This was one of my favorite chapters to write and I didn't even notice it was ten thousand words until I finished it… Anyway, this is the last chapter of this arc. I decided there are three parts to this story and this chapter concludes the first part. I could keep it going, but this one story is getting too big and I don't want to intimidate future readers with such a long story. But don't worry, Light of Liberty is far from over. Just look for the next arc during regular update time as a separate story, but it's really not. Anyway, if you still don't understand go to my fanfiction blog. I explain it a little better there.
Read, Enjoy, and Review!
Leia sighed as she leaned her chin on her fist carefully watching Luke who was asleep. It had taken her hours to break the fever that had come as a result of the shock Luke's body had gone through as a result of his perfectly healthy hand being cut away. It had also taken about that long before that to stop the bleeding. After trying in vain to talk him into some sort of calm, she finally just brushed her presence across his senses and managed to convince him to rest.
Leia herself needed some rest. She had been up for hours, but the fact that she couldn't understand why someone would want to hurt someone as innocent as Luke kept her awake. Well maybe not so innocent. They had done a lot of things, but they never caused good people harm. Luke even had tolerance for people who probably deserved to die a death in a sarlacc ten times over. If anything, Leia though she was the one who deserved to be punished if either of them had to be. She gave just about everybody a hard time if they got in her way and didn't give a second thought trying to figure out who was who like Luke did. He shouldn't be blamed for something his father did.
That was another thing that puzzled her. If Luke's father was Anakin Skywalker, then why would someone want revenge on him? What could the man have done that was so horrible that his son had to pay even after he was long dead? Leia had searched and searched in the databases the ship could link up to. There wasn't much on him personally. But all she had to do was type in the history of the clone wars and his name practically came up with it. He had been a war hero before the jedi had been declared traitors, and thinking back on how Tytus had come after Luke, maybe they had been. Maybe Luke's father had seen through the jedi's lies and turned on them. That might explain why there was no real explanation to his death. According to the records he had disappeared and was assumed dead like all the other jedi. Perhaps even the jedi had stolen Luke away from his mother. Leia believed her assumptions would certainly explain why Luke didn't know anything about his parents. Surely his father had to be familiar Luke's mother during her pregnancy for her to give Luke his father's name. Death was the only reason a in her eyes that a good man wouldn't seek out his own son or any child for that matter.
"Oh Luke," Leia muttered. She always thought out of the two of them, she was the one who had the harder life. But maybe it was Luke and he just didn't know the entire story.
Leia sighed as she finally stood up and got ready to set out to see where they were. She went to the cockpit and checked their coordinates before determining that they were in the outer rim, on Dathomir. Now where had she heard that name before?
"Threepio, you stay with Luke and the ship. Me and Artoo will scout the place. We may have to be here for a while until I can figure out what we're going to do," Leia said though she was sure of one thing. They were going to have to find somewhere to get Luke a prosthetic hand.
She let down the ramp and started down it with Artoo at her side. No sooner than she stepped off the ramp onto the forest terrain though, her senses went off and she lifted her blaster only to be surrounded by five or so woman with long spear wooden staffs riding rancors. Actually, they looked like female warriors.
Leia started to pull the trigger on her blaster so she could run back onto the ship and take off, but stopped herself as Luke's words came back to her.
You're too distrustful and wary of people. It clouds your senses.
Leia hooked her blaster and raised her arms in surrender when she felt that the woman meant her no harm, but they only sought to protect their territory.
"What are you doing here?" the one in the front, obviously the leader snapped.
Leia started to snap back a response, but then she imagined Luke standing next to her and giving her a mental warning to be nice. She sighed.
"I'm sorry for intruding. I didn't know people lived here. I just needed a place to hide that was far away from the core," Leia explained softly.
"Who are you hiding from?"
Leia looked down and then looked back up. "The empire."
The woman stared at her for a moment and then jumped off her rancor before coming to stand before Leia. It was then Leia took in the woman's appearance. She was taller than Leia and more muscularly built with dark tanned skinned. In fact all of them were pretty much build the same, maybe slightly shorter or slimmer with tanned skin.
"Something troubles you my child," she said.
Leia started to say that she was no one's child but held her tongue. She put her hands down, confident the woman wouldn't hurt her, and it was in that moment that she completely let her guard down that she realized the woman was force sensitive. In fact, all of them were.
"It's my brother," Leia said. "We were attacked and he needs medical attention. More than I can give anyway."
The woman didn't hesitate as she gestured to one of the other warriors.
"Go get something to carry the boy in so we do not disturb him anymore than we need to." the woman rushed off on her rancor. "I will help you retrieve your brother."
The woman came right back and with the leader's help, Leia laid Luke down on a makeshift medical capsule made of animal skin and thick branches. They tied him to the saddles between two rancor and began to make their way out the forest to a coastal area that was their village.
Leia made sure Threepio and Artoo stayed with her so that they wouldn't get lost.
It was night on the planet and so when they arrived in the village, Leia couldn't see anyone. But she did notice no men were out helping the woman…
Leia watched carefully as the women warriors lowered Luke down and took him into a hut. Leia followed. By the time she was in, they had already carefully lied him down and one of the males was tending to him using herbs she didn't know the names of to make a tea.
"Come child," the woman said. "I will take you somewhere more comfortable where you may rest."
Leia took one last look at Luke and then stepped out the hut. Threepio was making loud gasping sounds as Artoo said something.
"Why Artoo, that isn't polite!"
"What are you too talking about?" Leia asked with her arms crossed.
