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Beyond - Legends Redemption- a Jacen Solo Fanfic

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Anedon, Sep 10, 2017.

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  1. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Title: Redemption
    Author: Anedon
    Timeframe: After Crucible
    Characters: Jacen Solo, Jaina Solo, OCs
    Categorization: Legends, AU
    Notes: This is the third part my story on Jacen Solo surviving LotF.
    The first two parts: Atonement and Forgiveness

    Atonement was an older fic of mine which I translated and then continued. This is the third part and deals with the Aftermath of Jacen´s travel to Mortis. As with the last two parts it probably won´t fit completly with FotJ and Crucible. But I will try my best.

    Great Thanks to my beta reader divapilot for the help and support. :)

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Prologue

    Gaven stared down at Jacen´s grave.

    It was a nice place, he had to admit; located in a small forest below the palace. It had nothing of the rich and ornate glamour everything else on Hapes seemed to have. It was just a small plate on the ground on which Jacen´s name was written but nothing more. Gaven asked himself what Jacen would have said to it and sadness overcame him when he thought back to his friend.

    The grave was a lie, of course, a prop to make the lie more believable. Gaven wasn´t even sure if there was truly an urn down there. Probably not, it was just a lie.

    For a moment Gaven thought back to the events in the last weeks. Was it truly only three months ago when Kenth Hamner had died? So much seemed to have changed since then, since the evening when Jaina had found him, alone and depressed in Kenth´s apartment. Since she had told him the truth about what had happened to her brother and since she had asked him to take care of him — a request that had changed his life.

    Three months ago he had just been a man from Darvin, just one Jedi among many others. Since then he had seen Nev again and finally admitted his feelings for her, he had met a surviving Jedi master of the old order, he had adopted an orphaned girl and started to train her as his apprentice and he called a former Sith his friend. And now he would meet a queen.

    Being born in the Teris sector Gaven mistrusted nobles but this queen was different. He had never meet Tenel Ka himself but he had heard about her, about the heroism she had displayed multiple times, and later Jaina had told him a little bit more about the adventures she and her brother had with the now ruler of Hapes. Jacen had rarely spoken of her, even in the rare moments he had told Gaven about his past he had mostly left Tenel Ka out of his tale. But Gaven had felt the pain that thinking of her was causing his friend.

    Tenel Ka had been, and probably still was, the girl Jacen loved. The mother of his daughter and from what Gaven had heard she had been very angry at him for years. She had visited Jacen in his cell only once and it had broken Jacen.

    But since then years had passed and now the Queen had asked Gaven to meet her. He had no doubt that she wanted to ask him about Jacen, and that she had requested himself instead of asking Jaina seemed to be a hopeful sign.

    "I´m glad you came." Gaven looked up and saw Tenel Ka walking towards him. She still wore the robes of the queen, but Gaven suspected that she would have rather worn something practical instead.

    "Anytime." He smiled for a moment while she stepped next to him.

    For a moment she looked down of the grave in front of them, then she asked, "How is Jacen doing?"
    Gaven was surprised how direct she was.

    "He has been badly mutilated by the mercenaries that attacked us on Learan. He nearly died from his wounds but he will heal in time."

    Tenel Ka´s face showed no reaction and again she said nothing for a moment. Then she knelt down next to the grave. "I´ve come here quite often in the last few years. And I remember the man I loved, Jacen like he was before he became this monster. Sometimes I think he truly died long ago."

    Again Gaven was surprised that she was telling him about this. "He isn´t Caedus anymore," he said. "Jacen, he was always there, it was his love for you and Allana that saved him from the darkness in the end."

    Tenel Ka looked up to him and for a moment Gaven believed he could see relief on her face.

    Then she turned again to the grave. "The day when I realized what had become of him, when I saw the Sith he had become. It hurt me more than anything else in the galaxy."

    Gaven said nothing to this but he knew what she meant. Seeing a beloved person die was horrible but seeing them turn into a monster? Gaven imagined that it was even worse.

    "But when his warning saved me and Allana in the end, I wanted to believe that it was a part of Jacen, a part of the boy he was."

    Gaven laid his hand on Tenel Ka´s shoulder. "It was him, he is Jacen again. He was willing to give his own life for you and Allana at that moment, it made Jaina stop her blade. He became Jacen again. He realized what he had done, and it broke him."

    Again Gaven though back to his friend, how much his guilt was tormenting him, how he could barely sleep and sometimes just had broken down crying.

    For a while he and Tenel Ka remained this way silently at Jacen´s grave thinking of their friend. Gaven knew that Tenel Ka was thinking back to the days before all this had happened, when she and Jacen had still been friends at the Jedi academy.

    Gaven wondered how Jacen had been in those days, when he hadn´t been riddled by guilt and his mind hadn´t been darkened by all the tragedy that he would face later in his life. He wondered what would have happened if he had been there in these days. If he had meet Jacen back then.

    Would they still have become friends? Could he have saved Jacen from the darkness inside him?
    Gaven shook his head, it was impossible to say. He had only become a Jedi when he was older, only become Jacen´s friend after he had become Caedus and now he was here.

    "He still loves you," he told Tenel Ka after a while. Again the queen looked up to him and Gaven saw the sadness in her eyes, that she was asking herself what could have been.

    "Can you tell me more of him?" she asked him.

    Gaven nodded and for a while they sat there together, the Queen of Hapes and he a man from Darvin. And while they talked Gaven felt more and more, that despite all that had happened between them, Tenel Ka still cared for Jacen.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
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  2. BookExogorth

    BookExogorth Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 4, 2017
    Aah! Tenel Ka! I love it.

    I actually haven't read anything post YJK except for DNT. I didn't particularly care for their relationship in that, but I really like it here.
    Specifically:
    I really like that. It seems like her way, and Gaven's (from what I've seen of him) to (not) mourn silently.
     
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  3. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    "Sometimes I truly think he died long ago." -- Pretty sad thought, really. I think Han and Leia think the same thing, though. Although I'm a bit confused as to why Jaina hasn't stopped by Hapes...they DID grow up together, after all.

    Nice start! Thanks for writing!
     
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  4. Darth_Drachonus

    Darth_Drachonus Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2005
    Interesting. Never cared much for the Solos but, this seems to have caught my interest. Well done.
     
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  5. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks
    Jacen´s and Tenel Ka´s relationship is one of my favourite parts of SW, I´m glad you like my take on it. Yeah Gaven and Tenel Ka tend to keep their emotions behind a silent stoic expression.

    Well Jaina did talk to Tenel Ka about Gaven´s report and her short meeting with Jacen after his return. She wanted to talk to Gaven because he had been with Jacen on the journey.
    I'm glad you still enjoy the story. Thanks :)

    Thanks :)
    I´m glad you like it.


    One

    Jacen´s eyes wandered through the darkness of the valley below them. The drizzling continued around them but Jacen enjoyed the light rain and the cold air.

    After the weirdness of Mortis this normal world helped him calm his mind and order his thoughts. Again he asked himself if they had actually been to the surface of Mortis or if they had just dreamed all this. But if so how had Jaina managed to obtain the dagger?

    Jacen shook his head. He probably would never truly find out. But he also knew that it didn´t matter if it had been real or just a vision.

    More important was what had happened there. He remembered how Mara had forgiven him, how she had told him that he wasn´t Caedus but Jacen Solo, and his brother who had said the same. Jacen knew they were right with that, he wasn´t a monster anymore.

    He was a Jedi, again a Jedi. He still could do good for the galaxy and make up for his mistakes.
    Jacen turned his head from the valley and looked at his friends. Leah and Nev were at the crashed escape pod and examined their last remaining rations and equipment.

    Jaina and Gaven had walked a few steps up the slope to gain a better sight on the valley below and to discuss their next step. Jacen smiled when he looked at them, and he felt thankful, thankful that despite everything he had done, they still cared for him and helped him heal.

    After a moment he walked up the slope towards them.

    Jaina was still wearing the dagger on her utility belt and the sight of the weapon worried Jacen a bit. He shivered when he remembered the moment on Mortis where he had felt the dark influence of the dagger on his mind. It was a powerful weapon of a distant age created by a civilization far more advanced and powerful than any that existed today.

    Jaina noticed her brother´s worry and gave him an assuring smile. After they had left Mortis the influence of the dagger on their minds had greatly lessened but it was still there, like a small voice at the edge of their perception.

    "Gaven and I went over the data we have of the Vean Cluster to find out where we are here," Jaina told him. "But there are several worlds that fit the things we have seen so far and this sector is poorly mapped anyway. There might be planets out there we have zero knowledge of."

    "We can´t even say for sure if we are still in the Vean cluster at all. For all we know, Mortis could have brought us anywhere," Gaven pointed out.

    Jacen felt worry in his friend´s voice. For a moment Jacen´s eyes wandered to the sky above them, and again realized the size of the galaxy and how small they were compared to it.

