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Old 02-01-2008, 01:33 PM   #1
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[FIC] Children of the Jedi

For any who have read my Heart of the Guardian trilogy and Heart of Deception, you know that I left you hanging with a surprise twist in all things. This is a brand new fic that takes place years later after HoD.

This I will write because I know that people have speculated from some of my shorties and songfics about the future. Well let's just say that I have decided not to torment you any longer about that. So here is the new fic. Enjoy.

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Old 02-01-2008, 01:36 PM   #2
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Star Wars: Children of the Jedi


The Republic and Avalon have maintained a lasting peace since the days of Kirabaros. The recovery from the wars has brought about great change. Prosperity and hope has reached all of her citizens.

As part of new agreements made between the governor and the Republic, Avalon has agreed to train select Republic troops in the ways of their people: Bushida. These special forces became the elite defense systems of the Republic against those who sought to unravel what has been brought.

On the fifth world Belos, a group of shadows have seized Sheng Xin the “sacred heart.” Their intention is to seize Belos and reclaim it for the olden days. If they succeed Avalon could be torn in two and the Republic could fall…



Chapter 1

The night was calm and the stars were bright as the night watch patrolled the wall that guarded the land that bordered Xao Lin. Ever since Sheng Xin had fallen under attack, no word has been received. It made the people within Xao Lin’s boundaries anxious. They thought it was another attack and one that could destroy them. The guard patrolling his section thought it was nothing to worry about since nothing out of the ordinary had happened and there had been reports or rather rumors that Sheng Xin managed to ward off the attackers. Still he would do his job and watch.

He marched across his section looking both within and outside the borders. It was a quiet night and he began to think of the hash that he a few of the other warriors would behaving when they turned in from their shifts. He was thinking these pleasant thoughts when something screeched and hit him hard on the head. The warrior rubbed the back of his head and searched for the perpetrator. His eye caught one of the raptar birds soaring about. It looked big enough to hit him but from what the warrior knew they were not that violent towards sentients.

His confusion wasn’t for long as he heard something coming from the wall. He went to the edge and leaned over. A bright bolt of light shot up and he backed away. The shot hit the wall causing the ground to shake. The warrior shouted, “We’re under attack! Light the signals!”

He ran towards the door that led through to the other side but it was blocked by a young imposing man. In the shadows it looked as if his eyes were empty given that he had dark eyes that were almost like pools of black ink. He had dark locks of hair and a well built body that spoke of good training. He stared at the warrior before him and gave a malicious smile.

Behind the guard there was the hissing sound of grappling hooks flying through the air. They connected with the stone. The warrior knew it was only a matter of time before they scaled the wall whoever they were. He made for the ladder that led to the top of the tower and started to climb. He narrowly avoided the swipe made by the invader’s blade but it destroyed the ladder and he was hanging onto the edge.

The warrior made it up by scaling the wall. He rolled over the edge and onto his feet. He grabbed the torch that was burning and was about to throw it into the vat of oil that was for this purpose. He was stopped when the raptar bird came down low to try and take the torch from him by hitting his hand. He ducked and swung at the bird, hitting it with the flame end. The bird screeched in anger and pain as it flew off. The warrior again stood to toss it into the vat when he saw the man he had seen earlier stand on the other side. The warrior knew he had to throw the torch in otherwise the others wouldn’t know what was happening until it was too late.

With a deft twist of his arm, he flung it into the vat lighting the signal. From afar he could hear the shouts of his comrades and suddenly the other signal fires began popping up. They would go all the way to the city to warn the governor. The warrior turned to give a fierce look at the invader and said, “Now all of Xao Lin knows you’re here.”

The invader still had the evil smile about his face as he looked at one of the banners that had the symbol of Xao Lin on it. He broke it off and held the banner in the flames. As the cloth burned he grinned and replied, “Perfect.”

****

“Come on Shang-Li you’re the best out of all of us.”

Shang-Li looked at his friend with a tolerant smile as he put on his boot. Standing at six feet tall he was strong and limber for a warrior and had an eye for spotting and exploiting weaknesses. His lively green eyes saw much and missed little when it concerned survival. Number one in his training class, he became somewhat the de facto leader of his cohort and was deferred to by the other warriors.

For a long time he wanted to be a warrior. His father was rather reluctant but since he was a warrior himself, he agreed. His father taught him the basics in combat training and the ways of Bushida. When the time came he was sent to the academy to learn more. There he excelled in fighting and possessed the unique ability of quick reflexes that surpassed the masters there. It became a well known fact that Shang-Li was the best there was. It was because of this that his friend was begging him to participate in the exhibition that was coming up. He looked at his friend and replied, “Why would I want to do that Gisan?”

“You know you are the best. It’s a great way to show off in front of the women that will be there,” Gisan replied.

Shang-Li smiled a bit and replied, “You know I don’t do that and I never liked have women swoon over me.”

“Right. You prefer the old story of the Morning Star,” Gisan laughed and slapped Shang-Li on the shoulder. “It’s alright. Had to try.” He then turned to walk down the hall to the training area.

Shang-Li put the other boot on and sat up straight to think about it. There really was no harm in participating. Almost everyone had at one point or another and maybe he did want to show off just a little bit. He then dismissed it as foolish as he reached for his pendant and put it around his neck. He was interrupted but a soft deep drawl, “You know you always have choice. You can call the hit or stay just as long as you are the one with the winning hand.”

Shang-Li looked up to see his best friend in the whole galaxy. He stood up and gave him a bear hug and said, “Good to see you again Matton. How’s business?”

Matton shrugged a shoulder and brushed a careless hand through his brown hair. His brown eyes looked off to the side as he shrugged. Despite the gentle guiding, he turned out to be just like his father though he was respectable. His head for numbers landed him a few wins at pazaak in the dens and his quick thinking enabled him to be an ambassador of sorts to Coruscant. He replied, “You know the usual quick thinking and switching the card to a minus one. That kind of thing.”

Shang-Li laughed a bit. He and Matton had been best friends for as long as he could remember. They had done everything together including a few scrapes that resulted in a few threats of being sent to military school. He clapped Matton on the shoulder and replied, “That bad huh?”

“Yeah. You have the usual throng of swooning girls following you hoping that you would show off for them?” Matton grinned.

Shang-Li tried but failed to hide the blush that bloomed. It was not a secret that he was considered the handsomest man around and the most eligible. He was forever shaking off attempts to marry him which was part of the reason why he never participated in exhibitions. He replied, “Not lately. How’s your father?”

Matton grew a little quiet. “I haven’t been to see him yet.”

“Oh.” Shang-Li paused thinking of something to say. The first thing that came to his mind was, “Well he is a tough one. That fighting spirit.”

“Yeah.”

It was difficult for Matton to go see his father in his state. The years while kind have taken its toll on Matton’s father. An injury had him walking with a limp and he looked fragile. It was hard for Matton to look at his father that way when all he had ever known was a strong, tough to die kind of man. Shang-Li knew that and tried to be the rock for Matton. He then said, “You know I will have my first real assignment soon. Might be out in the training camps.”

Matton recognized the attempt to cheer him up and replied, “Great. Rocks for a pillow, grass for a mat and slop that is worse than the synthesizer for food.” He grinned to show that he was joking.

“Yeah it will be like heaven,” Shang-Li replied meeting the joke. “Come on I’ll go with you. I haven’t been to see him myself in a long time.”

“Fine but you get all the hugs and kisses. Leave me out of it,” Matton agreed with a smile. The day suddenly looked better.

They were on their way out when a group of the masters and the regular army brushed right past them. Shang-Li stopped to watch them move past to their mounts. One of them was familiar to him and he realized that it was something serious. Matton broke the silence by saying, “Hey wasn’t that your father?”

“Yeah.”

“What is he doing with your masters?”

Shang-Li was still disturbed by the fact that he had seen his father. His father had made it clear that with their chosen path that they may not get to see each other. Shang-Li accepted that and got used to the sparse attention if he spotted his father while with his cohort. This was a first that his father had come directly to him or rather to his place of study. With the masters going with him, he could only surmise that something bad was going to happen. He replied to Matton’s query, “No idea but whatever it is it must be serious. Come on let’s go see your father.”

****

Kiara Druga, the Lady Governor of Belos surveyed the landscape of the city below. For many years she had been governor of the planet ever since the Heart of the Guardian freed her people from the Rashikians. In return she governed fairly and made life pleasant for her people. Here, at almost fifty she was still a beautiful woman. Gone was the impulsiveness of youth and it was replaced by the wisdom of many years dealing with the concerns of the public and the people of Avalon.

There were some good memories and sad ones but she kept a brave face for all. She was wearing he r look of determination when her leading general walked in with the masters of the training academy. Judging by their demeanor, she sensed that it wasn’t good. It was confirmed when her general came up and bowed, “My Lady. Invaders have crossed the northern border.”

Her advisor Fu Nan replied, “Impossible. The wall cannot be breached.”

The general cast a slight glance at the advisor but directed his full attention to the governor. He said, “Chang Tsung is their leader.”

Lady Kiara didn’t flinch but her eyes told much to her general. She knew this Chang Tsung well. For the past three years he had been launching a campaign against her people in an attempt to seize Belos and return it to former glory. He was part of the group that disliked the course that Avalon took with equality for all. He was the one who launched the attack on Sheng Xin and since then no word. She said nothing but turned inward to think.

The general looked at her and said, “I have ordered a defense to be set around the palace and many more to defend the outlying villages.” He knew that protecting the governor was just as important as protecting the people.

Lady Kiara knew that and smiled gratefully at her general. He had been her general and right hand man for the past sixteen years. He had made sure the people of Belos had lived a safe and happy life. When Sheng Xin was attacked, he did what he could to prevent the city from being taken. Unfortunately he had been outmaneuvered and insisted that it was his own fault. Knowing that, she replied, “Good work General. Make sure those that cannot fight are moved closer to the city.”

“Yes milady. Do you want me to organize the training camps?”

“Yes. Fu Nan send out notices to every warrior family and the tribes. Call up reserves.” Lady Kiara didn’t look at Fu Nan when she said it. She didn’t really like him but tolerated him because he did the job and he did it well.

Fu Nan replied, “Yes milady,” and left to go draft the notices for the villages.

When he was gone, she nodded for the masters to leave indicating she wanted to speak to the general alone. They left without a murmur leaving her with the general. After they left she asked, “Do you know how large his force are?”

“The Outcasts and you know there are many of them,” the general replied.

“Then our reserves won’t be enough. I will make an appeal to Governor Lagos. He will send what he can,” Kiara nodded as she said it.

“He will call for one man from every family.”

“Yes I know or the Handmaidens. General you understand that if Chang Tsung seizes the capital, he will split our sovereignty in two. He will have at his finger tips the bulk of the armies that protect the Republic.”

“Yes I understand milady. I understand why we need to appeal to the other planets. We’ve enjoyed this peace but now our resolve is put to the test.”

“There is the general I remember from those days,” Lady Kiara replied fondly, “Am I to understand that you wish to be at the frontlines?”

“I trained them and I will fight with them. I only ask one thing.”

Lady Kiara knew what he was going to ask for. She didn’t blame him since it was something they never spoke of since the day he first arrived in the palace. She replied, “Yes?”

“I request that my son be transferred under my command for his first assignment.”

“Done. I will sign the order so the masters at the academy will not question your motives.” She motioned for the general to rise. They walked towards the doors that led to the hall. “You can’t protect him forever.”