"Oh nothing Miss Leia. A bunch of nonsense…"
"Your name is Leia?" the woman asked her and Leia nodded. "I am Akilah, the lead hunter of my clan. I will take you to mother. She will want to see you."
"Mother?" Leia asked.
"Our matriarch," Akilah said and led her to the largest hut in the village. Akilah ushered her inside and Leia went into the hut that was brightly lit by candles and walked to stand before the matriarch followed by Akilah. She was dressed much more elaborately than what she had seen the other warriors wear. She was older too. She didn't look older than maybe forty, a very fit one at that, but she felt older, wiser.
"Hello child," the woman said and Leia swore if one more person called her a child she'd snap. "What is your name?"
"Leia," the teenager said and then pointed behind her. "And these are my droids, Threepio and Artoo.
The woman hummed. "My name is Nadiyya. I am the mother of this tribe. Your ship caused quite the ruckus when it landed."
"My apologies Mother Nadiyya," Leia said with a slight bow of her head. "I wasn't really paying attention. I was concerned about my brother."
"Ah yes. Well you should not worry. He is in good hands," she assured and then turned to Akilah. "I like this one."
Leia assumed when she said 'this one' she meant Leia being an outsider.
"She is polite yet firm, confident, fearless even. Make sure she is taken care of. Give her an empty hut to rest in for the night," Nadiyya said.
"If you don't mind," Leia said quickly. "I'd like it if I could spend the night with my brother."
"I assure you Leia. No harm will come to him."
With that, Akilah led Leia out the room. As Akilah led Leia to a hut, she looked at her in confusion.
"You would dare lower yourself and sleep in the same room as your brother?" she asked softly.
Leia laughed. Was it true that real siblings really didn't get along that well and therefore it was surprising she was so concerned? "Sure. Why do you ask?"
Akilah shrugged and stopped at a hut. Leia smiled and gave her thanks as she left before telling the two droids to shut down and lying down on the mat for a well deserved rest.
The next morning, Leia could tell she had slept a long time because she could hear the bustling of the village. She grabbed the bag she had packed the night before intending to ask someone where she could bathe.
"Oh Miss Leia. You're awake. Me and Artoo were going to go and check on Master Luke, but we weren't sure if this village took kindly to droids.
Artoo made a dry response.
"Alright so I was worried, but it never hurts to be too cautious," Threepio said.
Leia smiled and shook her head. "I'm going to find someone to show me where I can clean up. You two stay here and when I come back, we'll check on Luke."
Leia turned around, stepped out the hut and then froze at the first thing she saw. The village looked different during the day than at night, but that wasn't what caught her attention. She had wondered why she didn't see any men last night and now she knew why as she finally saw them. The men wore nothing but aprons or tunics. Most of them were working, doing the hard labor of the village, while the woman were either sparring or doing some kind of physical training. With startling clarity Leia realized that the men were the slaves of this clan. She stared in shock, disbelief, and then anger. She wasn't exactly a fan of men but no one deserved to be a slave. So that was why Akilah had been so confused.
"Are you okay?"
Another woman's voice startled Leia out her stupor and she looked to see a girl a little older than her before her.
"Oh. I'm fine…" Leia lied pushing her anger aside.
"I'm Riya. Mother sent me to aid you. You're looking for somewhere to bathe?" Riya asked.
Leia nodded and followed the girl into the forest. It wasn't long before she showed her a small stream. Leia nodded her thanks and the girl walked away to leave her to clean. As Leia cleaned herself up and put on some clean clothes, she determined that if this tribe made their men slaves, then she and Luke weren't going to be staying very long.
She grabbed her things and headed back to the hut where Artoo and Threepio were waiting for her. She then led them back to the hut she had last seen Luke. He was awake and very annoyed by something by what she was picking up.
"I'm fine," he was telling the healer. "Can I please go find my-. Leia!"
Leia grinned when saw Luke awake, sitting up on the mat that had been his bed. She sat on the ground next to him and then smiled at the healer.
"Hello," she said and the man, who was only wearing a tunic, looked at her seeming shocked before leaving the hut.
"So how are you?" Leia asked carefully.
"Fine. Much better than I felt before that's for sure," Luke added dryly.
Leia shook her head. "No, I mean…" Leia nodded her head to the bandaged stub and Luke looked down at it before wincing a little and then shrugging carelessly.
"I don't know. It's weird not having it there. I never thought it wasn't going to be there you know?" Luke asked. He had never thought of the possibility of losing it. "I still feel the pain and everything. I never thought I would miss my hand so much."
Leia sighed. She couldn't even imagine what it was like. On second thought, she could. Leia had felt Luke's pain as though it had been her own hand. Her right hand had been feeling numb ever since in fact.
"Well, as soon as we get out of here, we're going to go get the best prosthetic hand available for that," Leia declared and then added, "Looks like I'll be piloting for a while."
"Where is here anyway?" Luke said looking around. "It's strange." That was the only way he could put it. From what he could gather, the men were subjected to the women.
"We're on Dathomir and I think I've heard of these women," Leia said.
"That explains a lot. The women are called the Witches of Dathomir. I heard about it from one of the nearby planets when we were this way a few months ago. I was curious and thought about stopping by until I asked around and I heard who lived here. I didn't think it would be wise to let Han come to a matriarchal village," Luke said.
"Why do they call them witches?"
Luke shrugged. "Something about using magic."
"They're force sensitive," Leia corrected. "But it doesn't matter. We're leaving in the morning."
"Why such a rush? I thought you'd love having the advantage over me," Luke said jokingly.
"Luke," Leia said seriously. "It's not funny. This society isn't just ruled by woman. They make the men slaves."
