Star Wars: Legacy of the Skywalkers: Redemption
Authors Warning: Taking place right after the pages of Legacy of the Force: Invincible with one little minor change Jacen Solo is spared by his sister Jaina and captured by the Jedi. This is the series of stories of Jacen's redemption and the revelation of a new threat to the Jedi, the rise of the Sith on Korriban.
Disclaimer: None of the Star Wars characters mentioned in this story belong to me. They belong to DelRey and Lucas. I am only borrowing them for fan purposes and I hope to return them slightly battered, but not broken.
The location was right in the heart of the Jedi Enclave on Shedu Maad, guarded by only one little astromech droid, R2-D2. He was given strict orders to notify Master Skywalker if the occupant within the little room had awakened or was showing signs of using any Force powers. Of course, that was nearly impossible with at least three ysalamiri surrounding him in the room. Still, only a handful of people knew who laid in that particular room, and the two apprentices that had carried the occupant there had their memories rubbed away lest they spill it to any other curious apprentices in the Enclave.
It was a sterile room and the occupant was in a horizontal bacta tube, bubbles occasionally bubbling up to the surface of the bacta as a ventilator kept him breathing in a steady rhythm. Newly healed scars, visible across his body were tinged a bluish-pink from the bacta, but the most visible scar was still the stump that was formerly one of his arms. Another mechanical contraption held his foot and ankle fast together, the scar of the cut tendon never to heal and would most likely be replaced with a prosthetic if the occupant would allow it.
R2-D2 twittled a bit mournfully as he swiveled his optical lens to look at the only other occupant in the room besides the young man that laid in the bacta tube. Luke Skywalker placed a comforting hand on his faithful droid's dome in an attempt to reassure him. "I know Artoo ..."
The Jedi Grand Master of the new Jedi order stared at the broken man that had been his nephew Jacen Solo, twisted by the dark side to become Darth Caedus, spared at the last minute by his compassionate twin sister Jaina, and spirited here into the heart of the Enclave to heal and perhaps, begin his redemption. He didn't know when or how Caedus would feel when he finally woke up, but he knew that it was imperative that his presence in the temple and throughout the galaxy be kept a secret for now. The official report was that Caedus was killed by Jaina during the harried battle in the Transitory Mists.
Only he, Jaina, her parents Leia and Han, and Master Cighal knew that Caedus had survived. Luke couldn't even tell his own son, Ben, that Caedus was alive, partially out of grief, partially out of fear of what his son would do with the knowledge. While he had a feeling that Ben wouldn't lash out against Caedus, he still couldn't be too sure.
He could feel his own torrent of emotions churning underneath his calm exterior, memories of Mara coming to the forefront of his mind as he stared at Caedus' battered, but healing form. How could his own nephew be so driven to the point to even kill his own family members? He realized Corran and the other Jedi Masters were right, and even he was right, if he had gone after Caedus, then he would be lost to the dark side.
A faint beep of his comlink made Luke glance down before thumbing it on. "Skywalker here."
"Master Skywalker, we've been trying to reach you, are you all right?" Kyp's concerned voice flooded the comlink and Luke realized that when he had entered the ysalamiri filled room, he had essentially stepped into a void of the Force, cutting himself and others off from his presence. He knew it felt like making himself disappear into the Force, but he also knew that it was a bit too dangerous to linger like this people would get suspicious.
"I am fine," he replied, "I was meditating."
"Understood," Kyp replied before taking a deep breath, "the Council of Moffs is requesting your presence aboard the Anakin Solo."
"Jagged's not fielding their requests?"
"He is, but he also says it's pretty important."
"Got it, I'm on my way," he shut the link off before turning to Artoo, "alert me through the private channel if anything changes, all right?"
His droid beeped an affirmative before Luke walked out, making sure to Force-lock the door behind him to prevent anyone from accidentally stumbling into the room. He coded the Force-signature so that only a member of the Skywalker or Solo clan would be able to come in. It would prevent Cighal from entering, but he knew that there was nothing the Mon Calamari healer could do until Caedus awakened. He also knew coding the signature would run the risk of having Ben be able to de-code it and enter, but he trusted his son enough that if he found out, he would be able to keep quiet about it until he had the chance to explain everything.
Taking a few deep breaths, he cleared his mind of any thought about Caedus and focused on the task at hand, rebuilding a shattered coalition.
