certain…rumblings on a few former Separatist worlds,” Mace began. “We received a transmission from Chancellor Organa this morning detailing skirmishes and protests that occurred on a few of those worlds several days ago.”

    Anakin frowned. “What sort of skirmishes, Master?”

    Mace knew his next words would impact Anakin, Arik and Luke the most.

    “Fighting broke out between groups of supporters and opponents to Senate Liaison Skywalker’s candidacy for Chancellor of the Republic,” Mace explained. “Chancellor Organa received word that should Padme win the office, some of these worlds are threatening secession from the Republic.”

    Ferus looked over at Anakin and saw his friend clench his fists.

    “Masters, are we seriously speaking of another civil war breaking out in the Republic?” Garen questioned. “Why is Padme being targeted?”

    Luke and Arik shared a look. They had heard the stories about the Clone War and how their father had lost his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi during that time. Now their mother appeared to be in the middle of the new threat.

    “Fear her ties to the Jedi, people do,” Yoda explained. “Fear that she would back the Jedi in all things, they do.”

    “That’s ridiculous!” Luke exclaimed. “My mother is a fair politician. She treats everyone the same.”

    Yoda nodded slightly at his padawan while Ferus rested a hand on Luke’s shoulder to calm the teenager.

    “Know this, we do,” Yoda acknowledged. “Convincing the people, not so easy that is.”

    “What are we going to do?” Anakin wanted to know. “If Padme wins the election, and these skirmishes and protests become outright war, what role will the Jedi take? Are we really going to fight another war?”

    “Unfortunately, we have to wait until the election concludes,” Mace said. “Until we know exactly what is happening where, we cannot make a decision.”

    Anakin was stunned. Of all the things he’d considered, never had he touched on the fact that his wife being elected might trigger another war. The previous six months had gone well in her campaign against Senator Jade. There had been a few small threats made against both candidates. The biggest problem had been what happened on Arkania with Garen and Arik and the man they had so briefly chased.

    “What about the man Garen and my son attempted to apprehend on Arkania?” Anakin questioned. “Has there been any further progress on the search?”

    “Know his identity, we do not,” Yoda revealed.

    “What do we know about Senator Jade?” Ferus questioned. “We know we can trust Padme with sensitive information, but can we trust him?”

    “Perhaps Padme can best answer that question,” Anakin offered. “Maybe we should ask her.”

    “Ask her, you will, Master Skywalker,” Yoda instructed.

    “The next matter to discuss is in regards to the security of the candidates,” Mace said. “Chancellor Organa has requested Jedi protection for Senator Jade and Senate Liaison Skywalker. We have agreed to provide security as requested.”

    Anakin and his sons frowned. “Do you expect trouble, Master Windu? Here in the capitol?”

    “Know what to expect, we do not,” Yoda reminded everyone. “Sense danger, I do not. Sense uneasiness, I do. Protect them both, we will. When done your padawan is with his Trials, to Senator Jade’s security detail he will be assigned. Master Skywalker and Padawan Skywalker, also guarding Senator Jade you will be.”

    Anakin opened his mouth to protest, but was cut off by Mace. “We cannot deny the fact that your wife has close ties to the Jedi, Anakin. The Council feels it would be best to assign her protection to someone other than her husband. Therefore, Master Muln and Knight Olin will be guarding her.”

    Luke and Arik were both looking at their father. They could sense his frustration at being barred from protecting their mother. They were frustrated as well.

    Garen rested a hand on Anakin’s shoulder. “You know we will protect her with our lives, Anakin. You have my word on that.”

    Anakin nodded as he took a deep cleansing breath before looking at both Garen and Ferus. “I know. I trust you both.”

    After nearly thirty more minutes of discussion, Garen again stepped forward. “Masters, what of my padawan? Is he to be included on this mission?”

    Arik waited with bated breath. Now that he knew it involved his mother, he desperately wanted to be included.

    “Remain in the Temple, young Arik will,” Yoda decreed. “Too dangerous security might become. Not fully recovered is he.”

    Arik’s face fell. “But I’m ready, Master Yoda. I can…”

    “Padawan, Master Yoda is right,” Garen said to the boy. “Until you are fully healed, you need to stay here.”

    Arik nodded, acknowledging that he wasn’t fully healed, but still not enjoying the idea that he could not participate in the upcoming security mission.