"Well that certainly explains why that woman that came in here didn't ever look at me or call me by my name even when told her my fake one," Luke said dryly. "It's that bad?"
Leia sighed. "Luke. I saw things like this on other slave planets except it was usually the women they had catering to the men's every whim and parading them around half naked. But here, it's the opposite."
Leia wasn't saying it but Luke felt what she meant.
"Brings all that hate for men into perspective, doesn't it?" he asked.
Leia nodded and got up. "I'm going to tell the mother that we're leaving tomorrow. I can't stand being here too much longer."
Luke sighed. "You know Leia. We could just-."
"No we can't," Leia said cutting him off, and feeling Luke's shock continued, "This isn't just a right or wrong situation here. You won't believe the things I felt this morning when I saw it and how much I got from it. Those men didn't care that they were slaves. I don't think any of them know what freedom for a man is. It's a way of life for them and I don't think we could help them if we tried. They wouldn't know what to do."
"You think?" Luke asked leaning back on the wall.
Leia sighed as she nodded. "This is how these people have probably been living for centuries. Who am I to change it?"
She got up and sighed. "I'll see you later. I'm going to find the mother. Get some rest. And before I forget," she added taking the light saber off her belt and handing it to him, "This is yours."
Artoo and Threepio didn't follow her and she knew why. They were known to seek out Luke's protection when Leia was in a bad mood.
Luke only nodded and Leia tried to reassure him as she felt his concern in the force. Then she went out and headed toward the large hut in the middle of the village. She took a step back on her way as a group of young children, boys and girls, ran past her. They were only three or four, but even then Leia could see the way the girls were being taught to master the boys as she saw them demand that they play their way because they were girls.
She walked into the hut and bumped into Riya.
"Oh there you are," Riya said. "Mother has invited you to come have lunch with her. "
"I was just looking for her," Leia said following Riya into a dining room that was in the large hut. There was a short table and Nadiyya was kneeling at the head of it waiting for Leia presumable along with Akilah and some other woman. Nadiyya gestured for Leia to sit next to her.
Leia did so and nodded her head in acknowledgement.
"You've rested well I hope," she said as the servants, male Leia again noted, served the food.
"Yes mother," Leia replied picking up a piece of fruit only after mother had done the same. She never knew where she learned table etiquette for these kinds of setting from but there was always a voice in her head telling her what to do.
"And have you seen your brother?" she asked.
"Yes," Leia said. "He's fine. In fact, he's feeling much better. Why don't I go get him and he can join us."
There was stunned silence at the table until mother chuckled.
"You are pardoned child since you are not familiar with our customs," she said and Leia looked at the old matriarch in confusion.
"What are you talking about?"
"We don't allow men the honor of sitting at our table with us to dine. They serve us first and then they are allowed to take part of their own meal. Your brother will eat where he is," Akilah said sharply.
Leia glared at her. "My brother isn't my slave. He's my best friend and what kind of friend would I be to sit here and he's not welcome."
"In our society dear, men are the weaker sex."
"And because they're weaker you use them for hard labor and I assume breeding purposes?" Leia snapped.
"It keeps them from becoming lazy my dear. We could do it ourselves otherwise," mother replied.
"Well where I come from, men and woman share the work and relate to each other as equals. Luke and I are a team and I doubt I would be as strong without him if I thought the way you do," Leia said feeling her temper get the best of her.
"Perhaps mother we can let Leia stay and observe for herself. Then she can decide if she still wants to believe that," Riya suggested.
Leia stood up abruptly from the table even though she was sure it was rude. "No thanks. I'm not trying to make you come over to my side so I'd appreciate it if you did the same. I've seen enough and not just here."
Leia started to leave and then turned to mother. "I came to tell you that Luke and I would be leaving in the morning however we may very well be going tonight. My apologies," she said with the tilt of her head in a bow. Then she stormed out the room and eventually the hut and walked over to Luke's hut and stormed inside to see him talking to Threepio.
Luke grinned. "I take it you lost your temper?"
"How'd you know?" Leia asked dryly.
Luke turned back to Artoo. "We're linked. Remember?"
Leia smiled and sat next to him.
"I don't know how much long I can stay here," Leia told him. "I might end up killing someone. If they think of men as inferior then I don't want to see how they are treated. I was thinking we might want to leave tonight instead.
"Works for me," Luke said getting up. "I'm bored just sitting here anyway. You think they have anything we can do around here?"
Artoo made suggestion and Luke grinned. "Now that sounds cool. Let's go."
"What's so cool about watching two women spar each other?" Leia asked having caught Artoo's suggestion.
"Well, you felt it. They're force users. They must know something. I bet we could learn a lot from them," Luke said in excitement as he bounded out the hut. Leia quickly followed him to make sure no one bothered him.
Luke was already in the sparring area and watching two women in particular fight. Leia noticed Akilah was one of them.
"What's with their sticks?" Luke asked.
"What are you talking about?" Leia asked.
Luke pointed to one of the sticks. "There's a faint glow around them. It gives off the energy of a light saber."
Leia tapped into her powers to see what Luke meant and then noticed the faint glow of the force around the long wooden staff the women were using. She shrugged to Luke, about as clueless as he was.
"Any questions?" Akilah asked after she took down her sparring partner. It was then the two noticed the group of young girl on the other side that had been watching.
"I have one," Luke said running onto the other side of the field eager to find out more about the force.
Luke no! Leia sent but Luke was ignoring her. She ran behind him. What part of a matriarchal society that used men as their slaves didn't Luke understand? The impulsive part of him, Leia thought as she tried to stop him. But he was already in front of Akilah.