    Sooner or later the Jedi order would find out about the attack on their ship, maybe they already had. They would start search for them, but the galaxy was huge and with no way of communicating, the order might never find them.

    "But we still think calling out in the force is too dangerous. The lost tribe of Sith are still out there and I don´t want to imagine what they could do with the dagger," Jaina continued.

    Jacen knew what she meant, the Sith would abuse the dagger´s destructive potential for their own sinister goals. For a moment he shivered again when he thought back to the visions that had driven him to the dark side, the entire galaxy on fire consumed in an endless war, and Allana, enslaved by the dark man. He took a deep breath and calmed himself down. Whatever happened they had to prevent the Sith from getting hold on the dagger or his visions would become reality.

    "Do you think there is any civilized life on this world?" Jacen asked the other Jedi.

    Gaven shrugged. "Maybe, there are thousands of outposts, smuggler hideouts and unmarked colonizes scattered over this part of the galaxy. This planet seems to be habitable so maybe someone lives here."

    Jaina nodded in agreement. " I´ve seen a few structures in the distance, it seems something is down there."

    She turned towards the valley and pointed towards the structures Jacen had earlier seen in the distance. The other two followed her view and Jacen tried his best to figure out what lay there. He could see multiple structures through the rain, more than an outpost, maybe a small city.

    For a moment he closed his eyes and reached out with his mind. Since he had confronted his self hatred at the tower of Mortis, his connection to the force had become stronger again. He felt the others around him, he felt the forests further down the slope.

    There was life between the trees and Jacen felt several small animals, most of them sleeping below the trees or in small caves that protected them from the rain. When he concentrated on his connection he could even feel the various insects swarming through the forest. He reached further out through the lower slopes behind the trees and down towards the structures at the lowest point of the valley.

    But when he reached them he couldn´t feel anything. The place felt deserted and no living beings seemed to be there.

    Jacen opened his eyes again as his spirit returned towards his body. He turned towards the other two and saw that Nev and Leah where walking towards them.

    "I can´t feel anything down there," Jacen told the others as they stood together on the slope. "The place seems dead. Whatever might have lived there seems to have abandoned this place at least a while ago."

    He saw how Gaven and Jaina exchange a worried look. They had probably reached out in the force as well and felt the place was deserted.

    "I think we should still go down there," Gaven said after a moment of silence. "Maybe we find something there that gives us a clue where we are, or we find something else useful."

    Jacen knew his friend was right with that, whatever was down there could possibly still help them. Slowly the five humans started walking down the slope.

    When they reached the forest Jacen threw a last look back at the escape pod and for a moment he thought back to their ship. He asked himself if someone had managed to survive, if Master Ramis had survived.

    For a moment sadness overcame him, but then he turned around and followed the others down the slopes and towards the dead city at the ground of the valley.
     
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  6. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Man, I don't know if Leah is ever going to travel with the Solos again! First, they're on a planet that wants to kill them, now they're marooned on a planet with no way off...and that will probably want to kill them.
     
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  7. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Well that´s true. I guess that´s what happens when you travel with the Solos. Though given Leah´s friendship with Jacen and Jaina I could defenetly see her travel with them again.


    Two

    When they reached the city, Jacen understood why Gaven had insisted on Leah staying behind. Darkness floated through the ruins, an echo of the destruction that had happened here.

    For a moment he turned around and looked back to the small forest maybe click away from the city where Leah and Jaina waited. Jacen was glad that his sister had offered to stay with Leah, the two had become good friends on Mortis and Jaina had comforted Leah after what had happened at the tower.

    When he turned back around he could see the city ahead of him and the destruction that had happened here. Some of the buildings had collapsed leaving only one cracked wall above the rubble, but most were more intact with broken roofs and holes in the concrete walls.

    But it wasn´t the tooth of time that had destroyed this place but an attack. Jacen saw the remnants of explosion craters scattered around the city.

    To the side of them lay a road that led out of the city and out of the valley in the distance. When they reached the first buildings, Jacen shivered as he looked up to the dead windows. For a moment he believed he saw a shadow standing there watching them as they entered the city but when he looked again he saw nothing.

    He threw a look to Gaven and Nev and saw that they felt uncomfortable as well. Gaven´s eyes wandered from window to window and Nev had clasped her hands around her blaster, ready to open fire at any attacker.

    But Jacen knew that the danger here was something different. He could feel the darkness like he had in the ruins of the academy of Learan, but where the ruins of Learan had been filled with hatred it was fear he felt in this place. Fear and sadness, he last feelings of the people who had lived here, the people who had died in the attack.

    "How long ago do you think the city has been attacked?" he asked the others, as they slowly climbed over the first heaps of rubble.

    "Months, maybe years ago," Nev replied. She grabbed Jacen´s hand and he pulled her up.

    Together they looked at the broken ruins for a moment. As the three humans continued their way into the ruins the feelings of fear and desperation around them grew. Jacen felt the pain of the civilians through the force and he shivered.

    He asked himself what had happened there, why this place had been attacked. Had the attackers fired artillery, used bombers or fired from the orbit?

    "The concrete is blackened in many places, most of the buildings seem to be intact, and there are no corpses, so I guess this place was fire bombed," Nev pointed out, and for a moment Jacen saw burning forests before him.

    He remembered Kashyyyk, where he had given the order to burn everything to the ground for sheltering the Jedi. He remembered how the turbo lasers of the Anakin Solo had ignited the woods.

    Shivering, he stumbled against a nearby wall as the pictures floated through his mind. He could feel the fear and the pain of the people in his city, but he knew it was nothing compared to what he had done on Kashyyyk, on Fondor, to the galaxy as a whole.

    He remembered the battle, the horror on Tenel Ka´s face when she realized what he done, and asked himself how he could ever forgive himself.

    "Do you want to leave?" Gaven asked him, and his friend´s voice was warm and friendly. Jacen asked himself if Gaven had been in the battle of Kashyyyk, if his friend had seen the destruction he had caused.

    He tried to focus his thoughts but they always returned to burning cities and people turned to ashes. He breathed quicker and felt pain in his entire body.

    Nev had stepped next to him and laid her hand on his shoulder.

    He felt her hand through his light shirt, the hand of a friend trying to comfort him. Again he asked himself why Gaven and Nev had become his friends. He didn´t deserve their kindness, not for a minute, but they still gave it to him.

    Slowly Jacen managed to calm himself down. He wasn´t Caedus anymore, he was Jacen again, he wasn´t the monster who had one this horrible things, he tried to atone, to forgive himself. He had faced the darkness inside him and found his way back to the light.

    As he started to breath more slowly again, the pictures of destruction left his mind and the pain gave way for pity and compassion to the people who had died here.

    He looked up to Gaven. "It's okay, I can do it."

    Gaven gave him a supporting nod and Jacen realized that Gaven had felt his pain through the force.
    "Thanks," he said to his friends and he asked himself how often they had already done this for him. They threat me as a friend and help me without ever asking for anything in return.

    Again he thanked the force for meeting them, for giving him this second chance. It´s more than I deserve, but I´m glad I got it.

    He turned his mind back to the ruins surrounding them. The rain had finally stopped and Jacen took a deep breath of the cold air before standing up again. Slowly, as the three humans walked further through the ruins, the spirits surrounded them and Jacen felt pity for them.

    "You remembered the war?" Nev asked him.

    Jacen nodded slowly

    "I´ve experienced the same," Nev continued. "Even today I sometimes dream of the battles I´ve experienced. Of the friends I´ve lost."

    Jacen tilted his head and looked at her. "How do you deal with it?" he asked her.

    "I think of the good things, of the people I saved, of you and Gaven, of Leah and Jaina, of my friends." She gave him a short smile that he returned.

    For a moment he thought back to Jaina, how she had forgiven him what he had done. How she had embraced him as her brother again.

    "Jacen, Nev!" Gaven called out to them. When Jacen looked ahead he saw that his friend stood on the stairs of a larger building and looked towards them.

    The building was larger than the other they had seen on this world so far. It was as damaged as the other but Jacen recognized that the architecture was slightly different. The walls while made out of the same concrete as the others were covered with carvings and a wide staircase lead up to its large portal. Jacen suspected that maybe it had been a meeting hall or a religious building in the past.

    When they reached Gaven, Jacen saw what had his friend had discovered. Inside the building, behind the broken doors, Jacen saw a light.

    When he stepped closer he could see where it came from. There in front of one of the blackened walls stood several candles and their light flickered through the ruined interior.

    It was a place of mourning, a shrine for the people who had died here. A remembrance for the dead. As the three humans stepped closer Jacen realized what this meant. Somebody had to ignited these candles, to take care for this place.

    Somebody had been here recently.
     
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  8. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    "You remembered the war?" -- "I've experienced the same."

    Poignant scene. Memories like that will never go away, only partially fade away.
     
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  9. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks, I´m glad you like it.
    That absolutely right, these memories will allways be a part of them.


