Chapter I - The fallen shroud

His footsteps pounded in his ears as he ran down the hall. Somehow the faster he'd run the further away the entrance seemed to move. The shattering of glass and howling of the wind could be heard. Anakin could only think of Padme. My precious Padme. As he got closer heard voices and slowed just before he got to the door. He listened.

"You think you can destroy me? You are nothing compared to me -- and my soon to be apprentice." Sidious hissed at the tip of Mace Windu's purple lightsaber. He was lying on his back with his hands palm up and level with his face. He was feigning defeat.

"Where is your apprentice now, Sith? No one is going to save you from your fate."

Sidious's eyes looked towards the door. "The force is strong with him. You are no match for him. The Jedi will be like the buzzing of flies to him."

"With someone so powerful at your right hand, how can you control him, as traitorous and power greedy as your kind are?"

The sith lord sneered, "Trade secret."

Just then, Anakin rushed into the room. He didn't even notice the bodies of the other three Jedi knights lying motionless on the ground. He ran over to Mace.

"You were right Anakin. He is a Sith. He must be destroyed." Mace spoke without moving his eyes from Sidious.

"Wait! We have to arrest him and bring him in." Anakin's mind was racing to find a way to buy some time.

"Anakin, he is too dangerous to be left alive."

"That's not the Jedi way. He should be arrested to await a fair trial."

"I have to kill him."

"No! I need him!"

"Anakin," pleaded the sith lord, "Don't let him kill me. Her salvation will die with me."
Anakin did not move. His eyes shifted back and forth between the Jedi Master and the Sith lord.

Sidious continued "The story of Darth Plaguis is true, Anakin. Learning it is the only way to save Padme's life. Yes, you do need me. Together we can discover the secrets and bend death to our will." He finished with a malicious grin.

Anakin furled his brow, closed his eyes and quieted his mind. The force was telling what he needed to know. He looked at sidious accusatorially.

"I thought you said that you already knew how to use this power, that the only one who truly mastered it was Darth Plaguis, who was murdered in his sleep."

"And who do you think murdered him? The sith are a treacherous kind, Anakin. Their words are full of lies and twisted truth." Mace growled through his teeth.

Sidious realized his slip of the tongue, and in his rage, struck down Mace with force lightening knocking him unconscious.

Anakin ignited his lightsaber. "You lied to me! You used Padme to get to me!"

"That's the price of love…you will be my servant young Jedi."

With such speed as never seen before, the sith lord pelted himself out of the window. Anakin ran to the window and looked down just in time to see him being driven away in a speeder. He turned off his lightsaber and leaned against the wall of the office. He took a couple deep breaths and blinked. He was devastated. He thought of Padme and of his visions of her dying. It was as though his last hope has gone out of the window with the sith lord. His trust was shaken. And suddenly, he gasped at a thought. What if he does something worse with Padme? The thought shook through his bones and almost knocked the air out of his chest. He looked at Mace still lying on the floor and the lifeless bodies of the other three knights. He sent a transmission for the nearest Jedi to come and assist Mace back to the temple for medical attention and for three repulsorlift transports. He had to get to Padme.

Sabe returned to the home of Anakin and Padme Skywalker. C3po greeted her. His golden metallic body glinted in the dwindling light of the descending sun.

"Hello Ms. Sabe. I trust you had a pleasant outting?"

"Yes 3po. It was pleasant." She sighed "Would you please help me bring in these food supplies?"

"Of course Miss". He reached in and pulled out two bags full of food.

She entered the cooking area to put the flowers in water. She was a beautiful young woman with brown hair and an pleasant smile, similar to Padme.

"What was that?" Sabe looked toward the ceiling.

"Pardon?" C3po turned to her. "I'm afraid I do not understand what you mean."

"Didn't you hear that?"

"No. I didn't hear a thing."

"I heard something upstairs. Did Padme come back from the meeting?"

"No Ms. Sabe"

"Is Anakin here?"

"Not that I am aware of."

Sabe bit the corner of her mouth. "Wait here 3po. I am going to find out what that was."
Sabe went up the stairs. She partly assumed that it was Anakin playing a prank on her. She decided to play along just in case.

She approached the doorway and called out. "Padme?"

She moved into the room looking from side to side. The room was dark and in the dark, the beautiful decorative things they had were just a shadow of what they truly are in the light: The painting of lake on Naboo that Padme adored, the metal sculpture of lovers Anakin made for Padme. Sabe blinked. The only source of light was the moonlight beaming in from the open balcony doors. She walked out on the balcony and looked around. An uneasy feeling came over her suddenly and she shuttered. Her muscles tensed. Something was not right here. Anakin would have revealed himself by now, she thought. All was silent save for the distant commotion of city life and her breath. Somehow she felt more comfortable with the silence. She reluctantly decided to break it. "Anakin?"

"I'm here…Sabe." A familiar voice replied.

Sabe turned around and faced the bedroom. She did not see a body to go with the voice. "Where are you?" She relaxed putting her hands on her hips. "You and your tricks. You almost got me you know."

"Almost?" The voice sounded slightly strange. "Where've you been?"

"I was out getting food supplies for dinner tonight. Padme is still at the meeting she should be here soon. I thought I'd help her out and make dinner. Pregnant women need as much help as possible."

The figure emerged from the dark places of the room, and in the light, she saw a glimpse of his face under the hood of his cloak. He looked sick with circles under his eyes, and his face contorted and malicious as if living in perpetual disgust.

"Anakin, are you alright?" She stepped closer to him.

"Yes, quite." He extended his arm and began to slowly close his fingers into a fist. A few seconds later, she went limp. When he released her, she fell like a dead leaf falling from a tree. Looking down at her lifeless body, he smirked. "Yes, I'm quite alright."

The dark figure casually walked down the stairs and past 3po, who was standing in the middle of the living area.
"Oh! Hello Master Anakin." 3po was startled. "I didn't realize you were home."

He stopped and force pushed 3po into the wall. 3po's left arm and left leg had broken off. The figure had departed the residence.