It was nearing nightfall when they ran into some Jawas.
The Jawas had an interesting story to tell. For nearly thirty years the Tusken Raiders brought woman of varying species and varying ages and left them in the remains of a village. A village that had been completely wiped out by something; something powerful and deadly. A shaman had revealed that the village had taken and killed a female of value to the creature. The shaman suggested leaving females in the remains of the village and see if the creature would take one to replace the female that had been killed.
Leia had her suspicions as to what that something was but didn't voice it.
Finally Leia directed Kitster to Obi-Wan's hut.
Everyone climbed out of the speeder and headed inside.
It looked just like the last time she saw it.
Leia barely slept all that night and the little sleep she got was plagued with nightmares that might have been Visions. She could also hear Ahsoka and Jix pace off and on when she was awake.
Han slept like a rock, of course.
The early morning found Leia sitting on a rock watching the suns rise.
She could feel the sorrow, despair and regret that Obi-Wan had felt over the years. She wondered idly if Obi-Wan always felt this way or if he had ever felt any hope while he was here.
Leia turned her eyes to what would soon be their destination.
Hold on Ailyn, we are coming.
Ailyn shivered as the alien set her in a tent that radiated pain, despair, a sliver of hope, death and blinding rage.
The alien tied her to a stake in the ground and exited the tent.
Hot tears of fear ran down Ailyn's face.
Mommy, Daddy, help me!
"We are going to need our ship." Han said. "That is the only way that we are going to get away from the Raiders."
"I can take Kitster and his family back to Mos Espa and pick up the Rekindled Dream and head for the Village." Jix said. "I would rather blast them for taking one of my little girls but that will have to wait."
Leia nearly nodded in agreement.
In the end it was decided that the Banai family would travel with them to Coruscant and that everyone except Leia and Ahsoka would travel back to Mos Espa to get the ship and the Banai's things.
Leia watched as the speeder took off across the desert.
She waited until she could no longer see the sand that it kicked up before leading Ahsoka towards the village.
They walked for several hours before arriving at the place. They paused on a sand dune and looked down at the remains of the village.
She had only felt this kind of pain in several places: the Jedi Temple, Alderaan, in orbit of Eras and now here.
Beside her Ahsoka growled.
"There's only three Raiders down there." She said to Leia.
"Once we get the signal from Han we will move." Leia told Ahsoka.
Finally Leia's commlink beeped twice. Leia reached for her lightsaber and the Ashlan lightwhip she had made before standing and running down the dune with Ahsoka at her side.
A Tusken cried and soon all three were running towards them.
Ahsoka ignited her lightsaber and took off the neatest one's arm. The Tusken howled in pain and fear. The other two backed up.
"Get Ailyn," Leia told Ahsoka as she took a position between the Tuskens and the hut that contained Ailyn.
Ahsoka raced to the hut and quickly ducked inside.
"Mommy!" Ailyn's voice cried.
Ahsoka turned her head and saw Ailyn sitting on the ground tied to a stake in the ground.
Ahsoka used her lightsaber to cut the cord and quickly scooped her middle child into her arms.
"I thought that I would never see you again!" Ahsoka told Ailyn. "Me too," Ailyn whispered.
Ahsoka ran her hand across Ailyn's montrals only for her daughter to whimper.
Ahsoka took a deep breath and ducked outside of the tent.
"I've got her!" Ahsoka called to Leia and then ran away from the village. Leia used her lightsaber to destroy the Tuskens blaster rifles before turning and following Ahsoka into the desert.
Leia watched as Ahsoka examined the bruises on Ailyn's montrals, there were several. "They hit me if I make noise." Ailyn explained.
Finally the roar of the Rekindled Dream's engines reached them.
The ran out of the cave they hid in and raced up the ramp.
The trip to Coruscant was uneventful.
And for that they were all grateful.
Finally they docked in the Hanger that was reserved for the Jedi Temple's bigger ships. They squeezed into a speeder van and headed for the Jedi Temple.
Once inside the Jixtons hurried to the Halls of Healing to see to the bruises on Ailyn's montrals and lekku.
"Thanks for the lift to Coruscant, now I just hope I can get a job." Kitster said.
"I know a few people that would love to have someone with your talents working for them." Han said. "And if not than I can talk to one of my friends and they might be willing to give you a job."