“I know that milady but he will have a better chance at succeeding than being under the commander he was originally assigned to. Commander Chun makes life a veritable hell for those he doesn’t like.” The general faced the governor and waited for her reply.

“Yes I have heard of Commander Chun. He is a good soldier though and you agree with that.”

“Yes. He was one of the first I trained and has proved his mettle time and again.”

“Very well. The order will be ready to go first light.”

The general bowed and replied, “Thank you milady. The orders will go out and I will report to the Honshu training camp. We will stop them milady.” He then turned and left the room to where the masters were waiting. The academy will be sending the most experienced cadets to the training camps and he needed to inform them of the order of disbursement.

Lady Kiara watched him go. For sixteen years the general had carried a heavy burden upon his shoulders. True he showed the loving and caring side to his family but something weighed him down. The interesting thing was that in spite of the heavy burden, he was determined to keep fighting. She had seen it once in a Jedi long ago. His spirit refused to give up even when all else failed. The last she heard of him was that he returned to Coruscant. Brushing her thoughts aside she turned to concentrating on what her next move against Chang Tsung would be.

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Old 02-02-2008, 05:41 PM   #3
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The prologue sounds interesting. I'll keep an eye on this. Now, the praise - as usual the scenes were presented well, the situations depicted perfectly and the overall atmosphere was great. I'm stating the obvious, I know, but there is an interesting influence of Asian cultures, more so than in your previous fics. It fits nicely into the overall story though, so that's another element that'll keep things interesting.
I noticed two interesting names - Matton, who has a mysterious, thus-far unnamed father (I'm not going to make any speculations, since they'll end up being wrong anyway) and Chang Tsung, who's ironically a villain and has a name similar to the famous Mortal Kombat villain, this one made me chuckle.
Grammar-wise, I noticed a few typos, but that's all. Like I already said, I'll keep an eye on this.

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Old 02-03-2008, 11:47 PM   #4
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Asian cultures did highly influence my concept of Avalonian culture. I especially like the concept of honor in Asian cultures and have actually went to great depths in study of the cultures. Also I thought it would be good to explore that side of the fence.

Chang Tsung's name I did base it off of Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat but he's without the soul sucking powers. He is a warrior though so he's not a sissy pants. It is actually more a revelation of his background as well.

Matton is someone yes. I am curious about your suppositions on him. You'll find out interesting things about other characters as well. Thanks for reading and I promise this will be a good fic.

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Old 02-04-2008, 12:45 PM   #5
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Chapter 2

Matton led the way to his father’s house, the house that had been home ever since he could remember. He loved the way the house gave a the sense of content, a much needed thing. His mother was in the garden sitting amongst the Judan trees. It had been her habit ever since the last command she had. A sort of accepting that life had its good points besides the bad. He went to her first with Shang-Li following in his path. He approached her and asked, “How is my favorite gal in the entire galaxy?”

Kiera looked up at the one she called her son and smiled. She welcomed him in a hug and replied, “Welcome home son.”

Matton returned the hug and stood back up to reveal Shang-Li who waved to say hello. Kiera noticed him and said, “Hello Shang-Li. It’s been awhile.”

Shang-Li shuffled slightly and replied, “Yes it has.”

Matton hated to interrupt a chat but he wanted to get it done and over with. He asked, “Where’s Father?”

Kiera knew it cost an effort for Matton to ask. She understood that he wasn’t comfortable around his father. The reason was that he claimed he couldn’t bear to see his father look like a weakling. The other part to that was that father and son didn’t quite see eye to eye in terms of the son’s career. That didn’t disrupt the love they had for each other though but it led to complications at times. Kiera nodded and replied, “At the arbor near the temple. By the pond.”

Matton thanked his mother and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He then motioned with his shoulder for Shang-Li to follow. He loved his mother dearly but she would have asked questions and he didn’t want to be delayed in talking to his father. He led the way through the garden paths to the arbor near the pond. When he was little, he loved to play in the water and pretend that he was on Aztlan in charge of the fleet. He still had one of his toy ships still and the sight of the water brought back a childish urge to throw everything aside and play in the water again.

He caught sight of his father sitting on the bench and brushed aside all notions of childish play. He kept his stride firm as he walked to stand in front of his father. He looked at Shang-Li who encouraged him. He swallowed a bit and said softly, “Papa?”

Atton didn’t look his age when he gazed up to she his son standing in front of him. He had his years living in the Outer Rim and as a Jedi/soldier to thank for that. The only thing that troubled him was a bad leg from a wound he received in a skirmish of the early threats of the Old Glories as he called them due their profound wish of restoring Avalon to former glory. It left him with a bad limp but he could still walk and fight if he had to. When his son chose his path, he couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to see him again. Every time he tried to discuss it, Matton brushed him off. Like father, like son.

Atton heard the old name Matton used to call him and thought that there had been some change. He looked up to find his son standing in the respectful manner in front of him and his friend Shang-Li a few paces behind. He wasn’t sure if it was because his friend was their but he had to know. He replied, “My son.” He stood up to grasp his son in a bear hug. He whispered, “Welcome home.”

Matton had never referred to his father as ‘Papa.’ Not in a long time. Today though he felt the need to. As much as it bothered him, it didn’t really matter. When he thought about it, his father never let his injury get him down and in fact he seemed to take on life with a renewed sense of vigor. He realized that he should be thankful he still had his father. That enabled him to return the hug with equal warmth and allowed him to said, “I missed you.”

Atton was pleased to hear the words. He pulled back to take a good look at Matton. He smiled and said, “Looks like your job has been good to you.”

Matton grinned and replied, “Yeah. I’ve had a few good hands dealt to me.”

Like father, like son. Atton smiled. In spite of his encouragement that Matton do something like Shang-Li and become a soldier, the boy preferred the thrill of adventure. He loved traveling the lanes as long as he had his lucky pazaak deck and a few credits. The boy landed an ambassadorial job and it seemed to work out well though Matton never divulged details. Glad that he was home, Atton replied, “Honest?”

“Yeah but that doesn’t mean I don’t take cheating lying down.”

Atton laughed.

Shang-Li was happy for Matton’s father. Matton was lucky to have a father like him who was willing to be a bit down to earth so to speak. His relationship with his own father had been something like a commanding officer and a soldier. Then again that was the life he wanted. It was what his father explained to him would happen. He did have some good memories but he always got the feeling that his father was sad about something. A thing that was never really discussed. Still it was a good thing to see since Matton rarely saw his family mostly out of choice but it was a start.

Atton noticed Shan-Li and addressed him, “So how is the next general?”

“Training hard sir,” Shang-Li replied with a grin.

“Good. Let’s sit and talk a bit.”

Shang-Li stifled a laugh. The phrase was awfully familiar but he didn’t know why. It would have sounded even funnier if Matton’s father had a gruffer voice and was a little cranky. He looked at Matton and Matton agreed via the eye contact that they shared. They said nothing however and sat with Matton’s father on the bench.

Atton didn’t miss the stifled laughs between the boys. He had been wondering and voiced it to Kiera but had never seen physical signs. It was curious. He chose not to say anything and went to asking questions about Matton’s latest escapade with a few thrown in at Shang-Li about his training. He was impressed that he was going to be sent out on assignment soon seeing that usually a cadet would have had to wait two more years before permanent field assignment. Then again he was the general’s son.

They were in the middle of a story that Matton was telling when the drums began pounding outside the compound. It was the alert that riders were coming through their part of the village. Atton stood slowly listening to the beats. He knew what it was for.

The sound of the drums were not lost on Matton’s ears. He turned his head in the same direction as his father and asked, “What is it?”

Atton started walking leaving no choice for the boys but to follow. As they headed to the gate of the compound he said, “Riders.”

“Any idea what for?” Matton asked. He knew that riders came by quite often. Sometimes for a request by the tribes but more often they were from the governor’s palace. Official government business. Funny thing was that his father seemed to know instinctively what each occasion was for and he responded accordingly. That was why he asked his father.

Atton knew what Matton was probing at but he didn’t want to say anything just yet. It could be that he wasn’t needed or anything like that. He just placed a hand on Matton’s shoulder and opened the gate. Kiera had joined them and she tucked her hand in the crook of Atton’s arm.

On Saluki stallions were two soldiers and one of the masters from the training academy. Shang-Li opened his eyes in disbelief. He was also curious as to what was going on. The master addressed the people that had gathered, “Citizens of the Baktun district. I have an announcement: the invaders have crossed into the lands of Xao Lin.”

There was a collective gasp from the people. Kiera merely tightened her grip on Atton’s arm. He responded by putting his hand on top of hers. The announcer continued, “By order of the governor, at least one man, tribesman, or Handmaiden are called to duty.” He then began by reading the list of names.

“The Rand family!” he called.

Matton watched as his father squeezed his mother’s hand and remove it gently from his arm. He started to walk forward. Matton knew his father wouldn’t last on a hard day’s march with that leg of his. Taking the initiative he stepped forward, right up to the guard handing out the notice and said, “I will serve in my father’s place.” He held out his hand.

Atton stopped in his tracks when he heard his son say that he would serve. He would have protested but he was too polite to say anything that could promote dishonor. He said nothing as he watched his son embrace Shang-Li and say, “Well I report to the Honshu training camp. We both share the life now.”

“Yeah. Um I’m going to go. Father will probably have something to say,” Shang-Li replied. He gave a respectful nod at Matton’s parents and took off towards the academy.

Matton held onto the notice in his hand and walked by his parents. He gave them a look and walked back into the compound.

****

Morning was beautiful on the Jasilyn Plains with the sun rising over the hills. The birds awoke from their slumber and began to sing their songs. The river looked calm and peaceful as it ran its course along the banks and the flowers looked alive. For the girl inside her room, she didn’t pay attention.

She was reciting her script for the day, “Calm, demure, delicate, poised and punctual. A lady must never…”

Her father’s horse began to whinny rather loud. The girl looked out the window to observe the height of the sun. She let out a shriek and jumped off her bed. She went looking through the house, “Druga. Druga!”

She nearly tripped over a young wolf that was resting in his favorite spot, in the middle of the hall. She smiled at him and bent down to rub him awake. She smiled as if she had found a treasure but spoke fondly, “There you are. Now who’s the smartest wolf on the whole plains?”

Druga woke quickly and rolled to his feet. He made a few little yips to acknowledge his master and lick her face. Excitable, he nearly knocked her over trying to get as close as he could. He continued to lick her face and bark.

The girl laughed and replied, “Okay, okay. Come on smart boy. Time to get fed.” She went to the kitchen where Druga’s dish and food were kept and poured a measurement into the bowl. She placed it on the ground and left the wolf to his own devices while she made tea.

Outside a man was sitting on one of the stone benches looking at the river. The years had been kind. His once dark brown hair was now a distinguished silver though he looked younger with his signature locks getting in the way. His eyes were still a dark brown and twinkled when he smiled. They didn’t quite twinkle now.

Today was an important day at least from the view of the locals. His wife was already in the village nearby having left early. He sat there staring at the river wondering where the time had gone. It seemed only yesterday since he was holding her. He turned to see the object of his thoughts coming towards him with a smile on her face and a wolf bouncing around her feet. She called, “Father I brought your tea.”

Carth Onasi, retired admiral of the Republic smiled at his daughter and replied, “Thank you Lilah but you…”

“Remember you’re supposed to have a cup of tea every morning,” Lilah interrupted still smiling. She was used to the game her father played on her, trying to get out of drinking his morning tea. She placed the tray next to her father and poured the tea.