"Can you show me how you did that thing with your staff? It was really cool. It was like you imbued it with power," Luke said.
Akilah tensed, as did everyone in the sparring area. There was a long moment of silence and for a moment Leia though Akilah would just laugh and brush Luke off, but instead slapped him across the face. Leia's jaw dropped in not only shock but anger as Akilah looked at Luke in fury.
"How dare you? As if I would lower myself and waste my time trying to teach you," she snapped.
Leia stormed over to where Akilah was but Luke handled Akilah well before she got there by pushing his hand out and force throwing her across the field.
"You should watch who you pick a fight with because I tend to fight back," Luke snapped.
Leia stood next to Luke with her arms crossed glaring at Akilah. It was then Leia noticed that it was quiet again and when Akilah stood up, she looked shocked.
"You can use the force?" she asked.
"Obviously," Luke said rolling his eyes. If it was one thing Luke couldn't stand it was when people underestimated him or didn't take him seriously, and because of his calm personality and less obvious temper, many people did.
"How dare you?" Akilah finally snapped.
"I'll tell you how. You slapped me. What the hell did you expect?" Luke shot back.
Leia sighed. And people usually thought she was the dangerous one and outwardly, she probably was. But Luke had a silent anger about himself. Pushing him to the point where he was ready to snap was like playing around with a detonator. There were only a few things that made Luke go off. Leia was obviously one of them. Being pushed around like he was dirt came in a close second.
"There is a penalty for men who rise against women in this village," Akilah said.
"You can't really expect him to live up to that? He's not even part of your society. Or course he hit you back," Leia snapped.
At that moment, Mother Nadiyya came over to them flanked by two warriors.
"What is the problem?"
Akilah spoke before Luke could. "This boy dared to ask me how to use one of secret techniques and then used his powers to throw me across the field when I refused. He is powerful for his kind."
"You liar," Luke said, "I might have asked her. But I didn't know it was secret and I didn't know that you thought so low of men you'd slap me for asking. And what do you mean powerful for my kind? I probably have more force talent and ability than half of your village combined."
Leia sighed. That was a trait both she and Luke shared, but Luke usually wasn't so open about it. They were both a little overconfident almost to the point of arrogant, but Luke wasn't wrong. Luke probably was that strong.
Nadiyya laughed and then turned to Leia. "Child you best keep a handle on brother. Do you need help learning how to keep him in control?"
"No I don't. For the last kriffing time, he's not my slave," Leia snapped.
Nadiyya shrugged. "So be it, but since your brother shamed my warrior she must be given the chance to regain her pride."
"Why?" Leia asked putting her hands on her hips. "Because she just got thrown on her ass by a boy?"
Luke who was finally calming down nudged Leia gently through their link. He had made his point and he was done. The girl had to learn that the best impressions were sometimes left on people when you said what you had to say, did what you had to do, and left them stunned that you walked away. Leia however stayed and gave people the chance to get back on her, a dangerous habit in his opinion.
"It's our way. The way it has been for centuries. I would be dishonoring my own tribe if I did not let her," Nadiyya replied.
"But Luke isn't one of the guys from your tribe. I came to you all for help to heal him. If I had known it was going to be like this, I would have tried my luck begging for help from Darth Vader!"
"Who is he?"
Luke rolled his eyes in exasperation. This was a really secluded society. But it really was a beautiful planet. He wondered why it had never been further colonized into something like Naboo or Alderaan?
"Listen, we don't want to cause trouble. We'll just leave right now," Luke said starting to pull Leia away but the guards around Nadiyya stopped them. We won't let you leave until Akilah has had her privilege.
"You're kidding right?" Luke and Leia asked in disbelief.
Disbelief in both of them turned into outrage and stubborn pride. Luke stepped up.
"Fine. If it makes her feel better, I'll fight her!" he said.
Some of Leia's rage turned into concern as she stepped up next to Luke.
You can't fight. You're missing a hand!
I don't plan to let that stop me.
Leia could tell he was dead serious and if it weren't for the fact that all the women were force sensitive, which took away their advantage, she'd grab her blaster and they'd blast their way out of this place. But alas, she couldn't and so she did the next best thing.
"He won't fight you," Leia declared tilting her head up in the way reminded Luke of royalty. "But I will on his behalf."
"What?" Luke said whipping his head around to look at her.
"You would fight on behalf of someone beneath you?" Akilah asked seeming amused.
"He is not beneath me. He's worth it. He means a lot to me," Leia added softly.
Leia, you can't! Luke sent firmly but Leia only smiled and sent him waves of assurance.
Luke, you've always jumped to my side to defend and protect me whether I wanted you to or not. Let me protect you, just this once.
Luke sighed and stepped back to let Leia fight. Then he pulled the light saber from his belt.
"Use this," he said holding it out to her. Leia shook her head.
"I can't. That was your father's weapon. It belongs in your hands. I shouldn't use it," she said.
Luke smiled. "But you already did," he pointed out referring to when she fought off Tytus on Alderaan.
"But that was different. I had to. I-."
"Leia," Luke said still holding it out. "As far as I'm concerned, you are my sister in everything but blood which makes Anakin Skywalker your dad too, and I think that maybe, if he were here, he would have thought the same. Take it."
Leia smiled brightly, snatched the saber and leaned in to kiss Luke on the cheek.
"You're such a sweetheart," she said and Luke blushed. He went to stand near Artoo and Threepio on the sidelines while Nadiyya went to sit on the other side.
