Star Wars: Paths of the Jedi
Valin Halcyon

Rating: PG
Shadow Chaser

Author’s Note: Okay, based on Revenge of the Sith, the Empire has eighteen years to exist before Luke and his cohorts decide to turn it upside down and inside out. Also based on I, Jedi and a bit of math calculation, it seems to me that Nejaa probably did die in the Clone Wars, just not really right after like Stackpole had intended. So if Corran is around Luke’s age that would have to make Valin “Hal” Horn/Halcyon about twenty or so give or take a few years near the events of Revenge of the Sith. Which means, he would have probably have already met or about to meet his wife Nyche and have Corran soon after in order for Corran and Luke to be about the same age. That would make Nejaa probably around ten or so years younger than Qui-Gon or something like that, probably in his forties or fifties.

Originally, Valin was ten when Nejaa died, but it seriously wouldn’t have made any sense in terms of timeline stuff. Now if Nejaa had died after the Clone Wars, then he, Ylenic and the Jedi codenamed Desertwind wouldn’t have survived the purge with all the Clone troops running amok, even with Corellia neutral in the whole war.

At the time of this writing, I have not read Jedi Trial yet. Argh, damn the screw-ups of the Prequel lines to mess things up.

Oh yes, this is probably going to be a Valin Horn centric fic. Maybe Corran Horn too. Depends on how far I get. And I’m very convinced that the person codenamed Desertwind is none other than Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yay! I thought it might have been Anakin, but rereading parts of I, Jedi made more sense that it’s Kenobi.

Timeframe: Two and half years into the Clone Wars ...

It was rumored that if Corellian Jedi left their home system, they may die in battle and never return to their families. Eighteen-year-old Valin Halcyon brushed his hand gently over the homespun rough fabric that was a part of his father’s outer cloak. The fabric was a dark brown, one of the few things that weren’t green. Green was what marked him as a Halcyon — and those were his garments, folded neatly and piled underneath the robe.

It wasn’t a rumor to him anymore. It was the truth. Tears that had been pricking in the corners of his eyes fell slowly down as he reached to pick up his father’s lightsaber. The craft work was beautiful and he knew exactly how his father made it. It would have been a few years later he would make his own under his father’s supervision.

He knew of the Jedi Council on Coruscant’s ways of teaching apprentices and taking Padawans at pre-teen ages, but for Corellian Jedi, especially the Halcyon line, they taught their own at a later age, letting them first enjoy the joys of childhood before teaching the ways of the Force. He knew many on the Jedi Council had frowned upon the Halcyon line as being a Jedi dynasty, but they didn’t really do anything about it, after all their gifts were very valuable to the Jedi Order.

But also knew that while the Council and Order could be stubborn, they were also very compassionate for their fallen comrades.

“Nejaa’s death was a loss for the Order as well as for me. But your father did not die in vain, Valin,” Ylenic It’kla’s gentle voice rumbled behind him, “ he died a hero, saving mine and General Kenobi’s life.”

“I know,” Valin murmured as he stared at his father’s lightsaber. He hadn’t even felt his father’s death through the Force, but he could feel the hollowness inside of him. He felt the slightly furry hand of the Caamasi Jedi rest on his shoulder in comfort.

“We Caamasi ... have a special gift, Valin,” Ylenic sounded very reluctant and it finally broke his attention away from his father’s lightsaber to stare up at the golden furred face. “We have discovered as a species that we could share memories among ourselves. With non-Caamasi species, it is only with Jedi, but the bond between each other must be strong. I do not know if our bond would be strong, but you are the son of Nejaa and there might be enough of strength to let me share his last moments with you.”

“What about mom?” Valin asked, curious.

“I was told that the Halcyon line had unique strengths and one of them was projection and illusions. I was hoping you could share this with your mother so the both of you may be at peace,” Ylenic blinked his luminous eyes once, “if you don’t want to —“

“I want to see it,” Valin immediately made the decision. He was two years past the age of adulthood and it was time he started acting like it. “Please ... Master Ylenic ...”

Ylenic regarded him with his luminous eyes once before reaching out and taking his left hand. “Are you ready?” he asked, but he wasn’t looking at Valin, instead he was looking at his mother, Scerra, sitting on the couch, tears running tracks down her face. Sitting next to her and stroking her back was Rostek Horn, who was an uncle of sorts and his father’s partner in the Corellian Security Force. Standing behind them in the corner was the famous and legendary Jedi General of the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who at the moment, looked at peace, but saddened, too.

Scerra barely gave a nod before she started to cry once more. Valin wanted nothing more than to hold his mother and tell her that everything would be all right, he was here for her, but he also wanted to see his father’s last moments.

“Uncle Rostek?” he asked.

“If you feel like it,” was his uncle’s reply, “I mean no intrusion in your life Valin.”