“Lilah you should already be in the village. Your mother is waiting. You know…”

“I am supposed to uphold the family honor,” Lilah replied. She handed the cup of tea to her father and kissed him on the cheek. “Don’t worry Father. I got it covered.”

Carth looked at his daughter. She was dressed in pants and a tunic, the kind she wore when she went to race the stallions on the plains. Slender and strong her honey colored eyes twinkled with life. Her long, dark brown hair was bundled in a thick braid that dangled and flapped like a wolf’s tail. He smiled as she said that wondering what her mother was going to do.

Lilah gave her father a quick hug and turned to race back to the house. “Wish me luck,” she called back.

“Hurry or your mother will be after me for making you late,” Carth called back holding the cup of tea. He looked at the pup who looked ridiculous begging for one of the biscuits on the tray. He fed Druga a biscuit and drank his tea. Lilah had brought him a whole pot so he might as well drink it. I hope Revan can handle things.

Lilah knew she was supposed to look a certain way but living in the villa required a compromise in appearance, especially if you trained and rode the Saluki stallions. Besides she had to not be a girl if she wanted to keep up with her brothers. She saddled her stallion Koros and took off towards the village. She was running late and she had to hurry so she urged Koros to gallop all the way there. She let out a big smile as the wind touched her face and rippled through her braid.

Her happiness was a little short lived when she pulled up in front of her mother. She had jumped off and said, “I’m here.” The look on her mother’s face had her shrink inward just as she did when she got in trouble as a little girl.

Revan looked at her daughter with a mixture of amusement and sternness. Of all the days to be late and to show up as if she had been roaming the fields or cleaning the stalls. Then again she wouldn’t be her daughter if it were otherwise. She asked, “Where have you been young lady?”

“Mama I had my chores and Father needed his tea,” Lilah began as her mother began to usher her inside, much to the amusement of her Grandpa Jolee, who was holding Koros’ reins.

“No more excuses. Come on,” Revan replied. She turned towards Jolee and said, “Not another word.”

“Didn’t know I said anything,” Jolee replied.

Once inside, Lilah found herself scrubbed and made up in a manner that was as foreign to her as putting a cannocks on Tatooine. When she was done she hardly recognized herself though her mother assured her with a smile. She was going to join the other young women when her mother stopped her. She was surprised when her mother unfastened the pendant of the pretty blue green and placed it on her neck.

Revan knew her daughter wasn’t used to being a girl. To make her feel better, she took off the pendant she had worn for sixteen years and put it around her daughter’s neck. She touched her daughter’s cheek and said, “You will be fine.”

Lilah nodded and turned to follow the other girls. She was nervous being around them, looking just like them. At least her mother knew how to pick out clothes. Her outfit brought out the color of her eyes and softened her hair. Thinking about her hair reminded her of the little hairs that had been pulled to “truss up her hair” as Grandpa Jolee would put it. It was a short-lived thought as she arrived. She would have to uphold the family honor.

Revan watched her daughter go with the other girls as she joined Jolee. She smiled as Jolee said, “A fine lass she is. Much like another lass I know of. Wonder if she has the same personality?” He grinned mischievously at her.

Revan returned the look with a crooked smile. She said, “She is nothing like me.”

“Of course. She is more the brooding type like the pilot you married.”

“I hate you old man,” Revan replied with a laugh.

“Every time you say it is another day I know I’m alive,” Jolee replied.

“Don’t you have a story to tell?”

“Watch it missy. I can still talk your ear off if I want to.”

“Go take a nap.”

“You first.”

Revan didn’t have time to saw anything for a ruckus was coming from the direction Lilah had gone. She checked a sigh and started walking towards the area with Jolee keeping up despite his advanced age. When they got there they were greeted by such a sight.

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Old 02-05-2008, 12:24 PM   #6
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Chapter 3

Carth had been tending to the villa wondering how everything went in the village. Druga kept him company as he strolled the grounds that had become home. It allowed him time to think of a time when the villa had been filled with friends and family at one point. He remembered a young face with brown locks and golden eyes and a scar on one eye. He sighed as he remembered and wondered if it had been long enough.

He had just entered the gardens to find his daughter coming from the stables dressed like a lady. When he caught her eye and smiled, he face became sad and she turned away to be alone. Carth wondered what had happened and it was answered by his wife, “It was not a good day.”

“I see,” Carth replied, “I thought she would like being a lady. It’s what we wanted right?”

“We may have wanted it Flyboy but I think we forgot to take into account what she would want.” Revan watched her daughter head towards the river bench. “She is more like you…stubborn.”

“And it got her into trouble.”

“Can she help it if she has her own opinion on things? She just needs to find her place.”

“When did you get to be so wise?” Carth asked looking into Revan’s eyes.

“Ever since the cranky old man moved in as grandpa,” Revan replied smiling.

Carth resisted the urge to chuckle. There were two people who could get away with making fun of Jolee. One was his wife and the other…no, it was not a time to think about it. He asked, “So what are we going to do?” He motioned in Lilah’s direction.

“I think you should go and talk to her.” Revan was serious. “You go talk to her and I’ll see to supper.”

“Leave me to do all the dirty work now,” Carth grumbled not meaning it.

“Someone has to make sure Jolee doesn’t poke his head into all the pots,” Revan replied. “The last time he did that the cook chased him out of the kitchens while threatening to cut his fingers off. Or was it his hands?” She made a gesture as if trying to think about it.

“Fine, I’ll go talk her,” Carth replied.

Revan smiled and kissed him full on the mouth. She then turned to go back into the house leaving Carth to talk to their daughter. Carth sighed and headed towards the spot he sat at this morning. He came across Lilah sitting on the bench staring at the river. Not knowing how to talk to her he cleared his throat to get her attention.

Lilah acknowledged his clearance by not looking at him. Carth saw that she was going to be reluctant to talk. Instead he sat down next to her. When she didn’t say anything, he decided to talk. He said, “I guess today didn’t go so well. That’s alright I think.”

“I disgraced the family,” Lilah replied softly.

“Well it’s like this: everyone has their own time to uh be what they want to be. Some get there before others and some get there later.”

“Let me guess: I am the never.”

“No. I would say you’ll be what you want to be later and when that happens you’ll get a chance to shine.”

“Like Dustil and Jacen and Jonas?” Lilah looked at Carth asking for the answer with her eyes.

“More because you will have the knowledge that you did it all by yourself,” Carth replied. “You know you’ve always been my favorite daughter.”

Lilah chuckled, “Yeah right Father. I’m your only daughter.”

“Can I help it?”

“You can if Mama were here,” Lilah replied smiling. She began to play with the pendant that Revan had placed around her neck. She hadn’t removed it like she did the hairpiece that had been put in her hair. Instead she kept it on with the desire to wear that because of a sense of belonging she felt for it.

Carth noticed the aqua blue stone held delicately by his daughter’s fingers. He hadn’t noticed that Revan wasn’t wearing it when they spoke by the gardens but he did notice the pendant he gave her when they were reunited. Seeing the stone made him feel sad a memory but he hid it. Instead he said, “Your mother’s pendant.”

“Mama said that it was meant for me. I think she was just trying to make me feel better about today,” Lilah replied looking at the stone.

Carth reached out to hold the stone to take a better look. He rubbed the polished stone, feeling the smoothness even through the calluses on his fingertips. He smiled in a sad sort of way and said, “You mother was wearing it when I found her again. It’s still the same smoothness.”

“Mama said it helped her find you. She put it on me saying that it might be able to help me find my way.”

“Your mother is right,” Carth replied releasing the stone so it hung around Lilah’s neck. “She always knows things like this.” He then turned to look at the setting sun. Noting its position, he stretched out his legs and stood up. “I suppose it’s time to head back to the house. If we don’t hurry, Jolee is going to eat everything.”

Lilah smiled, feeling better about the whole day. She stood up with her father and replied, “I guess we better. Otherwise Mama will have to chase him out of the kitchen.”

Carth laughed. He held out his arm so Lilah could place her hand in the crook of his elbow. Together they walked up to the house, the smells of supper being carried gently on the breeze. They leisurely walked through the gardens to take in the sights and smells. They entered the house nearest the communications room where Revan and Jolee were arguing to someone over the comm.

Carth recognized the voice and told Lilah to stay where she was. He went to the comm room and saw the governor of the planet. He didn’t notice that Lilah had followed and hid behind the door, hanging onto every word. Revan was saying, “You can’t possibly be serious. Why would Belos need our help?”

“Chang Tsung leads them and his numbers are not certain but they are many,” the governor replied.

“And you want one man or warrior from each family to go?” Jolee asked. I’m old dammit. Too old to be going off to have a sword fight.

“It is less than what would normally be called. Besides you are among the best,” the governor admitted.

“In case you haven’t noticed sonny we all are getting a bit. Some of us a bit more than other.” Jolee spoke with the leeway given to the elderly.

“If your sons were home I would consider asking them but seeing as they are not…” the governor trailed off.

Carth didn’t want to keep arguing. He made the decision, “Alright I’ll go. Where do I report in.”

“The Honshu training camp. I am transmitting all the data to you,” the governor replied. “Avalon thanks you Admiral.”

Carth said nothing but cast a glance at Revan and Jolee. They all knew that for either one of them to fight could mean death for them. Little did he know that Lilah had heard every word and had made her own decision.

****

Matton went back and forth through the room packing what he would need to bring to camp, listening to his father’s protests, “Son, you don’t have to do this. You have your job and you don’t need to throw it away.”

“Yeah and it’s a job that I want to leave off for awhile.” Matton packed the gear his father had used. “Why do you always question my decisions?”

Atton knew that conversation when he heard it. He replied, “I am not questioning you. I’m just saying that you don’t have to. Believe it or not I can still do one or two things in the field.”

“Yeah slogging through the mud, sleeping on the hard cold ground. That must really be a slice of paradise,” Matton replied with a slight shrug or his shoulder but made no attempt to hide the sarcasm. “Must really help the leg.”

Atton hadn’t lost his temper in a long time. Now it took considerable effort not to reach out and slap Matton. He replied, “You have no idea what you are doing.”

“I think I know exactly what I’m doing Pops,” Matton answered, “I’m going in your place. One man from every family goes. Remember?”

Atton was caught in that one. He sighed and his temper died down. “Yes but you’ve never been in war before. You have no idea what it’s like.”

Matton saw the worried look that crossed his father’s face. He felt bad that he was a sarcastic jerk. If only his father knew what he got into for Avalon. He turned back to the bag to finish and replied, “I think I have a pretty good idea.”

“You’re sure?” Atton asked. “Training camp is not one of your debate sessions.”

If only he knew. “Right Pops.” Matton then saw the look on his father’s face and sighed, “Look, you can barely keep up with Mom. There’s no way you’re going to be able to keep up with young guys half your age.” When he saw the unconvinced look on his father’s face, Matton added, “Consider it that family honor thing that the neighbors mention whenever you go to the festivals.”

Atton examined his son. He knew Matton wasn’t a boy anymore. Heck by Avalonian standards he became a man at fourteen. With this call there was a slight chance that he might lose his son but he was adamant. He asked, “You are sure you want to do this?” When Matton nodded, he continued, “Then you are going to need something. Follow me.”