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

    The Following Day
    The Jedi Temple



    Anakin was informed early in the morning by the High Council that Tristan had passed his Trials and was to become a Jedi Knight. Since he was to be included in the mission of providing security for Padme and Senator Jade, his Knighting ceremony would come rather quickly.

    Anakin was about to leave his quarters when Tristan entered with a rather large grin on his face.

    “I did it, Master,” he called as Anakin stood and met his apprentice in the middle of the room.

    Anakin pulled the young man into a tight hug. “I’m so very proud of you. Your mother and fa…and your father would be too.”

    A few tears gathered in Tristan’s eyes. “Thank you, Master.”

    Anakin pulled back. “You’re one of the youngest Padawan Learners ever to be knighted at just twenty-one.”

    Tristan felt immense pride at that accomplishment. “What happens next?”

    Both men sat down. “Tomorrow you’ll spend the day in the Temple Spire in the preparation chamber. You meditate, listen to the Force, and let it guide you. You search for the path you’ll walk as a Jedi Knight.”

    Tristan nodded. While meditation wasn’t his favorite activity, a trait he shared with Anakin, he could usually sink easily into the Force when he quieted his mind.

    “After that, you’ll ascend to the Hall of Knighthood,” Anakin continued. “Once there, you’ll be knighted.”

    Tristan smiled. “What do I do until tomorrow?”

    “You and I meditate together.”

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

    Two Days Later
    Hall of Knighthood



    Tristan entered the Hall of Knighthood at the behest of the High Council. He stepped to the middle of the darkened room and knelt down, placing his lightsaber on the ground in front of him. The Masters present in the room, assembled in a circle around Tristan, ignited their lightsabers.

    The glow gave Tristan his first view of those in the room with him. He had already sensed the presences of Anakin, Garen and Master Yoda, but he also saw other Council members; Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar, Ki-Adi Mundi and several others.

    Yoda hobbled forward to stand before Tristan, his green lightsaber glowing, and began to speak

    “All Jedi, we are. Through us, the Force speaks. Through our actions, does the Force proclaim itself and what is true. Acknowledge today we do what the Force has proclaimed. Tristan Kenobi…”

    With his name said, Yoda lowered his saber to just above each of Tristan’s shoulders and with a flick of his arm, severed Tristan’s padawan braid.

    “…by the right of the Council, by the will of the Force, I dub thee, Knight of the Republic.”

    “Knight of the Republic!” the other Jedi called and raised their sabers above their heads.

    Tristan grabbed up his own saber, stood and added his weapon to the already glowing ones. He bowed respectfully once, and then turned and exited the chamber in silence; the knighting ritual over.

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

    Later in the day, Anakin and Tristan were packing Tristan’s few belongings. He had almost immediately requested Knight’s quarters for himself. Occasionally, two Jedi Knights shared quarters, but Tristan was anxious to be on his own.

    “Well, I think that’s everything, Master,” Tristan said as he closed his travel bag.

    Anakin smiled. “You don’t have to call me master any longer,” he reminded his former student.

    Tristan laughed. “I know, I just…it’s going to be difficult to do that.”

    Anakin wrapped his arm around the young man’s shoulders. “I know. We’ll both have to adjust. I know you’re going to be fine. You need to be on your own for a while, I understand that. But, if you need me, I’m always here.”

    Tristan nodded. “I won’t forget.”

    Anakin walked his now former apprentice to the door and watched him head out.

    “Don’t forget the meeting tonight to coordinate security for tomorrow,” he called out as Tristan made his way down the hall.

    The new Jedi Knight waved a hand over his head in acknowledgement.

    “I’m going to miss him,” Anakin muttered as he turned and walked back inside to submit his own request for Master’s quarters. He no longer needed shared quarters.

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

    Axion

    Protestors were lined up outside the government buildings. Many were shouting in support of Senator Jade while others were calling out their defense of Senate Liaison Skywalker.

    Large HoloNet viewers had been set up in the central city so the citizens could watch the election live to see who became the new Chancellor of the Republic.

    The Axion Defense Force was worried full-scale fighting would break out no matter the outcome.


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

    Umbara

    The election of a new Chancellor of the Republic was still more than twelve standard hours away, and already the military forces were tightening security around the capitol city. Small fights had broken out, but nothing serious.

