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Thread: Aftereffects

  1. #1
    Gen-Yil Kehandu



    The tulim stalk was sliced cleanly, falling into an outstretched hand. It was neatly placed onto a pile with others of it's kind, waiting to be bundled and placed on the transport wagon.


    Another stalk cut, this one particularly large. Well-matured, sure to be of good flavor.


    It was a process that he had repeated thousands of time. Slice the stalk low with the hand scythe, and let it gently fall into his other hand, ready for the stacks. Simple to learn, yet difficult to master. A good cut, after all, could make the difference in keeping a contract for the following season with the processing facility.

    At least that is what Den had always told him.

    It was late summer on Dantooine, and harvest was in full stride. The tulim had to be cleared from the fields, and the winter gentir root had to be planted before the weather cooled. Like countless around the planet, and nearly a hundred workers on the Manheim family farm, Fig spent his days sweating in the oft blistering sun, making sure the harvest stayed on schedule. The hours were long, beginning before dawn and ending at sunset, but the pay was reasonable... at least for a hired hand. It served his needs, and Den had always treated him well. It was hard work, cultivating the earth to feed multiple worlds across the region, that was often underappreciated. In that respect, it was not dissimilar from Fig's former career.

    Fig brushed the sweat from his brow, his gloved hand leaving traces of tulim seed on his forehead. The early afternoon sun was beginning to take it's toll on everyone, including the middle-aged man, but it mattered not. There was work yet to be done, and work on they did.

    Upon completing his latest bundle, Fig reached for his canteen. He always kept it clipped to his belt, and always filled it when he had an opportunity. Staying hydrated during harvest was a constant battle, like trying to fill a sink when someone has removed the drain plug. He took a long swig of water, finishing off what was left in the insulated container.

    "Hey, Den," Fig called across the other side of the transport wagon, "I'm gonna take five to go fill up with water."

    Den, an older man, in his early 70s but still as vital as a man half his age, peaked up over the ever growing stalk bundles. A kind man, but always serious about harvest, he simply nodded and went back to work. Den, depite being patriarch of the Manhiem family and owner of one of the largest farms in the district, never let his men do all the work alone. He always pitched in, even at the protests of his wife saying he needed to slow down.

    Fig walked towards the nearby irrigation tower, stepping to the side where a small spigget was attached. Dantooine water was perhaps the cleanest in the galaxy. The wells ran deep into enourmous underground watertables. It was one the of simplest pleasures that Fig had come to appreciate in his time on the planet. Twisting the knob, crystal clear liquid flowed into the farm hand's canteen.

    It was then that the aftereffect him hit.

    Like being hit by cheap shot to the gut, Fig staggered, grabbing the irrigation tower for support. But there wasn't physical pain... it was more like nausea and veritgo, overwhelming him for a few moments. Ghostly images flashed into his mind. Fleets of ships, a planet nearby, and... darkness. But not darkness spreading, darkness being overwhelmed by light. A violent explosion. Then, nothing.

    "Hey man, are you alright?"

    It was Niko, a younger hired hand, who had wandered over, probably to get water himself. Fig was shaken back to reality

    "I, uh..." Fig started, unsure what to say. He didn't even know what had happened, muchless how to formulate a response. Water was running on the ground, of which Fig finally became aware, and quickly turned off the flow.

    "I'm okay," he said at last. "It's... just exhaustion. I'll be fine."

    "Are you sure?," Niko pressed. "You don't look so good. My ma came down with this bug about a week ago, made her all flush in th' face, then she got this rash that..."

    "I'm fine, Niko," Fig said more forcefully. The younger man got the message.

    "Do you want me to go get Mr. Manheim?", he asked timidly.

    "No, I'll shake it off. I just need a few minutes alone."

    Niko shuffled away and back to work. Fig rested his hands on his hips, and looked up at the sun-lite sky. This wasn't normal. He had felt things before, but nothing like this. The last time he could remember feeling anything near this strong was... the Temple.

    Over 20 years had passed. Fig never wanted to feel anything like that ever again. Once in a lifetime to suffer that kind of pain was enough. Yet, this didn't have the lingering pain that stuck with him from that sad day. This had an something with it, something muted yet profound.


    He needed answers. But he had to gather himself first. The harvest, though important, would have to wait.

    Fig approached Den Manheim slowly.


    Den stood up, brushing off his pant legs.

    "Yeah, Fig, what's up?," the old man replied plainly.

    "Den, I hate to do this, but need to ask for the rest of the day off. I think I had an episode of heat exhaustion back there, and in this heat, I'm not sure it's wise to risk anything worse."

    Den looked at Fig curiously for a moment, but then brushed it off. "Well, it's harvest, but your health is more important. You've been good worker for us, and I'd hate to lose you for more than just a half a day."

    Den finally cracked a smile.

    "Don't worry, we'll get along with out you for a few hours. Tomorrow's your normal off-day for the week, isn't it?, "

    "Yes, but if you want me to work, I can take my off-day later on."

    "Nah, that's alright. I'd rather that you come back healthy and rested. We'll see you in a couple days."

    Fig smiled in kind. "Thanks, Den. I owe you one."

    A few moments later, Fig was on his way home, his small speeder moving along the ground at a modest clip. He needed to meditate, to clear his mind. Only then would there be a chance to find the truth.

  2. #2
    Lianna Mal Pannis
    For one such as Lianna, she often relied on the kindness of strangers when traveling throughout the Outer Rim. With little money to her name, she was hard pressed to pay for fare and had very little skills to barter for a seat. Not many needed her above average slicing skills and obviously they did not need a pilot. Quickly she learned that most freighter pilots would kill for a decent meal. She on the other hand could provide a great one.