Atton led the way towards a cabinet that housed his prized possessions and ones that brought memories every time he looked at them. He opened the cabinet and took out a cloth-covered bundle and handed it to Matton. He watched as Matton opened it to reveal a small dagger and a lightsaber. He explained, “My choice of weapon when I went to fight. I think it’s all the appropriate that you should have them.”

Matton picked up the lightsaber not quite knowing what to do with it. He looked at the craftsmanship on the hilt and noted the button on it. He kept his thumb away when his father told him to be careful where to point it. He thought it might be like those quarterstaffs he used to play with. He said nothing but his eyes spoke volumes.

****

“I’m to report to Honshu training camp,” Shang-Li announced while the family was eating dinner.

“Good. Then we could travel together,” his father replied, “I have to meet the main troops there.”

“Oh.” Shang-Li said no more about it. He had the sneaking suspicion that his father had something to do with it but he wasn’t angry. It only confirmed that his father was looking out for him and showed some sign of affection. He looked at his brother Pthiyas who looked back.

“What do you do in a training camp?” Pthiyas asked.

“Well,” their mother began.

“Field training with other soldiers,” their father finished. “You learn how to work as a team and what it is like in the field. It’s a lot different than training in an academy.” He took a sip of his tea.

“It’s also about finding who you are,” Shang-Li added. He loved his brother and loved to share about his time in the academy though he was hoping that his brother would do something different. Somehow he had the feeling that he wasn’t meant to be a soldier.

“Indeed,” their father agreed and cast smile at Shang-Li.

“Do you need anything to take with you?” Shang-Li’s mother asked.

“Just my gear.” Shang-Li knew it was motherly love on his mother’s part. She did the same for Pthiyas when he went on camping trips with his friends. He smiled at his mother and added, “None of the usual sustenance Marmar. This is field camp.”

“I just want to make sure that you have everything you need,” his mother replied while Pthiyas stifled a giggle and his father smiled in his soup.

“Everything a warrior needs,” Shang-Li repeated with a smile. He knew that wouldn’t stop his mother from packing at least something he would enjoy on the journey. It was a two day’s ride to the Honshu training camp and it would take several days for all the recruits assigned to report in since some were coming from the other planets. Shang-Li hoped that there would be some recruits from Amshrey. They were tough fighters and knew how to fight with honor.

His father seemed to know what he was thinking and said, “Most of the recruits will be from Amshrey. Should prove an interesting training.” He caught his son’s eye and smiled.

“Mandalorians?” Pthiyas asked. “Isn’t that a little too much?”

“Not if you want to get a job done,” Shang-Li replied. His mind was already going through with the possibilities. It might be that he would get to meet Selene again. She had to leave the training academy because of some requirement for her clan. They had been friends getting into scrapes and competing over who was the toughest.

“But didn’t they cause a mess during the Mandalorian wars?” Pthiyas continued.

“They did but that was not their fault. Besides people change and in this case they decided to be friends,” their father explained. “We owe much to them.”

“A debt of honor?” Pthiyas asked.

“Yes.”

No more was said throughout the meal. When the boys left to go to bed, mother and father went to sit together to view the stars. Once there the father said, “I don’t know what will happen but I will watch out for him.”

“That is all I ask General Rowan Starlighter, husband of mine.”

“I promised it from day one Michaela,” Rowan replied. They shared a look together before Rowan added, “We can’t protect him forever. He chose what he wanted.”

“I know but to go and fight. We never wanted him to grow up in a war.” Michaela looked down at her hands, trying not to break into tears.

Rowan didn’t have to ask about her choice of words. It didn’t have to be explained. He took her hand gently into his and gave it a slight squeeze. “He is his father’s son. I trust him to find his own way just like Pthiyas.”

Michaela raised her head to meet Rowan’s. “That is why I love you.” She smiled at him and added, “You leave in the morning?”

“Yes. There are one or two things to see to before I leave the new captain in charge,” Rowan replied. He loved Michaela as well. It had taken him a long time to see it actually for both of them. They were both hurting when they agreed to a marriage of convenience. Time took its course and allowed love to come. Even after having Pthiyas it was still a new thing and they had their awkward moments. The sudden change was Michaela’s way of showing that awkwardness but it didn’t mean that she didn’t love him.

Michaela looked at her husband with love in her eyes. She knew he did what he did because he took into account her feelings. When she found out she felt the guilt that accompanied such a thing but she also realized why he did it. It only strengthened the love she had for him. She knew he would keep his promises when he made them. Knowing that, she stood up and gave a slight tug while saying, “Then I guess you’d best be getting to bed especially if you want to get an early start in the morning.”

“I never said I wanted to get an early start.” Rowan gave a half smiled as he looked at her suspiciously.

“After living with you General I picked up on a few things especially when you go on assignment,” Michaela replied in a no nonsense voice though she was smiling.

“Then I guess I better listen to my general,” Rowan replied as he stood up. He kissed Michaela on the cheek gently. “I love you too.”

Michaela smiled and led the way back into the house.

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Old 02-05-2008, 02:12 PM   #7
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While I have not read all of your other fics...I have read enough to be familliar with the characters and such. That said, this is written such that even someone who wasn't familiar with them could read this and feel like that have a good idea about what's going on.

I really like your characters in that these children very much exhibit the traits of their parents, or at least that is the way it seems to me.

The only things I noticed is that it seems like you might have left out a word or two in some sentences. Other than that I didn't catch any major grammar or spelling errors.

I am intrigued by the start to this story, and I look forward to reading the rest


"You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

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Old 02-05-2008, 05:50 PM   #8
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Well, whaddaya know, I was right about Matton and his father. Two great chapters, a lot of old characters making appearances. Nice! I do need you to clear up a few things for me:
1) How much time has passed between the Heart of Deception and Children of the Jedi?
2) Would I be correct to assume that Shang-Li is actually Tulre, but with a new name?


Last edited by igyman; 02-05-2008 at 06:05 PM. Reason: Damn me for being sleepy and making typos!!!
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:02 PM   #9
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Well igyman I will clear some things up for you:
The judging from the time that had passed, the children are all adults now. About sixteen years or so. That would put Shang-Li at 21, Matton at 20 and Lilah at 19.

You are correct in assuming that Shang-Li is Tulre with a new name. The reasons will be explained sometime later as well as why some certain behaviors are exhibited.

JediAthos: I stuck with the idea that the kids are like the parents. To be honest I am very much like my mother but with my father's coloring. It is usual for a child to take after one or both parents. Matton I had fun with because I could get away with Atton-like tendencies since he is his father's son. Shang-Li is a bit of an enigma consdering the circumstances and Lilah is actually like both her parents.

Thank you for reading and I'll have another chapter up soon.

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Old 02-06-2008, 02:58 PM   #10
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Chapter 4

Military transport or public transport was all the same. It was dirty, rude and stank of sweat. Lilah looked around her as she rode the transport towards Belos and wished with every fiber of her being that she was at Belos and off the ship. Being one of the youngest on the vessel was bad enough. Being only one of two women on the ship was worse. It didn’t even help that she was dressed as a Shi-Cho Handmaiden.

After over hearing the conversation in the comm room, she made the decision to take her father’s place. It was dumb but she didn’t want her father, mother or grandpa to get hurt. She knew how to fight since her brothers taught her and one of the village boys taught her a few moves too. She didn’t tell her parents about it, preferring to keep it a secret. It did help when the big boys tried to pick on her.

She didn’t say anything throughout supper sensing that her parents were inwardly thinking about what they received. Grandpa Jolee however ate with as much gusto as if he hadn’t been part of the earlier conversation. Afterwards, she pretended to go to bed while listening for her parents to go to bed.

After they were asleep, she went down to the comm room and took the datapad that had the information and went to the room that she rarely went into. She found the trunk that her mother once said held her memories. Finding what she was looking for, she set about to look like a handmaiden. By the time she was finished she didn’t recognize herself and she was satisfied. It was even more satisfying when Koros didn’t recognize her and shied in fright. It had taken her a few minutes to calm the stallion down and lead him to yard.

She didn’t leave right away for she was stopped by a, “Observation: My photoreceptors seemed to be misaligned. Query: Are you the meatbag spawn of my master?”

It took quite a bit of convincing on her part to get HK-47 to not to wake her parents. It was only after she agreed to let the droid accompany her to the city that he acquiesced. It took threats to make sure the droid got Koros home in one piece and not say anything unless her parents asked. Now she was on the military transport to Belos and she wondered if she was right in doing this. At least she had the sense to leave her parents a note. So she gritted her teeth and bore with the journey.

At the spaceport she was able to find a mount to head to the training camp. She had two and a half days to make to the camp. She thought it wouldn’t be a problem since she could ride. Next stop the Honshu training camp.

****

The skies were gray and the mountains looked lonesome as the sound of beating hooves pounded the ground. In the lead was Chang Tsung leading his men through the mountain passes towards the capital Xao Lin. He was on a mission and he aimed to keep it. He gave no leave by not slowing down and he expected his men to do the same.

He came to a sudden halt when they reached the woods. It was so hard his stallion skidded on the hard surface. He looked around searching for something. He motioned with his hand for two of his best men to come forward. With two fingers he gave then the signal to scout forward. They dismounted and took off to look around with Chang Tsung waiting, his raptar bird sitting on his shoulder.

His men weren’t gone long. They came back dragging two warriors with them, which they flung forward none too carefully. The two warriors grunted but refused to back down. They stood up defiantly as Chang Tsung dismounted and advanced towards them. His men said, “Scouts.”
Chang Tsung cast an evil grin at them and said, “Congratulations. You’ve found the Outcast army. I guess we haven’t covered our tracks very well.”

Chang Tsung’s men laughed at the comment as he grinned at the warriors and fiddled with the collars of their tunics. One of the warriors lowered his brows into a frown and spat out, “Your kind are banished from Avalon. Lady Kiara will stop you.”

“Stop me? She invited me.” Chang Tsung feigned confusion before he reached out to grab the tunic of the warrior that had spoken. He brought him close and looked him in the eye. “By becoming governor she promoted the idea that all should be equal, challenging the old ways.”

“It was Kirabaros who challenged the old ways,” the other warrior retorted.

Chang Tsung then threw the one he had been holding to the ground and spat in rage, “Kirabaros brought ruination upon our people and condemned us by our joining with the Republic.”

“He brought us our future!”

It was a pointless shouting match seeing that the two warriors were outnumbered. The warrior who spoke out against Chang Tsung was given a backhand across the face for his trouble. Chang Tsung replied, “He brought nothing but war upon you. He was lucky to escape the fate of our system.”

“He was a better warrior than you are. You are a disgrace to our people. No wonder your whole family was exiled,” the warrior who had been thrown to the ground spoke. He stood back up at attention with blood dripping out the corner of his mouth where his cheek struck the ground. His partner looked just as banged up.

Chang Tsung looked at the two. He realized that neither of them were going to cower in fear. He realized he should have known this since they followed the principles of Bushida. He could beat the crap out of them but they wouldn’t break. Threaten them with death and they would accept it. Besides he needed someone to tell the governor his message. He stepped back to think about how he was going to do this.

The two warriors stood at attention. They glared at Chang Tsung deeply and said nothing. They only spoke the truth to contradict the lies that were being told. The one who received the backhand then said, “You will be stopped. Too many want what Kirabaros brought us. You will lose.”

Chang Tsung turned to face them. It looked like he was going to strike them. He said, “No. I will win. Go. Tell your governor to send her strongest allies, even her precious Jedi. I am ready for whatever she sends.”

