Title: Final Reckoning Author: AngelQueen Summary: In the midst of the burning Jedi Temple, a Jedi Master meets her fate. For the Order 66 Challenge. Characters: OCs, Anakin Skywalker Keywords: Order 66, Jedi Master -- The Temple was burning. Senna Eberle kept her head low, trying not to breathe too deeply. She glanced over her shoulder, hearing the sounds of armored feet slapping rapidly against the marble floors. She gritted her teeth, her brown eyes flashing. “Asha,” she said lowly to her apprentice, who was leading a group of about a dozen younglings while she herself brought up the rear. “We have nowhere else to go but up. Take the next set of stairs.” Asha did not turn her tan-colored head to acknowledge Senna’s instructions, but she felt a small affirming vibration within the Force all the same. Abruptly, she turned right and began the climb up the chief spire of the Jedi Temple. “Hurry, younglings,” Senna murmured to the children, hoping her calm-sounding voice would do something to soothe their terror. “Follow Asha. Quietly now.” As they raced up the steps, Senna paused to look out a window overlooking the front entrance of the Temple. Her vision was completely blocked by the black clouds that were engulfing the lower levels. It was in those moments, that she began to feel it. The Force was screaming. It howled its pain and agony, scarring her soul with one deep mortal wound after another. Senna gasped aloud and slumped against the wall, her strength leaving her. Her other hand came up to clutch at her pounding chest as she sought to remain on her feet. Death. Her breath came in heaves as she struggled to keep the contents of her stomach down. Tears fought against her control, seeking to blur her vision and block out the horrors that were abounding in her world. Master! Come quickly! At first, Senna did not know whose voice was calling out within her mind, Asha’s or her own. Taking a deep, cleansing breath before she straightened up, Senna called on the Force to grant her extra speed and she continued upwards to where her apprentice and the younglings were waiting for her. She found them at the Council chamber. Asha was ushering the children inside, urgently instructing them all to remain quiet. Once they were all inside, Senna slammed her hand on the controls, closing the door and activating the locking codes. Outside of the Council members, only the most senior Jedi Masters knew those codes. Their attackers would never get through. She turned her gaze to Asha. The young woman was breathing deeply, trying to calm her own racing emotions. Senna could see two small tear tracks down her cheeks. Senna had no need to ask if her Padawan had felt the terrible grief through the Force. Therefore, she only inquired quietly, “Are the younglings aware?” Asha bit her lip and shook her head, her green eyes lowered slightly. “Only one felt anything, and he said that it felt as though he had been kicked in the stomach. I did my best to keep them all distracted and told him not to think on it for now.” Senna nodded and opened her mouth to reply, when she heard it again. Footsteps. Many footsteps. Coming in their direction. Automatically, she drew her lightsaber and activated it. The corridor was immediately bathed in a faint green glow, which then mingled with golden light as Asha followed her example and brought her own blue blade to bear. There were no more than eight of them. Certainly few enough for her and Asha to take care of with little problem if they had been in a wide, open room. Unfortunately, they were in a long, narrow corridor, with little room to move around in. When the clones spotted them, they stopped. “My lord,” the leader of the group called out, “Here are two more.” For a moment, nothing happened. But then, out of the shadows at the far end of the corridor, a tall, hooded figure strode forward. The figure paused, seeming to consider them both. Then… “Destroy them.” “It will be done, my lord,” the leader said. Motioning to the others, they brought up their blasters and rushed towards them, opening fire. Reflexively, Senna blocked their shots, Asha doing the same beside her. Clenching her jaw, Senna moved forward. She had to deal with the chief threat, and that was not the clones. The hooded figure was directing the invasion. Eliminating him was essential. But it was difficult. Within the confines of the hallway, every move counted and there was no room for error. Senna finally leaped forward, decapitating the leading clone and then lunging to impale another while using the Force to knock a third so hard into the plate-glass that it shattered and he fell with a wailing scream. Asha was still beside her, slashing through the arms of one trooper, cutting the legs out from under another, stabbing a third – Then she was gone. The bond between the two women was cut off with a choked scream, leaving Senna’s mind itching to rebel against the sickening knowledge that invaded her very being. She fought down a sob and threw herself at the remaining clones. Senna never had a chance to look upon the remains of her Padawan learner. Her momentum had taken her beyond the body and she stood only a few feet away from the hooded figure. She fought to control her grief and rage. This monster was destroying the only place any true Jedi could call home. He was slaughtering younglings for Force’s sake! She brought her wrathful gaze up to meet his – Senna’s jaw dropped in shock. She knew those eyes. She knew that face. “S-Skywalker?!” She sputtered, nearly losing her grip on her lightsaber in her surprise. Anakin Skywalker. Once a delightful nine-year-old boy, then one of the most advanced Padawans within his age group, and one of the Republic’s greatest heroes. But none of that was apparent now. Senna looked into his eyes and saw only a smoldering, unholy rage and bloodlust. “Master Eberle,” he acknowledged coldly. His expression did nothing to conceal his malice and fury. “What are you doing,” she demanded, horrified at what she saw before her. “Anakin, what have you done?!” “I am carrying out the orders of the Supreme Chancellor. The Jedi chose to rebel against the rightful authority of the Senate. Now they must pay the price,” he growled. A blue blade suddenly appeared in his hand and he swept forward. Senna knew her end was upon her. She was proficient enough with the lightsaber, but she had not the natural talent that her master and many others had. The talent had made Anakin Skywalker famous over the course of the war. His quick movements threw her on the defensive. Having to evade both Anakin’s vicious blows and the bodies that littered the corridor, Senna found her attention divided. Within moments, she was driven back to the broken window. Managing to push him back for a brief moment, her eyes met his once again. Breathing deeply, Senna shouted at him, “What Jedi would rebel against the Republic? We are all sworn to serve it, to protect it! The only Jedi who have done such as you have are those who sought to follow the ways of the Sith! Is that what you are now, Anakin? You have betrayed us all! You have -” What else she might have said, she knew not. She only saw the explosively murderous expression in his eyes and a brief flick of his hand before she was airborne. The harsh winds whipped and tore at her robes and her plaited brown hair. Her vision was obscured once again by the thick, stinking smoke. The Force wrapped itself around her, alternately screaming its outrage and seeping into her very being, sheltering her in its embrace. Master… Senna was never able to clearly recall hitting the ground.