Natures
A Green-Eyed Jedi Mud-Fight Challenge ’Fic
Part Two – Rising

Rating: PG
ThrawnMcEwok

Anakin Solo stood beside his Mistress as they rode the turbolift up to the landing-pad, the edges of their thoughts locking in the Force like lovers’ hands.

He smiled.

Around them, the world sang. First, the mineral notes of the layered rock-strata in the cliff-face, and then the bright decks of the base and its garrison — clear, composed thoughts balanced in the lucid, freshly-scrubbed air. Then his smile became a grin.

The lift car rose up through the waters of the Great River, the current flowing past them at right-angles to their own movement; then, he felt the warm friction of the braking shields on the inner walls of the lift tube, balancing the cool embrace of the water wrapped around the outside. They were slowing fast, but the water was gaining speed, gathering inexorably towards the crest of the Falls.

His grin grew huge.

He could feel the drop, as well — as vast and breathtaking in the Force as it was seen with the naked eye.

Finally, as the lift car rose above the waterlevel, he caught a brief sense of the lattice-like geometries of the landing-pad’s foundations. And then they had stopped, and the doors were sighing open, revealing the flat deck of the platform stretching away in front of them.

The Jade Shadow was already settling on its landing sleds, Uncle Luke’s X-wing circling protectively before performing an abrupt braking-drop, touching down neatly on the far side of the bigger ship.

He composed his face into a warrior mask, and glanced at Lumiya.

“You ready for this, Lord Martel?”

“As rockets, Mistress,” he whispered, allowing a thin smile to show.

She looked away, her expression set — and he gasped in surprise as a sudden, painful tightness grabbed him, the clench of an invisible crushing-claw.

“Just remember who’s in charge, Apprentice,” she breathed.

“Yes, Mistress,’ he nodded, trying to pretend he didn’t enjoy it.

She nodded back, as though content, and he breathed again as she relaxed her Force-grip.

Then, together, they stepped out together onto the hard, armoured deck.

Anakin felt his grin grew again as the breeze rippled through his tunic and breeches, but the smile slid away quickly as he calmed himself and leveled his gaze, looking around the vast expanse of open deck.

The landing pad was the only part of the base above the surface, set on its piers above the rippled, flowing surface of the Great River, squarely across the middle of the main channel. A phalanx of turbine generators set between the main supports harnessed the river’s strength to provide auxiliary power for the base, while the ’lift tubes within the piers served as the main personnel and materièl access to the facility, and there were mooring points for river patrol cutters along the flanks, below the overhang of the pad itself.

But all that was secondary, insignificant. What really mattered was the immense open-air landing-platform on top, fifty metres long by two hundred wide.

A vast, perfect duelling-piste.

It had been designed and built in pure anticipation of this single moment.

Anakin glanced sideways at Lumiya — at Shira, he reminded himself. Sheathed in mirrored armour beneath a heavy midnight cloak, only her green eyes were visible behind the mask of her war-helm. On the most basic level, the armour was a life-support mechanism for a broken body — broken when Uncle Luke had shot her TIE Fighter apart. But his grandfather had saved her life and taken her as his own Apprentice, and he had given her every technological advantage that had been developed too late to help him.

It was a little-known fact that Lord Vader had devoted a considerable chunk of the income from his personal fortune to funding bleeding-edge prosthetics and medical cybernetics.

More recently, Anakin had made a few improvements himself.

Few Sith, he suspected, would have allowed their Apprentices to remove their masks and strip them down to soft, scarred skin and exposed circuit-boards. Certainly, few who were as proud and vulnerable as Lumiya — so naked without their armour.

No, that smooth steel armour was a part of her, now physically bound, fully integrated into her cyborg neural net, and suffused with her life-force by modified Ssi-ruuvi technology.

And — to him at least — she was still beautiful.

His gloved fingers traced along the smooth steel cuff of her gauntlet, and he watched her fingers close into a fist in response. She glanced back at him, her eyes level and cool.

But beneath the mask, he knew that she was smiling.

Anakin grinned back, and then turned his attention to the two Jedi ships. The canopy on Uncle Luke’s fighter was up now, the landing ramp of the Shadow lowered. Together, Mistress and Apprentice waited for the two Jedi.

Luke Skywalker swung himself neatly over the side of his cockpit and dropped to the deck, as agile as Anakin was himself. It hardly mattered that he was several inches shorter and more than a few kilos lighter. He wore a battered old combat flightsuit, the chrome cylinder of his lightsabre looking oddly out of place on a belthook at his hip.

And as he turned towards them, his wife ducked out from under the Shadow’s bow hatch, and Anakin found himself grinning. Mara Jade Skywalker moved with an elegance and grace that few people could match. He’d always enjoyed watching her move — and not just for the reasons most people would call ‘obvious’.

She was, he supposed, a little bit like a living lightsabre.

“You take Skywalker, Lord Martel,” Lumiya instructed him, with a flicker in the Force that suggested she’d read his thoughts. “Mara Jade is mine.”

Anakin just nodded, and broke left, tugging his own ’saber free from his belt — the lightsabre that had belonged to his grandfather, and then to Uncle Luke. He had given it to Aunt Mara, but Shira had taken it from her, last time they had met.

And she had given to him.

He clenched the hilt in his right hand — steel, leather, steel — and circled left towards uncle Luke. He thumbed the catch with his mechanical thumb, and the blue-white blade snarled like a fang.

Ahead of him, Uncle Luke paused momentarily, and brought his green blade up in guard. Anakin tried not to look into his eyes. He looked along the blade instead.

“What’s the matter?”Aunt Mara asked, moving right towards her husband. Her voice was raised above the gusting wind, but the air still whipped at her words. She was more worried than she would admit. “Lumiya? Sending your pet to take on Skywalker while you try to take me down?” A smile spread across her face, and Anakin couldn’t help but grin back. He switched his blade up into guard to hide his expression.

“I’m good too, Aunt Mara,” he answered, blue eyes flashing in her direction, like Force lightning. “You should know.” He inched towards her. “We could take her first, milady. Then Uncle Luke.”

“Stay there,” Lumiya admonished, uncoiling her lightwhip, and taking up a fighting-stance ahead of Aunt Mara. The lashes snapped out, a jagged tangle of electric energy and razor-sharp vibrowire slashing through the air between him and Aunt Mara. “Jade is mine.”

“As you wish,” he nodded. “Mistress.” He turned away, with the briefest of nods to Aunt Mara. “Uncle Luke.”

“Anakin,” Luke said, his voice as he strode beneath the Shadow’s bows. “This is your last chance. You can stop this. We can, together. Join us.”

“I already have, Uncle Luke,” he said, with a lopsided smile. “It’s called a quadrille. You, me, Mistress Lumiya, and Aunt Mara.”

Luke frowned, but it was only a feint. The green blade was moving, down and in. A disarming thrust, aiming for the wrist.

Anakin’s blade twisted in his hands, the pitch of its song rising as he switched it round to block his uncle’s strike.

And then they clashed together in a star of multi-coloured light.

To Part 1 | To Part 3


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