Valin turned back to Ylenic and stared at the Caamasi for a long moment before closing his eyes and sinking into a semi-trance-like state that his father had taught him. He opened himself up to the Force, relishing in its wave of joy and energy, feeling it renew him, washing away some of the heavy grief in him. He focused on touching the minds of his mother and Uncle Rostek. There was no way he was every denying his uncle. He had known him as long as his father was working for CorSec.

Finally, he touched Ylenic’s alien mind to tell him he was ready. And then ... everything changed. He wasn’t Valin Halcyon anymore; he was Caamasi Jedi Knight, Ylenic It’kla. His father’s name was Spicewood, and General Kenobi became Desertwind.

The swirl of the memni permeated around him and he did his best to project the image to Rostek and his mother, but he didn’t know if he succeeded or not. After the last vestiges of the image faded, he could feel tears tracking down his own face and stared up at Ylenic’s golden-furred face. Behind him, his heard his mother sobbing as his uncle comforted her. She probably saw the images then ...

“T-Thank ... you,” he whispered, almost unable to get the words past a very painful lump in his throat.

“Valin,” General Kenobi’s gentle voice made him turn to see the great Jedi Master coming towards him. He noticed that his mother was crying too hard to even acknowledge anything around her. Kenobi stood eye to eye with him, and there was a compassion in those blue eyes that he had rarely seen in any of the other Jedi that had come to visit his father, especially some of the Corellian Jedi like Adi Gallia. Perhaps Kenobi did know something about family and wasn’t any of those stuffed-up Jedi who had devoted themselves to celibacy and the Jedi Order.

It made him respect the General even further.

He placed a comforting hand on his right, the one holding his father’s lightsaber. “The Jedi Council requests that your father’s lightsaber be brought to Coruscant to be displayed at the Museum honoring his noble sacrifice. Usually there would be no argument, but you are Nejaa’s heir and you have a right to deny that request.”

Valin understood what the General was asking of him. Nejaa would be one of the many Jedi lost in the Clone Wars, but his sacrifice would be honored at the Temple and perhaps show some of those who are so set in the ways of the Jedi Code that perhaps bending a few rules wouldn’t hurt them at all. He also knew that his father’s honor would be preserved ... Kenobi could have easily taken the lightsaber away from him and said that the Council wanted it on display, as he was probably ordered, but he was giving his family a chance to keep the most treasured thing in the world with them.

A glance to his mother told him that she would be of no help, still in the throes of her grief while Rostek was staring at him with a measured look. His uncle’s eyes told him that he was a man now, and this was his decision alone.

Looking at Kenobi, he nodded, “The Temple may have my father’s lightsaber. He died a heroic death and would like to know that his friends would honor his memory and sacrifice.” Glancing down at the lightsaber in his hand, he pressed activated by pushing the button twice, letting its silvery glow fill the room. Staring at the silver shaft of light, he let his senses stretch out and could feel the lingering presence of his father before deactivating it.

He handed it over to Kenobi who took it and put it in the folds of his robes. “Thank you Valin. You are more mature in your young years than I was at your age.”

Valin knew that Kenobi was trying to give him some measure of comfort and accepted it, but he had one more thing he wanted to say.

“War does that to you.”

* * * * *

He couldn’t use the Force anymore; he could access it, but in doing so might alert Darth Vader and his Dark Jedi to his presence. He couldn’t use his name anymore either, that would most certainly attract Vader and the Emperor. Instead, he had driven his name, Valin Halcyon, deep into the darkest corners of his mind and instead his name now was Hal Horn, son of Rostek Horn, Corellian Security officer, just a year fresh out of the academy. He was one of the oldest academy recruits, as they usually started from age 16, but he was twenty now and the Clone Wars were finally over.

The Jedi Purge was on and it was dangerous being a Halcyon, especially in Empire-leaning Corellia.

After his father’s death two years prior to the end of the war, uncle Rostek had married his mother and adopted him. Perhaps Rostek did have some inkling of the Force, or perhaps he sensed that something big was going to happen on Coruscant, but right after he married, he had brought up Valin’s and Scerra’s files and immediately changed everything in them, erasing every trace that would mark them as part of the Halcyon family line.

At first, Valin was furious at his step-father, but he realized it would be for the best. There were still a few people in the upper-echelon of the government who had hated the Halcyons and would probably be out to get him. So now, his name was Hal Horn, the Hal the only reminder of who he really was.

“Hey Rookie, you up for some Sabacc tonight?” a friendly voice called over and Hal looked up from the report he was supposed to be writing to see his good friend Gil Bastra waving from his desk a few meters away in the office. He had been stationed in the main office in Coronet City as a newbie fresh out of the academy due to Rostek’s influence.