    Three

    Jaina stared down towards Gaven, Nev and Jacen as they slowly entered the city below them. She wished she could have been there with them, but Gaven had asked her to stay behind to keep an eye on Leah.

    She knew why her friend had insisted on his apprentice staying behind. Leah had been abducted and tortured by the dark side itself, and while she had managed to resist its influence it had clearly shaken her. And now going down there could mean facing this darkness again.

    Even from their position above the city Jaina could feel the darkness that lingered in the ruins. The fear and suffering of the people who had lived here was still there.

    Jaina watched how her friends climbed over rubble and disappeared from her view, then she turned to Leah. Gaven´s apprentice sat next to a tree and her eyes wandered across the dead windows of the city.

    "Are you feeling better?" Jaina asked her.

    Leah nodded slowly. "It´s good not to be on Mortis anymore."

    Jaina knew what she meant. Mortis had felt wrong, in every way. It had felt to her less than a real place but more a part of the force itself.

    For a moment both women sat next to each other in silence, then Leah said, "Jacen seems happier as well."

    Jaina gave her a smile. She remembered how Jacen had told her what he had seen at the dark tower. How he had broken under his own self hatred and how Anakin had saved him.

    Anakin. For a moment Jaina´s thoughts returned to her younger sibling and sadness overcame her. She remembered the happy days before the Vong had invaded the galaxy, before Mykr. For a long time Jaina had believed that she had lost both of her brothers that day. She had believed that what had happened to Jacen there had forever changed him, had driven him on his dark path. But now her brother had returned to the light, he had become Jacen again.

    And Anakin? Even now he seemed to be still watching over his siblings. There is no death, there is only the force, she remembered.

    "He is," she told Leah. "He has finally overcome his inner darkness and started to forgive himself."
    Jaina was happy that Jacen had finally started to heal but she knew that there was still a tremendous guilt resting upon her brother´s shoulders.

    "How was it?" Leah asked her and the apprentice´s voice cracked.

    "What?" Jaina asked her friendly.

    "How was it... to see your brother as a Sith Lord, to fight against him."

    Jaina shivered as her mind traveled back to the horrors of the second galactic civil war. It was only five years since the war had ended but to Jaina it felt as if decades had passed since then. She remembered Jacen, the horrifying change the dark side had caused in her brother. She saw Caedus before her again, his arrogant smile and the hatred in his yellow eyes.

    "I´m sorry, I shouldn´t have asked you about it." Leah said and Jaina saw the apprentice felt guilty over reminding her of this dark days.

    Jaina shook her head. Leah had a right to hear about it, she was their friend. "You don´t have to be sorry."

    She gave Leah a weak smile, then she took a deep breath and began, "It didn´t happened from one day to the other, I don´t know when it began. Maybe when Anakin died, maybe during his captivity during the Vong war, maybe later. But something was changing in Jacen. He wasn´t the same anymore and the bond between us became weaker and weaker as time went on, until it broke completely. Our relationship became colder and we only spoke rarely with each other. Sometimes I think, if I had been there during those days, I could have seen it, prevented it."

    Jaina paused to calm herself down as the memories overcame her again.

    Then she continued, "But when we realized it, it was too late, he had become a Sith. He wasn´t the brother I loved anymore, he was different. He was cruel, murderous and filled with hatred. I couldn´t believe what had happened to him. He had been a great Jedi- How could he have fallen so deep? At first we tried to save him, to reach out to him. But as his reign of terror continued more and more of us started to believe that the man we had loved was dead, that there was only the monster he had become."

    Again Jaina stopped as the pictures floated through her mind.

    "The dark side is a danger for all Jedi," she continued after a while. "It burns out the good inside us and replaces it with nothing but hate. I´ve experienced it myself, but seeing my brother corrupted by it was the worst thing I´ve ever experienced. And in the end they choose me to kill him. My uncle told me that Jacen was dead, that I had no other choice as to kill him, for the sake of the galaxy. But when I entered his ship I could only think back to Jacen, how he had told his bad jokes, how he had comforted me after a friend of mine had died in the Vong war, how he has always cared for me. But I pushed the memories down when I found him and we fought. He tried to reason with me, to leave the room but I had nothing of it, I wanted to kill him. I just saw the monster in him, only the Sith. That´s the worst about the dark side, seeing how it corrupts the ones we love."

    As she finished Jaina looked down on her hands and to her lightsaber, the weapon that had nearly killed her brother.

    For a moment Leah didn´t responded but Jaina saw that her tale had shaken the apprentice.

    "I´ve seen myself," Leah said after a while, her hands shivering. "After I had realized the cruel image of you I saw was just a trick. I saw myself, maybe a few years older, corrupted. I felt the dark side inside my reflection, the hatred. She seemed to be powerful, but there was no good inside her. This Leah was petty, spiteful and cruel."

    Jaina laid her hand on Leah´s shoulder. "You are not like that."

    Leah nodded, "I know, but she was still me, I mean she was no monster from nightmares, no three meters high creature with glowing eyes. Just me, Leah, a Leah who made mistakes."

    Jaina understood what she meant. "When I was young I believed that the Sith were monsters, that they were born evil. But when I saw Jacen fall to the dark side I realized that it can happen to everyone of us. The dark side can corrupt even the best of us and turn them into monsters."

    She paused before she continued. "But when Jacen returned from the dark side I realized something else. Even those who fall to the dark side can return to the light, Jacen has fallen into the deepest darkness, but he became my brother again. It was his love for his daughter that saved him. You refused to become like the Leah you saw because you care for other people, because you have a good heart. Love, friendship, compassion- these are the things that saved you from the darkness."

    Leah gave Jaina a smile. "Thanks Jaina. You are a great Jedi."

    Jaina returned the smile. "I think you will become one too, Leah."

    For a moment both of them sat next to each other in silence. Then Leah grabbed Jaina´s arm.
    When Jaina turned towards her she saw fear in the apprentices eyes. Then, when she followed Leah´s gaze, she saw it herself.

    They had seen the deserted road earlier that lead from the city out of the valley.

    Only that it wasn´t deserted anymore. There maybe three klicks from their position Jaina saw three massive vehicles moving towards the city.
     
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  10. BookExogorth

    BookExogorth Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 4, 2017
    Good Jaina point of view. I liked the discussion about the dark side.
     
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  11. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks, I´m glad you like my take on Jaina as well. :)


    Four

    Gaven inspected the floor of the ruined building and the glow of the candles reflected the light onto his face. Jacen felt the sadness in his friend. The same sadness that had overcome him as they entered the building.

    This was a place of mourning, a place where people had grieved over the loss of the ones they loved. Jacen had seen shrines like this before and they reminded him of his own grief, of the people he had lost, and the ones he had killed.

    For a moment he asked himself, how many shrines like this had been setup on after the second galactic civil war, how many families had grieved over their lost members in these days. Then he closed his eyes and took a deep breath, calming himself down again before his dark feelings could resurface.

    Gaven stood up again. "The floor is made out of duracrete, though it seems that the original flooring had been burned away by the bombardment. The concrete itself is not very worn down so I guess this place wasn´t been visited very often. Whoever set up this shrine probably weren´t many, and they only come here rarely."

    Jacen nodded slowly, thinking about it for a moment. Whoever had set up this place probably had known the citizens of this place and cared enough for them to create this place of mourning, but apparently the mourners still tried to avoid this place most of the time.

    "The city seems to have been a colonist settlement," Nev pointed out. She stopped for a moment and pointed at the walls. "Most of the buildings are made out of concrete and most of them seem to follow the classical colonial style, functional, without any unnecessary ornaments or vanities. The city also is build with humans or at least human sized being in mind, and we haven´t seen any ruins of defensive buildings so we can assume that they felt safe here and didn´t expected to be attacked.
    This building we are in now seems to be the only one that´s different from the others, it´s larger and covered with carvings and ornaments."

    Even here Jacen could see a few symbols carved into the concrete, though he didn´t recognize them. "Maybe this place was the governing building for these colonists, or maybe a meeting hall, or a religious building. There are many sects which have left the core to find enlightenment in the outer rim," Jacen said as he stepped closer to one of the ornaments.

    For a moment he remembered the years after the Vong war where he had traveled the galaxy in search of knowledge and understanding of the force. During this time he had seen several sects and cults who lived on forgotten worlds, but this place felt different to him. It seemed to have been built more recently, maybe only a few decades ago.

    "How many people, do you think lived here?" Jacen asked the others.

    For a moment they thought about it. Then Nev answered, "I think a few thousands, judging by the size of the settlement."

    Silence followed Nev´s words and Jacen shivered when he thought about this. Thousands of people, probably peaceful colonists, had come here in hopes for a better life only to be killed in a firestorm, and the rest of the galaxy probably didn´t even knew what had happened to them. Once again Jacen realized how big the galaxy was, and how little and unimportant they seemed in contrast to it.
    Then he heard something, something that broke the silence of the dead city.