"Why don't you call them up now and see if you can arrange something." Leia said. Han nodded and hurried off.
Leia called out to Master Kira Dasha as she walked by.
"Where is my brother?" she asked her. "He was requested by the Sippschaft to help them with something. They were rather secretive but they meant him no harm. Young Mara Kryze went with him." Kira explained.
"When do you expect him to return?" she asked Kira. Kira shrugged. "A week, maybe two." Kira responded.
"Thank you Kira." Leia said.
"Mommy, see Ani?" Bail asked.
"Of course we can go see Ani." She replied.
"Ani miss us?" Bail asked curiously. "Maybe," Leia replied.
She led Kitster and his family through the corridors of the Temple to her and Han's quarters
"I am sure that you are all drained from the trip so I will let you rest up if you want to." Leia said as she opened the lock via the Force and made sure that the keypad was activated at the same time.
"There is a window that you can look out at the city from and the refresher is over there. The bedchambers are through the other doors and the kitchen area is the open place over there." Leia explained.
Tamora smiled with relief. "Thank you!" She said and led Ji and Elly into the main bedchamber.
"So when are you getting your disguise off?" Kitster asked as he surveyed the main room.
Leia shrugged. "Tomorrow I guess or later today." She replied.
"No!" Bail snapped. "Bail stay like Ailyn!" he declared.
"You are going to take a nap!" Leia declared.
"No!" Bail wailed.
Leia mentally winched at the noise.
"Bail Ruwee Solo, you will not take that tone with me." Leia said as she tried to pick up her nearly two year old son. Bail fought and squirmed.
At that moment a cloaked figure appeared from the kitchen.
"Ani!" Bail shrieked and ran to the person standing in front of the kitchen
To Leia's relief her father made no move to pick her son up.
Bail, irritated and sleep deprived, started to yank on Ani's cloak.
"Up!" Bail demanded.
"Only if you behave and take a nap." Ani replied.
"He's getting to the 'terrible twos' stage." Kitster commented. "Just don't give into him."
"Up!" Bail wailed. Ani shook his head.
Tired and frustrated Bail threw himself on the floor and screamed. Things shook slightly and a vase shattered.
Bail suddenly stopped his screams and stared at Ani.
"Enough," Ani told him softly.
Bail reached up and Ani picked him up. Within a few minutes he was fast asleep.
"I am sorry that you had to witness that." Leia told Kitster. "Ever since we went to Tatooine he didn't really have a nap."
"I understand." Kitster said. "I have two young ones myself."
"He has his mother and grandfather's temper." Ani said.
Leia rubbed her eyes with her hand and nodded.
"Kitster?" Ani suddenly asked.
Leia nodded again.
Suddenly Ani was talking a mile a minute.
"Are you going to introduce me to your silent friend?" Kitster asked.
"Kitster, this is my father Anakin Skywalker." Leia said.
Kitster stared at the silent figure.
"All the reports say that he died nearly five years ago." He blurted out.
"He's a Force Ghost now." Leia explained. "But you can't tell anyone about him."
"I missed you buddy. Wald freed me shortly before the Clone Wars." Kitster said. "He missed you too." Leia told Kitster.
"Can he talk?" he asked. "Only Force Users can hear him." Leia told him.
"I always knew that you were going to go out with a bang Ani." Kitster said.
"I have two kids now, Ji and Elly. They are so special to me." Kitster said.
"He says that children are always special to their parents." Leia said.
'Wald now owns Watto's Junk Shop and he does quite well with it. Jira died some years ago. They now hold Swoop Bike races in the Pod Racing Area as well as Pod Racing; not at the same time though."
Ani shook slightly, probably laughing.
"I even met Lord Vader before I got married for the first time. I was smuggling supplies to Argo IV and was stopped. I wasn't even questioned. One of the troopers told him who I was and he said that there was no reason to hold me." Kitster said
"I should check on Tamora and the children." Kitster said after the story.
Leia watched Kitster enter the room that Tamora and his children were in.
"Why don't you put Bail in bed. I am sure that it would be easier than holding him." Leia said to her father.
Ani nodded and disappeared into the Master Bedchamber.
Leia then sat down on the couch. It was good to be back home.
There will be a story featuring Luke and Mara's adventure. It will be on the Before the Saga Board since it takes place in the past.
Did I say time travel?
The Thrawn Fic will be posted whenever I write the first chapter.