AN: You know I don't own Star Wars - Disney does now. So . . . Episode 7 is now a reality. I have mixed feelings about the idea, but I'll personally withhold judgement at least until we know more about it. However, now I'm going to do my own series of fanfics that sort of chronicle my take on the characters' future and the next generation of Jedi. Unlike my other big fanfics, these fics won't be AU (yet - undoubtedly they'll become AU once Episode 7 comes out). There will be quite a few OCs, but the canon characters will be very prominent as well. Think of it like a serial or a written TV series or my own EU or . . . something.

Bit of background before we start. These fics take place sixteen years after ROTJ. Leia and Han's twins Jaina and Jacen are fifteen and they are studying at Luke's Jedi Academy (which is on Coruscant in the old Jedi Temple, not Yavin 4 like in the books), and their younger son Anakin is thirteen and he is just starting his training. Luke is married to my OC Rianna, a Force-sensitive former Naboo queen whom I've used in a few of my other stories (check out "My Mother" and "Destiny" to learn more about her), and they have two children: Mae, who's thirteen and beginning her studies at Luke's Academy, and Owen, who's ten.

Each "episode" will have a few chapters (probably five or less) and then I'll start a new "episode" as a new story.

And the EU will be IGNORED. As usual in my fics, the only EU characters used will be the Solo kids and there won't be any of that shit like Jacen becoming a Sith.

Okay, that was a lot of author's notes. On with the fic.

"Defenders of the Force, Episode 1: New Blood"

By EsmeAmelia

Chapter 1

Luke Skywalker gazed out his bedroom window, wrapped up in his robe, watching the speeders zip around the high buildings against the backdrop of the sky slowly turning pink. There was a slight chill in the morning air, but he didn't mind it. He breathed on the glass, making it fog up, blurring the five towers of the old Jedi Temple. Long had it sat empty, but now it stood tall and proud once again, welcoming the next generation of Jedi.

The generation his daughter would join today.

He slowly turned around, shifting his gaze to the bed in which his wife was still sleeping. Rianna's light brown face was partly concealed by the layers of blankets over which her thick black hair draped. She breathed steadily, making the blankets rise and fall ever-so-slightly. Part of Luke wanted to get back into bed with her, but that would only make it harder to get up when they needed to. Instead he sat down on the edge, scooting closer to his wife, smiling as he gazed at her green eyes slowly opening.

"Good morning, sweetheart," he whispered.

Rianna gave him a sleepy smile. "What time is it?"

Luke grinned back at her, leaning forward as he cupped his hands around her cheeks. "Not yet time to get up."

"Then why are you up?" Rianna reached up and twirled a lock of her husband's hair around her finger. "Let me guess . . . you're worried about Mae?"

Luke gave a smirk. "What? Worried? Me? Of course not, she'll do fine. She's a Skywalker, you know."

"And you're worried."

"Terrified." Luke grinned down at his wife, leaning over to kiss her, but he was interrupted by a cry at the door.

"Mom! Dad! Owen's playing with my robe!"

The parents both glanced at the door. "Well, I guess it is time to get up after all," Luke groaned as he rose from the bed and opened the door, revealing his daughter standing there in her light green pajamas, her shoulder-length black hair in a disheveled mess. "Mae, sweetheart," said Luke, "what's going on?"

"I told you," said Mae, pointing down the hall. "Owen's playing with my Jedi robe and he won't give it back!"

"Well you're a Jedi now, aren't you?" a child's voice called. "Use the Force to get it back!"

Luke stuck his head out the door and gazed over in the direction of the voice. Sure enough, there was his son, wearing the light brown Jedi robe he had given his daughter just yesterday. The color of the robe matched his hair, but it was far too big for him - it dragged along the floor as he swayed from side to side.

"I'm a Jedi Knight!" Owen said in a mocking voice. "I defend the universe!" He put his right hand on top of his left one as if he were holding a lightsaber, then began tilting them back and forth as if swinging it. "Suuuing, thwing, jing! I got a lightsaber and I can cut through anything! No one can stop me!"

