Well, 'Everyone Dies' went over well, so I'm going to try a similar fic, just have to figure out who we're following this time, this is my little try at symbolism, can you figure it out? Just so you know it's been awhile since I've seen Episode 2, so I apologize for any mistakes with the details. If they exist, we'll just say it's slightly AU. ;) Also, for those of you who are a bit trigger happy with the flame throwers: I have my own opinions on who are truly heroes and this reflects it so you've been warned. Very short, yes, but hopefully not bad. It's in 'Open Seasons' style…
All around them the heat rose from the desert world. The Jedi shaded his eyes; the sleeves slid back exposing his dark skin. Known to most and feared by many, this Jedi had a job to do. But then he usually thought that way. After all, as mighty protector of the galaxy he had done many things and he had yet to regret any.
He grinned as he fingered his lightsaber. Whatever had happened over the years it had not diminished his joy of the defense of justice and right. He could think of no better feeling than the swing and pull as his saber shone through the darkest parts of the galaxy bringing with it the Force to those who had tried to hide from it.
And here on the sands of a pathetic backwater world there were many. He sighed for a moment, missing the waters and gentle feel of the Force of the Jedi Temple; it had been so long since he had been able to rest there, to simply feel the ebb and flow of the Force through him.
But then the scum of the galaxy never gave up. He pushed the homesickness from his mind as a hand tapped him on the shoulder.
"Master, are you prepared?" The voice belonged to a young Jedi knight who looked more like an apprentice than anything else.
"Of course. Look to yourself." He impatiently brushed off her concern, working to calm himself. Battle fever hummed in the air, even the calm Jedi Order had been roused by this, this abomination of the Force residing here.
And in the Master's opinion it was about time. They had waited far too long. He had not honed his skills to this level for show. It was time to bring down any how would threaten, any who would take the life of another.
Above them the ships roared overhead bringing in the troops which would support the Jedi. The Master could feel naught but scorn for those 'clones' who would fight on their side. But his concerns had been overruled and after all, as long as they fought for right, that was something at least.
He and the others became one with the Force allowing it to fill them and conceal them as they entered the hive like arena that waited before them. The Master almost gagged as he felt the stench of the dark side from within.
He was shocked a second time when he peered through the doorway. His heart pounded in anticipation, and already he could feel the strange strength lent by that combination of fear and exhilaration that was inherent in battle.
Beside him a Jedi Knight breathed quickly, his eyes darting over the scene bellow. Two of their fellow Jedi and their senator fought valiantly against beasts and machines but it was inevitable that they would lose. Not even Jedi were invincible.
The sun blasted down on them all, catching the Master's eye. In the both at the top of the arena stood a small party; a bedecked alien, a man in armor that caught the light and attracted the Master's eye, a curly haired boy and the most important, the source of the evil.
The man looked almost grandfatherly except for the presence of evil that surrounded him. The Master knew that eliminating Count Dooku would be both difficult and necessary. As it was the Council's will he would more than enjoy it.
Sweat on his palms made the grip on his saber slip in his fingers. The Master took a few depths to focus himself, drawing in his sense of the Force as well as his sense of self. Since the first time he had done this as a child the sense of wonder had never left him, nor the sense of duty. It was done because it was right.
Below them the battle seemed to come to a pause. The beasts were no longer able to continue. The Master could not help but smile. Obi-Wan was right, the boy was full of pride, but the Master couldn't help but be impressed by the abilities he demonstrated here.
He smiled at the Jedi at his side, thumbing on his brilliantly colored lightsaber. All around the arena the sabers of his fellow Jedi came on, a few flickering, and demonstrating the age of their wielders, but many more young and strong, undaunted. Each one was a light against the darkness soaking the very soil of this world.
The battle joined between the swarms of the not-quite-alive droids and the blazing Jedi. It quickly became confused hiding the combatants from one another. The Master's blade barely slowed as it tore through each metal form, reducing it to sparking scrap. A few times their badly aimed blasters seemed to approach him only to be deflected, catching one of their comrades.
