Timeframe: Before the Saga
Characters: Xanatos, Qui-Gon, Yoda and Mace
Summary: All I'll say is look at the dare.
Notes: This was a Grape Jello challenge dare from obi-ew. She is a bad, bad person. There is just no way I could justify such a raving AU with just one post, so it's going to be a short story. Bad oe!
Dare:Lightside Xan! Wahoo!
He can't have an evil or nasty bone in his body or even be tempted to turn. Must be a Jedi. Must be between the ages of 10 and 30. Length of the vig is your choice but it can not be a drabble. And he can not die in the vig or already be dead ie a blue ghostie. Other than that it is up to you.
27th Year of Kaanto
"Don't waste my time!" the large Trandoshan, Rassk, barked as he backhanded the crimson robed woman cowering before him. She screamed and hit the carpeted floor of the cabin with a thud that reverberated throughout the chamber.
"Shul'ma!" a girl cried out as she tried to leap up but a dozen hands grabbed her arms and robes, pulling her back down. "No!" she cried out.
"Shmi, no," warned one of the similarly dressed women who was huddled in the corner.
The teen struggled, nearly breaking free before once more being subdued.
Before Rassk, Shul'ma struggled to get up, deep red trailed down her chin. "We are followers of Dandha, on our way to Nashua to pray at the Temple of Bhazod Par."
Rassk, the leader of the Black Swarm, a menacing gang of pirates that roved the empty space between the Nas Hadal and Sessus systems stomped about, his clawed feet scraping against the tightly woven carpet. "Pilgrims don't travel in J-Class Seeda Cruisers," he rasped. "You are the wife of Gueise Mishon."
With the butt of his blaster rifle, the scaled being silenced the woman's protests and stirred terrified cries from the ladies-in-waiting huddling in the corner. Rassk's yellow eyes darted to each of the three men who stood guard before looking to the women. When Shul'ma stirred, he said, "You are the wife of Gueise Mishon, member of the Hadal Royal Court."
The women murmured softly, save one. Shmi glared at the Trandoshan but remained still as a dozen hands still held her.
He twisted about, looking at the plainly decorated chamber. Though the ship was of quality, the furnishings were sparse at best. "Where is the special cargo?"
"We don't know what you are talking about," Shmi said over frightened whispers behind her. "We are on a pilgrimage—"
The words were cut off when she flinched away as Yawger, one of Rassk's thugs, took a swipe at her but missed.
"What if there really are no jewels?" one of the other men asked.
"They've hidden them," Rassk said sounding quite determined. He grabbed Shul'ma's arm and yanked her to her feet. "I know you are the special envoy to Sessus. Where are gifts to the Emperor?" he hissed.
The fear bled from Shul'ma's eyes. These men were not fools and had seen through their disguise. "I will not tell you," she said evenly.
Rassk pressed the muzzle of his blaster rifle to her abdomen. "Do I have to tear the ship apart to find it?" When the woman refused to answer, he shoved her to the floor and stormed across the chamber to the cowering women. Grabbing Shmi by her long brown braid, he roughly pulled her to her feet. She screamed, grabbing at the back of her head. He aimed the rifle muzzle for the girl's throat. Glaring at Shul'ma, he demanded, "Tell me where the cargo is or I'll kill every one of them while you watch."
The door to the cabin slid open and everyone turned to look. At first, there was only the empty corridor. Rassk nodded to Yawger to check it. As the big man approached, he stopped as a wilted figure in the familiar red robes fell against the metal frame.
Silky black hair spilled loosely over pale features. "My lady," came a breathless whisper.
"You missed a girl, Yawger," Rassk hissed as he motioned to the man. "Stupid mistakes will get you thrown out an airlock."
With a snarl, Yawger stormed to the door and grabbed a thin arm, pulling the form close with a soft squeak. The burley man offered a smile filled with rotted teeth.
"Let's see that pretty face of yours," he said, grabbing a hand full of loose strands.
"I dislike having my hair pulled," came a sharp response as bright azure tore through Yawger. The lightsaber hummed as it was drawn in a hard downward slash, freeing it from the large man's torso. Through a veil of hair, the youth watched the man tumble backwards.
With guidance through the Force, he flew forward slicing into Rassk's back before he could turn toward him. Ducking through a volley of blaster fire, he raced at the other two men, cutting them down with little hesitation.
For fifteen-year-old Xanatos ne'Hakujin, this is what he lived for. The rush of adrenaline through his veins and the surge of Force energy flowing through him made him long for more missions like this rather than the boring diplomatic ones he and his master were always sent off on.