The two men that had captured the scouts pushed the warriors to go. One even booted him to get him going. The two warriors started to sprint away towards the capital. The Outcast army was laughing at them thinking it pitiful that two were sent to defend the honor of the governor. Chang Tsung watched with a look of amusement on his face as they started to run away. Given a choice they probably would have stayed and would have said to kill them. Such displays of honor amused him and angered him depending on how it was executed. He was then struck with an idea. He asked, “How many men does it take to deliver a message?”

The one who was his best archer notched and arrow and made ready to fire. “I believe it is one,” he said and released the arrow.

****

Revan was the first to notice her daughter wasn’t home. She went and found Lilah’s room empty; the bed looking like it hadn’t been slept in at all. At first she thought Lilah was at her chores in the stables but there was no trace of her in the stables and Koros was missing. She reached out with the Force only to hear Carth banging about the house calling for Lilah.

She went to Carth to find him looking at the open gate towards the road and holding a datapad. She asked, “What is it?”

Carth said nothing but handed her the datapad. His eyes were still on the road and were there until he saw HK coming up the path leading Koros by the reins. It took a lot of restraint for him to not run up to HK and demand why he was coming back from the city with Koros and no Lilah. He was also stopped by Revan holding his arm as she read her daughter’s writing.

They waited until HK came into the villa grounds. It was then that Carth demanded, “HK where is my daughter?”

“Answer: The spawn meatbag of Master has decided to leave.”

“Did she say where?” Revan asked ignoring the meatbag comments. No use asking the droid to change.

“Statement: While I may be privy to many pieces of information Master the little meatbag refused to say where. She did however allow me to accompany her to the landing dock after threatening to install a pacifist module. Observation: She is becoming a hard master like you Master.” The droid seemed almost proud of that fact. It was a good thing it couldn’t smile. It would have been something that would have scared a baby.

“What kind of landing pad?” Carth asked.

“Statement: I believe it was a military transport heading to Belos.”

“That makes sense,” Revan replied, “She must have heard our conversation last night.”

“It doesn’t matter Revan I have to go after her.” Carth made ready to grab Koros’ reins. He would have jumped in the saddle but was held back by Revan. He looked ate Revan and asked, “Revan what gives? If I don’t go after her she could be killed.”

Revan knew more about Avalonian culture having spent time with the tribes and living there. If she knew her daughter, Lilah would pass herself off as a Handmaiden when she was technically not. If she were revealed the consequences would be bigger than breaking prized dishes. She replied, “If you reveal her, she will be. We can only hope and pray.”

“And the boys?”

“We’ll tell them.” Revan hugged Carth who returned the embrace. It was like hanging on to the last refuge in an asteroid field.

Jolee had been watching the entire exchange from the house. He had been woken up from a pleasant night of sleep rather abruptly with all the noise about the house. He got up ready to chew out Revan since he expected it of her. When he found her at the front of the villa, he stopped. He could hear the conversation very well despite the claim that he never heard as good anymore.

Lilah had left to take her father’s place. It sounded something that Revan would have done had she been younger. It was about time, he thought to himself. You didn’t have to be a genius to see that the Force abilities that she hadn’t used since she was three were starting to manifest again. It may have been bad timing since she wouldn’t have any guidance but better that she could learn to use them again. Since she could beat her brothers in sparring she wouldn’t have trouble holding her own with the other warriors.

The only thing that may give her away was her more feminine side. She didn’t swear like the warriors nor did she like to watch the harder dueling circling matches. She flinched at hard hits. If her commanding officer saw that, he would know that she wasn’t a Handmaiden at all. That was the only thing that worried him.

It had been awhile, well too long since he last appealed to the Force. He might as well now. Watching mother and father comfort each other, Jolee reached out with the Force, Well sonny time to make good on your oath. Watch over your goddaughter.

A slight breeze began to blow. It whipped gently across Jolee’s face and he smiled. The lad always knows how to tease an old man.

****

Lilah looked at the camp below. She was nervous having never done something like this before and she pondered how a Handmaiden was supposed to act. She had only heard stories of one who came from the stars to help in the war that threatened Avalon and the Republic. She was smart enough to realize that it was her mother but even the stories really didn’t give details. She fiddled with the sword at her side in nervousness trying to figure it out. She spaced while talking to the stallion she had been assigned trying to find a suitable stance.

She asked the stallion, “Ok what about this?” She stood tall and screwed her face into a don’t mess with me look and said, “Where do I sign in? I see you have a sword. I have one too.” When she tried to remove it, she lost her grip and it dropped to the ground.

The stallion just looked at her and went back to eating the grass. Lilah picked up the sword and sighed, “No that won’t work. This is stupid. It’s going to take a miracle to convince them that I am a Handmaiden.”

“You won’t be able to if you doubt yourself.”

Lilah looked around drawing the sword. She held it in a basic start position and looked around. She felt the rush of adrenaline but controlled her breathing. She said aloud, “Who are you?”

“Good positioning. Good instincts. Just what a warrior needs,” the voice came again. “But a little off balance. Something to work on.”

Lilah whipped around still holding the sword out. She thought she was losing her mind if she was hearing voices. She whirled around one more time and came face to face with a blue figure. It looked at her as if analyzing her. Her eyes widened slightly but she didn’t back down. Instead she asked, “Who are you? What are you?”

The blue figure replied, “Oh just someone who’s been waiting for you to make your move.”

“Make my move?” Lilah was confused. “I don’t understand.”

“No I didn’t you would. I guess she did what was best,” the blue figure replied.

“Who are you talking about?”

“Better off if they told you themselves,” the blue figure replied with a stern look indicating that no more was to be said. “Now what to do about your situation. What do you want?”

“Um…”

“Don’t hesitate. Tell me what you want.”

“I want to get into the army as a Handmaiden,” Lilah would have shouted it but she kept her temper.

“You keep your temper in check that is good but you hesitated. Handmaidens don’t hesitate in battle. You do so and you are dead. Plain and simple.” The blue figure paced in front of Lilah scrutinizing her appearance.

“What do you know about it? You are a man,” Lilah burst out without thinking.

The figure looked at her and then continued to pace, “Talking back to a man gives you mettle but you have to learn to hold your tongue. A Handmaiden is strong, brave, graceful and they don’t take lip from anyone. But they always show respect.

“A Handmaiden knows how to read the land, how to lead. The will of the Force is their guide.”

“The Force?”

The blue figure looked at her sharply. Seeing the look of confusion on her face he relented and explained, “The Force is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together. It is in all of us though for some it is barely but a measurable whisper.”

“And this is what drives a Handmaiden?”

“It is their job to make sure it is carried out even if it isn’t perfect. Nothing in the galaxy is.”

“I think I see,” Lilah replied. She had sheathed the sword and was now rubbing her hand over the pommel idly.

“Seeing and understanding are two different things but you are on your way.” The blue figure allowed a slight smile. “If you are serious, I will help you along the way.”

“Yes.” Lilah answered full of confidence. Somehow she got the feeling that she knew the blue figure that was talking to her. It was familiar somehow but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. It was kind of like the time she executed a spin move to stand when she was sparring her brother.

“Show no fear. That is good. Do you have a name?”

“Name?”

“You can’t full well use your given name.”

Lilah felt foolish that she had asked the question. Of course she couldn’t use the name her mother gave her. Any Avalonian general would recognize the Onasi name from here to Rakata Prime. She was at a loss. She asked, “What should I pick?”

The blue figure looked at her as if trying to determine if something was wrong with her. He then said, “Sometimes the name belies the character. Try something that means the opposite of what you are. Like…Serena.”

“The name of serenity?”

“Could work. You have until your commanding officer asks you your name so I suggest you think about it.” He made ready to disappear.

“Wait. You’re leaving?”

“Talking to yourself isn’t going to impress anyone either. Still you will be the only one that can hear me.” With that said, he disappeared leaving Lilah alone to walk into the camp.

She took a deep breath and started walking towards the camp. Here goes nothing.

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Old 02-06-2008, 03:30 PM   #11
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Another interesting chapter. I liked the HK cameo, though his lines could use some improvement. He seems to repeat some words a bit too much (i.e. "Master") and uses some long descriptive phrases (i.e. "meatbag spawn of the Master"), that, to me, seem uncharacteristic for his character.
I also liked how Jolee sort of communes with the spirit-world of the Force and how the effects of his efforts are seen in the appearance of (I assume) Kirabaros' spirit at the end of the chapter.
Chang Tsung, however, strikes me as much too similar to the Heart of Deception's villains in both methods and ideology. He could still prove to be an interesting character, if his motives turned out to be different than what was said in this chapter.

On the grammar side, again some typos and forgotten words. Seems to me like you're rushing to post as many chapters as you can while you're on a roll. I did a similar thing when I was posting chapters of my long fics (The True Teachings), but what I did was type at least half of the fic in Word and then polish each chapter before posting it (this probably won't work for you since your fics are considerably longer than mine, but still, try to type out at least ten chapters and then post one every few days, that should give you time to polish the next one). It didn't always work and some errors slipped by, but not many and not every time. Another suggestion regarding this is to use Firefox (if you don't already) since it underlines misspelled words and can really help when posting.

Enough of my rambling, I'm looking forward to the next chapter, so you just keep writing.

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Old 02-07-2008, 12:41 PM   #12
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With Chang Tsung I was trying to show that ideologies die hard. Look at racism in the world. He is slightly different and that goes to show that when lines are broken, new things must come out of it. More willl be revealed later.

Yes the figure was Kirabaros but if you noticed, Lilah didn't recognize him. Another issue that will be addressed.

Grammar things do slip by and some are correct given the situation and who is thinking it. People see things a different way. Mission would be expected to use more contractions than proper wording. I do check but sometimes I miss things. It happens with the best of us.

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Old 02-07-2008, 12:44 PM   #13
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Chapter 5

The Honshu training camp was considered the best camp for the regular army. The top officers came out of the camp and the toughest soldiers. What better place to have respected former Republic officers to come and be briefed?

Lilah walked through trying to appear uninterested as if she had seen such a sight before while taking in the sight. She had never been to a war camp or training camp so it was a new experience for her and she felt out of place. She walked through the camp looking at everything when she heard in her ear, “Don’t look at anything. You have seen it all before.”

It took much effort not to jump when she heard it having recognized it as the voice of that blue figure that approached her earlier. She did follow his advice and walked through with her stallion trying to find where to report. Everywhere were warriors tending to their gear or other things that soldiers did. She came across two men who were looking at a weapon of a third. He was saying that it was strong enough to withstand the blade of the Jedi Revan. The response from a gruff looking one was that he asked to see it and upon receiving it, he bent the blade tip.

The owner of the blade looked stunned at the bent tip after it was given back to him. The gruff warrior’s companion laughed and said, “I hope you get your money back.”

Lilah thought it mean but instinct told her not to say anything about it. She started to turn away when the gruff looking warrior caught her looking and asked, “What are you looking at?”

He looked like he had seen better days but Lilah wisely said nothing. She replied, “Nothing.” She turned her head to look at some men sparring.

“You know your side of camp is over there,” the gruff warrior pointed towards a row of tents, “Unless you…came to have some fun.” He eyed her speculatively.

Lilah took offense but she remembered to not be too tightly wound up. She replied, “Business before pleasure if ever there is pleasure.”

The gruff warrior’s companion began to laugh at him. Some of the other warriors started to crowd around trying to see what was going on. The gruff warrior then said, “You ain’t worth my time.” He started to walk away while reaching into a pouch for a marble ball that was used for the slings.