* * * * *
Ben Skywalker hadn't realized he had turned fifteen just only days ago and surprisingly, he didn't feel that much older. He had heard from his friends back before the war started that turning fifteen, in Coursanti terms, made you legally an adult. But Ben knew that he was an adult long before he had reached his fifteenth life day. He felt like his childhood was just one little blur before the Swarm War made him grow up real fast.
Still, others had apparently realized it too and he had been awakening for the past few days to find a few presents sitting in his bedroom or in the living room of the suite he shared with his dad in the enclave. While the childish part of him still was glad to get presents, the adult part of him was boggled at how people could remember such trivial things. Then he realized that he remembered the most miniscule details himself so he supposed people just remembered random things.
"Hey Ben!" a voice brought his head up from his meditation and he looked up just in time to catch something that flew at his head mid-air with the Force. The projectile turned out to be a small disk of sorts and Ben caught it in his hand before staring at the person who threw it.
"Happy Life day Ben!" Valin Horn, one of his good friends, almost a best friend / older brother of sorts, waved at him, and behind him was his sister Jysella, a grin on her face as the two of them walked towards him.
"What is this?" he held up the disk, curious.
"A surprise. We found it on one of our previous missions and decided to wait for your life day before we gave it to you," Jysella was almost as tall as her brother and the two definitely made their father, Master Corran Horn, dwarf in height. Next to each other they could almost pass for twins, except for the slight difference in hair color.
"Thanks," he stowed the present in his pocket before getting up, feeling his kneecaps pop a bit from sitting so long in meditation. "How was your mission?" He knew that his father had sent the two to do reconnaissance and some intelligence gathering on some of the other worlds that had once supported the Corellians, but were now wavering in light of the Imperial Remnant joining with Darth Caedus' forces. But since that was over now, all of the Jedi were slowly making their way back to Shedu Maad to see old friends and family before the Council was to give them another assignment.
Even with the signing of the peace treaty between the warring forces, he knew that the political climate was still very hazardous and the Jedi were needed to keep the peace for the time being until Chief of State Daala could send in her ambassadors to keep the peace. He had heard the former Admiral's speech about how the Jedi weren't needed and knew that while that eventuality may happen, it wasn't going to change overnight.
Valin shrugged cracking a very lopsided grin, "Better than being inserted onto Courscant."
Surprisingly, Ben found that it was an effort to give his best friend a half-smile in return and knew that it stemmed from his own recent experiences on the planet.
"Bad joke Val," Jysella noticed his discomfort and ribbed her older brother who winced.
"Sorry Ben," he apologized and Ben shook his head.
"S'okay," he shrugged, "no blood, no report."
"You've been hanging with Dad too much," Valin shook his head before gesturing the way to the general mess hall, "food?"
"Sure," he followed them. Even though he had eaten before he sat down to meditate, he knew that it could be a while before he saw his friends again, especially since the war had ended and a lot of open wounds needed to be soothed, politically speaking. He knew that he himself was probably slated to go on a mission soon, especially if his father knew him as well as he had thought. He didn't like to linger in places and felt like that he had to go other places in order to discover more truths.
As soon as they grabbed their food and sat down at one of the empty tables, Ben watched as Valin attacked his food, eating like a hungry madman. Next to him, Jysella practiced restraint and ate in small bites.
"We haven't had anything to eat since two days ago. Val here had us escape into a garbage chute and we spent a day and half navigating our way out of it," Jysella said before looking up as a small furry brown animal landed on their table, staring at the food and at them with curious round eyes.
"Oh!" Valin stopped mid-bite before tossing the furry little creature a couple of small pebble sized fruits at it to which it took and chittered happily before munching on them.
"Second thing he does when he gets back, feed his pets," Jysella seemed resigned to the fact and sighed.
Ben had to smile at the two's antics and for cheering up him. He hadn't realized his meditation had brought down his mood and was glad for the distraction. "What's the first?" he decided to humor her.
"Shower," she wrinkled her nose, a very unladylike gesture, "the other apprentices avoided us like the plague until we got back to the family suite. Good thing Mom or Dad wasn't there; otherwise we'd probably wouldn't hear the end of it."
"Including Ulya and Helu'shacor?" Ben teased, "I wonder what Syal or Myri Antilles think of the two other girls."