    Cooking was merely used for a means to survival as far back as she could remember. Learning of spices and vegetables to make the food more palatable was merely a luxury, and it was a luxury that few could afford out in the Rim. Unfortunately, it wasn't a sure bet to getting passage but at least it was through legitimate means. Otherwise, she often received free passage from generous Captains who were willing to take on an extra passenger to wherever they were heading.

    As it was in this case. Lianna was working out her next move while stranded on Ithor. No one seemed cooperative in helping her to find passage off the planet until she got wind of a freighter making a run to the Dantooine system. Her heart skipped a beat at that moment for finally, things had come full circle.

    Two Years Prior

    Two pairs of heavy footfalls rattled the hallway deck of the Koriolos, a medium freighter owned by Jaxxon Creel. Affectionately referred to as Jax by Lianna, the older smuggler became somewhat of a father figure to the young women. "We're heading to Dantooine to pick up a shipment of tulim and drop it off to one of the Bakuran settlements that got hit by that damn brush fire."

    "Hopefully it won't take too long to deliver it," Lianna mused before laughter filtered down the hallway. Jax looked at his crew oddly when the two of them entered the mess hall. A Duros and a middle-aged human male, M'lne and Gad respectively, were finding something amusing over the evening meal.

    "What's with all the frelling racket?" Jax's voice drowned out the rowdy laughing.

    M'lne waved his fork around while speaking and Gad was all too happy to fill in the boss. "We heard ya talking to Lianna about our noble crusade!" The point was accentuated with a fist to the counter, rattling the dinner trays and snickering his next comment. "Couldn't help but be thankful for that."

    "I don't see the humor in all this," Lianna remarked.

    "You're too young to get it, not too mention still green in the business." Gad smacked his lips and went back to half eating, half talking. His words were mumbled together, "Ain't that right, Creel?"

    Lianna looked expectantly at her Captain who had a smug smile on his face. "Legend has it that there is a man who protects Dantooine fiercely from those wishing to exploit its resources. Some say he's a crazy hermit, others say he's a Rebel Sympathizer ...."

    Gad interrupted and stood up in his seat, making strange arm movements as if he was in sword fight with his knife, "Or he's some Jedi Sorcerer that can kill you just by thinking of it!"

    "Get down before you kill yourself." Jax scolded, shaking his head as Gad sat down. "It's just rumor and hearsay. No one really knows how it got started, just that it's a fun story to tell. No one takes it seriously, unless you ask a native of Dantooine."

    That harmless tale stayed with Lianna all these years. Unfortunately because of the situation, she was not able to prove if this rumor held merit and always wished she could go back and learn the truth.

    Now as she departed the gangway off the ship with the harsh Dantooine sun beating down against her skin, Lianna Mal Pannis, Jedi Knight, finally had her chance and hoped that the old smuggler story held some truth to it, instead of the numerous leads that had turned up empty as she searched for other Jedi.

  3. #3
    Gen-Yil Kehandu
    Home for Fig was simple. He lived in a small home constructed in the rolling hills of the district, several miles away from the farm where he worked, and further yet from the nearest major settlement. He had no neighbors to speak of, unless one counted the hawks that made a nest in the large tree on the edge of his garden. When not working on the Manheim farm, Fig spent his time tending that very garden, reading, meditating, and helping the occasional lost person who happened to wander up the path.

    For the remainder of the evening, meditation took precedence. He sat on a small mat on the floor of his living room, legs crossed and eyes closed. He was in a completely relaxed state, muscles free of tension and mind on the edge of conciousness, giving himself to the greater fabric of the universe. He was ready for answers. He was ready for the truth.

    But it would not reveal itself. Patience was a virtue that he believed in completely, but that did not always prevent frustration when the answers seemed so close, yet beyond his grasp.

    Fig opened his eyes. He would simply have to try again later. For now, he needed to sleep. It was well past sunset, which in summer meant the hour was late. He felt more drained than usual, still shaking the feelings of nausea from the incident earlier in the day. After showering, he climbed into bed for what he hoped was an uninterrupted sleep.


    Sabers clashed, green against red, a younger man aggresively attacking the hulking figure in obsidian black. There was a gleam of anger about the younger man, fueling his actions. The darker figure, though seemingly more skilled, was being pushed and seemed to weaken with each clash. At last, the younger man forced the armored figure to his knees, and began to bash away at the red lightsaber with his brillant green one. The dark one's hand finally gave in, and was severed from his arm along with the sabre he held. The younger man stood over him, anger still overwhelming him.

    Laugher... evil laughter.

    "Gooooood," came the voice of a cloaked man, approaching pair of combatants. "Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny, and take your father's place at my side!"

    The young man looked to his defeated foe, then, standing up fully, looked to the cloaked one, casting aside his lightsaber.

    "Never. I'll never turn to the Dark Side. You have failed, Your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me."

    The smile of the elder cloaked man turned to a frown, hiding built up rage and disdain.

    "So be it.... Jedi."

    The cloaked man continued toward the young Jedi.

    "If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed!"

    Powerful lighting shot out from the cloaked man's fingertips, knocking the younger man to the floor, causing him to writhe in pain.

    "Young fool," the cloaked one continued. "Only now, at the end, do you understand."

    The lightning became more powerful, nearly pushing the young Jedi into a deep chasm.

    Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side! You have paid the price for you lack of vision!"

    The bolts continued to fly, as the young man calls out in pain.

    "Father, please! Help me!"

    The lightning attack halted, the cloaked man gloating over his latest victim.

    "Now, young Skywalker... you will die."

    The lightning again flew at the young man, more powerful and more intense than before. The dark warrior, at his feet, looked back and forth between the young man... his son, and the cloaked man, his master.

