There was no good location to hide Aila on, but Anakin thought where he had taken her was the best spot as very few people knew of it. He was certain Obi-Wan would find her there if and when he started looking, but by that time, the Sith apprentice should be able to look after her on his own. In the mean time Aila would have to stay here. Anakin would have to return to his own family to hide them from the Sith's wrath. However, he would make sure to create a diversion so the Sith Master would not look heavily into Aila's disappearance.
Aila awoke from her fainting spell shortly after Anakin lifted her Nubian cruiser off Mustafar's surface. However she remained in a catatonic state as she stared blankly out of the ships view ports from the seat Anakin had strapped her into.
He had draped Obi-Wan's cloak over her and she clung to it. The only sign of life from her was the fact that her bottom lip trembled in grief.
Anakin helped Aila out of her chair when they reached their destination and settled her onto a couch before giving her some final instructions.
"Do not open your Force bond." He stated sternly. The temporary block Anakin had used to help Aila sever her Bond with her husband was still intact and would serve as a buffer if she did try to open the bond. Obi-Wan would not be able to feel her unless he broke through it, and Aila would not be able to feel him. However, he did not want Aila messing with her bond as that could ruin everything. With this in mind he added, "It will only bring you pain. Do you understand?"
Aila nodded, unable to form the words to voice her answer.
"Good." Anakin stated, before softening his tone as he knelt before Aila. He wiped away her tears that she had allowed to fall once more. "I am so sorry about this, milady. I love him too." Anakin's voice cracked with his last statement. "You must trust me that this is for the best."
Aila's gaze dropped to her lap as she grimaced in pain at the loss of her husband.
"You are safe here, and I know that you and Obi-Wan will be united some day." Anakin paused or a moment to wait for a reaction from Aila, but she just kept her head bowed in grief. He considered telling her about her impending motherhood, but he felt she had been given enough surprises for one day. She would find out soon enough about her little one.
Knowing she would need some time to herself and he needed to get some things done to ensure her safety, Anakin stood before giving her some final words. "You will need to stay here, milady. You'll be safe here."
Aila brought her gaze up to look at Anakin at his statement.
Anakin bit his lip at the sight of Aila's grief stricken eyes. She was clutching Obi-Wan's cloak so tightly that her knuckles were going white, trying in some way to hold onto her husband. Wondering if it was the wisest thing to do, Anakin unclipped Obi-Wan's lightsaber from his belt and looked at it for a moment. He worried Aila might try something foolish with it in her grief, but he felt he had to give it to her. Something in the Force told him that Aila would be strong enough to accept this small token.
"Here." Anakin stated softly holding out the lightsaber's hilt to her. "It is Obi-Wan's and other than him; you are the only other person who should have it."
Aila took the Jedi weapon and with shaky fingers placed it into her lap flashing a brief look of gratitude to Anakin before her eyes clouded with sorrow once more.
With his job finished, Anakin gave a bow to Aila before saying, "May the Force be with you, milady." Then Anakin left Aila alone to travel back to his own family. When Aila heard the door close behind the young Jedi Master she finally let the sound of a choked cry escape her lips.
Neither the whereabouts of Master Yoda or Master Skywalker was known. Somehow, the two Jedi had escaped the Sith and Darth Sidious' clone forces were unable to find them either. However, this did not concern the Sith Lord, he would let his apprentice deal with any remaining Jedi who escaped the Temple's purge. He knew his new apprentice would be most anxious to start that task after he heard the news Sidious had just discovered.
Stepping into a dark recovery room in what was now the Imperial Rehabilitation Center on Coruscant, the Emperor made his way to his apprentice. A few medical droids were motionless as the work on their patient was complete.
His apprentice had been unconscious since the Sith Lord had found him lying on his back next to the banks of the lava river on Mustafar. Avarik had lost both of his legs at the knees and his right arm at the shoulder, but besides a few burns across his chest and back from laying on the hot ground his apprentice managed to escape his fight with Anakin in fairly good condition. His burns and been treated with bacta and a new mechanical arm and pair of legs that shined with a golden luster replaced the limbs he had lost. Avarik had been unconscious for a day and a half while all of this was going on and now the Sith Master was anxious to wake him.