Deactivating his weapon, he became acutely aware of the pensive breaths and soft whispers to his back but felt no danger from the women. They were, after all, his charges. He and his master, Qui-Gon Jinn, had been assigned to protect the envoy during their quiet journey to Sessus.
Still clutching the weapon in one hand, he pulled the ill-fitting crimson robe off and allowed the cloth to spill to the floor revealing soft creams and tans of tunic and leggings.
From the edge of his peripheral vision, he spied Shmi scrambling to Shul'ma's side but gave her no overt attention as he clipped his weapon hilt to his utility belt. Then reaching into a wide outer tunic sleeve, he drew out a strip of leather. Drawing his hair back, except for a thin braid that dipped down behind his right ear and rested against his shoulder, he bound the hair into a topknot and allowed its length to cascade down his back.
Content that he looked how he wanted, he turned, studying the women with keen sapphire eyes.
"Is that one of the Jedi?" came a soft whisper from the huddled group.
"I don't know."
Shmi was about to speak up when another figure appeared in the open doorway. A tall man with long brown hair draped in Jedi robes entered but paused to study the dead men before looking to the boy. "You're skill never ceases to amaze me, Padawan, but where you excel with a lightsaber, you fall short in compassion."
"These men earned their fate," Xanatos quickly responded.
Qui-Gon looked at him for a moment, then started to say something but hesitated. "Perhaps, but standing there like a sentinel will not ease the minds of those traumatized by the attack." He approached and knelt before Shul'ma and Shmi. "I fear we were unprepared for this attack, my lady."
Shul'ma, whose face had turned dark from the hit she had taken earlier, rocked back on her knees. "The cargo?"
"And our ship?"
"We have taken it back." He paused. "But not without casualty."
"Five crew members were executed before we could reach them."
Soft whimpers quickly swelled to agonized wails as the woman clung close to the stoic figure of Shul'ma. He reached out, offering the woman a comforting touch to the shoulder.
"I am sorry. I could not get there fast enough."
"Our mission has not ended in failure," Shul'ma said. "Without your help, peace between the Hadal and the Sessus would be in great jeopardy about now. Our journey must continue."
Qui-Gon nodded gently, then turned to look back at Xanatos. "Padawan."
"They are short handed and will need help detaching the pirate's ship. We must not linger here long."
"I'll take care of it," Xanatos replied and started for the opening to the rest of the ship.
He felt the surge in the Force just as he passed the spot where Rassk had fallen. In a single, fluid motion, he spun about and activated his lightsaber cleaving the being in half but he was not quick enough. Rassk got off several shots before the weapon tumbled from a lifeless hand. Xanatos just stood there frozen for what felt a thousand years, watching as the man's body fell backward in slow motion and the blaster clattered loudly to the floor.
He had been careless.
A soft, choking sound drew his attention. Turning slowly, he saw Qui-Gon sink to his knees. "Master!" a concerned cry tore from him as he raced to the older man but discovered that it was not Qui-Gon who was injured.
"It's alright," the master said gently as he cradled the much smaller from of Shmi close. She trembled as terror filled eyes darted about before focusing on the master's hand, which brushed loosened strands of hair from her face.
Spying the smoldering blaster wound in the girl's chest, Xanatos turned and glared at Rassk but the Trandoshan was dead. He could do nothing else to make him pay.
Shmi made a few attempts at words. "Forgive me, my Lady," she whispered, then her lips stilled and her eyes became glassy with death.
She was no older than he was, Xanatos thought.
Qui-Gon continued to hold the girl as he looked to Shul'ma who was sobbing and gripping Shmi's pale hand.
"Stupid child," woman said through tears.
"She was being trained to be a lady-in-waiting," one of the other women quietly whispered.
"Her name?" the master asked.
"Shmi," Shul'ma replied. "Her name was Shmi."
Ever so gently, he shifted the girl's still form into the arms of the women. For a time, he just sat there and watched as they cried over the girl. Rocking back, he slowly rose and turned to his quiet padawan.
Xanatos began, "I thought I had—"
"It was not your fault," the master said as he approached and laid a large hand on the youth's shoulder.
The words were cut off as the tall man wavered, pulling on Xanatos' shoulder. He struggled to steady Qui-Gon. "Master?"
Qui-Gon blinked a few times and for a moment, Xanatos thought he saw terror in the midnight blue depths. "I feel as if," the words faded as he turned to look at the dead girl. "Something has changed."