    In a bold move, the weakened obsidian warrior grabbed the cloaked man, hefting him high overhead. The dark side lightning arced throughout the room, hitting the dark one himself before he at last flung his master over the edge of the deep chasm. The cloaked one's body fell, finally exploding in a huge rush of raw Dark Side energy. There was a brilliant flash...


    Fig awoke with a jolt, sitting up in bed. He was sweating, and breathin heavily. It had been so real, as if he was there, observing it all. The faces in the dream were blurry, the voices distorted, but it seemed too real to be mearly a concoction of his mind. This had happened, he told himself. Or was yet to happen, he did not know. It was a vision, one that he could not ignore.

    Sitting up, Fig rubbed his face. It was no longer only meditation that would give him an answer. He needed to reconnect with his past... something he had wished he would never have to do.

    He couldn't sleep anymore. He needed to get out, go for a walk, or a speeder ride, anything to refresh himself. He had changed and was out the door in a matter of minutes, the moonlight his only companion.

  4. #4
    Lianna Mal Pannis
    Lianna blended in well, her attire hadn't changed much since living on Dinati V. Comfortable in light colored clothing and sturdy boots made for plowing, she looked much like a poor farmer. Several patches that were slightly off hue were sown into her pants from wear and tear since new clothing was difficult to obtain. Stealing was out of the question, so the young Jedi would constantly mend her belongings to make them last as long as they could. Her cloak was the most recent addition to her wardrobe, but that was over a year ago.

    Most of the day was spent getting a feel for the locals that happened to be here in the spaceport, which were few. The rest were just freighter pilots and smugglers dropping and picking up cargo, who had little time for her. Schedules and all.

    Towards the end of day, she was able to afford a small cup of spiced tea and a few kanali wafers to freshen her body. Her exertion was limited, but having the rays of a hot Dantooine sun beating down upon you was draining and nutrients needed to be replenished. Which reminded her. The canteen clipped to her belt was running low.

    "Oh for the love of ...!"

    Lianna curiously turned to see who the elderly voice belonged too and found a woman, appearing to be in her sixties, hunched over the ground. Her white hair had fallen all out of place and became stuck to her perspiring face. Circling around to get a better view of this, Lianna became troubled as she watched the older woman pick up a bundle of tulim stalks that seemed to have come undone. In fact, there was a trail of stalks bundled and not, leading to flat bed attached to a speeder.

    "Here," Lianna knelt down and helped to gather the stalks, "let me help you with that."

    "Oh!!" The woman was startled. Her worry had focused her attentions and missed seeing Lianna approach. "Thank you, deary. You're too kind."

    "It's no bother at all, Ma'am." Concerned lined the young Jedi's eyes. Today was exceptionally hot. The elder hid it well, but Lianna could tell from her eyes she was exhausted. Where were her husband or children to help her?

    "Ma'am?!" The old woman chuckled. "Please! Around here everyone calls me Old Gilaen, Gilly for short. None of this Ma'am nonsense, ya hear?"

    She liked this woman already. "I hear you. Gilly." That brought a pleased smile to Gilly's face and the two of them stood up, arms full of crop. "I am Lianna. A pleasure to meet you."

    "Pleasure's all mine. Crazy hot rodding kids were racing around with the speeders again," she explained. "One of them nearly tipped my own speeder over. My reflexes ain't what they used to be, but I managed to keep me upright." She dumped the crops onto the flat bed and went to refasten the belts to secure the load.

    Lianna interjected politely. Gilly nodded her thanks and wiped the beads of sweat off her forehead. "Thank you again, Lianna." Old Gilaen smiled and watched her work, clicking her tongue and appraised her little helper with grandmotherly affection. "Lianna. That's a very pretty name for a very pretty girl that's out in the middle of nowhere."

    She grunted, pulling the belt as tightly as was possible before latching it into place. "Are you implying something?" Lianna teased.

    Gilly merely smiled. Of course she was and it was time to change the subject.

    "Are you here to meet up with one of the freighter pilots? I'd be happy to escort you."

    Gilly dismissed the notion, "I've taken up enough of your time."

    "It's really no bother," Lianna insisted. "I've no place to go for the time being since there are no transports leaving today." She sighed, "And what passes for a motel here is a bit out of my means. So, I'm stuck here for awhile."

    "Nonsense!" Gilly tugged at Lianna's robed sleeve and dragged her to the speeder. "You're coming with me. Supplies are in the back to make a decent camp."

    There was little protest as she slid into the passenger seat next to Gilly. It was what Lianna wanted. She was very concerned about an old woman making a camp within the borders of a starport that saw all walks of life daily. That troublesome thought was kept to herself, however, not wishing to step on the poor woman's pride.


    "All strapped in?" Gilly asked, adjusting the goggles over her eyes that once hung around her neck. Lianna was going to say yes, but Gilly tore off in a hurry that she was pressed far back into the seat, hanging for dear life, leaving her with the question of who really caused the accident.

    ... old woman still had a lot of spunk in her yet.

  5. #5
    Gen-Yil Kehandu
    Spaceports. He generally disliked them. Too much uncertainty, too much potential for trouble. Fig knew this all too well, and tried to avoid them on principle.

    Yet, here he was, after an aimless speeder ride, near the outskirts of one of the largest (and one of the few) major ports on the planet. And although reason would tell him to simply turn around and return home to struggle through a few hours of rest, he was compelled to venture into the city.

    Nothing made sense. In the last 12 hours, his life as he had built it has been turned on it's head. His past was clawing back, coming to life again itself, and for all his supposed wisdom and insight, Fig didn't know what he should do about it. The events of the day rolled about in his mind, generating more questions than answers. What was happening out there, amongst the stars, that could affect him so much? And how broad was it's scope? There was simply no telling, unless he chose to find out for himself. He had to trust that he was being guided as he once was, which he found was not as easy as he remembered it to be.