Rostek was currently one of the top Captains in CorSec, pretty close to the Commissioner herself. CorSec wasn’t like a regular police force, they were planetary law enforcement, guarding all of the system’s planets and had operatives everywhere. Each CorSec officer was trained in the basics, but there were also officers who specialized in fields like Espionage, Infiltration, or even Piloting. With his talents shown in the academy, he had high marks in Infiltration and Interrogations.

Hal shrugged, “Probably not tonight Gil. I really need to finish up this report and I’m treating Nyche out to dinner tonight.”

“Awww, little Hal’s got a girlfriend,” Gil teased and Hal frowned.

“Hey, you’ve met her. She’s a nice girl, Gil,” he replied in a wiry voice.

“Yeah, yeah. You’re lucky, man. Getting a girl that fast,” Gil shot back before getting up and slinging on his coat as he was done for the day, “well, if you get tired, the boys and I’ll be at Treasure Ship Row hitting up the bars and ladies!”

“Sure whatever. Just don’t get caught like you did at The Lastdark,” Hal replied. It was a joke, really, none of them could afford to get into The Lastdark nightclub because of its high cost and you had to be invited in. Of course, as soon as he had been stationed in Coronet City, all the guys, led by Gil, had tried to crash the club with minimal success and a lot of headaches for CorSec.

“Come on, would I ever get caught?” Gil smiled sweetly before waltzing out of the door, whistling a nameless tune.

Hal shook his head at his friend’s antics and stared at his datascreen which showed how much of his report he had typed. This was his second case so far and it had involved some nasty smuggling business. There was also a slight incident involving a young boy by the name of Thracken Sal-Solo who, in Hal’s opinion, was a pushy little know-it-all. The incident was just a footnote in the middle of their smuggling sting operation, but Sal-Solo had reported that an intruder who bore his likeness almost kidnapped him.

Hal had been sent to investigate it as the Sal-Solos were a prominent family in Corellia, but he concluded that there was no such evidence.

A quick glance at his desk’s chrono told him that he should finish up the report or else he was going to be late for his date with Nyche. He had planned to propose to her tonight. He had met her a few weeks after Rostek married his mother and he was at the Academy. Nyche Onasi had struck him as a typical girl until he found out that she had a passion for arts and art history. What had fascinated her was battle paintings and relics, especially Jedi relics to which she loved the romantic lore in them. He had met her in a museum when during a break at the academy and the two had lunch together. It was then that he realized he loved her and wanted to keep seeing her.

So they continued dating until now, he was sure he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Arranging his thoughts, he quickly typed out the rest of his report and sent it off to his supervisor before logging out of his workstation. He stood up from his desk and grabbed his nerf-hide jacket. Patting his pocket, he could feel the small box which the engagement ring was in. Having Rostek as a father did have advantages and he was able to afford things in which he really didn’t get when he was younger.

Rostek was one of the old aristocrats on Corellia, but he was also a decent man and Hal was proud to be his son and bear the Horn last name.

* * * * *

He was twenty-one and already a father ... he couldn’t believe it. Bright green eyes peered up at him from the swath of blankets and he smiled down at his son. Tears leaked to the corner of his eyes, Corran looked so much like his grandfather, especially around the eyes and chin.

“My son ... ” he whispered as he cradled baby Corran who gave him a gummy smile and began to gurgle, his tiny hands reaching out. Hal knew he shouldn’t use the Force, but he risked it and opened himself up to its power, feeling the trickle he had kept in the back of his mind wash over him.

The power, in which the Force flowed through him, even though it was a steady stream, was so intoxicating that he almost forgot what he was going to do. It was only with a gurgle of contentment from his son that he focused back on his task. He wrapped the Force gently in his mind and touched his son with it ...

There! A broad smile broke over his face as he realized his son was strong in the Force, perhaps even stronger than he was, and a sense of bittersweet joy filled him. He was happy that Corran was Force-sensitive, but even so, he realized he would have to watch his son carefully and to make sure he did not know anything about his Jedi heritage or anything of the Force.

“Hal?” Nyche’s soft voice interrupted his concentration and he immediately released the Force, bottling it back up to a trickle as he looked over at the maternity bed where his wife lay. They had been married for nine months and their son had been conceived during their honeymoon.

“What is it?” he smiled at her.

“Nothing. You just suddenly got a weird look on your face, as if you realized something wonderful,” Nyche smiled tiredly. She had only given birth to Corran just a few hours ago.

“Oh, it’s nothing, it’s just that, well, it’s Corran. He looks so much like you in ways. I’m so happy, that’s all,” he reassured his wife. Even married, he had never told Nyche who he really was for fear his secret would get out.

A soft feeweep came from the corner of the room and Hal looked over to see a green-white astromech standing in the corner. “Whistler, don’t be afraid, you can come over and see him.”

