Chapter 1

Christen had never known what freedom felt like.

He and his brother had been slaves since birth. Since her childhood, their mother had been a slave, or at least that's what her earliest memory was. He had pondered the fact that she, too, must have been born into slavery as well.

He and Anakin were close-knit, as all brothers should be, in his opinion. They supported each other, helped each other, and protected each other whenever possible, which wasn't often. Christen always watched Anakin's back since he was born, and Anakin watched him when he could walk and speak, at least as well as a little kid could. Every single night when he wasn't recovering from his wounds, he would look out at the stars imagining what it would be like to fly among them - together with his brother. They had been doing this for years until one fateful night when the force decided the two needed to be separated.

Being a slave was never easy unless you wished to kill yourself. It was only ever a good deal if you had a friendly owner. His family's master Watto was a much better owner than his private master Gardulla.

Privately, Christen thought that there was a chance that Watto cared for the-.

"Christensss …, get in here quick before I force you too!"

Or maybe he didn't. Christen sighed slightly, a fond smile resting on his face. Watto was an acquired taste, and he had his good and bad moments, although they were mostly bad.

"Christen, now!"

"Coming for Kriff sake, will you calm your trunk!"

Christen started jogging towards the storefront. It was a hot day today, even for Tatooine. He had heard a few crewmen of one of the ships in the following lots complaining about the heat. One of them even started wishing for some snow from some planet named Hoth to take the heat away.

Snow… He had heard of it multiple times before. He wondered what it looked like, felt like. One day he promised himself he would find out. One day. Just like he would one day see rain, feel it patter against his skin as he stood there soaking in the precious water.

He quickly reached the door to the main building, opening it slowly as he didn't want to fix the door again. It had been breaking down for months now, and Christen hoped that Watto would soon decide to buy a new one or make Anakin build one from scrap metal. Anakin liked tasks like this, and he had gotten pretty good at building these in past years, especially since he started to build that droid of his. Christen had begged Anakin to call it Op Talkalot- short for Operation Talks A Lot. Anakin didn't find it funny, especially since Christen privately thought he had based C-3PO on his personality. A fitting match, a chatterbox robot for a chatterbox boy.

Immediately after he entered the building, he sighed in relief. Air coolers were spread out everywhere, Watto played it off as providing for customers, but Christen knew he did it for himself. Even he couldn't take the heat for long.

"Hey, Chris!"

Christen grinned as he heard a familiar voice from behind him.

"Anakin!" He shouted, turning around quickly, "When did you come back. I thought Watto sent you to the slums for salvaging."

His brother stood before, grinning in his unique way. His blond hair fell across his blue eyes, not even remotely similar to Christen's unnatural orange eyes- their Mom was going to have to cut it soon. Anakin was fidgeting with a vibro spanner, as always.

Anakin quickly came walking towards Christen, "The Slums closed or something" He said while hugging him. "Something came up with the Hutts since their men were the ones who stopped me."

"So, you're finally done slow poking around then."

Anakin raised an eyebrow, acting as if he had been insulted, "Finally?"

Christen replied with a mocking smirk, "Yep, I can see you got slower at fixing droids."

He quickly jumped backward, dodging Anakin's answering punch. He grabbed Anakin's outstretched arms, pulling them towards him. Anakin hadn't been expecting it. He offered no resistance due to his surprise, stumbling forwards uncontrollably as Christen pulled him.

Christen twisted around, holding Anakin's arm tight. He used Anakin's momentum against him. He pulled the arm again, angling himself to throw Anakin over his hip. Anakin soared past him, allowing him enough time to pull Anakin back slightly so that he wouldn't hurt him.

"Aghh!" Anakin shouted out in pain.

Well… too much.

Christen ignored it, quickly moving to pin him down.

"I give in… I give in, Chris!" Anakin breathed out with a loud gasp.

Christen grinned triumphantly, standing up slowly while mockingly saying, "A win for me…again."

Anakin whined loudly, "It's unfair. You're like eight years older than me."