    Fig's speeder slowed as he merged into a higher traffic street. Although it was early in the morning, there were still people about, holdovers from the previous nightlife. It was not nearly as busy as he remembered Coruscant being, but it was still more activity than he had been used to seeing in many years.

    He pulled up to what appeared to be a modest-sized tavern that appeared to still have activity. Perhaps he could listen to converations and subtly ask a few questions to find out what had been going on in the galaxy recently. As he was about to leave his speeder, he glanced down at the decorative cyllindrical weapon, sitting on the passenger seat, that he had grabbed on the way out of his house. Another impulse that he could not explain. He hadn't used it for years... at least not in public. He rarely took it anywhere. Tonight was different though, and the same hand that guided him also told him that he just might need it this time. He resisted at first, wanting to leave it hidden in the speeder, but gave in, and clipped it neatly to his belt, masked behind the folds of his oversized tunic.

    The tavern itself was a dive, but that didn't matter. The patrons were an odd combination of obvious locals and ship's crews on layovers. Fig hoped he wouldn't stick out too much. If he managed to stay low-key, it would be a perfect location to quietly gather some information. He moved to the bar, and ordered a Corellian ale. It was time to have a seat, wait, and listen.

  6. #6
    Lianna Mal Pannis
    Much convincing had to be done with Gilly, but Lianna finally got through to the stubborn, and deeply eccentric, woman that sleeping outside the spaceport was a bad idea, no matter how good of a camp the old woman could put together. Gilaen insisted that she had done so on numerous occasions, but Lianna had her doubts. Pooling their resources together, they shared a room for the night at the local motel.

    Now they were sharing an early breakfast inside the nearest tavern. Gilly wanted to repay Lianna for helping to load her harvest into her buyer's ship. The young Jedi thought paying for the room was more then enough compensation. Gilly, again, was too stubborn to take no for an answer and Lianna was easily swayed. Her stomach too. She couldn't remember the last time she had a decent meal.

    It was still early enough that the place wasn't too crowded but it was starting to fill up as it got later. Mostly the patrons were heading towards the bar. Lianna shook her head. She never did understand why so many smugglers drank this early in the day.

    "So, where ya from Lianna?" Gilly's voiced was somewhat garbled by the scrambled voritor eggs still in her mouth and looked at the girl expectantly. "Hardly had a chance to talk with ya last night."

    The instant that they had settled into their room, Gilly fell asleep once her head hit the pillow. Her friend sound asleep, Lianna was able to complete her evening meditations in peace. "Well, you were tuckered out. Fell asleep like a baby," she teased, taking a swig of bantha milk and played with her own eggs, wondering how to answer that question. It wasn't an easy one.

    "Oh deary. Don't haveta answer. Old Gilly's being nosey." The old women winked, making Lianna smile.

    "It's not that." She sighed, "I really don't know where I'm from to be honest. Been in and out of so many foster homes, I've lost track." It was true, from a certain point of view. There were many kind beings in the Outer Rim that took her, and her Trianii foster father, Kizael into their homes.

    "Shame that is." Gilly nodded, focusing on a biscuit she was buttering. "What brought you here then? Not a hospitable world this is."

    She smiled in agreement, "I've been here before. Two years ago actually. I heard an old smuggling story in my travels ..."

    Gilly eyed Lianna with suspicion, "You're not a smuggler are ya?" A moment. "Ya can't be. You're too nice."

    Lianna chuckled, "Not all smugglers are bad. And I'm not a smuggler. Well, not anymore."

    "Good. I deal with them as little as possible." She explained. "So, out with this story."

    "There was nothing to it really. Just there was mention of a man that protects this planet valiantly from any and all beings that wish to take over Dantooine's resources. He doesn't like smugglers I hear," she added.

    Gilly laughed.

    "The people I used to run with said he was some sort of hermit or sorcerer. Maybe even a Jedi because I found one version of the story saying he even wielded a laser sword." Lianna cut into her steak and noticed Gilly went quiet. Strange. "Odd story, isn't it?"

    "GRANDMA!!! There you are!!!"

    A young male voice interrupted the conversation. The whole tavern stopped to look at the man and then to where he was looking. Gilly and Lianna's table.

    Gilly was rolling her eyes and although Lianna looked perfectly calm on the outside, she did not appreciate all the sets of eyes directed at her.

    "My grandson, Darren." The introduction was less then enthusiastic.

    Darren was lanky and of average height. His sandy blonde hair was disheveled. He wore similar clothing as Gilly's and stormed right up to their table. "How many times... How many times do I have to tell you to wait for me?!"

    Now it was certain all eyes were upon them as the argument began in earnest. Lianna wasn't going to interject unless forced into it. It was not her place and already had sensed for Darren's intentions. He was honestly worried about his grandmother's safety and was relieved to have found her unharmed.

    She focused on finishing her breakfast.

  7. #7
    Gen-Yil Kehandu
    "GRANDMA!!! There you are!!!"

    Fig glanced over his shoulder to see a young man, perhaps not even yet 20 years old, standing at the entrance of the tavern. He was clearly aggitated, but also relieved. He strode over to a table, at which was seated two women, one clearly old enough to be the grandmother he was looking for, and another who was much younger, perhaps about as old as the young man. It was enough of a scene that the few morning patrons had all turned their attention to the now group of three for a few moments.

    It was, ironically, the only event of significance to hit the tavern since Fig had arrived well before sunrise. He had nursed a couple of drinks as people came and went, getting their last fill before the new day would begin, and had eventually himself put in an order for breakfast, which had yet to arrive. His efforts had yet to pay off, though he remained patient.

    Fig carefully took a second glance at the table of three. The older woman and the young man were arguing with one another, but in much quieter voices now. The young woman continued to eat her breakfast, attempting to shy away from the argument between the other two.