Leia turned to face Akilah, who was already ready with her staff, and took a deep breath as she lit the light saber. It hummed with power and vibrated a little in her hand, a sign of her inexperience with such a carefully crafted weapon. She touched her japor snippet and then said to herself, "Force please be with me and you too mother, wherever you are."
Leia then felt the presence of the spirit that helped guide her and Luke, but she didn't see the brightly glowing light. From the sidelines Luke gasped as Leia glowed faintly when he felt the same presence.
"Begin," Nadiyya said.
Akilah charged at Leia first with her staff in her hands as she came to strike Leia. Leia raised the blade and with difficulty held back the staff, which to her shock was not cut in half by the sword.
Akilah twisted the staff while it was still touching the blade and pushed Leia backwards using the force to aid her. Leia fell backwards a few feet away. When she sat up, she glared at the older woman and summoned the light saber back to her hands.
Don't think about it Leia. Just let go and trust the force. I'm going to help you.
Leia jumped at the voice and then moved out the way as Akilah came at her with her staff again.
What the hell? Leia thought.
Just trust me. I've never steered you wrong before.
Leia frowned and then blinked as it dawned on her. So this woman's voice belonged to the spirit.
You'll help me? Wait a minute. Who are you? Leia asked as she struggled to hold back Akilah's staff as she lay on the ground.
Leia heard a mental sigh as the voice said, My name's Ahsoka and I was a friend of your mother and father. Now no more questions. You'll find your answers later. But you have to hurry and let go. I can't keep this up for long.
All Leia heard was that the spirit knew her mother and father and that was all she needed to know. Ok.
Luke, who was worried about Leia and prepared to step in if her needed to, watched in amazement as Leia suddenly threw Akilah off of her and pushed herself off the ground onto her feet. She twirled the blade in her hand with the skill of someone who knew a lot more about the force than Luke was certain she knew and suddenly the fight became a lot more interesting as Leia met the Akilah's staff stroke for stroke. Then she used her free hand to put her hand out force push Akilah, but the warrior met with resistance and it became a battle of wills to see who would be pushed.
In the end both of them flew through the air, but Leia flipped in midair and landed on her feet. Akilah managed to land on one hand and flip herself over onto her feet.
"Master Luke," Threepio said in surprise. "Where did Miss Leia learn such feats? Why I had no idea she was such a skilled and talented fighter."
Artoo beeped a dry response that sounded to Luke like, "Neither did I."
But Luke wasn't so sure it was Leia at all. She was getting some help and whatever help it was wanted this to be over with quickly. Luke guessed it was a temporary thing and he guessed right because Leia's movements were slowly but surely becoming slower and more tired.
What's happening? Leia asked.
I told you I couldn't stay very long. If you hadn't insisted on being so mistrustful of me I could have stayed longer, the spirit replied dryly.
Leia felt the presence leave her and distracted by this didn't see the swing of Akilah's staff. The woman made a quick strong blow to Leia's right side and the girl slid across the field. Leia coughed up and spit out the sand that had gotten into her mouth before balling up her fist in anger.
"Hmp. If you were going to lower yourself to defend a man, the least you could have done was won. You have shown yourself to be as worthless and weak as he. I've never seen a woman so pathetic," Akilah said standing over her.
Leia growled in anger and hate for the woman who dared to put her down like she was an animal. It was the same way people had treated her when she was a slave, as worthless, good for nothing. This wasn't just about defending Luke anymore. Her own pride and dignity was in the picture now, and she'd be damned if she let a snobby stuck up arrogant woman like Akilah lay waste to it.
Then she felt something. There was a power in the force, growing stronger the more she focused on her rage at the woman and it was begging Leia to use it. Leia grabbed hold of it.
Akilah kicked Leia in her side with a scoff and started to turn away when Leia got shakily back to her feet. But Leia didn't care. She snatched the woman's staff away with the force; however Akilah was not deterred as she jumped through the air and made to fight Leia with her own strength. Leia put her hand in the air to stop Akilah mid jump and tossed her to the ground as hard as the power flowing through her would let her. Then, when the woman started to get back up, Leia raised her hand.
Luke was staring stunned as he felt something dark overshadow Leia. He recognized it. It was the same power he used when he choked people, the same one he felt when he really wanted to get his warning across to someone. But he had never seen Leia use it, not at all. Electricity began to cackle around Leia's outstretched hand, and then lightning shot out of it at Akilah. It was only for a few seconds. Luke was sure of that, but Akilah looked like she had just suffered the worst torture at the hands of an enemy.
Leia stopped and put her hand back down to her side before walking up to Akilah and kicking her much in the same way Akilah had done to her.
"Next time you want to smack someone for no reason weaker or stronger, think about me. Who's pathetic now?" Leia snapped and let go of the power she had briefly clung on to.
Luke ran to Leia and grabbed her in a hug.
"You did it," he yelled, but Leia was in a daze. What had come over her? It was so powerful, so mesmerizing… addicting.
"Have them both captured," Nadiyya suddenly said.
"What?" Luke and Leia said turning to the mother.
"You have broken my people's greatest law and number one rule. Never concede or turn to evil. You used the dark side." she said. "We find it a great disrespect to our culture and while normally one of our own would be exiled, outsiders must be punished."
Luke and Leia stared in dumbfounded shock for a moment before exchanging a look and turning back to glare at Nadiyya.
"You're a bunch of hypocrites. Your whole karked up tribe," Luke snapped.
Leia continued. "How dare you accuse us of conceding to evil when you commit the greatest crime there is? You've enslaved innocent people just because of their sex and not only enslaved them, but have warped and twisted them so that they think it's their place, that your obscene behavior is normal. If using this 'dark side' as you say makes us evil then you, your tribe, and your entire society and culture are an abomination to the entire galaxy and you deserve the wrath of every god and deity there is for your crime."