Christen raised his eyebrow, "Hey, I was fighting 15-year-olds and adolescent creatures at your age. It's not unfair. You just suck at fighting, little Ani." While he was talking, he leaned forward to help Anakin up. "Anyway, just to remind you, you really should stop with the reckless punches. This is the twelfth time I used that move on y- "

Just as he was about to help his brother up, Anakin grabbed onto his outstretched arm and pulled him down with all his weight. Christen lost his balance, surprise spreading across his face as he fell to the ground.

With a loud thump, he hit the ground knocking the air out of him.

"Hahaha!" Anakin laughed out, quickly scrambling up and standing a few feet away, laughing as he did so.

"You tot-totally fell fo-for that. Your face- you're face when you were falling. That mad- made my da-"

Anakin broke down before he could finish talking. He rolled on the floor, laughing his heart out.

Christen rose and slowly started walking towards Anakin menacingly. He approached Anakin with an expressionless face and a slow gait; his little brother quickly paled in fear and started to back away.

"Look, Chriss, I'm so-"

Christen lunged forward, a smile spreading across his face, grabbing hold of Anakin, and started tickling his sides.

"You think you can do that to your older brother, huh?"

Anakin started laughing out, trying to gasp out words of apology, but he couldn't. He was laughing too much to do that. Christen took mercy on his little brother, letting go of him and taking a step backward.

"Well, consider me impressed. That's the first time you managed to get me on the floor", Christen said with humor in his voice.

Anakin straightened and replied with a proud, "Thanks, I just saw the chance, and I took it"

He started dusting himself off, a futile exercise as Christen had never seen a person with no sand somewhere on Tatooine. The stuff got everywhere.

"What's happening out here?" asked a voice that rose from behind the curved table at the opposite end of the room.

Christen shrugged his shoulders, turning around to face the speaker., "Nothing much, Watto, just greeting Ani. I haven't seen him for a few days."

"I'll act like I didn't see what just happened then," answered Watto in a sarcastic, well, what Christen thought was a sarcastic tone. Watto was waiting at the desk, looking at one of the newest parts the junkyard had. Watto thought it was worth something, but he treated pricing as art and took forever to decide on a price.

Christen and Anakin both laughed at this. They had an excellent relationship with Watto, barring the master and slave part, of course. He treated them nicely, and in turn, they worked hard for him. Sometimes he would turn a blind eye to their fun.

Watto continued, "There's a Zeltron here. Says she has a problem with her speeder. I need you to fix it."

Christen shrugged in acceptance, "whatever, should be quick. Did she mention any specific problems, any custom works?"

"I think she said something about the repulsor lift engines. Nothing else, now get out there!"

Christen nodded and walked out towards the front. As soon as he left the safety of the indoors, he immediately wanted to go back in. The heat was almost unbearable, even for him, and he had lived here his entire life. The twin suns of Tatooine were high in the sky, bearing down unceasingly, yet there was a singular cloud. A cloud on a desert planet. A thing made of water in a world devoid of water.

Christen had a hunch. Today was a day of change, a day of mystery. Something was going to happen today… and a sandstorm was going to come in today. With the trained eye of a Tatooine resident, Christen could already see the signs: the high wind and the sand flying about in small patches, to name a few.

Christen hoped that they could get home before the storm. It was a dangerous time to be out. Many people had disappeared in the storms. Some of them had been Christen's friends. Most of them had been slaves, sent out to do their master's bidding. Christen was happy that Watto wasn't like that.

He quickly found the Zeltron that he was supposed to help. The Zeltron had one purple-colored eye and another completely green one, either a fashion statement or a genetic problem. Either way, Christen found it weirdly fascinating. Zeltrons were famously known for their beauty, and the woman in front of him was no exception. Chris noticed the high cheekbones, the woman's hair looked to be dyed an angelic-looking blonde that seemed to fit almost too perfectly with the woman's face.

As he was approaching the Zeltron, she seemed to notice him.