    She was quite striking, the younger woman. Naturally beautiful, yet the way she behaved indicated knowledge and experience beyond her years. She wasn't from the star system, and certainly not from Dantooine. It was difficult to not take notice of her, for that reason alone, much less her physical apperance.

    But, there was something else, something much more subtle that seemed to surround her. Not many would have the ability to see it, but Fig could tell. Even after 20 years, he was still attuned to such things. She was gifted, and perhaps even trained in her gifts... the first person of such potential that he had encountered in nearly a decade. He had to know more...

    "Hey, Treg, turn the holonews channel on. I want to see what they're saying about the Emperor."

    It was a gruff voice, from a patron who had entered just moments before. He was addressing the barkeep, who clearly knew the man well.

    "It's just rumors, Durg. They don't even know what really happened yet," the barkeep responded.

    "That ain't what I heard. I heard earlier that his advisors have taken control, an' are tryin' to hold everything together."

    "You're full of it, Durg, but I'll make ya' happy. Here..."

    The barkeep switched on the holomonitor just off of the main bar. The figure of a newscaster shimmered into view.

    "... significant damage done to the Imperial fleet. A count of the number of ships lost has yet to be released. Unconfirmed reports state that the rebels suffered major losses as well in the attack, but were able to disable the new Imperial space station. We are waiting to hear from representatives of the Imperial Advisory council before we report more details. Recaping our top story, a sneak attack on an Imperial space station by rebel insurgents has disable the station and destoyed a number of Imperial ships. But more importantly, rumors are leaking out from various sources that the Emperor, who was touring the station at the time, was killed in the attack. The Imperial Cabinet has yet to respond to this claim, but we will keep our viewers apprised as this story develops..."

    Fig's jaw nearly hit the floor. Was it possible? Could it be that Palpatine was dead? Could the Rebellion have succeeded in striking at the very heart of the Galactic Empire? If this was true...

    Explanations began to fall into place. Things were suddenly beginning to make sense. His nightmare... had he seen the final moments of the Dark Lord of the Sith?

    Fig stared at the hologram, lost in his own mind. He became so focused inward, he didn't even feel the passive masking of his own aura weaken.

  8. #8
    Lianna Mal Pannis
    Darren and Old Gilly were quietly continuing their disagreement now. Her grandson was still too sick with concern to notice, but Lianna was beginning to wonder if Gilly kept her out of the argument on purpose. She hated prying on their personal affairs, but it was impossible to not listen in on the conversation, though they were speaking in hushed tones now.

    Her heart went out to both of them once the situation became clearer.

    Obran, Gilaen's son and father to Darren, was killed two seasons ago by a sudden heart attack. There just wasn't enough time to get him to a medical facility equipped enough to handle how badly his heart was damaged. Since then, the two of them have had difficulty holding the farm together. Lianna deduced that poor Gilly took it exceptionally hard and had yet to accept her son's death. Granted, she was probably eccentric to begin with but loosing her son caused her mind to weaken. Darren had to repeat several times what day it was.

    Her thoughts were then interrupted by a sense of someone watching her. She lifted her head, seemingly fed up with the ongoing conversation next to her. Slowly she scanned the room for any threat or curious minds but instead became compelled to watch the holomonitor with ears affixed to a specific sentence the newscaster had spoken.

    But more importantly, rumors are leaking out from various sources that the Emperor, who was touring the station at the time, was killed in the attack.

    The Emperor dead? If this were true, the hopes of having the Jedi visible once more were coming closer to fruition. As a child, Lianna often wondered what it would be like out of exile. To end the lies that were necessary for survival and have the people of the galaxy look upon the Jedi as the protectors of peace they once stood for instead of with fear, wondering if the Jedi would take control as the Emperor claimed.

    "Lianna? ... LIANNA?!"

    Gilly's high-pitched voice made her wince. "I'm sorry. I was engrossed with the news."

    "Eh?" Darren shrugged, "Well, I won't believe anything until something official is said. Ya never know with those Imps." He helped his grandmother up to her feet and gave Lianna an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry I've been ignoring you. Just," he sighed, "ya know."

    She was not offended but Gilly took offense for her. "Ya see! Acting like that ... never gonna find a nice woman because you're gonna scare her off with all the yelling you do!"

    Lianna giggled and smiled at Darren in sympathy, noticing that Gilly was beginning to get a mischievous look in her eye. "Now, don't you start getting any ideas. I don't plan on settling down anytime soon." She held out her hands in defense, "Sorry Darren."

    He laughed, "None taken, but I do thank you for helping Grandma out. Here," he began to fish into his money pouch.

    "No, I can't. I'll be fine," Lianna insisted, knowing he needed the money more then she. "All that matters is the two of you were reunited..." Gilly rolled her eyes. "... and it was more me being taken care of anyway, not the other way around. I would've been lost otherwise."

    Gilly was obviously touched by that and had to make sure her watering eyes didn't shed any tears. She vowed it was the heat making her perspire.

    "C'mon." Darren helped Gilly to her feet. "It's gonna take two days at it is to get home. If we leave now, we can make it to the outpost before nightfall."

    Lianna stood up to give the woman a farewell hug and watched the two of them leave. She was still smiling as she sat back down but it faded once Gilly and Darren were out the door. During the small exchange the three of them shared, Lianna had felt a small flicker of the Force radiating within the tavern. It wasn't strong enough to pinpoint the exact presence it belonged to but someone here was definitely attuned to its power.

    She ordered another glass of milk and reached out with her mind in an attempt to locate the source.