    The roaring of machines filled the air, massive machines that came closer and closer with every second. Jacen froze. Somebody was coming here. The three humans stepped back to the doors of the building and stared into the darkness. The portal of the temple lay at the head of the main street and from their position Jacen and the others saw the massive vehicles that followed the road, directly towards them. Jacen felt hot and cold at the same time as his thoughts ran through his mind as to who had found them.

    "They are here for us," Gaven said with worries on his face. "We should leave," Nev suggested, but Gaven shook his head.

    "It's too late, they probably already know who we are, and we can´t outrun these vehicles anyway."
    Jacen shivered as he realized the same.

    "Maybe we could hide in these ruins. They might have scanners but these concrete walls are thick and might give us at least some protection," Jacen suggested.

    Gaven nodded, "Maybe, and even if they don´t these close quarters would make their greater numbers pointless."

    The three humans left the entrance chamber of the building and made their way through some dark corridors where the light of the candles behind them grew weaker and weaker.

    Gaven led them quietly and Jacen felt how his friend used the force to find a way through the darkness. They reached stairs that lead up and followed them into the second level of the building. Here they could see a bit more as some dead and empty windows opened the way for some dull light from the outside of the building.

    For a moment Gaven stopped and they stood there at the top of the stairs in silence.
    "We should warn the others," Jacen suggested.

    Nev shook her head, "We can´t. If we use a com whoever is out there might recognize it. I guess Leah and Jaina will have seen the vehicles anyway."

    Jacen knew she was right with that but he closed his eyes and reached out with his mind. He felt several dozens of soldiers in their vehicles close to them, but he reached further out and for a moment he reached Jaina´s mind. He felt her worries and her desire to leave her hiding place and come down to them. Be careful, he reminded her and she replied the same thing.

    When he opened his eyes again, he heard nothing. The vehicles had stopped.

    "Has anyone of you gotten a clear look at those vehicles?" Nev asked the two men.
    Jacen shook his head.

    Gaven said, "they seemed like tanks to me, Juggernaut class, like those that are used by the empire."
    Jacen had read about these tanks during the time in his cell. Massive troop transports with solid firepower. They had originally been used by the old republic during the clone wars and later taken over by the empire.

    "Maybe they belong to the remnant," he said, hopeful that these men could be Jagged´s .

    "Maybe," said Gaven. "But I have a bad feeling about this. I think these men are the same who ambushed our ship."

    Jacen had to admit that Gaven was right with that. They were probably still deep within the Vean cluster, where the remnant had practically no influence.

    "Maybe we can have a better look from one of these windows," Nev suggested and the others nodded.

    Slowly they moved towards the front side of the building and entered a room that was located directly above the one through which they entered. Two great windows were embedded in the wall though any transparisteel that might have once been there had been burned away a long time ago and now these windows where nothing but dead holes.

    But it was something in the middle of the room, on the concrete floor that captured Jacen´s attention. There a small object, not much larger than a comlink lay on the ground. It seemed vaguely familiar to him. Slowly he and the other sneaked closer and Jacen reached out for the object before them. Then, a second before his hand could touch it he recognized it.

    He turned around, "it's a..."

    His words turned into a scream as the stun mine exploded and for a moment a massive pain floated through his entire body.

    Jacen felt how he collapsed on the floor before losing his consciousness.
     
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  12. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Hmmm...wandering around what is essentially a mausoleum sounds creepy. I can't imagine what it would be like to be Jacen...all the guilt would be hard to bear.

    I think that's the second or third time he's ended up unconscious at the end of a chapter! I don't envy the headaches he will have. Nice update!
     
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  13. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks, I´m glad you like it.
    Yeah its defenetly seems to be a trend in this story that Jacen is unconcious at the end of a chapter, when I think about it. :)

    Five

    Thorne sat alone in one of the rooms of the Gallant and stared at the hologram before him. It was a map of the Vean cluster where the planets they had already searched where highlighted to differ them from those that lay still ahead. It didn´t look very hopeful, they had searched the cluster for almost two weeks now and had only managed to search a quarter of the worlds and the further they ventured into the sector, the slower their progress became.

    Most worlds out here were basically unmapped and so the search became more complicated as they had to scan planet by planet for the signal of the escape pod. Though as they came further their hope dwindled; there was nothing that would justify an escape pod getting this far away from the spot where its ship had been destroyed.

    For a moment Thorne wondered if this whole search was pointless. Maybe Jacen and the others had just died in the ship´s destruction, or maybe later their escape pod had been destroyed.

    There was nothing you could do. But there is something you still can do. You can still help them. For a moment he remembered Briala´s words in his mind.

    She had told him that there was still something he could do for his friends, which had given him hope that they were still out there, but now, after days of pointless search this hope had began to fade. The old man sighed for a moment before he returned his eyes to the map before him, hoping that something on it could give him a clue, a hint, something that could help them narrow down the search. But he didn´t see anything, just a list of planets, most of them didn´t even have a name just a clarification number. Just a list of meaningless numbers it seemed to him.

    He looked up as the door opened. Luke Skywalker seemed to be in a similar mood as him, Thorne saw the fatigue on the grandmaster´s face. Sitting down opposite to the old man, their eyes met for a brief moment and Thorne saw the worries in his eyes.

    "Have you felt anything?" he asked, though he already knew the answer.

    The grandmaster had spent the last couple of hours in his quarters, deep in meditation reaching out far in the force in the hope to reach the spirits of Jaina and her companions.

    Luke shook his head. "Nothing. It seems this sector feels empty. A few primitive life forms but no real presences in the force."

    Thorne had felt the same. What he had read in the last days had given him the same impression of the Vean cluster. These worlds had once been the center of an ancient alien culture who had worshipped a pantheon similar to the Ones. But this species had died out millennia ago leaving nothing but ruins behind. And all that was left here was dust, and the ghosts of a long gone civilization. A place that the rest of the galaxy feared and tended to avoid even until today.

    "Anything on the imperials who attacked them?" Thorne asked.

    Luke thought about this for a moment. "Not much, I´ve contacted Jagged Fel and our other allies in the remnant, it definitely didn´t come from their side, though there are a few unruly Moffs who could have something to do with it."

    Our allies in the remnant? Again Thorne asked himself what had become of the Jedi order that they now considered the empire their allies. In the old order we would have worked to end the reign of these military dictators instead of allying with them. But he kept his thoughts to himself.

    "Could there be a connection to Daala?" the old man asked instead.

    Luke nodded slowly. "That very possible, she is still on the run and seems to have at least a small force of loyalists still with her."

    "Anything on how they knew of the expedition?" Thorne continued.

    "We went over the profiles of most of the crewmembers of their ship," Luke explained. "While the officers seem to be loyal, some of the lower ranks might not have been. Maybe some of them sold us out for credits or because of a grudge against the Jedi."

    Thorne nodded slowly, these where the same reasons he himself had considered. But he felt that Luke wasn´t convinced.

    "You still think Jacen somehow leaked that information out, in an attempt to break free?" he asked.

    "We cannot rule out the possibility. When there are still loyalists of Daala out there, than maybe Caedus has some allies too."

    For a moment Thorne said nothing to this. In the few months he had now been part of the new Jedi order he had grown to respect Luke Skywalker and enjoy their conversations, but he also felt the strong hatred Luke felt for his nephew.

    "He ha been your student once, before all of this?" Thorne suddenly asked the grandmaster, speaking out a question that had been in his mind for a while.

    Luke didn´t replied immediately and for a moment his eyes became unclear as if the younger man was remembering something that lay in the distant past.

    "He was different back then, not the man he is now. He was a child, curious with a fascination for all the life surrounding him. A good friend and student. But that boy died a long time ago."

    While Luke spoke Thorne recognized bitterness in his voice, but also sadness, as if Luke was thinking back to a dear friend he had lost.

    A part of him still cares for Jacen, or at least the memory of what Jacen once was. Silence fell between them for a moment as both men followed their own thoughts. Than Thorne raised his voice again.

    "I once had a student like that as well, while I was still a part of the old Jedi order. He was the son of two senators and so the Jedi found him early and he grew up in the temple. That was where I first met him. before that I had never thought about training a padawan myself. I thought that other Jedi could do a better job than I could. I was a scholar, more interested in studying holobooks than the next generation of Jedi knights. But this boy, he different from the other students, with a fondness of knowledge similar to mine, curious to learn more about the force and the galaxy as a whole. He would often approach me when I was reading in the library of the temple and ask me questions, thousands of questions."

    A sad smile filled Thorne´s face for a moment when he thought back to Relain, of the curiosity in the young boy´s eyes and the interest he had shown in his tales.

    "And one day, he asked me to become his master. To teach him in the ways of the force and show the galaxy to him, and I accepted. Together we traveled from the core to the outer rim and had a few adventures, as countless Jedi before and beyond. He was skilled student, with a great talent for the force, a talent that would allow him to see glimpses into the future. And as time went on, I started to love him as a son."

    Again memories floated through Thorne´s mind, memories of better days.

