And Vega Lights my Way

Chapter 18

. Smoke rings in a galaxy, an endless flight through time.
Lyra gave her harp to him and left him free to climb.
A winter's journey from the moon to reach the summer sun.
To rise again,
to sing for you,
a song that's yet unsung.
Apollo taught me to rhyme,
Orpheus taught me to play.
Andromeda cast down her sign
And Vega lights my way. – John Denver, "Spirit"

8 years Ago

A night of passion, a family nearly lost, a journey begun.

7 years ago; From the HoloNet news:

Coruscant: Leia Organa Solo, President of the New Confederation of systems will be joined by her reclusive brother, Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker – who is rumored to have been traveling with three older beings, thought to be students, on a historic trip to Naboo. There they will attend a ceremony to commemorate the Martyrs of the old Republic, those that died fighting the rise of Imperial tyranny. This reporter was unable to confirm the stories that Jedi Master Skywalker will be creating a formal training center on the Mid – Rim world.

3 years ago: HoloNet News – Haruun Kal

A group of Korunnai Jedi – yes, Jedi Knights as not seen since the days of the old Republic, have sought an audience with the elusive Master Luke Skywalker – Apparently, they claim to have been sequestering and training 'Force Sensitive' beings in secret since the rise of Palpatine. When contacted for comment, Organa-Solo's office only had this to say; Quote –. Although small in number, the Republic is grateful to, and welcomes the return of the Jedi Knights in any capacity in which they choose to serve. End Quote.

One month ago;

A telegram, hand delivered to the residence of the Right Honorable Schurke Canaille, Representative Retired and Family.

Masters Canaille,

I received your message that your son Kay'leb is going to receive an Award of State for services to the welfare of Corellia and I would be honored to accept your invitation to represent the Republic in my sister's stead.

I remain your servant, and that of the Force,

Luke.

The residence of the Right Honorable Schurke Canaille, Representative Retired and Family; the evening before the presentation ceremony.

Luke wasn't sure what he was expecting when he knocked at the door of the Canaille household, or what he was going to say if it were Aubé who answered the door. Indeed, he had spent the better part of the last month trying to come up with a way to start, but as he walked down the garden path to the door – a garden that was a sea of Naboo wildflowers – he found that all words had escaped him.

I want to tell her about so many things, he thought to himself. I want to tell her how that I found my mother's grave, 'Padmé Amidala' with the word 'Skywalker' scratched roughly on to the surface. How I spoke to a wise man who lived in the jungles of AAris -3 who communed with the Force on a different level… Mostly I want to tell her that I thought about her every night, even when I lay in the arms of another…

A flick of the curtain at the window told him that at least someone was home, and Luke straightened up self consciously as the door flew open and he was greeted by the most unexpected sight.

His own eyes looking back at him.

"Hello Master Skywalker," the owner of the eyes said shyly. "My Ma-mere said you would be coming."

Luke froze, rooted to the spot, and probably would have stood there indefinitely had Kampher not come to the door herself.

"Pemberian," Kam said in that gentle voice that Luke remembered so well. "Come in now, you need to finish your meal before your mother comes home…" Kampher – whom looked almost exactly as Luke remembered her, but for the abundance of white that crowned and highlighted her hair – looked up, her eyes shining with delight. "Luke!"

"Master… Master Canaille…" Luke replied shakily. "Who… I mean… Is she…?"

"Go back to the supper table, Pem," Kam told the little girl as she gave her a gentle push inside. "I need to speak with Master Skywalker."

"Has he come to give my Ma-mere another gift?" The little girl asked earnestly. "I hope so!"

"Pem…" now Kampher's voice grew stern, but Pemberian had already vanished into the house, long dark curls flouncing merrily behind her.

"Come in Luke," Kampher smiled at him. "Come to the sitting room and I'll get you something, perhaps a little stronger than tea, though."

"Please…"

"Aubé is out with her father and Kay'leb, getting clothing for tomorrow," Kam said lightly, offering Luke an arm, which he took gratefully. "Have you eaten?"

