|The Embrace of the Sith
Author: Mireilles3 PM
When Vader leaves his captured son alone with the Emperor, even 'he' can't imagine just what the cruel Sith Master has in store for the youth. Can Luke resist long enough to be rescued? Can he even be rescued this time? Or will Sidious corrupt yet another Skywalker via his emotions? Read and find out! L/V/E/Le/H/M drama, angst, family, hurt/comfort, etc. Please, R and R! Not slashRated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Angst - Darth Vader & Luke S. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 29,162 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 09-01-12 - Published: 06-22-12 - id: 8243999
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Embrace of the Sith
When Vader leaves Luke alone with the Emperor after capturing him, even 'he' can't imagine just what the cruel Sith Lord has in store for his son. Can Luke resist long enough to be rescued? Can he even be rescued this time? (not slash, think more... embrace of pain of the Vong...)
Good afternoon everyone!
Here is the eighth of eleven stories that I feel like writing, but can't decide which to work on first. Can you help me figure out that answer?
The story with the most readers and reviews will be my next project in the works. Since it can take a few parts before we finally get to the crux of some stories, I won't check the final tally right from the start. However, only the total of both reviews and ongoing readers will determine which story I'm going to work on first, so, if you like this one, leave a review to vote for it :)
Thanks for your help! Hope you enjoy this story as well!
If you do, please, share your thoughts :)
Disclaimers: Nothing in the Star Wars Universe belong to me; everything belongs to George Lucas. I'm only writing stories for fun.
The mission to infiltrate the imperial base of Iridonia's rainforest had gone horribly wrong and he was now the last free member of the special intel unit. All the other men and women, every one of them picked by colonel Drayson himself, had either been captured or killed.
Only Luke's Jedi senses had given him the necessary speed to dance out of the first trap, but even his special skills hadn't been enough to save the rest of his group. In fact, he had barely been able to remain ahead enough of the imperial troops to finally commandeer an imperial speeder bike and gun away from the base.
So much for capturing the plans of the Empire's new ultimate weapon.
It had pained him to leave his allies behind but Mon Mothma herself had ordered him to save himself if it ever came to a choice, an order that had been reiterated by his mission's commander just before the infiltration expert had been cut off from his comlink.
Aware, and repeatedly drilled before the mission, that he was the most valuable prisoner that could be captured today, a prisoner that could cost the war to the Alliance if he were ever caught by the enemy, the young Jedi had reluctantly obeyed. Besides, he tried to hearten himself, someone 'had' to report the trap to the Alliance, so that was it. He 'had' to escape.
He had also given his word to Leia that he would not take unnecessary risks; otherwise, she would never have allowed him to assist the commando in their risky mission. However, just like he had estimated upon hearing the details of the mission, his sensing skills had been useful. They just hadn't been sharp enough to 'really' make a difference for those that he had ultimately failed.
And so, there he was, stranded in the middle of an unfamiliar rainforest. He would have reached civilization by now, but he had had to lose the bike much faster than he had hoped; it had been equipped with a tracking system that he hadn't been able to deactivate. He had had simply no choice but to destroy his only means of fast transportation.
Thus, he was lost, alone, without the survival gear that he had to leave behind when he had dropped his backpack for the sake of speed, and with no device to orient himself in the continent-wide forest of huge trees.
In a way, it reminded him of Tatooine's desert, if in a vegetal form. It did not reassure him much. He was simply not familiar enough with his actual environment to be able to orient himself correctly in it.
Worse, the imperials were now on high-alert and patrols of AT-ST, speeder bikes and even chariot ships had begun to search the forest for the runaway survivor.
In short, this was the most lethal game of wild cat and womprats that he had ever played, but this time, 'he' was the womprat that would be dead, or worse, if he were caught by his enemies.
Careful to stay out of sight, he hunched low to the ground and under the ferns as yet another group of speeder bikes and an AT-ST passed less than twenty meters away from him. Attentively watching them from his hiding spot, he grimaced to himself that he could 'really' use his discarded pack right about now.