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

    Chancellor Organa’s Private Office

    Bail was reading the newest reports from Axion, Umbara and nearly a dozen other worlds as they came in. It was his last night as Chancellor of the Republic, but still he felt the weight of handing over a fully-functioning government to his successor.

    “Father?” a voice called out.

    Bail looked up and saw his eighteen-year-old son Ebran enter the room. The boy was tall with dark hair and eyes; almost a replica of his father.

    “What is it, Son?”

    Ebran sat down and stared at his father. “I want to join the Republic military.”

    Bail sighed deeply. “Ebran, now is not the time to…”

    Ebran stood. “Yes, now is the time to discuss this, Father. Tomorrow you will no longer be Chancellor of this Republic. I am of age, and I do not need your permission to join the Republic Navy. But, I would like to have your blessing before I go to the recruitment center tomorrow after the election.”

    Bail did not want his only son, his only child in the military, especially with the threats of a new war skulking just around the next corner. But Ebran was right; he was of age and didn’t need his parents’ permission.

    Bail stood and moved around his desk. “What does Leia say about this?”

    Ebran blushed. He thought he and Leia Skywalker had done well to hide their friendship.

    “She…I haven’t told her…yet,” he stammered. “I planned to tell her tomorrow after her mother…well, after whatever happens tomorrow.”

    Bail nodded. “Have you spoken to your mother?”

    Ebran sighed. “Yes. I spoke with her a few hours ago. She is not…pleased. However, she did say she would support whatever I decide.”

    Bail knew his headstrong son was going to what he wanted with or without blessing or permission, neither of which did he need to join the military. So Bail did the only thing he could do, and he prayed to the gods that it would not come back to haunt him.

    “You have my blessing.”

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

    Morning of the Election

    “I don’t like this,” Anakin quipped as they stood close to Senator Jade as he walked through the assembled crowds shaking hands and bartering for votes.

    “What’s wrong?”

    Anakin shook his head. “Some of these senators he’s…schmoozing are former Separatist leaders. Why go to them? What does he hope to gain by garnering their votes at the last minute?”

    Luke was watching Senator Jade closely as he’d been instructed. He’d met him several times before, but he could never get a real sense of the man.

    “He’s just angling for as many votes as he can get,” Tristan offered. “I’m sure Padme is doing the same thing this morning.”

    Anakin nodded. “Yeah, I suppose, I just…”

    Before he could even complete his sentence, Anakin’s senses tickled at the back of his mind. His hand went to his lightsaber at the same time as Tristan and Luke. He stepped up directly next to Darex Jade and grabbed his arm.

    “Time to go, Senator, follow me,” he ordered.

    Darex frowned as he was pulled away. “But there are…”

    “Not now, Senator, there isn’t time to argue,” Luke offered as he stepped to Darex’s left while Tristan brought up the rear.

    “Where are you taking me?”

    “Somewhere safe,” Anakin answered. “Now follow us and do not argue.”

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

    Garen and Ferus were constantly looking around, watching every person who got close to Padme. They had sworn to protect her with their lives, and both men would do just that.

    “You two need to lighten up,” Padme teased. “What could possibly go wrong today?”

    “You could lose,” Garen joked. “That would be very wrong.”

    Padme turned to her friend. “You don’t like my opponent?”

    “I find him…odd,” Garen told her. “He seems…Arik called him shifty. I suppose that is as good a word as any.”

    Padme laughed at her youngest child’s sense of humor. “Well, let’s just go about our business. I’m scheduled to be here for another twenty minutes and then we’re off to the Senate Building.”

    Both Jedi nodded. Neither one much cared for politics and counted Padme Skywalker as one of the very few politicians they liked. Bail Organa and Mon Mothma were the only other two.

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

    Luke heard it first.

    “Get down!” he yelled as he ignited his lightsaber.

    Anakin pushed Darex to the ground in the same motion as he ignited his own saber, followed by Tristan. From the air came several powerful bolts from a heavy blaster.

    Anakin and Tristan began blocking them while Luke stayed close to Darex.

    “There!” Tristan yelled as he spotted where the bolts were coming from. “It’s a speeder with aft-mounted blaster cannons.”

    “Luke! Take him and head for cover!” Anakin yelled over the noise of the frightened crowd and the blaster fire.

