Here is a little teaser to the sequel to An Uncertain Path. Link at the bottom.
The Long Twilight Path
The Master stuck his head back through the open door, only to find the boy deep in sleep. Again he quietly crept to the sleeping form and gently pulled the blanket back over the small form. Carefully he peeled the bandage away from Bali's cut forehead. He frowned slightly at the injury. Trembling fingers brushed the wound as he carefully guided healing energies to mend the damaged flesh.
Chill and pain ripped through the Jedi as he fought not to show the severe discomfort the simple action caused. When he finished he slowly withdrew trying desperately to dampen the pain.
Anakin glanced around as Palpatine and his master continued to speak. His thoughts wandered as they too often did. At the far edge of the room, surrounded by heavy security he thought he saw a maroon outfit. One that reminded him of the clothing the handmaidens–Padmé–had worn during the battle of Naboo nine years ago.
"Padawan," Qui-Gon said gently drawing the apprentice in the direction of he and the Chancellor.
"This is a new play for the rebelling worlds," Palpatine continued as he found a seat at a large conference table.
"They would not win much support in the Senate by killing you," Qui-Gon said.
"I will not declare war solely because an attempt has been made on my life or the Senator's." Palpatine shook his head. "We must continue to negotiated." He looked over to the silent Muton. "Tell me, please that Aveniar have agreed to restart the negotiations?"
Muton shook his head slightly. "They have refused negotiation with the Jedi mediators."
"Because one of their kind killed the heir to the throne," Erigar growled.
"Our kind?" Anakin snapped, bristling as he turned a dark gaze on the blue man.
"Your kind," Erigar repeated. "You know, sorcerers. You bend minds make people obey your will."
Master?The young boy called out but found the other end of the bond closed off. Bright green eyes quivered as Bali tried to gain control of the fear mounting in him.
Qui-Gon noted the boy's apparent distress and backed away a step. "The Senator is waiting," he said softly before completely retreating.
Master?Bali called out again. As soon as Qui-Gon had turned away, the boy reached up and snagged Obi-Wan's sleeve. When the Jedi looked at him, Bali was surprised by the look in the pale blue eyes.
Immediately Obi-Wan snapped out of his daze. Padawan, I'm sorry.
Relief came the moment Bali felt the bond open up again. Don't do that again, the boy warned.
Holonet Broadcasting Company
"this just in. We are getting holo confirmation that the Republic has been amassing a massive military force. We go to Houf Learatil with a live report"
"Thank you, L-C14, this is Houf Learatil coming to you live from the Modell sector. There had been rumors for over a standard year that the Republic was on military maneuvers. All seemed innocent enough, raiders from the outer rim have been attacking cruisers and the military has been called in to deal with the problem.
"Upon further investigation though HBC has exclusively learned that it is more than a patrolling operation that has been going on out here."
The blond haired assistant made a little frown even as the Jedi started to retreat. After Obi-Wan had made a few steps Jira spoke up as she chased again. "So what do Jedi masters do in their free time?"
Obi-Wan strained to keep his expression neutral as he turned back to the woman. "Meditate."
"Oh." The look of disappointment fluttered across her face. She brightened slightly. "Don't you ever just take in the Coruscant sights? Sit down to a long meal."
"My time is limited."
"Take a tumble?"
Obi-Wan looked at her dryly.
The other revealed a smooth black mask with the imitation of a face. The mechanically created voice hissed. "I shall destroy him," Darth Vengier replied with relish.
"Good. He has been a thorn in my side for too long. I will not have him costing me any more time or resources." Sidious hesitated. "Bring me a trophy of his death, my pet."
"Yes, my lord."
For a long time, Padmé just sat at her desk staring blankly at the collection of reports. Had she known politics required so many forms and documents she would have found an easier occupation. Nerf herding, for instance.
The part of her that was still young and foolish giggled.
Slowly she rose from behind her desk and took a few steps but stopped. Beyond the dividing panel, at the far side of the luxurious suite she saw the Jedi apprentice quietly studying the hyper movement of the traffic outside.
He didn't look anything like the little boy she had met on the sandy planet of Tatooine. There was no cherubic innocence in his expression.
The tall–very tall–youth remained still but she sensed he took in a million moving objects at once. Completely aware of everything around him.
Even her not so polite stares.
The youth turned and locked eyes with her.
Padmé blushed and looked away.
Qui-Gon folded his arms into his sleeves and quietly studied the boy. Bali's eyes flashed. "Do you know who I am?"
This brought a great frown to the venerable master. "Do you recognize the name Qui-Gon Jinn?"