Not only could he slake some of his thirst with his water tank, but his camouflage gear had been in that pack, put there for later use while his closer-fitted clothes gave him a greater freedom of movement.
If he ever made it back to the Alliance, he would tell them how 'useful' that tidbit of strategy had turned out to be.
Although dusk was settling on the forest, and even though his hair was darker than they used to be, he strongly suspected that, if anyone looked straight in his direction, it still made him quite visible through the foliage.
So did his fair-skinned face, he thought next, remembering the make-up that had been part of his mission gear. Thanking the Force that, at least, he was wearing his black uniform, he tried to use his black-sleeved arms to hide his face better.
Fortunately for him, like all the other patrols before that one, the imperials went by him without any mishap. They merely trudged on in the fern-covered ground of the rainforest.
Sighing in relief, the young Jedi waited for them to be well out of his sensing ranges before he considered coming out of his hiding place. He then stood up and silently brushed himself free of the wet moss that had begun to stick to him while he had been getting better acquainted with the mossy ground; it was threatening to give him the chills and he could really do without that right now.
He then he craned his neck and looked at still-darkening sky.
Before long, he reflected grimly, he wouldn't have to worry anymore about being visually detected. Even he would not see further than his hands because of the pervasive darkness that would soon invade the whole forest.
However, his more battle-hardened self reminded him, night time also meant that the patrols would come in the forest with infrared detection tools so as to compensate for their loss of visual range. That meant that he would have to think of a way to lower his body's temperature to that of the surrounding foliage.
He didn't know yet how he would do that, but he had to figure out a way to do it, and he had to figure it out fast.
He just 'had' to.
Perhaps an hour later, night had completely fallen over that side of Iridonia, plunging everyone and everything in complete and absolute darkness.
If not for his ability to sense the trees, the plants, the animals or the world all around him, and if he had not been able to enhance his own sight with the Force, the youth would have begun to worry that he had somehow stumbled into the heart of the Dark Side itself.
Absolutely no light whatsoever was piercing the darkness that now surrounded him; not even the light reflected off the small moon was strong enough to reach him, way under the thick foliage of the forest of giants.
Forcing himself not to dwell on his negative imagination, Luke rummaged once again amongst his memories of Yoda's lessons. His master had talked about different types of meditations that he could call upon thanks to the Force-
He physically started when his Force-senses picked up yet another approaching patrol.
This time, his danger senses also went off, tingling at the nape of his neck with their telltale signal of imminent trouble.
Hence, he considered running away from the approaching troops, but the moment that he searched for a way out, he became aware that there were other patrols all around him, forming a more or less lose noose while they methodically swept the forest for the remaining rebel spy.
Cursing, he resigned himself to remain where he was and try what he could with his meditations... However, he was growing unpleasantly aware that he was quickly running out of options. Soon, they would spot him for sure. He raised his eyes yet again toward the stars in search of inspiration and saw, truly saw, the trees above and around him.
The very tall, very high trees.
Enhancing his eyesight further with the Force, he spotted the lower branches; he estimated that they were at no less than fifty meters away from the ground.
Completely out of his reach, he pouted in disappointment- and then belatedly remembered that he was a Jedi now and that he had once managed to boost his jumping abilities when he had had to save himself from the threat of carbonite freezing.
Of course, he admitted to himself, he hadn't tried that again ever since, but at the moment, he didn't have any other option left.
He had to do it again.
Gathering his focus, he found his center of peace, visualized what he needed to accomplish, and jumped.
Faster than anyone could have seen him, not even in the daylight, he propelled himself off the ground and into the air.
Still, despite his initial success, he barely made it all the way to his target and had to temporarily levitate himself further in order to catch hold of a lower branch.
Once he had a good grip on the rough wood, he took a moment to catch his breath, as well as another moment to block off his memories of the last time that he had dangled over a vast emptiness – on Bespin. Then, once he was steady once again, he took a firmer hold of the sturdy branch and agilely pulled himself up on it.
