Title: In Motion
Characters: Xanatos and a few more favorites (I can't ruin the surprises now).
Disclaimer: I don't own anything or make any money.
Summary: My own special take on A Christmas Carol involving some favorite SW characters. I started writing this on another site and am sharing it here now.
The sun had long since set over Thani, the capitol of Telos. A winter storm had blanketed the ground in soft snow and no doubt captured the imagination of the local children as to what the next day would hold. It was the night before the Festival of Kish which would celebrate the winter solstice and some believed it was a magical night.
Most households had already settled in. However, the lights in one room of the estate belonging to Xanatos Marojni were still lit. One of the room's two occupants sat, deeply absorbed in a datapad. He paused to glance up at his companion. Though the other man appeared to also be reading, it was more than obvious that he was far from focused.
"You seem distracted," Xanatos posed.
Soren's eyes widened slightly, making him look like a child who had just been caught doing something wrong.
"Forgive me, Sir," he replied. "I … my mind …"
"There is no need for such apprehension," Xanatos chided.
"Tessa … she asked me to try to get home early this evening," Soren explained. "With the Kish Festival tomorrow …"
"Early was some hours ago," Xanatos pointed out. "You best get going."
"Are you sure?"
"I for one would not want to earn the ire of a woman – at least not if I had to live under the same roof with her," Xanatos murmured. It still baffled him why a man would choose to be tied down and essentially domesticated. "I will see you when I return"
"Are you certain it is okay that I remain here? I should accompany you on this trip."
"Like you said, it is the Kish Festival. Your place is with your family," Xanatos replied, though his voice lacked conviction. "This trip is more personal than business anyhow."
"Thank you, Sir."
Soren left the room, and Xanatos sensed him hurry from the estate grounds. He checked the time, sighing heavily. It really was late and he could catch up on his reports during his trip the following day. He stood from his desk, shutting out the lights before leaving his office.
There was no need to bundle up in a warm coat or to crunch through snow and ice and brave the chilling winter winds. His quarters were in the same residence. He quickly made the trip there and changed into silken sleep pants and a robe.
A fire crackled in an old-fashioned fireplace. Modern heating units were arguably more efficient, but Xanatos found them sterile and lacking character. A fire added warmth in more ways than one. From a well-stocked liquor cabinet, he selected a bottle of his finest Corellian wine and settled into an armchair.
Every night was the same. He tried to calm his racing mind and keep memories from the past that threatened to haunt him at bay. At times, he wondered if he should try to take up meditating again. He usually gave up on the idea and ended up drinking himself to sleep.
It was in this time before bed that uncertainty gnawed at the usually confident man, tonight especially. All over Telos, families were anticipating a day of celebration yet he was alone. At times he was able to convince himself it was better this way – that he preferred to be alone. Deep down he knew it was a lie.
Xanatos took a sip of liquor, letting it burn down his throat.
It was his own fault he was alone – no it was another's and that man, Qui-Gon Jinn, would soon pay for all he had done.
A disturbance in the Force jolted Xanatos from his brooding, an impossible presence flaring to life. Xanatos looked up with narrowed eyes and listened as footsteps started up the stairs. He could hear chains, clanging and clattering as they were dragged along with each step, echoing in Xanatos' ears and causing the hair on the back of his neck to rise.
Good sense dictated that he run, hide, draw a weapon, something. Yet, he sat there glued to his chair either out of curiosity or sheer stubbornness that a childish fear would not drive him from his own room. The presence was in the very room with him now and he found he could barely breathe. A soft blue glow lit the room behind him before a voice spoke.
"This is … this is not possible," Xanatos protested, though all his senses told him it was true.
"You should know that nothing is impossible with the Force."
"And what would you know of the Force, Father!" Xanatos spat out finally turning around. "You never understood …"
He wasn't prepared for what he saw. The specter bathed in an ethereal glow was undoubtedly Crion Marojni but not the imposing man he had been in life. His clothing was tattered and the same chains Xanatos had heard earlier were coiled around his father's gaunt body. Xanatos reached out a hesitant hand to lift the chains and ease his father's obvious burden but found that his hand passed right through the ghost.
"There is nothing you can do to help me, Son. These chains are because of the life I led, because of the devastation and destruction I brought to so many," Crion said sadly. "But I have come to offer you hope."
"Hope?" Xanatos murmured with a chuckle. "What makes you think I need hope?"
"I know what you have planned."
The simple statement caused Xanatos' blood to run cold. No one - not Soren, not any of his employees knew what he had planned. He turned his back on the apparition, reaching out with a shaky hand to pour another glass of wine.
"How much of that have you had tonight?" Crion asked.
"I am seeing a ghost. Either too much or not nearly enough," Xanatos bit back. "Does it matter?"
"You have become me … or at least who I was in life."
"Are you finally proud?" Xanatos spat out angrily. "It's what you always wanted."
"I know, and I was wrong." The specter reached a transparent hand toward his son's shoulder. It was a gesture he had never given in life and one he was now unable to offer in death. Crion hesitated for a moment before speaking again. "I come with a message. You will be visited tonight by three more spirits. Please son, I beg you to listen to them before you are lost forever. It is too late for me, but not for you."
Xanatos whirled around to give his father a considerable piece of his mind but found the room empty. The specter was gone, leaving him to wonder if it had simply been a figment of his imagination.
He needed sleep. That was all. Retiring to his sleep couch, he allowed the warm dullness from the alcohol to claim his mind and fell into a deep sleep, deeper than any he had experienced in quite some time.
The sleeping man was oblivious to another presence in the room, one that spoke with gentle fondness.
"Sleep now, Xanatos – just for a little while. I have much to show you when you next wake and you will need your strength."