Luke could have never said it better himself. Leia always was the more articulate one out of the two of them. She'd make a good senator.
"We'll be leaving now," Leia snapped. "And I promise if you dare try to follow us I won't hesitate to lay waste to this place with this so-called dark side."
With that Leia pulled Luke away from the field and toward the forest where their ship was.
"Let's go Threepio and Artoo," Luke said to the droids who were already hurrying to follow.
As they stepped over the branches and leaves and thick brush to get to their ship, Leia was cursing all the way. Luke, though not as angry as Leia, understood it. It had brought back the memory of being stepped all over and treated like she was nothing.
He went next to her and threw his arm over her shoulder.
"It's over now Leia. Let them be destroyed by their own ignorance. You shouldn't worry about it," Luke suggested.
"I can't help it. I hate people who think that way," said Leia clenching her fist and uncurling them.
"Well we're not there now, so why waste your energy dwelling on how much you hate them?"
Artoo began to say something in urgency and Luke, who could understand binary much better than Leia, pulled her behind a large tree and the two droids followed.
"What did he say?" Leia asked.
Luke shook his head.
Shield our presence.
How? Leia asked.
I don't know but you do it all the time to yourself when you're mad at me. Just do it, Luke sent.
Leia said and closed her eyes as she saw her and Luke's presence in the force, their force power. She willed the light to dim a little before she couldn't sense Luke's presence at all.
What's going on? Leia asked.
Luke looked around the tree and watched as someone, Tytus walked through the forest. He felt a burst of anger as he thought about the hand he had taken from him. How he'd like to grab the man by the neck and choke him. He was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't see Leia peak around the corner next to him until he heard her stifled gasp. When Tytus was gone, she grabbed Luke's hand and started to run back to their ship. Luke was running with her as Artoo and Threepio yelled for them to slow down.
When they got to the Queen Amidala, Luke checked the ship.
"You think he found it and sabotaged it?" Leia asked
"No. It's fine. He didn't find it. But we have to get out of here," Luke then stopped and swore. "Stang there are trackers on the ship. Two of them. One of them must be Tytus'."
"How much you want to bet the other belongs to Darth Vader?" Leia muttered and then added, "How do you know him anyway?"
Luke started up the ramp and replied in a sheepish way, "We kind of helped each other a while back. Remember when I told you an Imperial helped me back on that planet where they were going to wipe out the population?"
Leia remembered alright. It was the night Luke had his first drink. He hadn't made a habit out of drinking but Luke did take some when something was weighing really heavy on his mind and that was rare.
"What about it?" Leia asked and then in dawned on her. "Darth Vader helped you."
"Yeah," the boy said a little too casual for Leia's liking. "And before you even say it I gave him the third degree on why he was helping me. You'd have to meet him. The guy has a heart somewhere… Kind of. He almost let me go like it was some kind of game for him."
Leia began to fuss and Luke in disapproval, and then stopped as both she and Luke felt the disturbance in the force.
"The village," Luke said. "He was heading back that way. We have to help them."
Luke started to run down the ramp and then noticed Leia was standing stubbornly with her arms crossed.
"Give me one good reason why we should help them?" Leia snapped. "They treated you like dirt and then had the nerve to accuse me of using some dark side of the force like holding people as slaves wasn't evil."
Luke sighed. "But Leia they don't deserve to die. Not like that. They may have the force but that guy has more skill than any of them. I know it and her might have had a detonator or something."
"Luke," Leia said firmly.
"Leia, those people may be wrong in their views but that doesn't give us the right to condemn them to death, not like that," Luke said softly.
Leia clenched and unclenched her hand before groaning and shouting. "It's not about that. It's about you Luke!"
"What did I do?" Luke said getting angry.
"You're going off to do this hero thing. We've done a lot of stuff Luke, but we've never taken on a jedi. He wants to kill you and he can probably do it," Leia screamed storming back into the ship.
Luke stomped behind her. "Leia Skywalker, get back here."
Leia stormed into her room and closed the door. Luke tried to open it, but Leia had locked it. Luke groaned and moved his hand over it. The door opened and Leia was sitting with her back turned, obviously trying to hide her tears from Luke. But Luke could feel her pain and sadness.
"Leia," Luke said softly, all anger gone from him as he went to sit next to her and put his left arm over her shoulder.
Leia leaned into him. "I don't want him to kill you Luke. We've always had the advantage before, but if we go now…"
"I'm not going to die Leia. We've been okay this long and besides, if people only got into stuff when they had the advantage, then imagine what kind of galaxy we'd live in," Luke muttered and then kissed Leia on her forehead. "I have to do this. I bet my dad would have. But I'm not going to make you come with me."
Leia looked at him alarmed. "What?"
"I'm going to go face Tytus. You need to get away. Darth Vader will be here soon and I don't want him to get you. Go somewhere safe. Maybe you can find Han again."
Luke felt Leia's presence flare as she got ready to argue.
"Leia please. Just this once," Luke asked. "Don't argue with me."
Leia sighed. "Okay."
Luke smiled. "Good luck Leia. May the force be with you."
"And with you," Leia said as Luke walked away from her. She heard him go down the ramp and then felt him presence fade as he headed for the village.
When he was far enough away she stood up and grabbed one of her best most powerful blasters and hooked it onto her belt.
"Miss Leia!" Threepio said. "Master Luke specifically said-."