  9. #9
    Gen-Yil Kehandu
    Fig shook off the momentary haze of disbelief, regaining control of his emotions. A few people were still watching the hologram, now commenting in hushed voices amongst themselves. Some seemed not convinced that it was accurate, while others were having trouble containing their jubilation at the thought of Palpatine's demise. It was a commentary on the varying galactic opinion of the Emperor. On the Outer Rim, the hatred of the man ran deep. To support his military machine, the Emperor would have the Imperial Navy subjegate entire worlds to produce food, raw materials, construct equipement, and provide whatever it's vast forces might require. Planetary governors were given complete unchecked authority over entire populations, ruling by marshall law. Those who spoke out against the Empire simple disappeared. Those even percieved as a threat, perhaps for knowing too much, would often suffer similar fates. Dantooine had been spared thus far, likely because it was too well known as an agricultural world and supplier to the Core systems. The Emperor, for all his aspirations of total power, aways had operated with tact and sublty.

    Fig recalled something one of his former mentors had told him. "Always in motion, the future is." It was meant to imply the uncertainty of what is to come, despite any knowledge one may have. This was all too true now. The future was clouded. His life, which yesterday had been so simple, had been twisted and reshaped in a matter of hours. Worse, however, was that he wasn't sure he wanted anything to change.

    And there was also the young woman. Her presence could not simply be coincidence. She was alone now, the young man and his grandmother having exited the establishment. She was intently scanning the room, as if looking for someone. Fig looked away, trying to avoid eye contact, but still keep his peripheral vision acute to her actions.

    Her eyes stopped... and they were focused on him.

    Did she know? Did she sense something?

    In a moment that seemed like an eternity, Fig did his best to feign ignorance, and simply finished his beverage. The woman eventually contined to look around the bar.

    Fig paid for his breakfast, got up, and moved toward the door. He wasn't going to allow any contact with the woman to occur in such a place. It was going to be on his terms, and at a time of his choosing. It now a matter of her taking the bait and following him

  10. #10
    Lianna Mal Pannis
    There was a brief, tangible connection to the Force when she laid eyes upon the middle-aged man at the bar. Lianna tried not to be obvious in her observations and finished rounding the bar, pretending to scout for someone else. Unfortunately, she wasn't sure if he spotted her or not. He masked himself well and it was difficult to gauge his feelings towards her because of it.

    His chair squeaked against the floor, calling Lianna's attention. She didn't believe in coincidence. He must know of her presence and that Lianna was conscious of who he really is.

    Gilly had paid for breakfast but the extra milk was something Lianna still had to pay for, but could afford. She rose from her table after he left the tavern and paid what was owed to the bartender directly.

    Moments later, Lianna was out in the streets of the spaceport. There were murmurs of debate, wondering if it was true the Emperor was dead or not, but mostly it was just ordinary folk dropping off their harvest or heading to their ships. It wasn't too crowded that Lianna had to stick uncomfortably close to quarry, just a safe distance to not be too obvious and using her surroundings to hide herself physically. Her walk was a casual stride and she stopped occasionally to ask for possible pilots looking to take on a passenger off Dantooine ... Waiting for the Force to nudge her into approaching the gentleman at the proper time.


    Lianna turned her head in the direction of the commotion. She did not see the woman that cried out but knew who that voice belonged to. It was Gilly's and Lianna felt the hairs on the back of her neck beginning to stand on edge. Her friends were in danger.

    "Pardon me." The pilot that Lianna was talking to merely shrugged and went about his business while she pushed her way through the crowd, trying to find out where Gilly and Darren were. She was on one of the main streets currently, more then likely they would be off on a side street away from prying eyes. She focused on the sounds around her, stretching her feelings outwards.

    On the surface, she noticed that most beings in the area wanted to be left alone and wanted nothing to do with what was happening. Going deeper, she felt a sense of superiority and of fear from two different sources.


    A body had hit the ground hard, followed by a man grunting. "I said I was sorry. I'll pay Sirra back *cough cough*. I ...I just don't have it now. I need more time."

    "Guess what? Time expired a looooong time ago." Lianna heard the thump louder this time, but it was really Darren's yelling and Gilly's pleading that led the young Jedi to their exact location. "Consider this a down payment on a whole mess of suffering boy."

    She snuck up the side of a building and glanced around the corner to observe the situation. By the looks of his armor, a Bounty Hunter was roughing up Darren, who was lying prone on the ground and clutching his chest. Gilly was kneeling next to him and informing the Bounty Hunter what else he could do with that blaster rifle he had slung over his shoulder and where to put it. Two other men were flanking the Bounty Hunter on either side, watching both ends of the alley. Lianna ducked back behind the corner and weighed options.

    The Bounty Hunter wasn't a serious threat. A three-inch Mohawk lined his head and odd blue tattoos, or possibly face paint, covered his face in a design that Lianna didn't recognize. His patchwork armor and bare minimal weapons made him look the part, but there was inexperience in his voice and face. She thought it quite ironic that he was calling Darren a boy when he was one himself. As for the other two men, they didn't even have armor and only a blaster pistol strapped to either hip.

    One deep breath was taken and Lianna stepped around the corner. Not surprisingly, three blaster pistols were aimed in direction.

    "Whoa." She raised her hands. "Not here to fight. Merely talk."

    The Bounty Hunter narrowed his eyes at Lianna, "This is none of your concern girl. Now git." He waved her away with the gun. "Before you end up hurt like this one down here. I don't wanna ruin that pretty lil face of yours."

    Lianna didn't flinch. "You were paid to do a job and have done so." Darren grunted as if on cue and she took a moment to look down at the two of them. Gilly was mouthing for her to leave, pleading with her eyes to go as she cradled Darren's head in her arms. Lianna's eyes leveled back to the Bounty Hunter's. "I think they've received the message loud and clear."

    "No," he replied and lined up a shot. "I don't think you got the message."

    Her finger twitched and a spilt second before he fired his weapon, Lianna went to reach inside the folds of her robes for her hidden lightsabre.