    Luke did as he was told and managed to get Darex to his feet so they could run. He put the man in front of him so he could deflect any shots that got through.

    Anakin and Tristan continued to block the heavy shots.

    While looking behind him as he ran, Luke missed the shot from the blaster cannon on a second speeder which created a significant blast just ahead of him and Darex. They were blown off their feet and Luke was knocked unconscious.

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

    Ferus’ comlink chirped. He had a quick conversation before clipping it back to his belt and moving over to Garen and Padme.

    “We have to go,” Ferus instructed. “Now.”

    “Why?” Padme asked even as she began to follow the Ferus with Garen right behind her.

    “I just received a transmission from Coruscant Security,” he began. “There’s been an attack on Senator Jade. We have to get you to safety, Milady.”

    Garen reached for his lightsaber and kept it in his hand all the way back to the closed-cockpit speeder in which they were to transport Padme to the Senate Building.

    “Is he okay? Are Anakin and the others okay?” she asked the three of them entered and Garen quickly took off.

    Ferus looked at her. “I don’t know.”

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

    Darex was picking himself up when Anakin and Tristan appeared. After the blast, the two attacking speeders fled the area.

    “Where is Luke?”

    Darex was concussed from the blast and his ears were ringing. He shook his head and tried to speak, but no words came out. He tried again just as someone yelled out.

    “Blaster!”

    Tristan sprang up, his eyes trained on the man with the blaster headed right for them. He fired, but Tristan deflected the bolts right back at the man, killing him instantly.

    Darex’s eyes were wide with fear. Someone had tried to kill him; twice.

    “You…you saved my life,” he finally managed, directing his words at Tristan.

    Anakin was looking for Luke. He found him several meters away in the small crater the blaster cannon had left. The boy was not moving, but Anakin could see that he was breathing.

    He scooped him into his arms and all four of them headed into the nearest building. He put Luke down and pulled out his comlink. After alerting the Temple of Luke’s injuries, he sent Tristan on with Darex to the Senate Building.

    Anakin was going to wait for the Temple’s medical emergency response team to arrive to take care of Luke.

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

    Garen and Ferus were escorting Padme into the building when the three of them caught sight of Tristan walking next to Darex.

    Padme sped her pace and walked up to them. “Are you both all right?”

    Tristan nodded as he looked to Darex. The senator was still pale-faced and shaking.

    “We’re…fine,” he managed.

    “What about Anakin and Luke?” Padme questioned Tristan.

    He gently took her by the elbow and led her off to a small alcove. “Luke was hurt. He was…a blast caught him and he was knocked unconscious. Master Anakin is with him waiting for the Temple MER team to arrive.”

    Tears gathered in Padme’s eyes. “Is he…”

    “I think he just has a concussion and some cuts and bruises,” Tristan assured her. “He’ll be just fine. Nothing some bacta and a little rest won’t cure.”

    Padme nodded, wiped away her tears and turned her eyes to Darex Jade. “Are you all right, Darex?”

    He nodded. “Yes, I…thanks to young Tristan, I am just fine. A few scrapes, but nothing serious.”

    The two politicians continued to speak in hushed tones while the three Jedi milled about; eyes on everything and everyone.

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

    The Jedi Temple


    Anakin had just concluded a conversation with Padme when Luke first stirred. He slowly opened his eyes and tried to focus on the figure he could barely make out beside his bed.

    “What happened?” he rasped.

    Anakin sat down and handed Luke a glass of water. “Drink slowly.”

    When Luke was done, Anakin explained everything about the attack and the concussion that Luke had sustained.

    “Have the election results been broadcast yet?”

    Anakin shook his head and ran a hand through his long, dark blonde hair. “No, but your mother and Senator Jade are safe at the Senate building. It’ll be a few hours still. In the meantime, I’m going over there and…”

    “I want to come with you,” Luke said.

    Anakin stood. “No, you’re not coming with me. You’re going to be fine, but you have to stay here in the healer’s ward for a while longer. I’ll be back tonight.”

    Luke only nodded and closed his eyes, tiredness sweeping over him as Anakin walked out of the room.

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

    Padme was sitting in her private office with outgoing Chancellor Bail Organa when Anakin walked in.

    “Chancellor,” Anakin acknowledged as the two men shook hands.

    Padme stepped around Bail and let Anakin pull her into a tight embrace.