"Luke said not to argue with him," Leia said in determination. "And I didn't, but I'm going to help him. He's never abandoned me, even when he had the chance and I'm not going to abandon him. If he dies, I'm going with him."
"But Miss Leia," Threepio said following her down the ramp.
"You two stay here," Leia said. "If we're not back… No. We'll be back."
When Luke got back to the village it was on fire, by what looked like thermal detonators. He ignored some of the dead bodies of the warriors as he ran to Mother Nadiyya's hut. He had a feeling he would find Tytus there and he did.
Akilah was trying in vain to defend Nadiyya from Tytus as he screamed at her.
"Where is the boy? I know you're hiding him!"
"Quite frankly I have no clue what you are talking about, but even if I did I wouldn't tell you after you have ransacked our village," Akilah declared.
"Liars! All of you. I know he was here and if I can't have him I'll kill you all," Tytus yelled as he got the best of Akilah and made to cut off her head.
"Stop," Luke yelled
The two woman and Tytus stopped to look at Luke.
"I'm the one you want. Leave them alone," Luke snapped.
Nadiyya and Akilah looked at him in shock as Tytus grinned.
"I knew it. Too much honor to run away from a fight," he said with his light saber.
"No you're the coward!" Luke yelled. "You're hurting innocent… well maybe not so innocent people. But the point is they didn't do anything to you and neither did I. If my father did something to you, that's between you and him and he's dead."
Tytus laughed. "Dead! Dead! Your father's not dead you sithspawn! He's very much alive and I'm going to kill you for what he did when he betrayed the jedi!"
Luke blinked. "My father's alive?"
But Tytus didn't answer as he came up to him with his light saber. Luke used his left hand to light his own and block the oncoming attack. Tytus laughed.
"You want to lose the other hand too! Fine!"
Luke wasn't that crazy. He stepped back to avoid a repeat of what happened on Alderaan and then used the force to push Tytus. The problem was that Tytus was much more trained in the force although Luke knew he was more powerful, and so the dark jedi gained an upper hand over Luke, sending Luke flying face first into a wall on the hut. Luke winced as he raised a hand to his chest. That was at least two broken ribs.
"And now you die Luke Skywalker," Tytus said getting ready to spring himself towards Luke until the sound of blaster bolts sounded in the air.
Instead, the man jumped to get out the way and Luke looked around to see Leia in the doorway.
"Hey jedi," Leia shouted. "If you're going to kill Luke then you have to get through me first."
Luke shook his head.
No Leia. Run away, he sent to her weakly but Leia ignored his voice in her head. In fact, she blocked him out.
"You shouldn't play with guns little girl," Tytus yelled and summoned the blaster out her hands, but that didn't deter Leia. She grabbed hold of it with the force as it flew through the air and slammed it into Tytus' head.
Blood ran down the man's temple as he cut the blaster in half and flipped into the air to land in front of Leia. She lifted her arm up to punch him, but he grabbed her arm and twisted it so that she was forced to turn around if she wanted to relieve the pain. Tytus groaned and made to kill her with his light saber.
"Leave her alone!" Luke said managing to ignore the pain in his chest and ram into Tytus. The man fell to the ground, his light saber flying through the air. Then remembering his original target, he threw Luke off of him, and instead of trying to call his light saber to himself, he resorted to fighting the boy with his bare hands.
"Luke!" Leia screamed. "No!"
She started to go help him, but then stopped. A dark presence had entered the hut and Leia turned around to face the second man they had been avoiding.
Vader would have been out of breath if it weren't for the respirator that regulated his breathing. He didn't know what it was, but he knew he had to get to those children. They were in danger, and he wasn't quite sure why he was so concerned. No, Vader thought to himself. He wasn't at all concerned per say, but the children were his prey and he would not let anyone, especially a jedi, get to them first and kill them before he got them. Besides, he couldn't interrogate them if they were dead. He'd take out the jedi, and then he'd deal with the children afterwards.
He locked eyes with the girl who was staring at him with unconcealed fear. Vader imagined she was so worried about her brother that she wasn't even trying to. In fact, she looked like she was trying to choose between two evils. As he looked into her eyes, her brown eyes that brought back memories of his dead wife, he felt the overwhelming need to take away all her fears just like he frequently did for Padmé.
"Stay there," he told her and walked past her to where Luke was fighting Tytus and loosing badly.
Leia watched as Vader went to intervene and stop Tytus. At that moment, she didn't care that Darth Vader had been chasing them for a little over three years, or that he was second in command of the empire that she and Luke had wrecked havoc on for the last three years. All she cared about was the fact that Vader wanted them alive and at that moment he was Luke's saving grace, their knight in shining black armor.
Luke was barely conscious when Tytus stood up having gotten him to stop resisting and fighting. Luke didn't have a fight in him anymore. His chest hurt, he had a headache and the room was spinning.
Tytus summoned his light saber to his hand and raised it over Luke who was resigned to his fate.
"And now, as your father betrayed us and turned his blade against the jedi, I will do the same on his son and the jedi will have their vengeance."
Tytus struck down, but Vader's red blade interfered.
"For whatever violation the child's father committed against the jedi, you will not have your vengeance today," Vader declared.
"Well how ironic…" Tytus yelled and lashed out at Darth Vader. "The person who destroyed the jedi in the first place. Do you know that boy is the son of a powerful jedi?"
"I didn't need you to tell me that," Vader said honestly. There was no way children with force potential like that weren't children of a jedi.
"Then I would be doing you a favor by killing him," Tytus yelled.