Luke blinked. Food? Now?

He didn't resist the gentle pull on his arm as Kampher lead him into the house, his head full of the sent of Naboo wildflowers.

Luke sat down heavily on the couch, and took the proffered drink with trembling hands. He thanked the Force that it was Corellian Whiskey. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the little girl, Pemberian?, peeking around the corner, but as soon as he looked up, she was gone again.

"Pem," Kampher called softly, "Would you like to meet Master Skywalker?"

"I know who he is!" Pemberian giggled from the kitchen. "Ma-mere told me he is the greatest Jedi Master after Nay-pa! Even Kay-Kay says so!" She squealed with delight. "And Ma-mere is home!"
Luke stood up and watched as a blur of brown curls in a blue dress streaked to the door which flew open of its own volition.

"Ma-mere!" she cried, throwing herself into her mother's waiting arms. "Ma-mere! Look who's here!"

Aubé shifted Pemberian over to her hip, and her eyes grew wide.

"Hello Luke," she said softly. "I see you've met your daughter…"

Kampher reappeared from the kitchen from where she had discreetly vanished upon Aubé's arrival home. Pulling out a cloak, she addressed Luke and Aubé, who had joined him on the couch. Pemberian nestled securely on her mother's lap, looking at Luke with wide blue eyes, her thumb suddenly creeping to her mouth.

"Aubé, your father and brother want me to meet them in the city," she told them airily. "I hope you don't mind. Luke, I'm sorry…"

"No it's all right," both Luke and Aubé said together, and Pem giggled, not taking her eyes off of Luke.

Kampher brought Aubé a glass of whiskey, unasked, then leaned over and gave each one of them a kiss. "Be good," she said, and with that she was gone, leaving the three of them in a thick silence.

Suddenly, Pem broke out. "Have you come to give Ma-Mere another gift?" she asked, puzzling Luke.

Aubé blushed. "Pem… that's not polite."

"A gift?" Luke echoed, grateful for anything that would avoid the topic of… well anything.

"Ma-Mere always told me that you gave me to her," Pem giggled happily. "She said that I was the gift you gave her the night that Kay-Kay and Nay-Pa nearly died…"

"Pem, shhh…" Aubé murmured, holding her daughter close, but Pemberian hadn't finished.

"I want a brother like Kay-Kay this time," she said decisively, leaning her head back on her mother's chest. Her eyes closed as Aubé stroked her head. "Kay-Kay said that I would one day, and he knows things..."

"Does he now?" Luke replied softly. He could feel waves of sleepiness coming from the little girl, and he raised an eyebrow at Aubé who only shrugged.

"Yes…" Pem said slowly. "Kay-Kay…" she trailed off, her breathing already becoming slow and steady.

"What about Kay'leb?" Aubé asked her daughter quietly, not expecting an answer.

"He promised to tell me a story tonight," Pemberian mumbled into her mother's breast. She looked at her mother sleepily. "Ma-mere… I was looking forward to it."

"Would you like me tell you a story?" Luke asked, warming up to an idea.

Pemberian reached out to him, and Luke took her into his arms.

"Make it one about pirates please," she asked as she snuggled into his embrace. "Tell me a really scary one!"

"Pem," Aubé sighed. "I don't want you to have nightmares…"

"How about I tell you the story of a pair of pirates?" Luke suggested, holding her close. "With a princess, a boy from the farm, and a Jedi Knight?"

"Does the Princess beat the bad guys?"

Luke considered this request, "This princess does better than that." He smiled. "In fact, she and her friends save the Galaxy…"

"Sounds good to me," Aubé smiled at Luke knowingly, the warmth of love shining in her eyes.

"Me too…" Pem yawned. She lay her head on Luke's chest and closed her eyes. "How does it start?"

Luke stroked her hair, relishing the weight of his daughter in his embrace, "Well, it starts like this," he murmured softly.

"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…"

End.