Then, remembering that the imperials' infrared detectors could detect life forms within a radius of a hundred meters in any direction, he hurried to climb up so as to avoid the approaching sweep of imperial forces.
Sometimes boosting himself with the Force, sometimes climbing up like he used to on Tatooine in Beggar's Canyon, Luke swiftly reached a higher location where he knew that he would be safe from any wide-range detection.
Or at least, he thought so until he raised his head to evaluate how high in the tree he now was and saw an unfortunately familiar shape detach itself from the shadows up there.
At first, he couldn't believe his own eyes, accepting without any doubt that his imagination was playing tricks on him- but then he heard the dreaded noise of 'his' respiration and he realized that whether it was impossible or not, Vader had somehow followed him all the way to his current refuge.
"You are full of surprises, indeed, young Skywalker," the other declared seriously as he jumped down from the branch where he had been seemingly waiting for him. "But then so am I."
Instantly stricken with fear, as well as aware that he couldn't make any sudden move or else he'd fall down from his precarious perch, Luke pushed himself upright against the strong bole of the gigantic tree even as his right hand went for his lightsaber, which he 'never' left behind. "Stay back," he retorted warningly, "or I'll jump."
The dark-clad giant seemed to shrug, but the gloom still camouflaged him most efficiently. "If it amuses you, Son," he began mock-sarcastically, "but I can assure you that you wouldn't fall very far this time."
Because he had learnt from their previous encounter, Luke understood even as he felt his stomach tighten while memories of his previous encounters with the dark Lord began haunting him yet again.
It then dawned on him that the Sith lord had somehow managed to lure him all the way to his own location, up there in the middle of the treetops. Luke grew unpleasantly aware that the older Force user was much, much more powerful than he had ever given him credit for.
"Actually," the dark Lord cut in his thoughts, implicitly informing him that he was somehow privy to them now, "I didn't lure you here."
Luke glared blaster bolts at him.
"I simply tracked you every time that you used the Force," Vader continued conversationally, "and I knew that with nowhere to go, you'd eventually seek refuge in the trees. I knew that we'd meet again, Son. My troops merely pushed you to think faster about that possible refuge."
"Great," Luke snorted in answer, "and, after Bespin, only a place with a hundred-meter drop beneath ourselves could be a proper meeting ground, right, 'Father'?" He all but sneered in disgust while the rest of his conscious mind worked as hard as it could on finding a viable way out of this undesired new encounter with the Dark Lord of the Sith.
"So, you've accepted the truth," the other seemed to jubilate.
Luke refocused on him and glowered at him. "I've accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father."
"I see," the other replied, undisturbed by his defiant tone of voice. "So, how shall we continue this new chance meeting?" he demanded, taking a step closer to him and, Luke noted with increasing dread, walking as if he weren't standing on a mere tree branch.
Quenching the fear that this mere and extremely graceful movement from the other's part generated in him, Luke turned on his lightsaber and raised it in a defensive position. "I will never join you. Let me go, or you will be forced to kill me."
Vader seemed to sigh heavily at this, and then to shake his head before he, too, pulled his weapon from his belt. He didn't turn it on yet. "I do not wish to harm you again, Son."
"Then let me go, and let me be," Luke challenged him even as he tried to find his center so as to be able to use the Force to balance himself on his narrow perch.
"It is too late for that, Luke," Vader answered seriously, almost regretfully, and then turned on his lightsaber. He raised it in a ready position just opposite Luke's green blade. "Yield now, or you won't give me any other choice but to overcome you once again."
Spurred despite himself by the renewed and barely veiled threat of harm from the man who claimed to be his father, Luke forgot his fear of losing his equilibrium and used the Force to balance himself while he surged forth toward the dark man; he instantly tried to slash his head off.
How could he still threaten him that way when they now knew that they were blood relatives? How could he- Momentarily losing his balance, he completely abandoned his assault, if not his weapon, and spread his arms just long enough to recover his equilibrium; he was barely in time to parry Vader's attack from the right and at knee level.