“I could say the same for you.” Lilah watched them leave.

It came fast and hard. The gruff warrior had thrown the marble ball with all his strength at her. The men backed away as ball came flying through the air. The ball hurled fast and would have killed a man if it struck him in the head. Lilah’s reaction was natural and pure instinct. She caught it in her palm as it smacked in it and held it up as if to offer it. She raised a brow as if to ask if it belonged to him.

The crowd that had gathered began asking each other if they had seen anything like it before. The gruff warrior looked like he was about to lay an egg and his companion had his jaw dropped. Lilah walked up to them still holding the marble ball out. When she was standing close enough, she tossed the ball back to the gruff warrior and walked away. The rest of the men there were gawking at her and still asking each other if they had seen anything like it.

Once out of earshot, Lilah breathed a sigh of relief. Her hand stung from the smack but she was used to it. Her brothers taught her how to throw and catch and made sure she could hold her own against anyone who said otherwise. It was good to know that she made some impression on the men. She continued on her way towards the Handmaiden side of camp when she accidentally bumped into another man who was slipping something into his boot. He said, “Watch where you’re going.”

“Sorry.”

The man then looked up at her face and she was met with a pair of hazel eyes and bored and annoyed expression. He had light brown hair that tended to stick up in all directions. He wore a shirt, ribbed jacket complete with pants and boots. He looked like a scoundrel. He peered at her and asked, “You’re the Handmaiden that showed up Yoru-san aren’t you?”

“What’s it to you?” Lilah countered immediately on the defensive.

He shrugged his shoulder and replied, “Nothing really just saw you. Just that you may have impressed people but you might want to try focusing that on the commanding officer.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

He gave her a look that asked if she was blind. He then changed the expression back to a bored one and said, “Heard he was a mean bastard. If he doesn’t like you, you’re pretty much screwed for this campaign.”

“So I should start catching marble balls flying at me?” Lilah cocked a brow at the scoundrel.

“Would help some but how you answer when he questions you works better.”

“Then maybe I should try juggling next time,” Lilah replied. It was a spur of the moment response that seemed right at the time.

The man laughed. He then said, “You’re quick. I’ll give you that and you got some sass. I guess you and me could be friends.” He then held out his hand.

Lilah looked at the hand not sure if she wanted to but then she figured at least there would be one person who would like her. She replied, “I’m honored,” and held out her hand.

The man gripped her wrist in a warrior lock. He gave his name, “Matton. Matton Rand.”

“Serena.”

They were interrupted by Yoru-san and his companion coming up, each with a blade drawn. He said, “You may be good with playing catch chicken girl but no one makes a fool out of Yoru-san.”

Matton stood straight up and replied, “Yoru-san you are the one that makes a fool out of yourself. We just happen to be in the right place at the right time.”

“I don’t need some scruffy looking nerf herder interfering.” Yoru-san looked like a steam pot about to blow its top. “My business is with her,” and he accentuated it by pointing his blade in her direction.

“And you were interfering in mine so that makes it my business as well.” Matton got a dangerous look in his eye that should have warned them not to test him but they were too high strung to think clearly.

“You saying you want a piece of me?”

“Any time.” Matton spread his arms inviting Yoru-san to make the first move on a dare.

Lilah saw that this was going to get out of hand. She couldn’t really back down now that she dragged Matton into this. She stood looking normal but every muscle in her body was tensed, ready to spring into action, as she needed them. Yoru-san charged at her and she sidestepped him while grabbing his sword arm and disabling him. Matton sprung charged at the other who ran at him. The fight was on.

****

Shang-Li never thought that he would be sitting in a debriefing of strategy much less in the same room as his father. He listened while his father pointed out the distribution of troops and where Chang Tsung’s army had attacked. Shang-Li peered at the map at the locations and thought about Chang Tsung’s maneuvers. Judging from the map there were two places he could attack next. One was a village on the plains of Kataran. Nothing but kataran herders there. The next was a village in the Soresu Pass. That was the quickest way to the capital and that would be the way Shang-Li would go, if he were Chang Tsung. He listened to his father speak, “From this layout there are two possible points of attack. It’s just a matter of which one.”

“General,” Shang-Li addressed his father, “More likely Chang Tsung would head for the Soresu Pass. It is the quickest way to the capital and the governor.” He saw his father look at him and he added, “It’s what I would do if I were him.”

“General, there is also the possibility that he could split his forces in two and attack both locations,” Fu Nan entered in. He cast a glance in Shang-Li’s direction that said he knew nothing.

“He wouldn’t do that. He would want his entire army with him in order to take the capital,” Shang-Li replied.

General Rowan considered what was said. He trusted his son’s judgment but he couldn’t show favoritism either. He was aware that Fu Nan thought that a man must earn his place and not have it given to him. He then said, “Considering the evidence we have I believe he will head towards the Soresu Pass. However there is a chance that he may change his strategy. I will send two companies to the plains of Kataran to watch the path to the capital at that end. I will take the main troops to the Soresu pass to stop Chang Tsung before he gets there.”

“Excellent General. All our bases will be covered,” Fu Nan entered.

General Rowan looked at Fu Nan with a raised brow unaware that his son was looking at him in the same manner. He then turned his attention back to Shang-Li and said, “Fu Nan will send out the order for B and C Company to report to the plains. You will stay here and train the new recruits. When Fu Nan believes you are ready, you will join us Captain.” General Rowan then held out a new sword to Shang-Li. It was made stronger than the training blades he used and the one that he had been issued when he left for camp.

Fu Nan protested, “This is an extreme responsibility General. Perhaps a soldier with more experience…”

“Number one in his class according to the masters, extensive knowledge in training and combat techniques…I believe Shang-Li will do the job well.” General Rowan smiled at his son.

Shang-Li was excited at the prospect but the moment called for dignity. He accepted the sword and replied, “Yes sir. Thank you sir.”

General Rowan rose to his feet and pulled back the tent flap. He said, “I’ll expect a full report in four weeks.”

Fu Nan cast a look of dislike at Shang-Li. He would have sneered but he instead he said, “I won’t leave anything out.” He then followed the general out of the tent.

Shang-Li, left alone could let out his excitement. He tied his new sword to his belt while saying, “Captain Shang-Li Starlighter. Leader of Belos’ finest troops. The greatest troops of all Avalon.” He had a brief thought of Matton who would have thought it amusing that he was named captain especially the thought that he would have to follow orders. He would talk about that later this evening with him. He stepped out of the tent.

His father and Fu Nan were staring at a ring of men and Handmaidens yelling and shouting. Inside the ring were four people going at it. Shang-Li recognized his friend Matton fighting alongside a Handmaiden who looked familiar. They were going up against two of the recruits. Shang-Li could feel the embarrassment creep up his spine since his father knew Matton. It was Fu Nan who added to the feeling by commenting, “Most impressive,” in a doubting fashion.

General Rowan said nothing but cast a side glance at his son. He then walked up to his waiting stallion and mounted. He called, “Good luck, Captain.” He then gave the call to ride and he led his troops to meet Chang Tsung at the Soresu Pass. The stallions’ hooves pounded into the ground and sounded like the great drums that announced the riders in the smaller villages.

Shang-Li watched his father ride off with the troops. He understood how his mother felt when his father went off to war with Matton’s father. He said softly, “Good luck…Father.” He then turned his attention back to the commotion made by the recruits. As much as he would have been amused by Matton’s antics, he knew he had to grow up and be serious.

Fu Nan obviously felt the same way but he voiced it in a slightly mocking tone, “Day 1.”

Shang-Li rolled his eyes and marched forward. Using what Pthiyas called his general’s voice, he belted out, “Soldiers!”

It was amazing that he could even be heard over the shouting. The men who had made the ring around the combatants broke away and stood at some form of attention. They all looked at Shang-Li with various looks of guilt at being caught except for the Handmaidens who regarded the situation for what it was, a fight. The four combatants were still going at it. Yoru-san gave one last swipe at Matton who blocked and returned the punch. The first words out of his mouth were, “Hey! Who blew the whistle?”

Matton’s partner, the Handmaiden was backed into a basic fighting stance, unarmed. She was still in the pose when Shang-Li called for order and had an expression that looked of fear but wasn’t. She looked at Shang-Li but didn’t move a muscle. Her opponent scurried to his feet and stood with the rest of the men. It was Yoru-san who pointed at her and said, “She started it.”

The Handmaiden clearly had a look of disgust on her face at the accusation and Shang-Li agreed with it. She relaxed from her fighting pose and stood there. She didn’t even bother to snap to attention but stood there glaring at Yoru-san. Shang-Li walked right up to her and looked her in the eye. He kept a stern expression as he looked at her and said, “I don’t need anyone causing trouble in my camp.”

“Didn’t realize I was until someone tried to throw something at me,” the Handmaiden retorted. She stared back with her honey colored eyes.

Shang-Li did a slight double take. He had seen those eyes before but he couldn’t place them. He had to admit that she had a quick tongue; something that he heard was characteristic of the Handmaidens. He was impressed at her daring but there was still discipline that needed to be dealt. He had to be the leader. He was the captain. He replied, “You better watch your tongue. There is a chain of command.”

“Really? Didn’t realize there was one.”

Shang-Li eyed the Handmaiden with a stern look. He then asked her, “What’s your name?”

It had the desired effect and caught her off guard. She began to stammer and he eyed her, waiting. It added to the effect when Fu Nan informed her that the commanding officer had asked her a question and demanded an answer. She regained her composure and said, “Serena.”

“Serena?”

“Yes. My name is Serena.”

Shang-Li was surprised twice in one day. A record by his reckoning. The name sounded awfully familiar. In his mind he thought he heard a little girl giggle but he brushed it aside. He then asked, “Let me see your notice,” and held out his hand.

The Handmaiden held it out with some trepidation. He could see why when he looked at the name. He said out loud, “Onasi. The Carth Onasi?”

“I didn’t know Carth Onasi had a Handmaiden relative,” Fu Nan added. He looked at the Handmaiden in surprise not knowing what to make of it.

It was Shang-Li who recovered first, “Regardless you have caused trouble in my camp.” He heard snickers from Yoru-san. He wheeled around and faced him and his companion and added, “And you instigated the fighting and for that action everyone will spend the next hour or so cleaning up the mess created. Free entertainment has a price.”

The men moaned but the women said nothing and they plunged right to work. Little did Shang-Li know that he had endeared himself to the women by dealing out fair punishment. They knew that it wasn’t the strange Handmaiden’s fault the fight started. They knew that her companion tried to defend her. They would stick by this sister no matter what even though they knew she wasn’t one of them. Not yet at least. Their actions put the men to shame and they began to work just as hard.

Shang-Li watched the women start working and the men grudgingly follow. He caught Matton’s eye and they shared a look. He then said aloud, “Look alive soldiers. Tomorrow, the real work begins.”

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Old 02-09-2008, 02:32 PM   #14
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The children reunited once again. Great work on this one. I noticed no typos, or anything else I could complain about. The chapter was excellent.

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Old 02-10-2008, 05:50 PM   #15
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Of course they are reunited. Otherwise it wouldn't be Children of the Jedi now would it?

Of course if you noticed once again they have no recollection of each other. True Shang-Li and Matton have been together all their lives and they do recognize the names of heroes but it doesn't click yet. It's going to be fun to see which direction will take in that revelation.