  11. #11
    Gen-Yil Kehandu
    Any reaction by either the young woman or the thugs was far too slow to counter what happened next.

    A cloaked figure dropped from above, landing in between the young woman and the bounty hunter. The brilliant emerald green of a lightsabre blade, wielded by the new combatant, deflected the single blaster shot directly back at it's origin, hitting the blaster itself and sending it flying from the hunter's hand. A quick hand movement by the cloaked one sent the hunter flying onto his back.

    The first thug found himself disarmed before he could level his blaster for a shot. Seemingly twisting and contorting with impossible speed, the lightsabre blade sliced clean through the man's wrist, leaving his gun and hand on the ground. He rolled on the ground, screaming in pain, a look of shock and bewilderment in his eyes as he stared at the chared stub at the end of his arm.

    The second thug faired little better. He managed to fire two shots in the direction of the cloaked figure. The first missed entirely, as the cloaked one lept high into the air. The shot nearly hit the young woman, who herself had ignited a lightsaber, and managed to deflect it harmlessly into the wall. The second shot was pure desperation on the part of the thug. It was made into the air, while staring blind into the rising sun, which ulimately proved unwise. The blaster bolt came screaming back at the thug, hitting him in the left arm. He dropped his blaster, clutched the wound, and began to run.

    He wouldn't get far. The cloaked figure landed, and reaching out with the Force, he snared the man, lifted him into midair and slammed him into the alley wall. The thug crumpled to the ground, unconscious.

    By now, the bounty hunter had shaken off his daze. He spotted the cloaked figure, and while still on his back, reached for a second blaster pistol. As he aimed for a shot, the blaster was cleft in two by a single swipe of the green light.

    The cloaked figure placed a heavy foot on the hunter's chest, holding him in place, and brought his sabre to bear on the hunter's neck.

    "No!" he begged, his voice high-pitched and terrified. "Please, don't! I'll give you anything! Just don't hurt me!"

    The cloaked one brought back his sabre, preparing to strike at the helpless hunter.

    "NOOOOOO!" the bounter hunter screamed louder.

    With one clear swipe, the green lightsaber blade was swung at the hunter...

    ... lopping the ploom of hair from the top of his otherwise bald head. The stubs that remained smoldered, burned nearly to the folicles.

    The cloaked figure brought his hidden face close the hunter's.

    "If you don't leave these people alone, you'll lose more than your hair next time," the man stated in a calm yet powerful voice. His foot lifted from the bounty hunter's chest and stepped back. The hunter scrambled to his feet and ran out of the alley, nearly tripping on his own feet and almost stumbling into the young woman, who still had her own sabre ignited. The two thugs had scuried away as well, their wounds now of greater concern to them than any payment for a job.

    Fig pulled back his hood, revealing his face, and deactivated his lightsaber. The young woman immediately recognized him as the one from the bar. It was obvious from the wide-eyed, yet somehow not completely shocked, look on her face. The older woman was still tending to her grandson, who was starting to regain consciousness. She looked up at Fig, a look of wonder in her eyes.

    "It's true!," she exclaimed. "The stories are true!"

    Fig kneeled down, looking over the young man's wounds. He reached into his pockets, pulling a small bacta salve and tiny white pill.

    "Have him take this," he said, giving the grandmother the pill. "It'll dull the pain." Fig applied the salve to a large gash on the grandson's forehead. He then stood up, and looked back toward the young woman, who was still looking at him in amazement. She seemed to expect him to say something profound. What she got was far more plain and cutting.

    "You could have ended that entire conflict before he even had a chance to draw his blaster on you," Fig said plainly.

  12. #12
    Lianna Mal Pannis
    She blinked. That wasn't the normal response Lianna got from another Jedi. She usually at least got a hello.

    "And you coulda told Old Gilly the truth too ya know, girly!" The old woman pointed at Lianna's belt accusingly. "I saw that purple blade!"

    The young Jedi didn't know what to say at first. It was hard defending yourself when two people were scolding you for two different reasons.

    So she aided Darren to his feet, "How can you blame me? Not everyone is happy to see," her eyes strayed to the older Jedi, "us."

    Once Darren found support against his grandmother, Lianna took a step forward and bowed in respect to the Jedi as her Master taught her so very long ago. "You are right. I misjudged the Bounty Hunter."

    It's never easy to admit you are wrong, but only through mistakes could one gain wisdom and control of the Force. For this, Lianna had no qualms about admitting such failings and learning from them.

  13. #13
    Gen-Yil Kehandu
    Fig did not respond to, or acknowledge, the young woman's comments. There was no need to provide any information to any of them at this point. Extreme caution was a necessary part of his life, and had been for 20 years. Lightsaber or no, Jedi trained or not, Fig had no reason to trust the young woman as of yet.

    "We should go," he said concisely, addressing the other three. "Leaving the city would be best. It won't take long for news of this.... incident... to spread, and I'd prefer to not have to answer questions about it."

    He looked to the older woman, who he now knew was called Gilly.

    "Ma'am, under the circumstances, it would be best if I escorted you and your grandson home," he offered, though it was more of an insistence. It was a genuine gesture, but it also gave him a measure of control over the situation. He did not need more rumor. much less first-hand accounts, to be spread about him.

    Fig began to walk toward the end of the alley, nearly ignoring the young woman as he passed. He stopped abruptly, gave her a sideways glance, and murmored under his breath.

    "Say nothing more to either of them. The less they know, the better for all of us."

  14. #14
    Lianna Mal Pannis
    Lianna felt that no harm from this incident would come from either Gilly or Darren, but that did not include those undesirables that were fended off by the elder Jedi. He was right. Staying at the spaceport any longer then necessary would put them in danger.

    She nodded in agreement to his last statement and went to help Darren to walk. The poor guy was banged up so badly he was dizzy.