Luke wanted to laugh, but he had a feeling that his daughter wouldn't approve if he did so. "All right Owen, that's enough," he said, though he couldn't keep himself from grinning as he did so. "Give your sister back her robe."

"It's MY robe!" hollered Owen. "I'M the Jedi here!"

"Oh really?" said Luke, putting his hands on his hips. "Well then, let's see you fight me with your lightsaber!" He held up his own hands as if holding an imaginary lightsaber.

"Dad!" said Mae. "We don't have time for this!"

But neither the father nor the son listened. They engaged in imaginary lightsaber duel, imitating the noises of their weapons as best they could. It went on for a good five minutes, despite Mae's protests. It wasn't until they both started laughing when Owen finally took off the robe and handed it to Mae.

"Thanks for lettin' me borrow it!" he chirpped.

Mae swiped the robe away from him.

"Remember, you can't get angry!" Owen teased as he rushed back to his room. "Anger leads to the DARK SIDE!"

Luke quickly put his hand on his daughter's shoulder. "It's all right sweetheart, he's just jealous."

"He shouldn't be," said Rianna as she joined them in the hall. "He's got three more years of freedom, after all."

"Yeah," said Mae. "Freedom." She flung her robe over her shoulder. "So, what's for breakfast?"

"Well what do you want?" said Luke. "My little Jedi should get to decide on her first day at the Academy."

Mae rolled her eyes. "Dad, I'm not five anymore."

"You'll always be our little girl," said Rianna. "It's not like the old days of the Jedi when children were taken away from their parents."

"Yeah yeah, I know," said Mae. "The old days when I wouldn't even know who you guys are." She leaned over the railing that overlooked their living room. "Can we have pancakes?"

"Pancakes?" exclaimed Rianna.

Mae turned back to look at her parents, a cheeky grin on her face. "Yeah. Shouldn't we have something special on my first day as a Jedi?" She made her eyes as wide as was possible. "Pleeeaaase?"

Rianna grinned back as she shook her head in wonderment at her daughter's pursuasion skills. "All right, pancakes!"

. . .

Meanwhile, the Solos were already up. With three teenagers needing to be ready for class by midmorning, an early start was the only way to guarantee that they would be ready on time. Right now they were seated around the breakfast table, all in pajamas and bathrobes, eating away at their morning meal before they would have to rush to get dressed and get going.

"Nervous, Ani?" said Jacen.

"No," said Anakin, though he quickly took a bite of cereal after he spoke.

"Well you should be!" said Jaina. "Uncle Luke made us fight each other at our orientation! With lightsabers!"

"Jaina," said Leia, "don't frighten your brother."

But instead of cowering in fear, Anakin grinned at his sister. "That would actually be cool."

"Well it doesn't happen," said Leia, rapidly buttering her toast.

"It would be interesting, though," Han said slyly.

Leia rolled her eyes. "Fine, talk to Luke about it." She bit into her toast, informing her family that she would say nothing more about that subject.

Jaina gave her little brother a small pat on the shoulder. "You're gonna be a great Jedi, Ani. Not as good as me, of course, but good."

"Jaina," said Leia, "remember that the Jedi are humble."

"Suuuure, they are," said Jacen.

Leia eyed her youngest son. "By the way Anakin, don't think that just because I'm your mother I'll go easy on you in class."

"You don't go easy on us anyway," said Anakin.

"True," was all Leia said in response, though she smiled as she ate away at her toast.

"Heh," said Han as he looked down at his food. "Personally, I think you guys need some lessons in non-Force stuff at that school."

"Like what?" said Leia. "Blaster classes?"

"Who needs a blaster when you've got a lightsaber?" asked Anakin. "I bet I'll be the greatest lightsaber fighter ever!"

Leia shook her finger at her son. "Anakin, what did I say about the Jedi being humble?"

Anakin only grinned.

Leia glanced up at the chronometer. "And speaking of which, everybody needs to finish up - it's almost time to go. Come on, eat up, eat up."