"Hey," Valin stopped his eating again and gave him a pointed look, "those two will get over it and Syal is engaged already so her opinion doesn't count."
"You noticed he didn't mention Myri at all, hmmm," though rarely anyone save his closest friends knew that he had a wicked teasing streak. Even his dad didn't know the full extent of it, having kept it hidden for most of the war.
"Uncle Wedge and Auntie Iella don't know about it either so it's a good thing the Errant Venture is still in orbit," Jysella grinned at him.
"I heard that," Valin glowered over his food before absently tossing a few more of the pebble-sized fruit to the furry animal who gobbled them up. "And don't tell me about girls when I heard that you traveled with two Hapan women, especially since they call you handsome."
Ben frowned, "They called almost every single male Jedi they stumbled into handsome and even some of the non-Jedi personnel too."
"I'm sure," Valin just gave him a smug look, "you're just not used to the attention women will lavish on you. Little Ben all grown up now ..."
"Wow, definitely handsome," a voice spoke up a few feet away from them, startling the three Jedi sitting at the table.
Ben was quite surprised that he hadn't sensed the presence of Taryn and Trista Zel as the twins sat down next to them, eliciting giggles from Jysella and a bewildered look from Valin.
"You were definitely right, Taryn, he is quite cute," Trista stared at Valin who was starting to turn a bit pink from the attention the two lavished on him, "and tall ... double bonus points."
"I appreciate the flattery, but you are ...?" Valin managed to compose himself.
"Trista and Taryn Zel. We're the Queen Mother's cousins and bodyguards," Taryn held out her hand and to Ben's surprise the blush disappeared from Valin's face and instead, he kissed the back of Taryn's hand first before doing the same with Trista's outstretched hand.
"A romantic ... how nice," Trista sighed, "please tell me that you're single, right?"
"Val?" even Jysella was a bit shocked at her brother's antics.
"He's already seeing someone," Ben tried to keep a straight face while avoiding Valin's mock glare.
"First lesson, always be polite to ladies," Valin shrugged, "at least that's what Dad says."
"Definitely a very well-cultured gentleman. Too bad they don't exist within Hapes," Taryn looked wistful before her twin shoved her in the arm, catching her slightly off guard. "What?"
"You already are making eyes at Zekk, Tar don't go stealing my catches," Trista looked a bit annoyed and Ben could see a slightly mollified expression working its way up Valin's face. He realized that almost none of the male Jedi in the enclave were used to dealing with straightforward Hapan women, especially in a culture where women tended to dominate the men.
"But Zekk" Taryn looked a bit sad and he sympathized. No one knew what had happened to the long dark-haired Jedi and Ben didn't know how his cousin Jaina was taking it. She had already been torn between Zekk and Jagged, but with Zekk's disappearance it seemed to crush her even more.
Though he hadn't seen her initially after she had been brought back to the enclave, in the moments she was conscious and responding, she looked like someone had cut a large half of her away and Ben knew that it was probably due to Caedus' death at her own hands and Zekk missing.
Taryn suddenly shook her head as if to clear her thoughts and turned her gaze on Ben. "Anyways, that's not why we're here. We came to tell you that Jedi Solo is awake. She's with her parents at the moment, but her parents and the Queen Mother told us to fetch you."
"That's good," Ben brightened up a bit before getting up, "thank you. Will you be coming with me?"
Trista waved her hand a negative, "The Queen Mother gave us some time to ourselves. Handsome and his sister here will keep us company, right?"
"Sure," Jysella smiled while Valin tentatively nodded.
Ben left the four of them at the table, shaking his head before heading to the medical wing of the enclave.
* * * * *
Ben's walk to the medical wing was almost uneventful save for occasionally sliding out of the way of a few of the younger apprentices running down the halls in a game of tag. Occasionally one of the older Knights or Masters that happened to be in the halls shouted out to the groups of children to stop running or to slow down. To him, it was a bit perplexing that just days ago they were at war and now, a sense of normalcy had fallen within the enclave and things seemed to settle down.
Though he could definitely still sense the undercurrent of warning within the Force, it was more muted and calm. He supposed that many were tired of the war and of fighting so to have at least a peace of sorts instead of just running around and hiding from the Galactic Alliance and Caedus' forces, they allowed themselves to relax.