He spun the flash of his saber outshining even the glaring light of the sun above them. Time seemed to slow as if all this were merely a stately dance. With each sweep of his saber one more of the participants bowed out, slumping to the already sodden earth.
A leather form careened into him, knocking him off balance. The Master stumbled, swinging around. His saber bit deeply into the flesh of the insect like Geoneosian that had struck him. He spun away even as it shrieked, searching for his next opponent.
Even as he searched for the source of the darkness that penetrated all around them his eye was caught by something. The Master saw a flash of light off a silver helm as the bounty hunter appeared before him. He had noticed the hunter during the battle but had not been interested in taking any more time with him.
Fett began firing his blaster even as he backed away from the Jedi, but the Master easily deflected them, into the surrounding crowd. He could sense the deeply buried fear in the hunter and he smiled an almost predatory smile as he closed with the hunter.
Even as his lightsaber swooped oh so slowly in for the final stroke, ending the brief struggle he caught a strange image from the mind of the man who died before him. The flash was hard to comprehend yet it seemed more seasoned with love than the hate he had expected.
In fact in his mind the Master saw the image of a small boy, grinning as he reached upward towards the man whose memory it had been ounce. For a moment his blade wavered, but he brushed it aside, continuing on with the battle, leaving the man behind him, his blood quickly soaking the already red sand. The fight for good had no time to waste on such as those.
The rest of the battle seemed to pass quickly, leaving the Master in a fog he couldn't seem to penetrate. Eventually his saber dropped, in exhaustion. No more leather beings or shining droids presented themselves to him. He wiped the sweat from his forehead as he scanned the bloodied field.
Even one as hardened as he couldn't help but feel the agony present in the Force on this place. Death was a part of life, but so many had died here. The white forms of the clone troopers whose entrance he had barely even noticed filled most of the space, nearly hiding the darker shapes of the other Jedi.
He deactivated his lightsaber, clipping it to his belt and taking a deep breath. As he stretched his weary muscles he felt a pang of regret at not being able to introduce himself to Dukoo personally, but there was always another day. Even after a day such as this the sun would rise again.
He turned away to rejoin his fellows when a stab of pain hit him, nearly knocking him to his knees. His hands shot to his head as he turned, searching desperately for the source. His first thought was that it was another Jedi, one with whom he'd formed a bond over the years.
Then his eyes rested on a small curly headed boy. He frowned, confused. Then he saw the boy lift the empty silver helmet, lifting it to his own bowed forehead. The image of the dying bounty hunter struck him, and then the memory of the boy hit him as well, knocking him back as he finally understood.
He staggered, kneeling on the blood soaked ground as he realized that it was not the ones he'd fought who'd been filled with hate that day, it had been him. He closed his eyes, unable to witness the boy's silent grief. The bounty hunter, the scum he had casually beheaded was mourned by one who loved him.
When he forced himself to open his eyes and accept what he had done he was too late, the boy was gone. All that was left with the Jedi was a dark stain upon sand. Mace Windu stared up at the sky, feeling the same stain spread over his heart. Would anyone mourn him, the champion of justice?
Or was he truly its champion? He was on the side of the light, yet who in this battle was truly the hero? The Master or the scum? His hand's clenched as his mind answered itself, the one who faced death with love.
Many would remark that Master Windu had never been quite the same after the battle of Geonosis. In fact even as their numbers dwindled as one after another of the ancient order fell to the bounty hunters who fought at Vader's beck and call Master Windu did nothing. Even when he finally met the young bounty hunter who followed him to the ends of the galaxy, and finally ended the Master's quest for good, the heat of battle did not come.
Mace Windu saw the blaster rise, filling his entire field of vision as he rushed forward. Yet even as he felt death reaching out to him, his mind filled with the image of a small boy alone on a battle field. As he died he remembered a fallen hero.