    “Is he really all right?” she asked about Luke.

    Anakin nodded as he held his wife. “He’s fine. He has some cuts and scrapes. He’s already got bacta patches on those. He has a concussion, but a few healing trances will take care of that.”

    A few tears escaped. Now she’d come close to losing both of her sons. She respected and admired the Jedi, but at times she cursed them.

    “I’m going to leave you two alone,” Bail said, knowing the Skywalker couple had completely forgotten his presence.

    Padme wiped her tears. “I’m sorry, Bail.”

    He touched her shoulder affectionately. “It’s okay; I understand worrying over your children.”

    He nodded to Anakin and stepped from the office.

    “What did he mean by that?” Anakin wondered.

    Padme led him to the couch across the room and they sat down. “Ebran wants to join the Republic military.”

    If Anakin was surprised, he didn’t show it. He and Padme had only recently gotten to know Ebran Organa since he and Leia had become friends.

    “What does our daughter have to say about this?” Anakin questioned, his concern for his only daughter bleeding through in his tone of voice.

    Padme chuckled softly. “According to Bail, Ebran has yet to work up the nerve to tell Leia.”

    Anakin wiped a hand over his face. “This is going to blow up in our faces. She’s going to be devastated. I knew that boy was…”

    “Stop,” Padme interrupted. “Ebran is a wonderful young man and he cares for our daughter very much, as Leia does for him.”

    Anakin sighed. “What were you and the Chancellor discussing when I came in?”

    “Reports of minor skirmishes as far as the Mid-Rim are coming in,” she explained to her husband. “Fighting is getting worse on some Inner-Rim worlds.”

    Anakin knew that. “I know. The Jedi are aware of the situation.”

    Padme leaned into his side. “What if I win and…”

    Anakin wrapped his arms around her. “When you win, everything is going to be okay. Even if…even if this leads more than skirmishes, we’ll find a way to deal with it.”

    “So many people no longer trust the Jedi, Anakin,” Padme told him. “This is about more than me becoming Chancellor. People don’t want anyone associated so closely with the Jedi Order to lead this Republic.”

    “Perhaps we should have seen this coming all those years ago when we spun the tail about Palpatine being under the control of a rogue Jedi,” Anakin pondered. “We helped sow the distrust that is sparking this reaction to you.”

    “Do you really believe we’re headed for another war?”

    “I don’t know,” he replied after several moments, his blue eyes clouded with worry. “I do know this; whatever happens, you’ll be safe. I promise.”

    Padme gave him a tender smile as their lips met in a soft, loving kiss.

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

    Grand Convocation Chamber

    Nightfall was approaching as senators, representatives and aides entered the large chamber where the results of the election would be announced within minutes. The voting period had ended nearly an hour before, and the time had come for a new Chancellor to ascend.

    Many Jedi were also stationed in and around the perimeter of the chamber. With the earlier attack on Senator Jade, no one was taking any chances.

    “Are you ready for this?” Darex whispered to Padme as they sat together.

    She smiled slightly and nodded. “I hope so. I wanted to discuss something with you.”

    “Something important?”

    Padme nodded. “In the event that I win the election, I wanted to…I want you to be my Vice-Chancellor if I win.”

    Darex didn’t know what to say. He had always understood that he might well lose the election, but he’d never hoped to still have such access should he actually lose.

    “I…well I…of course I will,” he stammered, truly in shock.

    Before either of them had a chance to say anything else, Mon Mothma, the Vice Chancellor of the Republic stepped into her repulsorpod which immediately detached from its docking place and moved into position before the empty Chancellor’s Podium.

    “The results have been certified by the Elector Committee, and it is my pleasure to announce to you all, the new Chancellor of the Republic, Padme Naberrie-Skywalker!”

    Cheers ranging from merely polite to quite enthusiastic went throughout the chamber. Some senators were quiet. Others spoke softly into their comlinks.

    Anakin couldn’t help the small smile that crossed his face when Padme’s name was announced. He was very proud of her. He grabbed his comlink and punched in a code and began to speak softly.

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

    The HoloNet News was being broadcast across the Republic and while there was celebrating in the Senate and at the Skywalker residence; war was on the horizon on many worlds from the Core to the Outer Rim.

    The first shots were fired on Axion at nearly the same moment the announcement was made.