"Are you the Slave?" she asked him. Huttese was the standard work language around here. However, he noticed that she had a strange accent to her, a minor lilt. One that he immediately recognized, a voice-changer. The Zeltron was hiding from someone and didn't want to be identified. So, the colored eyes and dyed blond hair may be fake.

"Yep, that's me," he replied.

"Well, follow me. The repulsor engines are breaking down. They need to be fixed."

Christen quietly followed her, she was a person in a hurry, and these people usually gave something to the slave if they worked hard. He needed the money. He, Ani, and their Mom needed the money to buy their freedom. They had been saving for years.

They quickly reached one of the rented garages a distance away from Watto's junkyard. This was a popular spot as many mechanics offered repair services to anyone that paid. This place was trendy as each garage was in a sound-proofed warehouse, and it was expected to ignore any deaths. Looters came by each night to strip any bodies, and rarely did a bay stay damaged for long. Compact sand was easy to make and was used for building here, and sand was never in short supply. This was a service offered by Jabba to increase his reputation and support.

Inside was the speeder and a couple of storage boxes. The Zeltron went to sit on one of the boxes next to the wall, laying her blaster and durasteel knife on her chest.

"Quickly fix the speeder, and I'll pay you extra, but do not look in the boxes. Or else you get nothing."

Christen replied quickly, not willing to miss the opportunity, "Yip." He didn't know when he started saying that word, but he quickly grew to almost use it a few times each day now, thankfully not as much as Ani did. But he didn't mind because it was something they shared, something they owned. So, it was unique to them, and Christen never needed to change it. It irritated the kriff out of Watto, and he complained almost every time he heard it, but that only reinforced Christen and Ani's desire to use it.

He started working on the engines, looking for the problems that had occurred. He dismantled it first, looking for any faulty parts. That part's okay. Repulsors are fine… there!

The power cell holder. It had been hit by something, and if Christen didn't see it wrongly… It was blaster fire.

He had seen these marks before. People were shot left and right on Tatooine, especially here in Mos Eisley. If it weren't for the people who kept traveling, the population might have been close to a specific number called zero. He had to admit that those people were one of the main reasons many people died here. Right next to the Tuskans and slavery. He idly wondered if they would make a national sport of killing people soon. Jabba and his master would like it.

He shook those thoughts off. He had a job to do, and then he could go back before the sandstorm hit. However, the foreboding feeling would just not go away. He hoped that he only imagined it… but it felt so real.

Time passed quickly as he worked, disassembling the whole engine to get to the holder. The shot that hit it must have been by complete luck. There was only a tiny gap to the holder through the engine. The accuracy of the shooter would have to be impossibly high to have deliberately aimed at it.

From behind, he heard the Zeltron ask as she approached him a bit frantically, "Are you almost finished?"

Christen glanced backward, "Only a few more minutes."

The Zeltron looked at her holoclock intensely, "Faster...please" she muttered loudly, "They are almost here!"

Christen looked at her confusedly, "Wha-"


The wall behind them exploded, sending rubble across the room. Christen and the Zeltron were lifted by the force of the explosion and slammed against the opposite wall.

Christen's breath got knocked out of him, and black spots were dancing across his vision. There was a high-pitched hum in his ears and an acrid smell in the air.

The explosion had most likely been caused by detonite, one of the most common explosives in the galaxy. Christen had smelt it before. Many pieces were sold in cantinas around Mos Eisley, and he had long been accustomed to the acrid smell.

Through the black spots, he saw a figure walking through the rubble and smoke. It had a head that looked a lot like a lizard, with beady eyes and skin that seemed to have scales on it. It had a cloak hood covering most of it, except the nose and mouth that extended outwards prominently.

A Kaleesh. It had an eyepatch across one of its eyes, and it wore a dewback leather jacket. Many on Tatooine wore it.

Especially… bounty hunters.

To reinforce the fact, a multitude of weapons were present on his body—a blaster at his hip, a few thermal detonators as well. Christen even saw a knife strapped to the outside of his thigh. He also had some sort of tube on his back.