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Old 02-11-2008, 06:53 AM   #16
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I thought it was interesting that the Handmaidens realized that Lilah wasn't one of them, but no one said anything. I also thought that someone might recognize that daughter of Carth Onasi and her cover would be blown.


"You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

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Old 02-11-2008, 01:25 PM   #17
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Ah but she changed her appearance. Remember that Revan is considered a person of Avalon ever since she arrived and Kirabaros presented her case. It is not uncommon for her relations, adopted, to be considered Carth's as well seeing that they are married. In Chinese culture when a woman marries her husband's family becomes her family and his ancestors take over the duty of guardianship. Not that much different from when a woman takes her husband's name in American culture. Think of it as opposite in this case at least from Avalonian view. In a way any Avalonian relative of Revan's is a relative of Carth. For the most part people wouldn't think of his daughter being there.
The Handmaidens will say nothing as will be explained later. Glad you like the story.

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Old 02-19-2008, 01:07 PM   #18
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Chapter 6

Lilah thought that the hits were just going to keep on coming as she crawled her way into her tent. First day she gets into a fight but also that same day she made a tentative friend. She wasn’t sure whether or not to trust the scoundrel but she had to admit that he was pretty good in a fight. He would make a good friend. Her thoughts then turned to the commanding officer.

Sitting on her pallet and hugging her knees she thought about him. Kind and fair obviously. She had noticed that he didn’t let that fellow called Yoru-san get away with naming her to blame for the mess. His eyes though were green. She had never seen an Avalonian with green eyes like his with gold dancing near the pupils. They could become hard and scrutinizing like the way he looked at her. She knew that some commanding officers would get in the face of their soldiers when they wanted to make a point but he seemed to look at her as if…well as if he had seen her before.

Lilah pushed her brows into a frown at the thought. She had never met him before and yet she felt sure that she had. It was an awkward feeling and one she wasn’t sure if she liked it or not. She figured it would be best to get over it since she was in the army now. This was no time to start acting like a girl. She voiced the thought aloud.

“That’s a good strategy. A bit hard physically but you get my meaning.”

Lilah looked up to see the blue figure sitting across from her in the lotus position. She replied, “Yeah and where were you when that slob tried to pummel me with the shot?”

“I said I would help you. Not fight your battles for you,” the blue figure replied as if it were the obvious thing. “You needed to show them that you were one not to be messed with.”

“Oh so doing some stupid trick that my brothers taught me impressed them?”

“If you had been watching the other soldiers’ faces, you would have seen for yourself.” The blue figure shrugged his shoulders.

“So I’m here for your entertainment?” Lilah posed the question as she stretched out her limbs. If given the choice, she would have stood up and raised her leg behind her to grab her foot and stretch. Being that there was little room and she didn’t really want to be seen outside, she opted for simpler stretches.

“No. That’s a bonus.” When he saw the incredulous look on her face, he smiled and added, “I am here to help you be a Handmaiden. The soldier part is up to you.”

“And I agreed to it.”

“Aye but you have to act like the people you come from. You have to observe them and imitate. You can dress up like a Handmaiden but that doesn’t make you one.”

“Alright and when am I supposed to find time to do that? If training begins at sunrise and ends at sundown, there really is no time,” Lilah posed the question.

“Join the other Handmaidens at their fires.”

Lilah looked at the blue figure to see if he was joking. Seeing that he was not she replied, “What? Wasn’t the whole point to avoid being detected?”

“The point is not for you to be found out yes but who’s going to tell the pompous windbag accompanying the commander that? The Handmaidens certainly won’t. They will want to know about you and why you are hiding amongst them but they won’t turn you in.”

Lilah listened to the explanation. It was a sound one but she was unsure. She had never really talked with an actual Handmaiden before and was therefore clueless about them. She asked, “Why?”

The blue figure looked at her almost as if trying to see right through her. His look was gone just as fast as it appeared. He then explained, “They follow the law that Avalon gives to all who seek sanctuary. Of course it is difficult to say you are granted sanctuary in a time of war. Big mistake that was but worth it.” The blue figure went off on a tangent and seemed to stare into space.

Lilah stared at the figure in puzzlement. She had heard of this law but the way her mother described it, it was like a bad thing. She read it in the copy of the law kept in the library at home and she thought it a nice thing for the Avalonians to do. They didn’t have to from her point of view but they were a compassionate people and respected all life. True they were warriors but they had a strange existence with their surroundings. It was no wonder that Grandpa Jolee liked to hang around the elders of the village. Peering at the figure sitting across from her, she wondered what it was like when he was alive. She was too polite to question but she did ask, “Would the Handmaidens accept me though?”

It seemed to catch the attention of the figure and he turned his head back to her. He replied, “Like with all warriors, you have to earn trust. Prove you are worthy of being called a sister.”

“How would I do that?”

“You have four weeks of training,” the blue figure replied, “Use what you know. You’re a smart lass.”

“Is it going to be like this every time?” Lilah asked feeling frustrated, “this double talk?”

“You have to think for yourself. I just give advice but it’s up to you to figure out what you are going to do with it.” The figure pointed at her to punctuate his point. He then smiled at her and added, “Still I think you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. You’ll do fine.” With that he disappeared leaving Lilah to tuck in and get a night’s rest.

****

Shang-Li was pacing in his tent muttering out loud while Matton sat back and looked on in amusement. He was saying, “Those eyes. I’ve known I’ve seen them somewhere before. I just can’t…”

“You gonna eat that?” Matton asked while pointing at the fruit that Shang-Li was holding like a ball.

Shang-Li looked at his friend and asked, “How can you think of food at a time like this?”

“First order of business: survival,” Matton replied with a shrug of his shoulder, “Would have thought a soldier like you would have known that…Captain.” He grinned mischievously at Shang-Li and waited for his response.

Shang-Li narrowed his green eyes at Matton but they were full of laughter. He gave a slight smile and replied, “And is that how you deal with your business? Jokes and sarcasm?”

“Hey everyone needs to get some humor in once in a while. Besides I was getting bored by the description of the eyes.”

“Can I help it if they stick in my mind?” Shang-Li asked. He then began to start pacing again trying to think. “How did you meet her in the first place?”

“She bumped into me. We exchanged numbers…” Matton noticed that Shang-Li was looking at him with a raised brow. “What? I’m being honest here.”

“So she bumped into you and you exchanged a few words and the next minute you’re fighting like how we did in school? Shang-Li kept his brow raised and crossed his arms.

“Hey, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. It’s alright by me.” Matton spread his arms and shrugged. “Why are you so interested?”

“Not interested just…curious.”

“So you’re saying that you aren’t attracted by that great body and the beautiful face…” Matton smirked before continuing, “The eyes.”

“She’s a Handmaiden, a soldier under my command. Nothing more, nothing less.” Shang-Li replied pointing at Matton to drive it home. The fruit was still held in his fist as he pointed at Matton but that didn’t bother him.

“Keep telling yourself that mate,” Matton replied as he stretched to get more comfortable. “A girl with that kind of beauty…”

“Cut it out Matton. I was just curious about her eyes.” Shang-Li looked at Matton who held his hands in the gesture of apology. “It’s like one of those things that you know you’ve seen it but can’t place. You know that feeling?”

“That and every other feeling associated with the women I’ve met,” Matton replied. Shang-Li was his best friend but he was so straight laced. If he truly liked a girl, he wouldn’t approach her at all but prefer to watch. It was something he intended to change. “Relax amante. I won’t say anything. From all accounts she’ll be worried trying to find new ways to sass back at you.”

“And you’re not doing that now?”

“I play the pazaak games. It’s not my fault that you can’t call a bluff.”

“Yeah in your head but I can still best you in the dueling ring.”

“Not arguing with that.” Matton gave a slight wave indicating he didn’t mind that accusation.

“You prefer to go to Nar Shaddaa or some cantina,” Shang-Li had a grin on his face.

“Hey everyone needs to get lost once in a while. You have to in my line of work.”

“Hobnobbing with diplomats that rough?” Shang-Li asked. He then tossed the fruit to Matton and picked up another one. He took a bite and looked at Matton.

Matton held the fruit that Shang-Li tossed him and looked at it out of force of habit. He said, “Not really,” and took a bite. He then added, “The women.”

“You need to hide from women?” Shang-Li eyed Matton incredulously.

“Hey you’re the one who can’t even work up the nerve to talk to one let alone land a kiss on her,” Matton countered. “Besides you don’t last as long as I have without picking up a few tips along the way.”

“Hey when the time comes I will,” Shang-Li replied, “And you better curb your tongue or Fu Nan will squeal like a girl to the governor.”

“Hey I gave my word didn’t I?” Matton screwed his face into a slight pout. “You’re my best friend and I honor that.” He then stood up to get ready to leave, “But like you said before I am the soldier now and you are the Captain. I better report to my quarters or I might get demerits.” He gave a smile and headed towards the tent flaps.

Shang-Li watched as Matton lifted the tent flap. Before he left, he said, “You’re always my friend, my brother. See you in the morning.”

After Matton left, Shang-Li sat in his tent stretching his leg. Matton was forever teasing him about his way with women. He couldn’t help but go the honorable route. It was a running joke with his former classmates but they referred to it as the tale of the Morning Star. The sad thing about that was that the couple in the story died. That did not speak well to his future regarding women. That was part of the reason why he shrank from showing off at exhibitions. At least with Handmaidens and women from Amshrey didn’t swoon over him. They were warriors first and women second. There would be time for the sentimental mush later.

He focused his thoughts on the training regimen that he wanted to begin with the soldiers. It was his first official command and he wanted to make men out of the soldiers so to speak. He had led small missions but in simulations for small operations, mostly a retrieval of an escaped prisoner awaiting trial. This was different however and the men, and women came from all points of Belos and the sister worlds of Avalon. He knew that if he screwed up Fu Nan would put that in his report and once and for all tell his father that he wasn’t ready for leadership.

He wasn’t worried about Fu Nan since he considered him a paper-pushing bureaucrat. He was concerned about his father’s opinion of him. His father loved him that much was true but his father was a harsh taskmaster when it came to military affairs. He couldn’t help but wonder if that was because he had known nothing but a soldier’s life. His father respected competence and an observance to Bushida. Shang-Li honored the latter and wanted to prove the former.

His rational side took hold though and told him to take it slow. He puzzled through the regimen on a piece of paper. “How am I going to turn a group of tribesmen and citizens into a fighting unit? If only I had some advice.”

“Any question you ever have, the answer you will find in nature,” a voice sounded.

Shang-Li whipped around to look. It was not proper for a soldier to enter his tent unless summoned. He said, “Whoever you are you would do best to return to your tent or suffer the consequences in the morning.”

“To find the answer, you have to seek,” the voice came again. This time it was close in his ear.

Shang-Li’s reaction was to whip around and assume an attack position with his fists balled to fight. He looked around for the intruder. First he has a double take and now he was hearing voices. Fu Nan would have a field day if he heard this.

“The student becomes the teacher. Teach what you know.” The voice came from behind Shang-Li.

Shang-Li turned to see a figure outlined in blue. He was curious about it and wondered. He asked, “What are you? A spirit?”

“A spirit? Maybe though I think a ghost may be more like it,” the figure replied.

Shang-Li lowered his hands. He sensed the figure wasn’t going to do him harm so he relaxed a bit. It was strange to be talking to someone who was dead though he had heard of the Shi-Cho Jedi on Avalon speak of such a thing. He asked, “You have a name or shall I make up one for you?”