Whistler was his own personal R2 astromech droid, given to him as a graduation present three years ago by his father. He had personalized the droid to help him and Gil on many of his cases. In many ways, Whistler was a part of the family and even would take time to help Nyche out with her work with art galleries and collections.

The droid extended its third wheel and rolled over before tilting its optical sensor up as Hal knelt down to let the droid see his son. Whistler weedeep'd and Corran stared at the droid for a second before sleepily closing his eyes. Hal laughed lightly at the droids antics before sitting down in a chair next to Nyche’s bed, cradling his son who yawned widely before curling up his fingers to sleep.

“My son ... ” Hal whispered as one of Corran’s small hands curled around his finger.

* * * * *

“I am making this recording for you, Corran, because there are things you should know. Being in CorSec can be dangerous and I don’t want anything to happen to me that would prevent you from learning about our family. I hope and trust right now that we’re sitting together watching this, laughing at how young I looked when I recorded it. If not, I want you to know I love you and have always been very proud of you.

“This will sound like a wild tale, but it is all true. You grandfather, Rostek Horn, is really your step-grandfather. As you know he partnered with a Jedi before the Clone Wars, and that Jedi died serving away from Corellia, during the Clone Wars. That Jedi, Nejaa Halcyon, was my father. He served as my Master before he went away. I was eighteen when he died, and Rostek Horn saw to it that my mother and I wanted for nothing. My mother and Rostek fell in love and married and Rostek adopted me. More importantly, when the Empire began to hunt down Jedi and their families, he managed to destroy records and fabricate new ones that insulated us from the Empire’s wrath.

“I know this is quite a secret to keep for you, but the deception was necessary. I know you, Corran, and know you would have been very proud of your heritage. You would have told others of it, sharing it with them, and that would have been your destruction. Lord Vader and the others hunting Jedi have been relentless. I have seen the results of their handiwork. Keeping you ignorant is keeping you safe. It’s a terrible bargain to make, but the only one that can be made.

“The Halcyon family is well known among the Corellian Jedi. We were well respected and many were the tributes to Nejaa Halcyon upon his death. You can find no record of them now, of course. What the Empire did not destroy, Rostek did destroy or his away — he won’t even tell me where the records are, but I cannot believe he would have allowed all traces of his friend to perish. The Halcyons were strong in the Force but no flashy or given to public displays of power. A word here, an act there, allowing people to choose between good or evil at their own speed and peril was more our way.

“And so, here with this message, I give you a choice. I will be proud of you and love you no matter what you choose. The fact that you say you want to join CorSec has filled me and your grandfather with more pride than you can imagine. There is no greater honor you could show us than to follow in our footsteps. I do want you to know, though, that my choice bridges two paths. While Rostek and my father worked together, CorSec and Jedi, I have used what I learned from my father to work within CorSec. In this way I serve both the Halcyon and Horn traditions.

“If you have the chance, if you feel the need, I hope you will also make yourself open to both traditions. It is not that being a Jedi is better than serving in CorSec — not at all. But there are so few who are able to become Jedi that to turn away from the path is a tragedy. I have been forced away from it. It is my hope that you will not also be barred from it, and if possible, that I will be able to instruct you the way my father instructed me.

“There you have it, my son. Now you know more of who you are and what you have the potential to become. The only limits on you are the limits you will place on yourself. I know that whatever you will decide, it will be the right thing. You’re that good, Corran, and that special. I will know great joy if you bring the Halcyons back into the Jedi Order, but even that will be nothing compared to the joy I know in having you as my son and knowing you are happy and well.”

Hal indicated to Whistler to stop the recording and the droid did with a tootle. He walked over to the window of his home in the suburbs of Coronet City and stared out into the night sky, some of it obscured by the city lights. It was Corran’s sixteenth birthday and he had announced he would be applying for the CorSec academy. A thought that had filled him with joy and troubled him at the same time. During all these years, he felt Corran’s power growing and had called upon his own Force powers to subtly dampen his son’s beacon as not to attract attention.

But it wasn’t that, that troubled him; the Imperials were making their presence known on Corellia, and now they had to liaison with officers and report to them during their cases. He would have to tread carefully now ...

“Whistler,” he turned to the green-white droid who tooted at him, “set encryption code for that message. Play it only when Corran asks about his Jedi heritage or when I tell you to, okay?”

Whistler beeped an affirmation.

“Password, Nejaa Halcyon.”

* * * * *

Author’s Notes: DA collection of short thoughts by Hal, this is part of the Path of the Jedi series that I’m starting. There will be a second part to this, focusing on Hal and on Corran later on. The last part is directly from I, Jedi with only two changes, that Nejaa died in the Clone Wars and Valin was eighteen when it happened. I hope you enjoyed it!

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