    "And you," Gilly poked into Darren's bruised side. "I told ya not to take the loan. But ya did."

    "He was only doing what he felt was right."

    Darren smiled in appreciation towards Lianna, "Thanks, but grandma's right..." he grunted, "... this time."

    "I'm always right," she huffed as they followed their mysterious savior around the corner. "And it's nice of you to offer to escort us. I doubt they'll follow us after that whupping ya gave 'em but I can't have ya take us all the way home." She hummed, "That's three days of your time that I don't think ya can spare."

    "How about the outpost?" Lianna suggested, "That's only a day's journey outside of town."

    "There's our speeder." Darren pointed over Lianna's shoulder at the speeder parked outside a droid repair shop. It looked relatively unharmed. "Glad they didn't make a mess of it."

  15. #15
    Gen-Yil Kehandu
    "My speeder is just down the road," Fig added. "I'll follow you to the outpost." He then nodded towards the young woman.

    "The young good samaritan can ride with me. We can both keep an eye on your speeder that way."

    Gilly and her grandson moved to their speeder, slowly packing their things into the transport that had clearly seen better days. Fig walked casually down the street towards his own T-18. The young female Jedi (at least he assumed she was a Jedi, or a Jedi in training) jogged after him, catching up and walking at his side.

    She stared at him for a moment, as if anticipating him to speak. Fig sighed mildly.

    "I suppose you want some answers," he said, his voice somewhat cool toward the woman. "I hate to disappoint you, but I don't have many. Most of what you need to know, you have probably either felt in the Force or can surmise from what just happened."

    He removed his cloak, revealing his casual vest and pants, hardly the traditional garb of a Jedi. He tossed it behind the driver's seat of his speeder.

    "You mind telling me what you are doing on Dantooine?" he asked, climbing in.

  16. #16
    Lianna Mal Pannis
    "I was looking for you," she said, while climbing into the speeder and explaining further. "Though, not specifically for you. I was here a couple of years ago and heard some of the local folk tales. I came back to see if they were true."

    As the speeder passed through town, Lianna remained mindful of her surroundings, glancing about the crowds to see if the two speeders caught anyone's interest. The hastily retreat served them well. A small group of local policemen were running towards the direction of the scuffle and hardly took note of their presence.

    Lianna frowned and glanced over at the elder Jedi, squinting as the sun hit her eyes, "I didn't expect to find you so soon, if at all, and I didn't mean to cause you any trouble. That wasn't my intent for coming."

  17. #17
    Gen-Yil Kehandu
    "Under normal circumstances, you would not have found me,' he replied plainly. "I rarely venture into the city, and certainly don't make it point to wield a lightsaber on a whim."

    The speeder in front of them backed left at a split in the dirt roadway, and Fig followed suit, gently turning the wheel.

    "However, things are no longer normal, in more ways than just our unlikely meeting."

    There was silence for a few more minutes, before Fig began to prod for information.

    "You are obviously trained, and you're too young to be a member of the old Order," he commented. "Who instructed you?"

  18. #18
    Lianna Mal Pannis
    He spoke truth and Lianna believed that perhaps she would not have found him if not for the circumstances that presented themselves. Meeting Gilly was not by chance. The Force had led her to Gilly, and then in turn to the Jedi she was seeking. The only piece missing was why he came to the spaceport in the first place but whatever the reason, it had to be the Force at work as well.

    "My Master was Drin Kizael," she answered, pulling up the hood of her cloak to filter out some of the sunlight. She'd rather not continue to squint while talking. "He was my father and mentor, training me until I was ten."

    She was curious if he had heard of Kizael or not. Considering that her father was Trianii and not human, that would raise a brow, but Lianna didn't want to bring up the matter of being adopted just yet. She was still being cautious around the elder Jedi as he was with her.

  19. #19
    Gen-Yil Kehandu
    Fig raised an eyebrow, glancing at her.

    "Drin trained you?" he remarked, confirming that he had heard correctly. "I wasn't aware he had survived the Purge, much less trained anyway since that time. I was almost expecting you to say Master Yoda, or perhaps Master Kenobi."

    There was another silence as Fig recalled his younger days, and his many friends and commrades. Most had been cut down as the war had come to close, either in combat or by betrayal. Only a few had survived. Master Yoda had once told him that there were others out there, but he knew not where they could be found, or how long they remained hidden. He had never attempted to seek any of them out, per Master Yoda's instructions and his own intuition about the will of the Force. Now, he was finding his past quickly catching up to him.

    "What happened after you turned 10 years old?" he asked very directly. A Jedi simply did not stop training a student of that age unless something seriously had occured. Perhaps Drin had not been as fortunate, and the Empire had eventually found him.

  20. #20
    Lianna Mal Pannis
    At the mention of Master Kenobi and Yoda, Lianna looked away and smiled, "I did not have the honor of meeting either of them in my travels, but Kizael spoke of them often as he did of many of the Jedi he grew up with."

    She fell silent then, thinking back ten years ago when her life held what little normalcy it could being a young Padawan to a Jedi in exile. They moved countless times out in the Rim, but Lianna always had a father figure in Kizael to ground her, as well as the Force. Things were so much simpler then until the Empire came. Until Vader.

    "At that time, a good family took Kizael and myself into their home on Dinati V, and it was our home for the longest of times." She lifted her head back up and stared off into the distance, "Then Vader came. Kizael left me with the Mal Pannis' and led him into the nearest city to distract him from my presence. Since Vader was only searching for him, I was able to leave the planet, posing as Jonar's and Kaida's daughter."

    She sighed deeply, reflecting on the loss of her Master. "I haven't seen him since. But I know he's alive, contrary to what is believed. I would have felt him die if Vader had taken his life."

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