Slightly shifting his feet on the sturdy yet narrow branch, and once again in touch with the Force, Luke agilely avoided the intended injury while he blocked the blade from coming any closer to him, and then shifted his arms and parried Vader's second attack from the left. Their two blades of light slashed right through a twisted branch that was less than a meter away and slightly beneath them, and then through smaller branches and leaves.
Their brilliant blades arced back around and back toward them, locked in a contest of physical strength. The smell of burnt and boiling sap quickly rose all around them.
Using the Force like never before, Luke reflexively balanced his body to compensate for the movements of his arms, widening his stance or twisting his body according to what the Force was making him do.
What really mattered to the youth, though, was to not let Vader win. Since he was all too aware that the Sith had no intention of killing him by accident, or to let him jump for that matter, Luke only had one option left.
He had to either unbalance the dark Lord and make him fall long enough for him to escape once again... or else he had to make sure that he could kill himself before the Sith caught on his plan.
Unfortunately, however, the darksider was almost as sturdy as a tree himself, never showing any sign of loss of balance or vulnerability. As for Luke, he was not exactly ready to commit suicide, hence was determined to fight for as long as he could. While he hadn't even hesitated before letting go of the pole on Bespin, plunging toward a certain death, he had a different mindset this time.
Indeed, whereas he thought that his life would be forever destroyed after hearing that he was, in fact, Vader's son, he now knew better. He had finally understood that his father's identity did not define who he was, and so, he really wasn't ready to die because of him.
There was too much to fight for, too much to do for the last potential Jedi to die already.
Relying yet again on the Force, the Jedi blocked yet another attack from the dark Lord's part, from above this time. He then shifted his arms and raised his weapon high and at an horizontal arc to parry Vader's next attack before he gathered his focus and pushed his father's blade up and away from him; he then whirled his weapon in a complete arc over his head so as to gather momentum for what he hoped would be an unbalancing strike against the tall giant.
He was so distracted by his goal, though, that he realized too late that the only thing he managed to do was chop into pieces a big branch that was barely above their heads.
So far, it had been spared by their lightsabers, but the moment that his blade touched it, it began to fall toward him, bringing into play all its heavy weight of a centenary branch.
With barely a split second to decide on a course of action, Luke's instinct for survival took over and he dove for a branch that was nearby yet slightly out of reach of a normal jump.
Behind him, the huge branch came crashing down where he had been standing before it toppled over and caught his heels while he was still flying toward his chosen safe heaven. Although the contact between the two of them was minimal, it was enough to shorten his distance by a few precious centimeters that not even the Force could compensate for.
With barely a sound of resignation escaping from his fear-tightened throat, he felt himself drop down and toward the far-away ground-
When a strong hand seemed to wrap around him and pulled him up and back toward the location that he had just vacated.
He had barely processed this apparent miracle that he identified the source of that impossible feat; his lightsaber was once again turned on but this time, it was aimed toward him. The game was over, he realized; it was now or never.
However, Vader had other plans and knew when he had taken enough risks with his favourite prey. Wordlessly, the dark-clad giant Force-plucked the weapon from Luke's hand, and then finished to pull him back on the branch where he was still standing, as undisturbed as ever.
"You were right," the Sith told him as if they had been arguing about a trivial matter a few seconds before his near death. "This is not a proper meeting ground."
Before Luke could fight against the unyielding grip that the other had taken on his arm, or that he could try anything to escape him or fight against him for that matter, the youth's senses eluded him completely.
It was, he dimly reflected, as if the darkness of the surrounding forest had finally claimed him after all.
Well? How was that?
If you want more, you know what to do:) And if you don't want more because of bad characterizations, lack of detail, or anything that could help me improve this story into a more edible read, I'd still like to know why (via private messaging if you prefer). However, if you simply don't like this kind of story, then don't worry. To each our own :)
Have a great week-end everyone, and remember, reviews are very precious gifts all year long :) Moreover, this time, they might make me work on this story first for the next year or so ;P So? Will you vote for it? I hope so!