    "But then came Galidraan, where we Jedi fought against the Mandalorians. It was a massacre and most the Jedi who were there died in this battle, while others would be scared for life by the death and destruction. As was my padawan. He was only fourteen years old when I had dragged him into a war. And it broke him. As time went on he became more and more obsessed with his visions of the future, believing if he could only understand what was ahead he could make sure that something Galidraan would never happen again. And I couldn´t help him, I didn´t know what was wrong with him and I was too proud to ask some of the other Jedi for advice. I failed my apprentice in these days."

    Again Thorne paused his tale as the memories overcame him. He saw Relain how he descended more and more into madness and how he, his master, hadn´t been able to save him. He felt how tears appeared on his face as he continued his tale.

    "And then he raged out. To this day I don´t know what pushed him over the edge, if he had seen a vision that had him turn or if it was something else. I only know that he raged out against some of his brothers and killed two other Jedi before fleeing the temple. I remember how I stood over the dead bodies of his victims and how horrified I was by what my apprentice had done. As his master I was tasked to take care of the situation to stop my apprentice before he could kill even more people. And so I left the Jedi temple accompanied by my best friend in the order. It was a long search but after almost two years we tracked him down, on Learan. When we had finally found him, my friend and I, we demanded my apprentice surrender, with our lightsabers raised against him. But he panicked and started to fight back and in the following swordfight he slew my best friend. And I raged out, seeing this as the final straw, believing that my apprentice was too far gone, that there was nothing I could do to save him, that slaying the boy I loved as a son was the only option. And so I killed him, driving my lightsaber in his chest. He died in my arms, but as he lay dying, at least some of his madness left him as his thoughts became clear and he thanked me, for ending his suffering and giving him peace."

    Silent tears ran all over Thorne´s face as he continued.

    "I had failed as a Jedi that day. Maybe if I had talked to my apprentice instead of threatening him I could have saved him. I could have saved him," he said again.

    Then he raised his head and looked directly into Luke´s eyes "Since then I have thought of my apprentice every day, wondering what could have been different, what I could have done to save him. But I doesn't matter, I can´t undo what I have done, I could have saved my apprentice, but I didn´t and I will regret that every day for the rest of my life. Don´t make the mistakes that I did."
     
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  14. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Six "Homecoming" (entry for the OTP pairing challenge "We have come through a lot together")

    Weird dreams and memories filled Jacen´s head. Memories of himself and of others. It felt to him as if he saw a retelling of his life in front of his eyes but nothing made sense and events happened too quickly for him to understand them.

    Brief flashes of joy, sadness, hatred and fear floated through his mind as the pictures, sounds and memories around him changed more and more quickly.

    Jacen tried to shut himself out, to close his eyes and focus on what was around him, to have at least one clear thought, but the cascade of pictures, sounds and feelings didn´t stop. He was in constant movement, as if he dueled an unseen enemy or parried the blaster bolts of an entire army.

    A cascade of colors floated through his mind faster and faster, until it suddenly stopped.

    Instead of thousand weird colors Jacen felt a soft light shining on his still closed eyes and instead of the weird cacophony of sounds he heard slow and gentle music. He was still moving but he felt that this was different from fighting, it was... a dance.

    Slowly, almost unwillingly, Jacen opened his eyes. The light in the room blinded him for a few seconds but he soon could see more. He knew this place. He had been here before, though it felt that it had been more than an eternity ago.

    The Royal Hapan ballroom was still the same place as he remembered, the same large hall with the high windows behind which he could see the darkness of the night. The room itself was illuminated by hundreds of lights which created an army of shadows among the dancers on the floor, for Jacen didn´t dance alone.

    Dozens of couples, it seemed, filled the hall and Jacen saw the happiness on each face, the same happiness that he felt himself.

    Then Jacen finally found the courage to look into the face of his own dancing partner.

    The smile on Tenel Ka´s face was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his life. Ever since his childhood when he had tried to make Tenel Ka laugh with his bad jokes this smile had been in his dreams.

    He returned it as he and Tenel Ka continued their dance through the other couples, as happiness and peace floated through his veins. It felt, as if after a long time of sadness, suffering and dread he was finally at home.

    When a new song began he and Tenel Ka followed the music dancing faster. She lead him, her right hand on his back, her left hand clasped together with his right.

    Her left hand?

    Confusion filled Jacen´s mind for a moment, though he couldn´t say why this confused him. He tried to think back but his mind felt lethargic, as if it resisted his attempts to think clearly.

    Pushing the thought away, Jacen completely gave himself over to the music and with each dance more of his confusion left him and he felt at peace.

    While they danced his eyes wandered over the crowd and he saw in the faces of the other dancing couples. For a brief moment he saw his parents in the crowd and his father gave him a smile. Then he saw Jaina dancing with Jagged Fel, his uncle with Mara.

    Mara?

    Again confusion overcame him for a moment but he couldn´t say why. It made him happy that they were all here, enjoying the dance together.

    After what seemed hours, the music stopped and the dance ended. The smile on Tenel Ka´s face was still bright and Jacen returned it.

    "That was wonderful," he told her and for a moment it seemed that her smile became even brighter.

    "I´m glad you´ve enjoyed it." They slowly passed by the other couples in the room who all politely bowed their heads towards him and Tenel Ka as they walked towards one of the high windows.

    "Jacen." Somebody called his name and he looked up, his eyes searching through the crowd for whoever had addressed him.

    Once again confusion overcame him when he saw his brother and Tahiri walking towards him.

    Anakin looked... older, as if years had passed since they had seen each other for the last time.

    What was going on with him?

    Why did these things confuse him so much? He tried to ignore the feeling but it remained in the back of his head.

    Anakin gave his brother a hug but Jacen was too confused to react to it at first. Then he returned it and pushed the nagging uncertainty further down in his mind.

    "You are looking great, Jace. Or do I have to call you Prince Jacen now?"

    Prince Jacen? He wasn´t a prince, he was...

    A few pictures briefly filled his mind --pictures of death and destruction-- and he stumbled backwards.

    "Are you alright?" his brother asked him.

    Jacen saw the confusion on his face, the same confusion he had felt for the entire evening.

    The older brother took a deep breath and tried to collect his thoughts. "No, it's just the heat in here... I think.. I need some... fresh air," he said stumbling over his words like a child.

    Tenel Ka gently took his hand and lead him through the crowd to one of the windows, opening a door and leading him on a stone balcony which, like everything in this palace, was filled with ornate decorations.

    Jacen rested his hands on the parapet and looked down to the sea below. The fresh salty air filled his lungs and he calmed himself down a bit. He felt Tenel Ka´s hand on his shoulder.

    "Is truly everything alright, Jacen? Is this all too much for you at once? I can understand how you must feel right now. For me the first days as queen where hellish as well." Tenel Ka gazes wistful into the night landscape. She spoke quietly. "Maybe we should have waited with our marriage."

    Marriage?

    He looked down at his right hand he was wearing a ring. For a moment Jacen shivered. His eyes widened as he struggled to remain calm.

    He loved Tenel Ka, he had dreamed of this for a long time. Why was he reaction so strange now? Again images of death and destruction filled his mind and, for a moment... he saw Tenel Ka looking at him, her eyes filled with hatred.

    What was wrong with him? Was it just the heat, the things that had happened this evening? Again he took a deep breath and calmed himself down. Everything was good, he was safe here. He turned around to Tenel Ka and saw her frowning with worry.

    "It's okay," he said, though his voice still felt weak. "It´s just a lot for me to handle at once."

    Tenel Ka touched his arm and Jacen felt the warmth of her left hand. Her left hand? Again confusion overcame him and he shivered. Closing his eyes for a brief moment Jacen took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down again.

    "Don´t worry about that. Nobody expects you to be a perfect prince from the first day. And I´m with you, we´ve come through a lot together, but that´s all behind us. Now we are here, together. Only that is important."

    Jacen felt she was right. The past did not matter anymore. He and Tenel Ka had overcome the trials and dangers that had lain in their way and now they were here, in this beautiful palace, together. Married even.

    And yet something was still nagging in his mind. Something that didn´t felt right. Another thought came to his mind.

    "Where is Allana?" he asked and Tenel Ka gave him a smile.

    "I´ve seen her playing with Anji a while back. I think she is very happy, now that her dad is finally here to stay."

    Jacen returned her smile, glad that his daughter was happy as well. He turned around and looked at the dark ocean again.

    Everything he had dreamed of had come true. He was married to Tenel Ka, and surrounded by his family and friends who were all happy. He knew it was the fulfillment of his greatest wishes.

    So why did it feel so wrong to him?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  15. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Interesting dream...or possible past. I was always confused as to why everyone was adamant that Jacen couldn't be the Prince Consort of Hapes...even with the anti-Jedi sentiment on Hapes, the Queen Mother should be allowed to marry whomever she wished. Hapes isn't a feudal society, after all.

    One thing...I think Tenel Ka lost her left hand in the incident, not her right.
     