Christen instantly understood what was going on, and this Kaleesh was a bounty hunter after the Togruta. No wonder that she said that 'they were coming.' The worst part was, no-one would have heard the explosion or cared about the building shaking slightly.

He struggled to pull himself up into a sitting position slowly. Somehow, he was uninjured, with only a few scratches where the rubble had hit him. He managed to rest his back on the wall just as the Kaleesh reached the Togruta.

The Kaleesh crouched down slowly, serpent-like, hissing into her ear, "Rulika Truska, how… excellent to see you again."

The Zeltron, or Rulika as she now had a name, also struggled to sit up, but Christen saw a sickening sight on her stomach as she tried. There was a glaring piece of dura concrete sticking out of her stomach. She wouldn't survive without treatment from a bacta tank, and the way he saw this going, she wasn't going to get that treatment any time soon.

Even though she was pouring blood from her wound, she managed to summon enough strength to spit some blood into the Kaleesh's face.

The Kaleesh didn't even try to dodge, instead of letting it hit his face. He didn't even flinch.

Christen could tell this bounty hunter had killed many people before and was most definitely obsessed with killing. He also remembered that the Kaleesh were well known for their lack of mercy. He had a rising feeling that he would not be left alone by this bounty hunter even if he promised not to say anything.

The bounty hunters had a saying, after all.

"No loose ends."

He waited to gain more strength and regain more of his hearing and vision, watching the bounty hunter intently.

The Kaleesh just made an odd grunting noise in response to Miks spitting in his face. Horrified, Christen realized that he was laughing.

The Kaleesh just stood up, "Well, at least you have some spirit. Good. It means I can get some satisfaction from this kill.", He slowly started circling Rulika, as if a predator, watching his prey, "Did you think you could escape? You're lucky that kriffing Trandoshan, Bossk, wanted to play with his food. It let you live longer, after all. Instead of shooting you, he only shot your fuel cell holder, but he ain't here now, and so, that means I decide what to do..." He trailed off slightly as if wondering what to do.

Christen was shocked when he realized that the bounty hunter said that his partner, this Bossk, managed to shoot a fuel cell holder through a tiny gap in the engine. A shot that he thought was almost impossible.

The Kaleesh continued, starting to take out the long tube on his back, "Feel honored that you managed to even take the gem from us. It's worth a few million credits after all." He stood above the dying Rulika, raising the tube above him in a downward double grip. "And you are honored to die at the hands of…"

He plunged the tube downwards, shouting out, at the same time as the end of the tube expanded, becoming longer… and sharper, "Inflier Qymaen!"

It had turned into a knife made from some metal he had never seen before. In an instant, the blade struck Rulika in her chest. Blood spurted out, splattering all over Qymaen's cloak, freezing her in a position of agony, her eyes bulging,

As Christen watched, he realized something horrific. The knife was absorbing something. The blade was absorbing streaks of red. It was the Zeltron's blood. Her body slowly withered before his eyes, turning shriveled and dehydrated until only a husk was leftover.

He was frozen in horror, watching the knife in some sort of daze. What type of weapon was that? It looked so sinister, and it felt like a feeling of darkness encompassed it. He felt sick, maybe from the horrific sight or the sense of darkness, or perhaps both, but as Qymaen turned towards him, wrenching the knife out of Rulika's body, he knew what was going to happen.

He was next.

He quickly stood up, the black spots disappearing at the same time.

Qymaen smiled sinisterly as he slowly approached Christen, ignoring the blood splatter on his cloak and face, saying languidly, "I would say that I'm sorry for having to kill you, but I'm not, and I do not like wasting my energy on things like that. I'm much more interested in how I'll kill you instead," he paused as if contemplating, until a malicious smirk spread across his face, "How about with my bare hands!"

The hunter suddenly lunged at him, catching him by surprise, arms stretched forward to grab onto his neck and strangle him.