A thoughtful look glazed Bali's face. "No, Master. I am sorry but I have never heard of you."
Undeterred Bant continued, "Bali says she is blond. I just don't get the human fixation with hair but aren't you a brunette kind of guy?" Pausing long enough to squash a wicked grin, she continued, "Pretty. And she likes you."
"What is the difference?"
Obi-Wan eyed her before he stood up and paced the room. He stopped at the table and studied the stack of work that was waiting for him.
"So what is wrong with her?"
"Everything about her repels me. She is brash, oafish, uncouth--"
"And everything Halla Keizan is not."
Holonet Broadcasting Company
"reports are coming in of armed skirmishes on the newly formed border with the League of Secessionists.
"On a related note, word is the League of Secessionists have placed a bounty on all members of the Jedi Order found within their systems"
Bali squeaked as he twisted and bolted the other direction.
Keep it quiet.
Not a sound.
I can do this, Bali told himself as he fled across the whiteness.
"Little padawan," the voice taunted.
Keep it to yourself.
Don't wake Master. He doesn't need to know.
It's just a nightmare, it will go away soon.
"Come, pup, play with me," was the taunt as Vengier marched toward the fallen youth.
Anakin scrambled backward. Visually he searched the hall. The light fixtures caught his attention. Drawing on the Force, a low rattle filled the hall.
A dark glint lit Anakin's eyes.
The fixtures pulled from the walls, flying effortlessly through the hall toward the black clad figure.
Vengier moved swiftly, drawing Anakin's lightsaber about, cleanly slicing the projectiles apart before they could do any damage.
"Is that all you have?" Vengier hissed.
Sidious slammed the knight with a powerful bolt of Force lightning.
Another pained cry as Obi-Wan sank to his knees. Comfort and safety of unconsciousness beckoned to him.
The dark lord laughed as wave after wave of Force lightning exploded from his fingertips. "It is a shame to kill you. A powerful ally you could have been."
The reporter started to speak up as they rounded the corner but she hesitated when she saw Bail Organa and his entourage approaching. "Senator Organa!" she called out. "Kulu Eyo Tapir of the Bormian delegation believes that the Republic can be made whole again through peaceful means."
"I have no comment," Bail said quickly as he and his two Jedi escorts moved quickly through the hall.
Kulu huffed before moving back in front of the camera droid to block the image of the retreating Senator. "If this becomes an all out war it will be the fault of Senator Organa and others. They depend too heavily on the Jedi for counsel. I wouldn't be surprised if they Jedi weren't advising them to war."
"Do you believe the Jedi are dangerous?"
"Why would the League of Secessionists violently expel them if they were not?"
Anakin stormed through the corridor toward the delegate and reporter.
"They will do it just for revenge," Kulu said. He started to say more but ended up jumping out of Anakin's way as the youth brushed violently passed.
The camera droid twisted in the air recording the young man's passing. There was a snap of electricity and smoke billowed from the servos as the droid plunged to the floor with a loud pop.
"See what that young Jedi did! They don't even like their images recorded," the Bormian hissed as he picked up the broken camera droid and handed it over to the surprised reporter.
"I was born to be a Jedi!" Anakin spat.
"You were born a slave!"
Incensed by the Sith's words Anakin strove on. At the edge of his thoughts he could feel his master's calming presence urging him to find peace.
Anakin ignored the call and continued to strike at the Sith beast.
"How unJedi like!" Vengier delighted in Anakin's growing fury. "I thought Jedi could show no emotion. Feel nothing." The dark lord teased the youth leading him around the room by the tip of the glowing red lightsaber. "Jedi frown on silly emotions. Ask your master. He won't let you love her."
The words bit deep into the youth. If being called a slave had wounded him, the thought of being denied Padmé frightened him.
The little boy flopped down on the bench next to his master. Obi-Wan reached over and lightly clasped Bali's wrist immediately settling the boy.
"It is inevitable," Qui-Gon began, "all children wiggle. Do not stifle it."
Obi-Wan's voice was cold, "Do not offer advice on training my padawan."
"You may not like me," Qui-Gon replied, "but I see many of my methods in you instruction."
Sidious laughed as he slowly approached the two padawans. "Ah, young Skywalker, I can feel the hate rolling off of you, your desire for revenge."
"You don't know anything!" Anakin barked.
"Don't I?" Sidious' covered face seemed to turn on the smaller of the two Jedi. A wicked, evil laugh filled the corridor. "You wanted to see the little one hurt. Make Kenobi suffer like you do."
Bali's eyes widened in fear.
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