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  16. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks, I´m glad you enjoyed it. Yeah it always confused me too, especially as Jacen is Leia´s son, whom Isolder considered a worthy bride.

    Oh gosh, your right, she lost her left arm. Not sure why I mixed it up, I will correct that, thanks for pointing it out.
     
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  17. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Jumping in from the OTP challenge, I really like this! I feel that you don't have to read the whole story to understand this chapter which is great for the challenge, but it also intrigues me to see what came before this and maybe learn why Jacen having this dream/vision.

    I love that it includes all the people who have died, that they, in at least this dream, all have full and loving lives. Having Anakin was especially moving. The whole thing gave me a really warm and happy feeling, something I always wanted for Jacen but he never got.

    Right from the start, I wondered if this was his wedding, you painted that picture well.

    I really enjoyed reading this!
     
  18. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks, I´m glad that you´ve enjoyed the chapter, despite not knowing the rest of the story. I was aiming for this when I wrote it as part of the challenge.

    Yeah the scene, Jacen´s dream, is kinda meant to be a happy ending for all of the Legends characters, something they(or at least most of them) never really got in the novels. Nice to hear you enjoyed it.

    I´m glad you liked it, thanks for commenting. :)

    Seven

    A weak and distant sun made its way over the peaks in the west but Leah found neither warmth nor hope in the light. Her entire body was filled with a leaden fatigue as she stumbled further down the wrecked road. She wasn´t sure how long the night had lasted but she was sure it had been longer than the nights on Asterian.

    The Jedi student remembered that Gaven had told her that on certain worlds the day/night circle was much slower than usual with nights lasting for entire days. She wasn´t sure how long this one had lasted but it felt to her as if they were on the road for days. Her entire body burned from the exhaustion and she knew that Jaina was feeling similar, but neither of the two Jedi even suggested a rest.

    For a moment Leah thought back to the moments under the trees, back in the valley were their pod had landed. She had spotted the vehicles on the street first as they moved hurried towards the ruined city.

    In the following minutes she and Jaina had tried to decide whether or not to go down there to help their friends, but Jacen had contacted his sister through the force and told her to stay hidden. Leah had realized how much this had worried Jaina, how strong her friend´s desire was to help her brother.

    But they had followed his request and stayed under the trees. As soon as they had entered the village, the vehicles had left it again almost as if they feared an attack from someone.

    After their departure the two women had searched through the ruins of the city, where their worst fears had come true. Gaven, Nev and Jacen were gone when they had arrived, and while they had found no sign of a fight it had been clear that they were in danger.

    Jaina meditated for a brief moment amongst the ruins and confirmed what they already knew: their friends had been taken.

    And now they followed the road, with no chance of catching up to the fast vehicles, but in the hope that this road would lead them wherever their friends had been brought to. Leah wished she knew more about this planet, she wished she knew were those people where and why they had captured her friends, but nothing in this desolate valley gave her any answer.

    As the sun continued to rise Leah could see more of their surroundings. They were still in the valley they had landed it seemed. When she looked back the way they had come she saw that they had left the higher regions behind, and the mountains where they had left the pod disappeared in the distance. For a moment Leah stopped and took a deep breath of the fresh air.

    Just a moment, she told herself. I need just a moment. She closed her eyes and reached out in the force but she could only feel Jaina next to her, as well as some smaller life forms in the forests a bit to the side.

    Again worries overcame her. Since her parents deaths´ Gaven and Nev had been the only family she had left. They had treated her as the daughter they never had, helped her to find a place in the galaxy. Even in the dark tower on Mortis Leah had felt certain that they would find her. And now they were gone, captured by unknown attackers and maybe even dead.

    Her panic threatened to overcome her and she tried to remember her Jedi training to calm herself down. She couldn´t allow herself to lose time, not when her friends needed her help. But when she tried to think of her Jedi lessons she only remembered Gaven´s weak smile and his calm voice.

    Taking another deep breath she pushed the dark thoughts away and opened her eyes again. Jaina stood a few meters ahead of her and looked back to the apprentice.

    When Leah approached her she could see sorrow in Jaina´s face, but when their eyes met, Jaina managed to give her a weak smile. "We will find them, they´ve been in worse situations before."

    Leah nodded weakly. She knew Jaina was right. She remembered the stories she had heard about Jacen and the dangers he had been in.

    "Who do you think these people where?" she asked Jaina as the two Jedi slowly continued to walk to down the street towards the end of the valley.

    Jaina thought about this for a moment before she answered. "From what I could see, I think those vehicles were HAV Juggernauts, heavy armed transport vehicles that have been used by the galactic empire, though that doesn´t have to mean anything. Since the fracturing of the empire, a lot of their stuff has been scattered across the galaxy. Warlords, military dictators, mercenaries, pirates— everyone can use imperial equipment these days."

    Jaina paused as they entered into a forest with dark trees that overshadowed the street. Then after a moment she continued," I´m pretty sure whoever these guys are, they don´t belong to the remnant. Gaven knows some of their military codes so he should have been able to talk things out. There aren´t any warlords left in the galaxy, they all died or were absorbed into the remnant."

    "So you think these men are mercenaries?"

    Leah asked as the path surrounding them became darker and darker. The trees stood tightly together and blocked out all of the sunlight on the street. In a way it reminded Leah of the dark forests of her homeworld and she shivered as she thought back to the last days she had spent there.

    "Maybe," Jaina said. "But if we are still in the Vean cluster I´m not sure what they are searching for here. And remember the attack on our ship, that was more than just a group of mercenaries. So it seems to be either an imperial warlord who somehow managed to escape the new Republic or... well, Daala is still on the run and from what we heard she still has a small fleet of loyalists surrounding her. Maybe she is trying to hide here."

    For a moment none of them said a word while Leah thought about Jaina´s words. She didn´t know much about galactic politics but she had heard of Daala and her time as chief of state of the Galactic Alliance. But before she could ask Jaina more about this topic she felt something, a warning in the force.

    A voice, clear and cold, cut through the silence in the forest. “Move no step further, a dozen blasters are pointing at you and we won’t hesitate to shoot you if you try something." Leah froze in place as she felt the presence of a dozen or more beings surrounding them.

    Next to her Jaina had stopped as well and Leah saw her friends eyes wander through the darkness surrounding them, hoping to see something.

    "Who are you?" the voice demanded. Leah felt the presence of the speaker among the others surrounding them. It seemed to be their leader as his mind was that of a concentrated and confident soldier, but she could also feel something else... confusion?

    "We are Jedi of the Galactic Alliance," Jaina said and Leah was surprised how calm she was.

    "Jedi?" the speaker responded and now Leah could hear some uncertainty in his voice.

    "Yeah, and who are you? Hiding in the forests and pointing with blasters at travelers? Why do you not show yourself?" Jaina replied.

    For a moment they heard nothing but then someone stepped out of the forest and onto the street. He moved so quietly that Leah only recognized him when he had almost reached them. The man wore dark clothing that helped him stay invisible in this environment and held a blaster in his hands.

    When Leah looked into his face she saw worries, confusion and tiredness.

    She felt the man's eyes wander first across Jaina then herself, and he fixated their lightsabers for a moment. "If you are part of the galactic alliance, are you part of a military force?" he asked. "Have some of our messages reached you?"

    Leah was confused by these words and so she decided to stay quiet.

    "No," Jaina said. "We have crashed here with our escape pod after drifting through space for days."

    The man in front of them let out a desperate sigh. "So nobody knows you are here?" Jaina nodded slowly. For some reason, she seemed to trust this man.

    "No," the older Jedi replied. "But three of our friends have been taken captive by strangers using imperial equipment. I assume they do not belong to you?"

    The stranger lowered his eyes for a moment and Leah saw sadness fill his face for a moment.

    "They are the ones who have invaded our world, destroyed our homes and murdered our families."

    At his words the others surrounding them stepped on the street. It was around a dozen men and women, and most of them weren´t much older than Leah. Each of them looked more tired than the other, and their clothes were dirty and filled with scratches, as were their faces. And in their faces the Leah saw only desperation and sadness. Each of these humans looked as if they had been through hell in the last few weeks.

    "They now rule this planet, or what is left of it," their leader continued. "I don´t know what they will do to your friends but if you want to save them, then maybe we have a common enemy."
     
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  19. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    I know you didn't intend it to be funny, but I chuckled at this line. Jaina, obviously, has mastered the art of Solo understatement.

    So, if they aren't warlords, and they aren't Remnant...who the heck are these guys? And what are they after on this planet? Good stuff.
     
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  20. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Yeah the Solos defenetly been in much worse situations before.
    Thanks for your comment, I´m glad you like it. :)

    Eight

    Night was gathering around them and by this point even Jaina felt a leaden fatigue in her body. She hadn´t slept since her awakening in the escape pod, hours and hours ago.