He dodged towards the side, stumbling slightly over a box. He quickly turned to face the hunter, alert and ready to avoid it again. He looked around for something, anything that could help him. He grabbed a pipe from the repulsor engine next to him and prepared to use it as a club. At the same time, he tried to survey the room.

He was close to the corner of the room. To his right was the lift with the speeder on it in the center of the room, and in front of him stood the bounty hunter. On the opposite side of the speeder, the broken wall stood, a chance for him to escape.

Qymaen smirked, excitedly saying, "Well, at least you'll make this more exciting for me. I thought I would have to settle with only killing a person who wouldn't try to fight back. Almost reminds me of back home", However, the hunter sighed, almost pleadingly saying, "Don't try to escape or I'll have to shoot you then. It is less… exciting for me."

He paled slightly at the threat, letting down his guard for a short moment.

Qymaen capitalized on the opportunity, lunging at Chris. He tried to dodge to the side, but he was too slow. Qymaen slammed into him, shoving him to the ground, the pipe falling from his grip.

Chriss hit the ground hard but managed to roll away, using the momentum of the hit to get farther away from Qymaen. He felt a sharp pain in his stomach, and he winced as he saw the blood-splattered knife in Qymaen's hand.

Qymaen barked out in laughter, "Smart kid, but you didn't exactly help yourself. Now, did you?"

He realized where he was as he scrambled to stand up—ignoring the pain in his stomach. He was backed into a corner with no way to escape.

Qymaen approached slowly, pressuring him with his very presence. The malignant glint in his eyes was only growing stronger.

Christen was panicking, and he looked for an escape route that he could find. Fear was consuming him. He was growing angry, angry at himself, angry at his slavery, angry at being stabbed and dying so soon when he was close to getting free. He was filled with anger.

But just as he was about to launch himself at Qymaen for one final desperate, fear-fueled attempt at escaping, he remembered Anakin and their Mom were relying on him. Without him, it would take much longer to free themselves. Without him, who would protect Ani from anyone who wanted to hurt him, he and Anakin would never be able to travel the stars.

He calmed down and refocused. The pain slowly disappeared just as Qymaen launched himself at Christen again. Time slowed down. He saw in perfect detail how Qymaen was charging at him. He started moving to the right of Qymaen while twisting and ducking at the same time and swinging his right arm at Qymaen. It almost felt like he wasn't in control of his body. Something was controlling him, protecting him.

Time sped up. He ducked underneath Qymaen's outstretched right arm. As he came up behind Qymaen, he hit him on the back with enough force to shove him against the wall.

He took the opportunity and ran for the damaged wall. He ran straight to the lift that held the speeder up and slid using the board that he laid on to slide underneath the speeder. On the other side, he sprang back up onto his feet in a smooth motion, running towards the hall.

He felt a sudden sense of danger at the same time. He threw himself to the side, dodging the blaster fire by an inch, landing on the boxes that Rulika had sat on earlier, knocking them over.

He quickly picked himself up, and as he rose to a crouch, he twisted around to face Qymaen.

Qymaen was running at him with his knife in one hand and his blaster in the other.

Christen quickly fumbled around, looking for something, anything. He grabbed onto a hilt and some sand. Rulika's knife! He finally had a real weapon.

As Qymaen came rushing closer, time slowed again. Something was calling him, telling him what to do. Telling him to focus and survive.

Christen listened and focused on his attacker. Then quickly lunged forward, catching Qymaen by surprise. He noticed the ever-so-slight widening of Qymaen's eyes. Qymaen's blaster rose in slow motion, seeming to take forever, but just as Qymaen was about to pull the trigger, he threw the handful of sand at him.

It worked. Qymaen missed his shot as the sand entered his eyes, and he flailed his arms. Christen took the opening. He kept moving forward, ducking under Qymaen's flailing arms, even though the knife still managed to cut his cheek. And rose as quickly as he could with the blade pointed upward.

The knife entered the bottom of Qymaen's head, spearing his forked tongue to the top of his mouth and entering the brain.