"Lord Avarik." Sidious whispered softly into his apprentice's ear as he leaned over his apprentice's bed.
Avarik's eyes fluttered for a moment, but did not open.
"Lord Avarik. Can you hear me?" Sidious prodded once more, pulling back to observe his apprentice when he could see that he as stirring.
"Yes, Master?" Avarik mumbled sleepily opening his eyes so their natural blue-green color stared up at Sidious' ghoulish appearance.
Sidious flashed a wide smile as he watched the young Sith turn left and right, searching for something. When he did not find it he asked an important question. "Where is Aila? Is she safe? Is she all right?"
Sidious took a solemn tone when he answered. "It seems that in his escape, young Skywalker killed her."
"Noooo!" Avarik shouted, his eyes turning an amber color instantly at the news. "It can't be true!"
Sidious hid his smirk as he pulled a small holo device out of his cloak and turned it on to show an image to his apprentice, who was now sitting up in bed seething. "Clone intelligence just sent in these pictures from Tatooine." Before Avarik's eyes was the image of Aila's Nubian cruiser and flames could be seen lapping out of the view ports and hatches. "The report is that there are no survivors."
"Noooo!" Avarik choked on a sob burying his face in his hands, the cold metal of his right hand startled him for a moment, but it did not stop him from displaying his grief.
Sidious had been told that no bodies had been recovered from the burning cruiser, and although he found that a bit suspicious, the Sith did not care. It was out of place for Skywalker to kill Aila, so he was certain the woman was in hiding. He would send some agents out to look for her and finish the job, but he was not going to make a large effort at it. If Anakin wanted Aila to be dead then their ruse could remain. The grief and anguish this caused Avarik would only make his new apprentice easier to control and manipulate.
"It can't be." Avarik sobbed as he probed his Force bond with her, but all he felt was nothingness, telling him his Master's words were true.
"He was a Jedi Master, finishing the job the Council refused to do."
Avarik's sobs stifled at these words and his head popped up, showing his amber colored eyes glowing maliciously as tears continued to fall from them. "I trusted him!"
"He betrayed you. He may have been your friend once, but that changed when he joined the Council. His loyalties were with them."
With a great cry of rage, Avarik called upon the Force as he leapt from the bed. He then tore apart the medical room he and Sidious were in. The two medical droids were flung to the opposite walls where they shattered to pieces from the ferocity of the young Sith's attack. Avarik also shattered the screens on a few data terminals in the room before ripping them from the walls.
Sidious cackled as his apprentice created a heap of rubble on the floor.
"I'll kill him!" Avarik shouted once there was nothing left for him to destroy. He was taking deep breaths as his anger flowed through him."
"That you will, my Apprentice." Sidious agreed, placing a hand on his shoulder. "All Jedi who survived the Temple purge will pay for this crime against you, starting with Skywalker."
A week later Darth Avarik was aboard a brand new Imperial Star Destroyer with a contingent of clone troops as they scoured the galaxy for any remaining Jedi. Avarik had found and dispatched with a few, but none were the one he wanted.
He could not believe that he had ever trusted Anakin. He should have known better than to leave Aila in his hands, but friendship had blinded him. The grief in his heart at the loss of his wife and the subsequent rage from Anakin's betrayal consumed Avarik night and day, fueling the darkness within him. It was his only companion now that the one thing he held dear was gone forever and his one friend had shown his true colors.
Obi-Wan abandoned the light side of the Force for it brought him nothing but weakness. It was that weakness that had given Anakin the chance to kill Aila. So to honor her memory he vowed to become the most powerful Sith ever and renounced his ties to the light for the rest of time.
However, Avarik failed to note that even the dark side of the Force could not show him what was coming. Time was always changing and the young Sith could not force himself on a set path. After all, many things could change his decision, when the future is always in motion.
Coming Soon: "Always in Motion: If You Love Me"
The Story Continues...