Anakin obeyed his mother, but he couldn't help but hope she would go a little easy on him in her classes. After all, she was his mother.

. . .

By midmorning, all the new Jedi trainees were gathered in the Jedi Temple's auditorium, seated in the first few rows in front of the stage for orientation. The parents and other guests were up in the balcony seats, out of sight from the trainees, which meant they could pretend their parents weren't there if they wanted to. Anakin, however, preferred to remember that his parents weren't too far away - it helped to calm the jitters in his stomach. Next to him, Mae was sitting straight up, eyes pointed at the stage, but he suspected that his cousin was probably even more nervous than he was.

"Hey Mae," he said in as friendly a manner as he could muster, "you excited?"

Mae turned around and leaned on the wooden armrest. "Yeah, why wouldn't I be? I mean, Mom and Dad have been preparing me for this my whole life, like from when I was still in utero. So yeah, why wouldn't I be excited?"

"No reason, I guess," Anakin said with a shrug. "I'm terrified, personally. Course, Jaina and Jacen probably already told everyone I'm a troublemaker."

Mae snickered. "Well I don't have any older siblings to spread the word about me. Just my mom and dad . . . and everyone in the galaxy expecting Luke Skywalker's daughter to follow in his footsteps."

"Hey, my parents are Leia Organa and Han Solo," said Anakin.

"Yeah, but like you said, you've got older siblings. I don't."

They were interrupted by a soft female voice making its way down the row. "Excuse me, excuse me," it said. Both Mae and Anakin turned to see that the voice belonged to a Murielen girl around their age. Like most Murielen females, she was dressed in black and wore a matching hood, but a few locks of brown hair came peeking out from under the hood. She was carrying a small device that looked like a lightsaber handle, except the edges were rounded and it had far more buttons.

"Excuse me," she asked Anakin, "is this seat reserved for anyone?"

"Uh . . . no," said Anakin, his eyes widening as he looked at her face. Her yellow-green skin was dotted with tattoos, but her blue eyes were unfocused, as if they were looking at absolutely nothing. He kept looking at her as she sat down, only stopping when he felt Mae swatting his shoulder.

"Anakin, don't stare!" she whispered. "She's blind!"

Anakin gulped. "I . . . I wasn't staring . . ."

The girl looked in his direction, but still not looking at anything, a slight grin on her face. "Were you staring at me?"

"No, no, he wasn't," Mae quickly said. "Uh, hi, I'm Mae and this is my cousin Anakin. We're starting our Jedi training today. I guess you are too?"

The girl's small smile grew into a full-fledged grin. "That I am." She bowed her head. "I'm Tamyra Offee. Pleased to meet you."

"Offee?" said Anakin. "Wasn't there a padawan in the old Jedi Order named Offee?"

"Anakin," Mae whispered.

"Ah, a learned trainee," said Tamyra. "Yes, there was. In fact, Barriss Offee was my aunt. My father's older sister, though of course he never knew her."

"Wow," Anakin breathed. "I didn't know she had any living relatives. Hey Mae, isn't this awesome? First day at school and we meet a relative of an old Jedi!"

"Fabulous," said Mae, folding her arms.

"So, Anakin and Mae," said Tamyra. "You two don't need any introduction, obviously. Son and daughter of the famous Skywalker twins."

Mae's light tan face reddened while Anakin grinned. "Yup, that's who we are, all right," he said. "All three of us have famous Jedi relatives."

"Son and daughter of the famous Skywalker twins?" said Mae, her face still red. "You made it sound like Dad and Aunt Leia married each other."

Tamyra gave her light laugh again. "I think we're going to be great friends."

Meanwhile Anakin couldn't help but glance at the strange instrument she held. "Say, Tamyra, if you don't mind me asking, what's that you're holding?"

Tamyra held up the instrument. "Oh, you mean my sensor? It helps me see. I can use the Force to sense life forms, and this helps me with non-living things. It buzzes when I point it at something."