"I don't need any favors from you," Vader said easily keeping up with the man who was fighting in an angry uncontrollable crazed state. "Your quest for vengeance has made you insane jedi. Your powers cannot match up to the power of a true dark sider, a sith."
Leia crawled over to where Luke was ignoring her throbbing arm.
"Luke," she muttered brushing her fingers through his hair. She would have held him but she didn't want to unknowingly make the matter worse. "Stay with me."
Luke smiled despite his swollen and scratched up face. "I'm trying. As long as you don't go anywhere…"
"I'm not," she replied as she looked up at where Darth Vader and Tytus were fighting or weren't fighting. Darth Vader had disarmed Tytus and had his saber to the man's neck.
"This is the end for you jedi."
Tytus laughed. "If you kill me, you'll never know their secret. You'll never know who's father that boy really is."
"That is of no consequence to me," Vader said and killed the man without a second thought.
Vader turned to face the girl who was watching him with relief that the dark jedi was dead. Vader noted that she didn't at all seem intimidated that he was Darth Vader. In fact, she was looking at him curiously for a moment before her brother coughed and blood came out his mouth.
"Luke!" she said in panic.
Vader bent down to touch the boy and felt his presence in the force diminishing. It probably would have already done so if the girl's presence hadn't latched on to his and was keeping him alive with her life force.
"He doesn't have long," he admitted.
Leia looked up and glared at Vader. "No. He's not going to die. He's not!"
Then the tears that she had held back to fight fell down her face. "I won't let him."
"No matter how much you hold on to him, it is likely that he will die soon. Your life force has latched on to his to sustain it. If you don't let go of it before he dies you will die too," Vader said standing up.
Leia stood up to glare at him and if the situation weren't so dire, Vader would have been amused by the girl's attempts to intimidate him and she was at least a few inches more than a foot shorter than him.
"You cold heartless monster," she screeched and began to pound on his chest with her fist. "I don't give a kriffing hell who you are. I'm not going to let him die. Never!"
Vader simply stared at the girl in surprise at her boldness. Then again, desperation could make people do startling things. He should know…
"Be rational child," he said using the force to stay her hands. The pounding was getting annoying. "There's not much that can be done for your brother."
"Yes there is," Leia tried to shout but her voice was raw and it came out as a desperate whisper. "Yes there…"
Leia then remembered what Luke told her.
The guy has a heart somewhere…
She broke out his force hold ignoring his surprise at her ability to do so and set her stubborn pride and ego aside.
"Luke… He told me you helped him when I got sick with that virus. You told him where the cure for it was. Please. I know me and my brother have been nothing but trouble to you for the last three years, but I can't lose him. I know you can help. You can take us to the best doctors in the galaxy," Leia pleaded desperately.
"Child…" Vader began.
"What do you want me to do?" Leia asked as she got down on her knees. "I'll beg you if I have to. I'll be your prisoner for the rest of my life. It doesn't matter. I'll do anything you ask. Just help me save his life. I can't live without him. I won't let him die."
Vader was taken back to a little over sixteen years ago when he remembered himself saying the same thing to Palpatine.
I'll do whatever you ask… Just help me save Padmé's life. I can't live without her. I won't let her die.
He then felt something he hadn't felt in a long time… sympathy. He knew what it was like to be taken advantage of like that, to be willing to sell your soul to save the person you loved and he knew what it was like to have that chance stolen right out of your grasp. He would not cause that pain for another.
"Are you willing to risk your own life for his until we can reach a facility that can tend to his needs?"
"Then we must hurry. We don't have a lot of time. We'll take my ship," Vader said.
"No. We'll take our ship," Leia argued. "I think Luke will be more comfortable there."
Both Leia and Vader turned around to see Naddiya and Akilah. Leia had honestly forgotten the two women were there.
"What do you want?" Leia snapped.
"We owe your brother our lives and in our culture that makes him an equal to us. Take the rancor. They can transport your brother safer than you can by caring him," Nadiyya said. "Akilah will escort you."
Vader wanted to mention that they hardly needed an escort, but let the woman strap Luke to a makeshift medical capsule and tie him to the rancor. They sped through the forest, careful not to disturb Luke. When they were at the ship, Vader was vaguely aware that this was the same ship the two had stolen from Naboo but had painted black. Leia jumped off the rancor and ran up the ramp while Vader carefully lifted Luke down with the force and carried him onto the ship.
"Over here," Leia shouted from where she was in the small medical bay. "Artoo. Start the ship! Luke's hurt. We have to leave now."
Threepio walked in the room at that moment and gasped in shock.
"Oh no! Miss Leia. Darth Vader's on the ship."
"I know. Now shut up," Leia snapped as she watched Vader put his hand on Luke's forehead. "What are you doing?"
"I'm putting him in a trance. It will help him save his energy until we can get to a better medical facility," Vader said to her.
Leia nodded and when she felt that Luke was okay for the moment she started for the cockpit and Vader followed.
Leia started to sit in the pilot's seat, but then realized she had no clue where they were going and stepped aside to let Vader take the controls. She clutched her japor snippet and closed her eyes saying a silent prayer.
"Just hold on Luke," she muttered not caring if Vader heard her or not. "You're going to be alright."
In the next part, Leia anxiously waits for news on Luke's condition with Darth Vader, but Darth Vader is proving to be much more than Leia can handle as he seems to be the only adult that has ever been able to get a handle on her attitude and smart mouth. She finds out why when he sees her necklace and reveals that he gave to his wife, who wore it up until the day she died when she was pregnant and it makes both Vader and Leia come to a startling conclusion about it...
Okay that's the end of this arc. Arc two will be up regular update time. I hope you enjoyed this. Review Please!