    But their guide didn´t allow them any breaks and after what he had told them Jaina was inclined to agree with his decision. After the strangers had revealed themselves to the Jedi they had left the street and made their way through the thick forest, which in contrast through the otherworldly woods on Mortis had been dense with undergrowth which had slowed their movement considerably.

    It had worried Jaina to leave the road behind, her only track to which direction her brother and the others had been brought, and a part of her had wanted to leave the strangers behind and continue to follow the imperials.

    But she had reminded herself that she and Leah were alone and knew nothing of this place. They would have no hope of rescuing their friends on their own.

    While they walked through the forest Jaina had slowly talked to the leader of the strangers, eager to find out more about this place and its inhabitants.

    At first the man had been hesitant to tell her much, but as they had talked he had opened himself a bit and told her more. His name has Firmus Hayes, he had told her, and this world was called Eladus. Located deep within the Vean cluster, it had been inhabited by colonists and refugees from the core since the end of the clone wars.

    "Many families here have been loyal to the separatist cause," Hayes had told her. "After the end of the war they came here to search a place to live, far away from the republic."

    Over time the colony had begun to flourish and the colonists had build up several cities scattered across the planet. But they never had much contact with the rest of the galaxy, content with staying on their small world.

    Until around a year ago, when the imperials had come.

    When Hayes had spoken of them, Jaina had felt the pain in the young man´s words, the same pain and sadness she had seen in the faces of so many beings and experienced herself. After their arrival in the orbit of Eladus they had demanded the planets surrender under the rule of the empire.

    Unsure what to do, the leaders of the planet had begun to debate whether or not to surrender, but before they had come to a conclusion the imperials had attacked one of their cities with a massive orbital bombardment, quickly forcing the planet to yield.

    Shivering, Jaina had remembered the ruined city, the destroyed buildings and the lingering aura of fear and death she had felt in the force. Again she asked herself how many people had lived in the city, how many people had died that day.

    Since then, Hayes had continued, the planet had been occupied by the imperials.

    "Do you have any idea what they are doing here?" Jaina asked Hayes after a while in which they had walked next to each other silently. They had finally left the forest behind and now climbed through the dark mountains, following a path that only the locals seemed to know.

    The young man shrugged. "No, here is nothing that should interest them. Just plains, forests and mountains, a few small towns. We have no heavy industry nor rare resources, and the Vean cluster is too far away from the galactic core for any trade to come here. The only reason people come here is to hide."

    Maybe that´s the reason the imperials are here, to hide? Or could it be that they knew of the dagger? "Who leads these soldiers?" Jaina continued.

    The young man kept silent for a moment, then he said. "We do not know. We´ve seen officers and commanders and some of them have mentioned an admiral. Maybe that´s their leader."

    An admiral? For a brief moment Jaina´s eyes met Leah´s and it seemed the apprentice shared the same thought.

    Could it be that she is here? The destruction of the city and the brutal uncompromising occupation was definitely correspondent to some of her actions and she still had some forces left.

    "Have you heard the name Daala, in relations to the imperials?" Jaina asked as worries began to grew. Something flickered in the young man´s eyes for a moment.

    "The name tells me something, maybe one of the imperials has used it. Do you know her?" he asked her, almost alarmed.

    "She isn´t a friend of ours," Jaina responded. "We´ve been fighting her in the core until she was defeated and fled with her remaining forces, around a year ago."

    Jaina realized that she had begun to shiver. Daala knows who Jacen is. If she realizes that he is alive... the Jedi didn´t want to think about what Daala could do to her brother.

    Again her worries overcame her. She needed to find Jacen, Gaven and Nev, not waste her time climbing through these mountains.

    "Where are we going?" Leah suddenly asked their guide as they began climbing up yet another mountain crest.

    "To a small village, hidden between the mountains. The imperials haven´t found it yet so we should be safe there, at least for a moment. Once we are there I will contact to some of our people in the occupied cities. Maybe some of them know where the imperials have brought your friends."

    "Do you have a working com system there?" Jaina asked.

    The young man shook his head. "The imperials are blocking most of our communications. We can talk to other people on this planet via a few channels but it seems none of our messages we have sent off world have reached anything."

    Jaina thought about this for a moment. In her youth she had spent days fixing and improving technical devices; maybe she could figure it the problem and they could contact the other Jedi.

    "I could have a look at the communicator, if you want. The other Jedi are probably already searching for us. If we managed to contact them they could help us defeat the imperials on this world."

    Jaina took a deep breath and glanced grimly at Leah. And hopefully free Jacen before Daala realizes who he is.
     
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  21. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Oh man...think of the political fall-out of Daala gets to parade Jacen in front of the cameras! Whatever political good-will the Jedi have built up would be gone, and the government will have to explain why they lied.
     
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  22. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Yeah, it would make the Jedi look like hypocrits and Daala as being in the right after all. It could destabilize the entire GA.

    Nine

    Gaven sat alone in Kenth´s apartment and stared into the fire. It wasn´t a real fire, just a holographic projection of one, but Gaven didn´t care. In the last few days he had done little more than stare into the flames and follow his own thoughts, only interrupted by the few brief hours of sleep were he had see his best friend's death again and again in his dreams.

    The anger was still inside him, the anger at everything, at Saba, at the other Jedi, at the grandmaster, at himself.

    Again he remembered the moment where he had stood outside of the Barabel´s room, with Kenth´s lightsaber in his hand. He had wanted nothing more than to take revenge in that moment. Almost, had he broken the door open and slain the Jedi master.

    But then he had remembered the village on Asterian and the girl he had killed there. Again his anger over losing a friend had almost led him into murdering someone. He had sworn himself to become a better person that day, that he would try his best to help the people in the galaxy. This was the reason he had left the Teris sector, the reason he had left Nev...

    Pain floated through his body when he thought back to her. He had missed her every day in the last eight years.

    Maybe, he thought, he should just leave Coruscant and return to her, leaving this place and all the pain that was connected to it.

    No, he couldn´t do that. How could he ever speak to her again?

    After what he had done on Asterian, after he had failed as a Jedi.

    When his door chime rang Gaven looked up and grabbed his lightsaber. Who would come here to visit him? Had the grandmaster send Jedi to bring him back to the temple or had Daala found out where he was and sent her agents, hoping to capture a lone Jedi?

    Ready to defend himself, Gaven opened the door of the apartment. When he saw who it was, he attached his lightsaber back to his belt.

    "I thought I would find you here," Jaina said as she entered the apartment before turning around to him. "Gaven, I´m sorry about what happened at the temple."

    Thankful for her words, Gaven answered, "It wasn´t your fault. It´s Saba´s."

    "It was an accident," Jaina replied.

    Gaven took a deep breath and thought again back to the fight at the hangar.

    "Maybe," he admitted and sat down again.

    Something was telling him that Jaina wasn´t here to talk about Hamner´s death. Now with Kenth dead she was the only Jedi in the order he considered a friend. Jaina sat down in the armchair next to him. For a moment nobody said a word, then Jaina continued. "Kenth and I often disagreed on many things in the order, but I always respected him. I´m sad he is dead."

    Gaven felt she was honest with that. "Thanks, Jaina," he replied, his eyes shifting back into the flames. Again Jaina kept silent for a moment and Gaven felt how she searched for words.

    "Do you remember what I told you three years ago when we were on that mission on Gereon?" Jaina asked him.

    Again Gaven´s mind returned to the past, to the darkness of Gereon were he and Jaina chased a renegade apprentice of the Jedi order who had fallen to the dark side. He had only heard stories about Jaina Solo before, The Sword of the Jedi who had defeated countless enemies of the order, including her own brother. But there in the dark mountains they had become friends. And in the end Jaina had shown the young man mercy and they had managed to save him from the dark side. Her determination to save him instead of killing him had impressed Gaven.

    "About saving those who fell to the dark side?" he replied.

    She nodded slowly and Gaven knew that she remembered her brother again. Jacen, who had fallen to the dark side, but whom she couldn´t save at the end. Gaven assumed that her determination to save the boy on Gereon had been motivated by her guilt over Jacen´s death.

    Gaven lay his hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort her. "You did what you could for your brother." He imagined the sadness she must have felt over this.

    "He is alive," she muttered, so quietly that Gaven wasn´t sure if he had understood her correctly. Was she talking about...? "Jacen is alive," Jaina said, and Gaven saw the tears in her eyes.

    Could this be true? Gaven hadn´t experienced much of the second galactic civil war like most other Jedi had. He had been on a mission during most of it, but he had heard about the war in the holonet and later, after his return, experienced the aftermath.

    "But..." he started, unsure how to reply.

    "I spared his life at the end of our final duel. He came back to the light side to save his wife and daughter. He became Jacen again." She stopped and for a while neither of them said a word.

    Gaven´s thoughts ran through his mind, still disbelieving of what Jaina had just told him. Could it really be that Jacen Solo was still alive? That he had returned to the light side at the end of the war? For a brief moment Gaven remembered the battle on Asterian, the bloodlust that had overcome him during it and how he had realized it after Nev had been wounded.