Qymaen froze, eyes bulging outwards, oddly reminiscent of Rulika earlier. He slowly fell to his knees, gasping, and as the light left his eyes, he fell forward to lie spread-eagled on the floor.

Christen also fell to his knees, trying to calm his frantically beating heart. He looked at Qymaen's dead body and, for the first time, fully realized what had just happened. He started laughing deliriously.

He shouted out in pure joy, "I survived! And I was not even in the fighting ring! I did it!", He whooped in delight till he immediately stopped when he again felt a sharp pain in his stomach. He looked down. It was bleeding, not too bad, but still heavy enough to be dangerous. Christen ripped off a strip of his tunic and managed to bandage it.

This had not been the first time that he had been attacked or stabbed. He had once jumped in front of a knife aimed at Ani when he was being robbed. The crime was rife in this city, and everyone had been attacked at least once in their life.

He stumbled towards Qymaen's body, intent on searching it for something he could sell. As he crouched down over him, he wrinkled his nose at the disgusting smell emanating from him. Blood covered Qymaen, both Rulika's and Qymaen's blood.

He managed to find another blaster, knife, and a few credits and peggats, the currency of Tatooine. He also took the knife that was again in the shape of a tube. It must be worth a lot, or at the least, no more killers could have this knife. He found nothing else of much worth, except for a holopad. It contained information about the bounty on Rulika, and it mentioned that the main target was a gem that Rulika had.

He remembered Qymaen talking about a gem worth millions of credits.

He instantly gained hope. Hoping that he could find the gem, hoping that he would sell it and buy his family's freedom.

He ran back to the garage and searched everywhere for the gem, including in the boxes Rulika told him specifically not to look in, and while many of them had things worth a few peggats, there was no sign of the gem. He checked Rulika's body as well, finding nothing but some money. After a few minutes, he slowly started losing hope he would find it—none of the things here he could take. Otherwise, Watto might get suspicious. The bodies and boxes would be looted within a day as well. No evidence would exist. He also needed to get medical attention. He was ignoring the injury for now, but if he fell unconscious here, he would be as good as dead.

Christen was about to leave when he realized that he had forgotten his vibro spanner next to the speeder. He turned to go back to the speeder.

As he was picking up the spanner, he froze. As before, the feeling was back; he felt as if something was calling out to him, somewhere in the speeder.

Christen couldn't hold back his curiosity and leaned to take the speeder apart more. As he disassembled it further, the feeling grew more intense. He searched the speeder for what was calling to him and… there!

"I finally found you!" It was a light, strange box hidden next to the power coils, where even if someone were looking straight at the coils, it would still be hard to find.

Finally, he held the strange box in his hand. He was desperately hoping for it to be what he wished for.

With a trembling hand, he slowly opened the box. When he saw what was inside, his eyes lit up.

Inside the box was a sapphire, but even he could tell it was impressive. It had a very slight glow to it, almost seemingly mystical. The sapphire gave him a feeling of comfort and warmth. It reminded him of his mother's gentle, soothing touch. It made him feel at home.

He was immediately entranced with it, gazing at it in a daze. He couldn't stop looking at it. It felt so profound to him, and it felt very mysterious.

With great effort, he managed to tear his gaze away. He put the gem back into the box and hid it on the inside of his tunic. Luckily it was thin enough to fit.

He quickly exited the garage, leaving everything else behind. He rushed back to Watto's, taking care not to bump into anyone and raise attention to himself.

Christen sighed in relief when he saw the entrance to the junkyard. He ran to it, never being happier to return to it in his entire life.

However, as he entered the shop, he calmed down and realized that he felt very faint. He looked down to see a red patch spreading across his tunic.

"Chris!" he heard someone shout in horror. He looked up and saw Ani rushing towards him.

He only smiled drunkenly at him, "Hey Ani. I'm fine, really-" before he pitched forward into Anakin's arms, and his vision turned black.