Entering the medical wing he asked one of the healers which was Jaina's room and was directed to a room all the way in the back of the wing. Stopping at her door, he knocked politely, feeling a spark of happiness within the Force that was her presence and also sensed Aunt Leia and Uncle Han in the room too along with two other Force presences he couldn't quite identify.
The door slid open and he stepped in, a smile on his face as he saw his cousin sitting up in bed, looking much healthier than when she was floating in a bacta tank or hanging from the bacta mist-curtain like thing that had briefly boggled his mind a couple of days ago. Freshly healed scars were still visible on her face and her bare arms, but otherwise, he was glad to see her.
"Ben!" Jaina greeted him with a smile, though he could tell it was still tingled with some sadness.
"Glad to see you doing better," he nodded before nodding to Uncle Han and Aunt Leia. He turned and bowed slightly to the Queen Mother of Hapes Tenel Ka Djo. "Highness."
"We are glad to see you," she greeted formally before Ben finally noticed the dark-haired girl holding onto one of Aunt Leia's fingers, staring inquisitively up at him.
He knelt down to her eye level and stared at her, brushing her presence with the Force and felt a sense of familiarity but couldn't quite place it. "I'm Ben," he said in an easy tone before holding out his hand to let her shake it.
"I'm Amelia," she released Leia's finger and instead grabbed onto his outstretched hand, "are you my cousin?"
Ben blinked once before staring up at his Aunt and Uncle who nodded. He felt like they were hiding something but decided against probing them with the Force. Besides with all of the Force-users in the room, it would definitely be a bit rude to do so.
"Amelia's parents were killed during the war so Han and I decided to adopt her," Leia said, "we're going to sign the official papers soon, but we figured you'd like to meet your new cousin first."
"And see me," Jaina spoke up, sounding left out.
"Actually I was going to see Amelia here, but since you're awake, how are you feeling?" Ben sent out a teasing tendril in the Force towards his older cousin who reacted with a bit of surprise.
"Ben ... I didn't know you had such a teasing streak in you," the corner of her lips tugged up in a slightly lopsided grin
"It comes and goes," he shrugged, "but I bet you guys didn't call me in here just to meet Amelia, right?"
He was once again rewarded with hints of surprise in the Force even though none of their expressions showed it. He had to figure it was because they still thought of him as a kid and not as an adult or Jedi Knight.
"As soon as I recover, I'm heading out on Jade Shadow to search for Zekk. I was wondering if you wanted to come along," Jaina looked at him and Ben was curious as to why his cousin was asking him to search for one of her wayward boyfriends. Granted he had been saddened and puzzled as to how Zekk had seemingly disappeared from the last battle, but he had thought Jaina would want to search alone, preferring her status as the Sword of the Jedi do the work for her.
He glanced at the others, now completely confused. If Jaina wanted him along then she could have just asked him when they were alone.
"Han, Amelia, and I are also coming along in the Falcon. We figured we could use the break and actually take a vacation of sorts for once," his Auntie Leia smiled before Han shrugged.
"Basically kid, we're getting out of here before anyone else asks us to interfere in a political crisis and Luke asked us to take you along since according to the public perception right now, you're practically a hero. I would think the Moffs with their Imperial Mission would want to ask you to join in their recovery and propaganda efforts while Chief of State Daala," here Han looked a bit ill at saying the words and Ben had to crack a small smile, "would want to make you some sort of high leader within the Galactic Alliance Guard."
"But it's all up to you. If you do want"
"No way," while Ben appreciated the efforts his father and extended family was trying to do to protect him, he also knew that he didn't want to be used as a political tool. "I'll come and find Zekk. Maybe then we can both talk some sense into him for disappearing on us in the middle of a battle."
"Good, I should be able to move in ... two days, probably less so we'll leave then, all right?" Jaina grinned at him, definitely a lot more cheerful than when he had first walked into the room. Ben nodded, glad that he was going to be able to spend some quality time with his cousin ... and perhaps, he would be able to settle the feeling of anxiety he had within him ever since the war ended.
* * * * *
Authors Notes: Not too much action and mostly exposition. I wanted to set stuff up for some action next chapter, but Ben wouldn't cooperate with me. Oh well, we'll see where this story decides to go. After all, it follows the will of the Force.
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