    He asked himself if Jacen might have experienced something similar, if the peril of his wife and daughter had brought him out of his madness. But why had they kept it a secret? To spare Jacen from a public trial like the one Tahiri faced? Or was there more to it? But more importantly...

    "Why do you tell me that? Why now?" Gaven asked Jaina who still sat silently in her chair.

    For a moment his friend didn´t reply.

    Then she said, "Because my uncle has agreed to send Jacen on a mission, to see if he is truly himself again."

    "And they want me to go with him? Why?" Gaven said as he realized why Jaina was here.

    After another pause she replied. "The mission will take you to the Teris sector, a place you know better than any other Jedi in the order."

    The Teris sector. Since he had come to the core Gaven had missed his home every day, but he had felt that after what he had done on Asterian he could not go back. He was a Jedi now and his place had seemed to be in the galactic alliance.

    "But that´s not the reason I requested you to go with Jacen." Jaina continued, interrupting his thoughts. "You have a good heart and you don´t harbor grudges. I think you might be able to give Jacen an honest chance. A chance to prove he is truly my brother again."



    When Gaven opened his eyes, pain welcomed him. His entire body hurt and he had to close his eyes from the light surrounding him. The pain reminded him of the shock pikes that slave traders and their guards used or an electric stun grenade.

    After a few seconds, after he had managed to push back the pain just enough to clear his thoughts a bit, he opened his eyes and observed his surroundings. He was held in a standing position by a force field in a room made out of bleak metal. A pair of energy handcuffs regularly send out a pulse of new shocks through his body, keeping him from concentrating enough to access the force.

    Nobody else was here and being cut off even from the force made Gaven feel helpless and alone. His mouth was dry and he couldn´t move a muscle. He could do nothing but stare at the bleak metal wall in front of him.

    Again he tried to concentrate, tried to reach the force, but another pulse send burning pain through his body, disrupting his thoughts.

    Then after several minutes the door to his right opened and someone entered. In the first moment he didn´t recognize his visitor, but when she stepped closer and looked up to him his blood froze.

    Wearing her grey uniform and a blaster at her hip, the former head of state inspected her captive with her cold green eyes. Her hair had become greyer since Gaven had last seen her, but Admiral Daala was still filled with strength and determination.

    "Gaven Seral," she said, slowly leaving no doubt she knew who he was. "We have a lot to talk about."
     
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  23. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Gaven is in deep trouble! You just know Daala is up to no good. I love how Jaina, in the flashback, has such faith in Gaven. It's a long road back to redemption for Jacen, isn't it?
     
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  24. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    I really like the flashback...gives a bit more backstory for Jaina. Diva's right, though....Gaven is up to his neck now!
     
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  25. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Yeah Jacen´s path back to the light isn´t an easy one. I think Jaina knew from the beginning that he would need someone like Gaven at his side for it, so she choose him to acompany Jacen on his first mission. Thanks for your comment.

    Thanks I´m glad you like the flashback. Yeah Gaven is defenetly in a lot of trouble right now.



    Ten

    "I must apologize for this. But we found you and your companions in a restricted military area of this world, so we had to be careful."

    Her voice was soft, friendly bearing nothing of the anger Gaven had seen during the siege of the temple.

    Unsure and fearful at the same time on how much Daala knew, Gaven decided to go along for now.

    "It wasn´t our intention to trespass in this area," he replied, trying not look Daala in the eye and instead staring at her immaculate admiral uniform. "But our escape pod crashed near the city and we hoped we would find something there that could allow us to communicate with our people so that they could pick us up."

    He tried his best to keep his voice calm while in his head the thoughts chased each other.

    When this planet was under Daala´s control, were the ships that had attacked them earlier part of her fleet as well? Was she responsible for what had happened in the destroyed town? Had she figured out who Jacen and Nev were?

    The last thought in particular made Gaven shiver and he prayed to the force that Daala had no idea with whom he was traveling.

    The admiral raised an eyebrow. "And why was it that you had to use an escape pod? In this part of the galaxy? We are outside of galactic alliance territory."

    Gaven´s thoughts raced through his mind as he tried to find an explanation that hopefully wouldn´t cause any suspicion.

    "We´ve received rumors that the rest of the Sith forces might be hiding in these sectors so we wanted to check on that. But we were ambushed shortly after our jump and we`d been drifting through space a couple of days before crashing on this world."

    Again Gaven asked himself if it had been Daala´s ships who had set up the ambush. Master Ramis had spoken of imperial ships, the boarding crew had consisted of stormtroopers, and this strategy- shooting without any warning- had Daala´s handwriting on it.

    For a moment the admiral said nothing. Then she continued, "Then it might be upon me to apologize for the actions of my soldiers when they found you in the city. When your presence here is truly just a coincidence I´m sure we can have you released soon."

    It can´t be this easy. Gaven knew, Daala´s voice was friendly and even her eyes tried to support the lie but he felt that there was more to her words and he had to be careful. Something was wrong here, Daala hated the Jedi and Gaven saw no reason why she would have come to interrogate him herself if not to find out more about their mission.

    Again there was silence between them for a while, then Daala stepped even closer and said, "You have been a friend of acting Grandmaster Kenth Hamner and supported him when he tried to deescalate the situation at the temple."

    Gaven was surprised that Daala remembered him. He had once accompanied Kenth when the acting grandmaster had met with the chief of state, but he hadn´t said a word through the entire meeting.

    "I think you are different from the other Jedi, Gaven. You have a sense of justice, you believe in what is right and refuse to partake in your council´s power-hungry schemes." She made another pause. "I think you are a good man, Gaven Seral, which makes it so hard to believe we found you in company with one of the cruelest Sith Lords this galaxy has ever seen, Darth Caedus."

    Gaven felt how his blood froze and for a moment it became black before his eyes. Daala knew who Jacen was. She knew everything.

    "We don´t have to be enemies," Daala continued. "If you tell me the truth about this, I will let you go."

    So that´s what she wants. Gaven tried to find a clear thought, his mind was searching for an idea, an excuse, so he could tell the former chief of state that she was mistaken, that what she believed was a lie. He felt sweat on his forehead as his heart began to race quicker and quicker with Daala´s words.

    "Jacen Solo is dead. He died five years ago," he said, trying to keep his voice as calm as possible.

    In the next moment another pulse hit his body, harder than any before. Requiring his entire strength of will not to scream.

    "Don´t lie to me," Daala commanded, sending another pulse into his body. All warmth had left her voice and now it was cold as the void.

    "You are mistaken," Gaven said his body still feeling the impact of the pulse. "Jacen is dead."

    The next pulse hit him.

    "I notice you call him Jacen, not Caedus." Daala said coldly. "It seems you care for him or why would you call an allegedly dead Sith by his birth name."

    For a moment Gaven closed his eyes, scolding himself for his mistake. When he opened them again he saw a triumphant grin on Daala´s face.

    "Tell me, was he ever a true Sith Lord? Or have you Jedi staged the second galactic civil war?"

    She is insane. Gaven realized, shivering. He had heard of Daala´s paranoia regarding force users before but he hadn´t thought how far it went. Twisting his hands in the cuffs he tried force them out of the binder but it was hopeless.

    Daala leaned herself towards him forcing Gaven to look directly into her cold green eyes. "What was the goal? To kill Grand Admiral Paelleon and replace him with your grandmasters son in law?"

    Even cut off from the force Gaven felt the hatred in Daala´s words, the hate she felt against him and every other Jedi.

    "And now you are here to kill me?" She laughed abruptly, which made Gaven shiver. "So you can bring the empire completely under your control?"

    "Do you even listen to yourself?" Gaven said as anger awoke within him. "Our presence here is a coincidence. We..."

    The hardest pulse so far hit him and this time it didn´t stop.

    Gaven felt the electricity pulse through his entire body as each of muscles burned and the pain threatened to overwhelm him. He had experienced much physical pain in his life before but this was more than anything he had experienced so far. He remembered the time when he had fought against the pirates and why he had been more afraid to be captured alive than to die in battle.

    When the pain finally began to float away Gaven was gasping. Clenching his fists as he yet again tried to break free from his binders.

    "Why are you here?" Daala demanded to know again.

    "We crashed with our escape pod," Gaven said again, weakly, knowing how pointless his attempts were.

    No matter what he said, Daala wouldn´t believe him.

    The next pulse shook him even harder than the one before but this time he was prepared, trying to shield himself against the pain. No matter what Daala would do to him he knew he couldn´t give anything more away, he had to protect his friends.

    "Who is the woman? Why is this mercenary traveling with you?"

    Daala´s next question reached him. She was shouting but to Gaven it felt as if she was talking to him from a distance.

    But there was something in Daala´s words that gave him hope. If they were underestimating Nev then, maybe, his friend would have a chance to escape, to free Jacen and get out of here.

    From then on Gaven kept silent but as pulse after pulse hit his body he began to scream.
     
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