The Hero's Path: Episode I

The Cursed Ruby

Summery: Luke Skywalker is unhappy with his life on Tatooine, so he runs away. Unfortunately, he doesn't know what evil awaits him as he goes out into the unpredictable galaxy…

Author Note: This is the first in a six episode series that I've been working on for years. So sit back and enjoy. I plan to make this my finest work ever!

Author: The Bullet

Prologue

Sand. Lots and lots of sand. Heat radiating from twin suns. Caverns and caves, dirty towns and cities. This was Tatooine. The never changing desert planet on which a very unhappy person lived.

Luke Skywalker.

Luke had been living on this dust ball for the entire fifteen years of his life. He was either working, or bored. He had no real friends except for Biggs Darklighter, and Biggs had gone away to a boarding school on Corescaunt.

Imperial Center.

The very center of the galaxy. The capital of the Empire. The planet where everything fun and exiting happened. Corescaunt, with the important people, the politicians, the Moffs… and the Emperor. The only planet that young Luke Skywalker wanted to visit.

Unfortunately, he wasn't even close to going there any time soon. Uncle Owen told him he needed to stay, and as always, Aunt Beru would agree with her husband, saying that it was for the best.

One time, Luke heard Beru Lars say that he was safer here. Safer from what? Luke was a nobody. Nobody knew him, and nobody cared. This was the exact opposite of how Luke wanted it to be.

Luke wanted to have his own ship and fly all over the galaxy. Visit every last one of the systems in the universe just to say that he'd seen them all. Some day, he would make this dream a reality. Someday he would have adventures that beat every adventure before it. He would learn everything that there was to know. He would be able to say that he'd done it all.

Yeah, like in twenty years! He was nowhere even close. Luke hadn't even been to Mos Eilsey. Imagine how long it would take just to get to the next planet! Who was he kidding? He wasn't going anywhere any time soon. He wanted to see it all, but he couldn't. He was just a kid.

Not just a kid! Luke reminded himself. He was fifteen after all! That wasn't a kid. Luke could race with anyone from Ancorhead and beat them. Luke could speed past anyone without even thinking about it. Well, okay, he'd never been able to actually beat Fixer yet, but he was getting close.

How wonderful it would be to be able to say that he'd driven every kind of speeder, every kind of ship! To say that he'd driven things that no one else had driven before! So many dreams! Dreams just waiting to become real. But dreams that may never be.

Luke looked at the vaperators. He was discouraged to discover that he still had twelve more to check. At this rate, he'd never be done it time to race with his friends!

Luke stole a glance in the direction of the house. Maybe Uncle Owen wouldn't mind if Luke took a little break. After all, Luke had been working all day. Didn't he deserve a rest? Or a chance to hang out with his friends? In other words, race?

Stealing one more glance at the house, Luke quickly got into his speeder, and started it up, making his way to Ancorhead…

"Hey, guys!" Luke said as he burst into the station that he and his friends usually met at. "Are we racing today?"

Fixer sat up from his crouched position. "Yep! You ready to lose, Wormie?"

Luke flinched at being called by his nick-name. He hated being called 'Wormie.' The guys here just didn't give him any respect. In fact, no one gave Luke any respect. He was like an unwanted animal following everyone around. It wasn't a good feeling.

"Yeah, I'm ready to race, but not to lose!" Luke declared.

"Oh? It isn't good to get all cocky like that, Wormie," Camie commented.

Camie had always hung out with the other guys. And though she never actually raced, she would watch most of the races. She had been counted as 'just one of the guys' when they'd all been kids. But when they became teenagers, Camie became Fixer's girlfriend.

Most of the guys were jealous of Fixer having a girlfriend while they didn't. Luke didn't really care. He wasn't good with girls anyway, so it didn't really matter.

And it wasn't like Luke liked Camie. She was always mean to him, so he always tried to avoid talking to her.

Fixer spoke up. "Well come on, guys. Let's get this race going."

Luke tested his engine as he waited for the race to start. As always, it was down to Fixer and Luke. This was always the race that Luke lost. Fixer would always win, and push it in Luke's face.

Camie would also use this occasion to torment Luke more. As if she didn't torment him enough! Was she trying to be mean, or did it just come naturally? Luke liked to think the latter. Camie was pretty, that was true… but she was mean!

There was a blaster shot, and the race was on.

Luke kicked the engines into gear, and went up to the highest speed. There was no way that he was losing this time!

Twenty Minutes Later…

"LUKE!? LUKE!?" Owen Lars called, standing in the homestead courtyard. "Oh, you're really in for it this time! Luke!? Where are you!?"

Owen was way more then just 'mad.' Driving his speeder through the Waste Lands was one thing, but crashing it into the vaperators was something else entirely! Luke was really going to get it for crashing! And this time, Beru wasn't going to interfere!

Luke ran into the bunk room where the hired hands slept. It was the middle of the day so no one should be in there.

Good, Luke thought. Empty.

Well, he'd totally lost the race. That was obvious. Something has happened to his steering during the race, and Luke got way off the racing lines, and ended up in crashing into the moister vaperators. Ops.

He wasn't ready to face his uncle yet. Luke had busted up that speeder up pretty bad, and Luke wasn't even going to try to contemplate his uncle's reaction when he saw the vaperators.

I need to think of something to tell Uncle Owen, he thought. Yeah, good idea, Luke! Think of something. Like what?

Owen finally decided that Luke wouldn't be coming out to face him any time soon. There was only one thing left to do.

Owen called in a couple of the hired hands. If Luke wouldn't come out, then he'd have the workers find Luke and bring him out that way. It wasn't the best way to start things off, but Owen couldn't find Luke, and there was no telling when Luke would come out again!

After explaining the situation –or part of the situation- to the hired hands, he had them spread out and start their search.

Hal couldn't believe it. He'd been hired to work on the farm, not find trouble making teenagers! Apparently, Owen Lars' nephew, Luke, had been causing trouble again. As usual, and now he and four other workers had to find him.

But where was he going to look? Hal started for the kid's bedroom, but halfway there, he stopped. That kid wasn't stupid enough to hide in his own room! He knew that it was the first place that would be searched.

Hal decided to put himself in Luke's shoes. Where would I hide if I were in his place?

And then he had it. Of course! The bunkroom! That was the last place that anyone would look! In fact, no one would look there!

Except for me, Hal thought smiling.

Maybe I can say it was Fixer's fault? No, bad idea! Uncle Owen would see right through that.

Luke had been sitting here for what seemed like forever, and he still hadn't been able to think of anything to tell his Uncle. At this point, he'd never be able to come up with anything!

Suddenly, Luke heard footsteps coming to the bunkroom.

Uh-oh…

"There you are, you little vrelt!" Luke heard one of the hired hands declare.

"Yikes!"

Luke jumped out of his hiding place, and tried to run. But it was no use. Hal was much taller and faster then Luke, and he soon had the young teenager secured. Luke was in for it now…

To be Continued…

Author Note: I know, this wasn't very exciting. But it's only the prologue. The next chapter will be much more interesting, I promise! I don't want to speed through the story anyway.

Please review, and please don't kill me for starting another story! It's just that I've wanted to make this story a reality for years, but I didn't want to write it until I had already had lots of experience in writing stories.