It had been a couple of weeks since that fateful day. Christen had woken up a few hours after blacking out to a local healer, his mother, and Anakin freaking out over him.

It had taken him days to get back to work, half days for Gardulla fighting bounty hunters in the fighting chambers, and then late nights with Watto fixing up junk.

Christen was currently walking down one of the many side streets of Mos Eisley. To his knowledge, it was the biggest city on his home planet of Tatooine. He was heading from his day job as a slave fighter, fighting straight from the Hutt's barge for Gardulla, his master and former master of his family.

He was supposed to go to his family, but Watto didn't have enough money, so he and his family were separated until he could make a living in the fighting rings to make enough that he could buy a place he and his family could live together in.

Though Watto was the current master of Ani and his mother, Christen's contract worked for Watto and Gardulla. Gardulla always had him fight various species and monsters in the fighting pits. It was good extra money.

The power he felt when he fought was very similar to the gem's warmth. The oddness of it all still hurt his head when he tried to think about it.

He decided it was a fluke, and it was just his adrenaline that made him react, so... Well, he didn't know how to describe it. After, his fighting skills… improved, Watto wanted nothing to do with him anymore, saying he caused too much trouble and gave complete control of his slave contract to Gardulla. This meant he no longer just had to fight at night, but he also had to be a servant when it was required.

Unfortunately, today was one of the days where he would have to be both a servant and the head of entertainment.

His only job was to entertain the low-life scum with battling and bloodshed under the Hutt's thick tails.

But he was very much an expert in the profession of slave fighting and, unfortunately, being tortured. Most of the time, he was looked upon as nothing more than some caged animal. His master had been running him ragged the past week. He hadn't even seen his family in a few days as he had been working too much.

Christen was one of the few people that could survive Hutt's torture tactics, so it became a weekly thing, mainly to test his limits. He had made a deal years ago; he would take the torture for two days, and the Hutt would make sure his family could stay in the same city and that they could never be sold to a different slaver.

His mother never knew that this was how he kept his family from being sold to different slavers. So, while his body and insides may hurt from ruthless beatings and being used as a meat toy, his spirit never broke for this very reason.

His family was everything, and he would destroy himself before he saw them hurt.

Walking towards his family's home, Christen felt an unsettling feeling in the air that got thicker with each step he took towards home. He could sense something was wrong. Since he had gotten the gem, he felt warmth or a type of energy that would come and go. He had come to trust his instincts that this feeling would help him, that this was supposed to be a feeling he should accept rather than push away.

He usually got such feelings when he knew he was in for a torture session, and it kept him calm like a sort of happiness would cover his body. But when he had that fight with Qymaen, it had awakened something in him. And this gem was the key to something inside him. It had to be. Why else would this feeling envelop him every single day since the fight? Why would he feel safer when he had this gem? But the cold feelings he would get sometimes scared him. Like when he felt Qymaen's explosion before it even happened. But this time, something was happening in his home... To his mother?

He took off in a sprint towards his house, the feeling getting worse and worse, and each running step he took hurt. He could hear screams in his mind, a young boy's and a woman's... Please, he couldn't be too late.

Bounding out of the alleyway and into his yard, he went pale upon seeing that someone or a group of people blasted the door in. He could hear a high-pitched scream, one he's heard too many times as he ran for his mother. He slipped a few times, putting too much pressure into his steps. He ran frantically into the opened space of the doorway. He pushed past the front hallway as screams tore through the house. His anger was bellowing inside him. For some reason, his eyes hurt, and his fingers started to tingle with a stinging sensation.

As he slid into his living room, he instantly noticed the place was half ransacked, the knick-knacks that enveloped his whole life, all the projects he had made his mother, everything he had made was destroyed on the ground. His life's work for his family, gone. All he had was his mother, brother, and the home.

But what got his attention was the multiple backs turned to him—several figures, utterly unaware of his presence. Six were human, but the one figure in the middle he keenly recognized was a Zeltron that he knew by the name of Caxton.

