The Gallows Rating: PG

This is for the First Sentence Challenge.

A wicked smile formed when her jailors were forced again to stop their progression in order to get their prisoner under control, but she would do anything to give the rescue party every opportunity possible to make their move before she reached the gallows. She closes her eyes as they roughly shove her back into position, and stretching out with the Force can feel her friends close by. She lets a hint of maliciousness flicker into her eyes, as she opens them. A quick prod from a blaster, starts her walking again.

In the distance she can see the gallows; they look old and wooden, a rope already swinging lightly in the morning breeze. She wonders for a second on the archaic style of the execution. Why would they hang her? Why not shoot her or poison her.

She stretches out with the Force again, and can feel her friends even closer than before. Looking at the guards around her, she reaches out, and with a quick flick of the Force, unlatches the stun cuffs. As they are falling, she grabs them, and swings them into the blue face of the nearest guard.

She laughs as he flies backward, and turns her attention to the next guard, as she starts stalking towards him, two more jump her from behind. A hard blow to the head stuns her enough so they can once more put the cuffs on her. Dragging her to her feet, they push her back into line, yelling something in their native tongue.

This time her smile is not quite as wicked, not quite as big. She reaches out with the Force, and is still able to feel her friends, they're still advancing. She looks towards the ridgeline where she can feel them, but all she sees are trees and brush.

She sends a clear thought through the Force. What's taking so long?

And frowns when no answer is forthcoming. Thinking back she wonders what possessed her to come back out here, why on earth would she willingly return to Chiss space.

Then she remembers the answer. Jagged.

She stretches out, and can still feel her friends out there. Can still feel them coming towards her. Then she sees them arrive. Not as a shining cavalry to rescue her, but as unconscious prisoners, carried on stretchers between two Chiss.

She sees Shawnkry walk up to her, a ghost of a smile visible on her lips. "Well, Jedi Solo, what do you have to say for yourself now?"

She smiles at Shawnkyr and once more releases the stun cuffs and slams them into her face, putting all her Force-enhanced strength behind it. As Shawnkry collapses, Jaina finds herself screaming. "That's what I think about it, you cold-blooded, blue-skinned schutta!"

She screams, as the butt of a blaster rifle is slammed into her lower back. Dropping to her knees, she looks up at the sky, wondering if this is really how it is going to end.

Her Chiss guards do not put the stun cuffs on this time; just drag her back to her spot in the line. They stand her up, and when she once more collapses to her knees, they kick her.

Then she can feel a new presence in the Force. Looking towards the gallows, she smiles and stands up once more. Hope finding purchase in her heart once more. Maybe all is not lost; maybe this new Force presence is here to save her.

And at that moment she can feel a wailing in the Force. She stops as the realization that one of her friends is dead hits her. Then almost stumbles as the Chiss behind her pushes her with his blaster, urging her onward.

They continue their unending march towards the gallows, as she gets closer, she can see them taking someone down. Someone wearing a StealthX flight suit and with curly blonde hair.

Jaina can feel the tears as they start to fall. She had prayed it was anyone but Tahiri, even though she knew it was the entire time. Some part of her hopes that Tahiri now has the peace that she was missing in her life, that has been missing in all of their lives since Anakin was taken from them.

She now stands before the gallows, looking up at the rough wood and course rope. Stretching out with the Force, she can feel the Force user almost close enough to touch.

She starts going up the steps to the platform, slowly, methodically. She wonders for the first time, if this Force user will get here before she reaches the top.

Unfortunately it was not to be.

As they place her in the middle of the platform, one of her guards slips the noose over her head.

Then Jag walks up, and reads from a datapad. "For crimes against civilization and the Chiss Empire, Jedi Knight Jaina Solo has been sentenced to death by hanging."

Pausing for a second, he looks at the datapad, and then continues. "For violations of the Treaty of Kr, Jedi Knight Jaina Solo has been sentenced to death by hanging."

She watches him through her tear-filled eyes. He doesn't look at her, he just continues reading. "And finally for throwing away my love, Jaina Solo has been sentenced to death by hanging." He puts the datapad away into a pocket and looks at her for the first time since he came on the platform. "Does the condemned have any last words?"

"I'm sorry Jag, it was never supposed to be this way."

She can see the fire as it flashes in his eyes. "Then you should never have sided with those stupid bugs over me."

She calls out his name, as he turns from her and walks away.

Then with a blast in the Force, she watches as a new person lands on the platform in front of her. He throws back his hood, revealing her twin brother. She can't help but call out his name, "Jacen!"

Hope at a rescue once more blossoms in her chest; salvation is here is what she thinks. Then she looks into his eyes, and realizes that is not the case. "Jace?"

"It is time to die little sister, you are not worthy of being a Solo or a Skywalker. Sword of the Jedi? Ha! More like the little butter knife of the Jedi. It will be better for everyone if you die here." He grins at her, cold and malicious. "Oh, I'm afraid I was just too late to save you little sister, but don't worry, Mom and Dad and Uncle Luke will mourn your passing."

Jaina starts to cry as Jacen walks away without looking back at her.

She looks down as the platform drops out from beneath her.

And then sits upright in bed, a scream still echoing through her bed chambers, the fear of death and abandonment clinging tightly to her. She looks around her room, and sees her brother sitting up on one of the other beds, her fears, reflecting from him through their twin bond. In the final bed, is Anakin, still happily asleep, ignorant of the scream whose final echoes are just now fading.

A few moments later, her mother walks in, and sits on the bed beside her. Jaina feels dwarfed by her mother, and clings to her, sniffling. She can hear the soothing words and tones that her mother is saying, as the final dregs of the dream fade away.

Jaina looks up at her mother. "Momma? I don wanna be the sword of the Jedi okay?"

Leia looks at her daughter, and hugs her close, then kneeling beside the bed so she can look into her eyes, she catches her breath. Leia stares for a second, scared of the pain and deprivation that flashes through the eyes of her five year old child, before those eyes once more calm down into pools of darkness. She kisses Jaina's forehead. "You can be anything you desire Jaya, but for now, it is time for bed."

As Leia gets up and begins to walk from the room, she can hear her daughter speak once more. "I'm sorry momma."

She turns back to Jaina, and can see the little girl is once more sitting up in her bed. "Whatever for baby?"

"I'm going to not like you and Anakin's is going to Mrykr and he isn't going to come back."

Smiling she walks back to Jaina and kisses her forehead. "It's just a dream, go back to sleep."

She once more tucks Jaina in, and walks from the room, as she lies down in her own bed, she allows the memory of this night to slip from her mind.

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