    “The Jedi might as well rule the galaxy now!” the protestors on Umbara yelled.

    “Secession!” was shouted on a dozen worlds.

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

    The following morning came quickly and the announcement was made that Senator Darex Jade had been offered, and accepted, the position of Vice-Chancellor. The official handover of power to the newly elected government was a formal event with Bail Organa signing documents relinquishing his rule.

    Reports were coming from dozens of worlds concerning small skirmishes to all out fighting taking place over the election. Padme had asked Darex to take point of gathering all of the information and summarizing the situation for her.

    “We’ll meet this evening and formalize a plan to deal with this situation,” she informed him.

    He nodded once and vacated the office, leaving Padme and Bail alone.

    “Might I make a suggestion?” Bail asked his friend.

    Sitting down and letting out a deep breath, Padme nodded. “Please.”

    “I suspect you won’t like this idea, however it may be your only option,” he began. “The clones may need to be reactivated.”

    Padme closed her eyes. “Oh, Bail. I don’t want it to come to that.”

    He sympathized with her. “I understand that, but you must also be practical. If you’re facing another war, you may not have any other choice. Think it over. Have your meeting with Jade. If I can be of any help at all, please let me know.”

    They shared a friendly hug and Bail left office; leaving Padme along as the new Chancellor of the Republic.

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

    “Father?” Mara called as she stepped into her father’s office.

    Darex smiled at his daughter from behind his desk. “My dear, Mara, our plans are coming together.”

    “How so?” she asked as she sat down in front of him.

    Darex quickly and quietly explained the meeting he’d had with Padme. He told her of Padme’s decision to reactivate the clonetroopers to deal with the rising tensions in the galaxy.

    “How is young Kenobi coming along?” he then asked Mara.

    “He’s moved into separate quarters from Master Skywalker,” she reported. “He’s…volatile. His emotions run hot and cold. He becomes angry easily. A young Dathomiri women named Riema seems to hold special value to him but Master Skywalker has forbid the relationship due to her status as a Dathomiri witch.”

    Darex smiled. “You’ve done well, Daughter. I would like to meet with young Tristan, to thank him for his part in saving my life. Would you be able to arrange that.”

    Mara gave a non-committal shrug. “Possibly. I’ll update you as soon as I have anything to report.”

    Darex watched with pride as his only child left his office. He leaned back in his chair and reveled in the power he was so close to holding in his hands.

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

    Skywalker Apartment

    “Say something,” Padme said softly as she stood next to her husband.

    “What would you like me to say?” he asked her. “That I think this is a terrible idea? I do. That we have no idea what this action will mean for the Republic long term? We don’t. That the Jedi cannot and will not become generals again?”

    A few tears rolled down her cheeks as they stood together on the balcony overlooking the busy space lanes.

    “Do you believe I didn’t have all of those same thoughts, Anakin?” she asked in a firm tone. “This isn’t what I want, but it’s the only choice I have.”

    Anakin couldn’t hold back the accusation in his eyes or his voice when he looked at his wife. “There’s always another choice, Padme. You just have to look for it.”

    With that, he turned and headed f inside.

    “Where are you going?” she questioned gently.

    He stopped walking, but didn’t turn around. “Back to the temple.”
  23. Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 6
    :eek: It's wonderful to see you're picking this up again. I was sad when I thought it was abandoned.
    JediMaster_Jen likes this.
  24. Jedi_Tyler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 11, 2005
    star 1
    So, I'll start with I loved how Arik was so eager to go on a mission. :) He's definitely a Skywalker. Can I say I was hoping that Tristan wouldn't pass the trials? [face_nail_biting] Very nervous for what will happen to him now that's he's on his own. I fear Darex might step up his efforts to get to him using Mara.

    The attack scenes were done very well. You're writing was precise and the descriptions were perfect. Glad Luke is okay!!=D=

    I don't think Padme's idea of reviving the clones is a good one. [face_plain] Anakin walked away from her? I didn't see that coming, but I get why he would be completely against the idea.

    Terrific chapter!!=D==D=
    JediMaster_Jen likes this.
  25. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Jen I have been following this and let me say you have all bases covered: dialogue, drama, character inner dynamics. Like now I know it holds across fandoms too. LOL =D= =D= =D=
    JediMaster_Jen likes this.
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