He was a slave smuggler and slaver of his kind. He only knew that because he met him during one of his fights a few days ago,

Other than that, he was a new entity, and the other men were unknown to him. What made his gut drop was his mother's sight. He could see she was slightly bleeding from her nose, and she was curled into the back corner next to Anakin's room. Her brown and tan clothing was ripped, and where it wasn't, it was entirely gone. He had never seen his mother in such a state.

The shock of seeing his mother in such a state made his blood boil, his hands curled into fists, and blood dripped from his palms as his fingernail dug into flesh. His eyes hurt so much he wanted to gouge them out, but he couldn't. All his body willed him to do was watch. As one man uncovered her, ripping what remained of her clothes from her body, smacking her into the left wall with a rough backslap, he took her by the neck and twisted her around before pushing her against it, pinning her to the wall.

Shmi had finally looked up, looking through her tears and suddenly noticed the dark outline of her eldest son, and the only way she could tell that was his eyes. Her son was unlike anything she had seen. She couldn't get the thought out of her head... He looked like a monster, the enraged eyes of her son, her own clouded with fear, but she couldn't do so much as speak as the men upon her kept pinning her down.

In the nearby locked room, the young, four-year-old Anakin started screaming for his mother once he heard her cries.

Christen felt overwhelmed with the amount of anger coursing through him, confused as to why someone would do this to his mother, but most of all, he was pissed. Angry beyond the point of just being angry, his palms bleeding from his nail, his teeth clenched in pain from the realization of just what this low life planet had done to so many innocent souls, but most notably to his own family, the people who he protected, who he loved, who he... had failed. The only thought in his mind was how these men would pay for his failure. He would make them PAY.

He blinked, but his eyes didn't open; the feeling came to him again in a wave. He felt the presence of the gem in his room,

His mind flashed images of the men being held in the air screaming and shouting curses at… him? Next came the broken images of bones snapping and breaking apart, blood splattering on the walls and floors as the screams turned onto gargled messes of words, and the tiny voice of his mother telling him, "No," screaming at him to stop.

Opening his eyes, Christen felt the heat radiating from inside himself, feeling as though he had just walked through a molten lake. It flowed from his hands to his chest, then finally to his head; it encompassed his whole body.

He felt his eyes mist on the verge of tears until they fell and ran down his face where it felt like they sizzled and evaporated as soon as they touched his skin. Finally, he willed his eyes to open. Before him, he saw the blurry outline of a blood-soaked living room... his living room.

He then recognized the scene before him; what had he done? He saw the place where the men had stood was now just a mess of broken limbs and flesh that hung on the chairs and walls. The floor was littered with shattered bones and bits of entrails.

He was so mesmerized with the gory scene in front of him that it took a few moments for his eyes to settle on the small still figure of his mother; she has since stood up, visibly shaking in her badly ripped clothes. What made his soul seem to want to curl up and die was that she was looking straight at him, but her eyes were afraid, scared, and with what he thought was a disappointment and filled with regret... He couldn't blame her. Who wanted a monster for a son? And that is precisely what he had just turned into.

They stood there silent; the only sound was his brothers pounding on the other side of his bedroom door. They looked at each other for what felt like an eternity. As he stared into his mother's fear-filled eyes, a new realization dawned on him, and his heart shattered. He had to leave his family. They never wanted to see him again. How could they go through life with a monster in their family? So, he decided to do the only thing he could to make their life more comfortable; it's what little he could do for his mother. He turned and ran for the still-open front door, hearing the wretched cries of his mother behind him.

Were they because he was leaving or because of what he had become?

The farther he ran, the more he could grasp the strange feeling, the force that allowed his mind's images to become a reality. He had reached the peak of a dune but didn't realize it fast enough as the force that surrounded him seemed to want him to continue in the direction he ran; he gulped as he saw it was the direction of an abandoned krayt dragon nest site. Still, this force was the only thing he had left. Why shouldn't he follow its advice? He kept moving as though in a trance. He ran for hours until night had fallen around him, and forgot why he was even running.

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