Anakin grinned. "Neat . . . but, again, if you don't mind me asking . . . can't you get surgery or something for your eyes?"

"Won't help," said Tamyra. "I was born blind. Besides, the problem's in my brain, not my eyes themselves."

She said it so nonchalantly, as if being unable to see didn't matter to her. Well, Anakin supposed that if she had never seen in her life, she wouldn't miss it.

"Have you met my mom and dad yet?" Mae asked.

"Not yet," said Tamyra. "I've heard a lot about them though, but who hasn't? They're some of the most famous people in the galaxy, after all."

Mae blushed again.

"Well my mom and dad are famous too," Anakin quickly said. "My mom's the president of the senate and my dad, well, my dad flew the Kessel Run in under twelve parsecs!"

Just then, the lights dimmed, informing everyone that the orientation was starting. "Welcome new Jedi trainees and parents," Luke's voice boomed over the speakers. "I'd like to thank you all for coming to orientation. Before we begin, I have to request that no one leave during the orientation, since we have some very important things to discuss today, but if it's absolutely necessary to leave, exits are located at the back of the auditorium. I'd also like to ask that you refrain from talking during the orientation unless you're a new trainee asking or answering a question. Also, holorecording is not allowed. Well, I guess that's everything, so enjoy and may the Force be with you." After a short fanfare, the always-familiar golden protocol droid and astromech droid hobbled and rolled onto the stage.

"Welcome, Jedi of tomorrow," C-3PO said in his friendly accented voice. "I am C-3PO, human-cyborg relations, and this is my counterpart, R2-D2."

R2 beeped a hello to the audience.

"Yes," said 3PO. "As R2 just said, you are about to embark on a lifelong journey of protecting the galaxy."

R2 beeped again.

"Yes R2, I was just getting to that," said 3PO. "You are about to step into a larger world. The Force will guide you through your journey into the unknown. It can be quite a scary journey, but remember that you will have Master Luke and your other teachers to guide you. And speaking of Master Luke, his own dear daughter is beginning her training today!" He started waving to the audience. "Hello, Mistress Mae!"

Mae sank as far down into her seat as was physically possible.

"Well I'm sure you will all be great friends with Mistress Mae - she is a most wonderful human," said 3PO, oblivious as always. "Anyway, allow me to introduce another lovely mistress with whom you will be working. Many years ago she was a queen of Naboo, and she continues to serve the galaxy to this very day. Allow me to introduce Mistress Rianna Trenn Skywalker!"

The audience applauded as Rianna stepped onto the stage, wearing her own Jedi robe, her lightsaber swinging from her belt. She bowed before her audience, looking like she was smiling directly at her daughter.

"Don't worry Mae," Anakin whispered to his cousin. "I'm sure your mom won't embarrass you like 3PO did."

"Who said 3PO embarrassed me?" Mae whispered back.

"Your cheeks."

Tamyra gave a slight giggle, but they all snapped to attention when Rianna started speaking.

"Young Jedi," she said in her dignified, accented voice, "I'm pleased to meet all of you. We'll be seeing a lot of each other during your Jedi training." She cleared her throat. "Now I'm sure most of you are excited about swinging lightsabers and moving things with your mind - the 'cool' powers, so to speak - but that's not all there is to being a Jedi. In my classes, you will learn to open your minds to the mysteries of the Force. I like to call my area the philosophy of the Force."

"Oh great, philosophy," Anakin whispered.

"Well, Mom says her classes are interesting," Mae whispered back. "Maybe we'll like them."

"Jaina and Jacen don't."

"The universe is much bigger than you realize," Rianna continued, briefly looking down at her daughter and nephew as if she saw them talking, "and I don't mean just in terms of physical size. The Force helps make us aware of the mysteries we might not notice otherwise. Through the Force we are all connected, as you will learn in my classes . . ."

Suddenly an alarm sounded, screaching in everyone's ears, followed by a droid's voice sounding over the speakers in a panicked tone.

"Red alert!" the voice said. " Red alert! There has been a bomb threat!"