“You may call me Tergis.”

“Alright Tergis. What are you doing here and why am I talking to a ghost?” Shang-Li advanced towards Tergis to hear the answer.

“You summoned me.”

“Summoned you?” Shang-Li looked at the ghost as if it were crazy. “I was voicing my thoughts out loud.”

“You must have done it through the Force because here I am,” Tergis replied opening his arms to indicate his presence.

“The Force? Please. That is a Jedi thing. I am a soldier, a Bushida warrior,” Shang-Li suppressed the urge to chuckle. He sensed that that would offend the ghost and his father always told him to be polite to anyone even if what they said sounded ridiculous.

“The Force is in all living things. You must have touched it.”

“How could I? I didn’t feel any different.” Shang-Li was confused. He wondered how he could touch something and not even know it. It was like losing the sense of touch.

Tergis looked like he was thinking the same thing. After a bit he spoke, “Perhaps you reached out while your mind was unaware of it. A rare but not uncommon thing. Anyway you asked for help and I came to give you a path.”

“Ok.” Shang-Li didn’t know what to make of it. Still he could listen some. He said, “You said that if I had a question I would find the answer in nature. What does that mean?”

“Look at your training.”

“My training?”

Tergis nodded. “You will find the answer you seek.”

“Um, alright.” Shang-Li didn’t get a chance to ask anything more for Tergis left before he could. He sighed and wondered if it was just his imagination. Still it wouldn’t hurt to think about it. He sat back down on his pallet and began to think.

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Old 02-23-2008, 01:06 PM   #19
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A good chapter. I was wondering why Kirabaros would appear to Lilah and not to his own son and I guess there's no need for that question anymore. I wonder though, why would he decide not to reveal his identity to his own son, but you don't have to answer that now, unless you really want to - I'm sure the story will reveal it in due time: Keep writing.

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Old 02-24-2008, 11:30 PM   #20
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Well Kirabaros may have his own reasons for not revealing himself to his son. He would to his goddaughter and if you think about it, he knows about his people. Shang-Li has the skills but he needs the mind and spirit that Tergis gives and as for Morgan...wait and see.

Thanks for reading.

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Old 03-07-2008, 01:03 PM   #21
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Chapter 7

The sun rose over the hills warming the earth with its early rays. Stepping out of her tent, Lilah greeted the sun and took a deep breath of air. The sunrise here on Belos was just as beautiful as the one back home. She could almost see in her mind’s eye her father sitting on his favorite bench and her mother pottering around the gardens. Grandpa Jolee would still be in bed, preferring to lie in bed until breakfast. It made her miss home but she knew she was here for a reason and she aimed to do it. She was staring at the landscape when she was startled by a voice saying, “Beautiful day and a good one to start training.”

Lilah turned to see who was talking to her. She half expected to see the blue figure that haunted her or even the scoundrel she met he day before. Standing behind her was a woman with light brown hair and grey eyes staring at her. The woman stood slightly taller than Lilah and looked at her with an expression that gave nothing away. Lilah, not put out by the expression, replied, “Fresh air brings fresher lungs.”

“You’ll need them if we have to run,” the woman replied, “We had to have them in order to survive the forests of Amshrey.” She shifted her position and crossed her arms across her chest.

“Are all Mandalorians as eager to fight as you?” Lilah asked raising her brow.

“Who said I was Mandalorian?” The woman answered the question with her own and smiled in the process.

“You mentioned Amshrey. Not much has changed but odds are 2 to 1 that you are Mandalorian. Grey eyes are rather a common trait of your people.”

“And your eyes are rare as well,” the woman replied, “but you are good at deduction. I’ll give you that. Whether or not you can pass yourself off as a warrior is another story.”

“You’re the second person who’s told me that so far,” Lilah replied. She thought it best not to count the blue figure. It would sound like she was crazy if she did that and in her mind it was. “You have anything to add on that?”

The woman shrugged her shoulders. When she saw Lilah wasn’t convinced, she explained, “Look I know you aren’t a Handmaiden and the rest of the Handmaidens know it.”

“I’m aware of that.” Lilah didn’t like where this was going. She wasn’t sure if this woman was going to rat her out and it unnerved and annoyed her.

“Hey you handled yourself well. I was there. Can’t resist a good fight,” the woman smiled.

“Well I don’t like to fight but I do what is necessary,” Lilah replied. It was a stretch of the truth since she never got into fights but with three brothers around there was enough truth in that. “How did you know any way?”

“Your stance and your walk.” When the woman saw the confused look on Lilah’s face she explained, “You don’t walk like a Handmaiden. You have a gentler step. Very subtle to a man’s eye.”

Lilah nodded in acknowledgement. Clearly there was going to be a slight problem fitting in but that will be with the Handmaidens. They knew their own very well but it was strange that they hadn’t said a word. Then again her companion said that they followed the refugee clause or whatever it was called. She asked, “Can you teach me?”

The woman looked at Lilah. She eyes the color of fire and they would do well in battle. She nodded, “We help each other.” She then offered her wrist, “I’m Selene of Clan Ordo.”

“Serena,” and Lilah returned the gesture by grasping Selene’s wrist.

The moment was interrupted by a blowing of a horn coming from the training ground. Selene said, “There’s the call. Time to go train.” Then taking Lilah’s wrist, she tugged gently. When Lilah didn’t budge, she added, “Best not to be late. I think Yoru-san is still sore from yesterday.”

Lilah nodded and followed her new friend to the training ground. The other Handmaidens were making their way as well. Some of them greeted Lilah along the way giving the warrior handshake. Some muttered in Avalonian or their tribal dialects but most of them gave their names. Lilah responded in kind giving her name and muttering the polite phrases in Avalonian as Petronius had taught her. She followed Selene to where the troops were assembling.

Selene was right in that Yoru-san was still sore about the day before. His companion felt the same way when he noticed her. He said in a wheedling tone, “Hello Serena. You wanna play catch?”

“Yeah and I can be the pitcher,” and Yoru-san grabbed the front of her tunic and was making ready to throw a punch.

Lilah was too quick and she twisted his wrist so that he released her. She didn’t want a repeat of yesterday but this burly fellow wasn’t giving her much of a choice. It seemed she was doomed to repeat yesterday. She backed up into a ready stance she said, “Not in the mood today.”

“Too late for that,” Yoru-san replied and made ready to charge. He was stopped however by the Handmaidens who formed a human wall. They glared at him as he stood there not sure whether or not throwing a punch was a good idea. He did say, “My business is with her,” and he jabbed a finger in Lilah’s direction.

“You mess with one and you mess with all,” one of the Handmaiden’s spoke.

Lilah looked on wondering if she should speak or not. If she did, her cover would be blown and if she didn’t, another fight could start. She looked and caught Selene’s eye and she saw the ‘don’t interfere look.’ She hoped that something or someone would distract Yoru-san’s attention. She didn’t have to wait for long for a lazy drawl rang out, “Causing trouble again Yoru-san?”

Matton had risen early and was hoping to meet the Handmaiden from the day before and have a chat. There was something familiar about her but he attributed that to a woman he knew from Nar Shaddaa. He was curious and wanted to strike up a friendly chat. He had seen her talking to the Amshrey warrior and had walked away to the training grounds but not before he had a cup of caffa. When he heard the noise, he went over to find the Handmaidens making a sentient wall and Yoru-san starting trouble again. Rather than have his friend face a day for discipline he tried to distract attention by asking the question in the lazy drawl that was so like his father. To complete the picture he gave a lopsided smile and waited for an answer.

Yoru-san looked as if he has swallowed a gizka. He replied, “Settling what was started yesterday.”

“Bad idea. You’ll bust.” Matton strolled in front of the ‘wall’ the Handmaidens’ made.

“We’ll see who’ll bust.”

****

Fu Nan emerged from his tent with his pen and paper and took a deep breath of the morning air. The captain may have the general for his father but he was the governor’s aide and he won’t leave anything out. He headed towards the training ground where the men were assembling. He managed to come out right when Matton and Yoru-san stood toe to toe while eyeing each other warily. He noted that there was going to be some disorder and tried to gain some order. His first mistake was calling out, “Order! People order!”

Some of the men began giving orders as if they were in a cantina causing some distraction from the on going argument between Yoru-san and Matton. Laughter was sounding out as they kept making fun of Fu Nan. Fu Nan glared at them and muttered, “Insubordinate…” and stomped away.

He was stopped when Shang-Li came towards him shouldering a longbow and quiver. He stood aside and said in a snide voice, “I hope you have some idea how to turn these ruffians into soldiers.”

Shang-Li heard the tones but bit back the retort as he adjusted the strap. His father had taught him to pick the battles that can be fought. This was neither the time nor the place and Fu Nan wasn’t worth it. He said nothing but advanced forward until he had a clear view of all the recruits. He saw that Yoru-san was at it again with Matton and checked a sigh. He then barked out, “Soldiers!”

The noise stopped immediately and everyone assembled in orderly rows. When they lined up, Shang-Li could see the division between the Handmaidens and the other recruits. Standing in the middle was Matton and the Handmaiden that sassed him the day before. He saw that training wasn’t going to be the issue. Getting along was.

When she heard the commanding officer call for order, Lilah placed a hand on Selene’s arm and squeezed gently. The last thing she wanted was trouble with the Captain. She took her place in line next to her new friend Matton on her left and Selene on her right. She said nothing but stood at attention and watched with her eyes as the captain walked down the line inspecting the ranks.

Taking a closer look, she saw that the captain looked better than yesterday. She wondered how she couldn’t have noticed how handsome he was. His eyes, that glittering green were like one of those childhood memories that was faded. She could recall seeing them before but it evaded her where. She couldn’t waste more time looking at him for he was coming her way so she quickly averted her eyes front and center.

Shang-Li passed the Handmaiden aware that he had a better view of her today than yesterday. He couldn’t let on that and if Matton spotted anything, he would let him have it later. Instead he concentrated on giving his rules for training, “You all will assemble swiftly and silently every morning. If any of you think otherwise, you will answer to me.”

He passed the Handmaidens who regarded him with their own form of respect. He stopped to take a brief glance at the warrior from Amshrey before walking down the line. He hadn’t gone far when he caught the sound of Yoru-san saying, “Oh such a tough guy.”

It was unexpected when Shang-Li removed an arrow from his quiver and looked down its shaft to inspect it. He then said, “Oh Yoru-san…” His voice had trailed but his eyes were looking at Yoru-san. Fitting the shaft, he did a quick about face, aimed and fired the arrow.

It had been so quick that the most of the recruits thought he was going to hit Yoru-san with the arrow. Their eyes were wide open as the arrow quivered where it had struck the top of a large pole reaching towards the morning sun. Lilah hadn’t moved for she sensed that the captain wasn’t one to kill soldiers for insubordination like that and she suspected he had a streak of humor. She looked at Matton who regarded the whole scene in a relaxed manner. To her, he looked like he belonged in a cantina or pazaak den since he was so relaxed but she was no fool. He could fight and she thought that the ‘don’t care’ look was a way to mask his abilities. She turned to her attention to the captain as he was speaking.

Shang-Li was aware that he caused a ruckus among the recruits save those who were from warrior families and knew that tactic. He merely smiled a polite smile as he approached Yoru-san saying, “Thank you for being a volunteer. You will show the rest of the recruits what will be involved as they try to attain their goal which is to reach that arrow.” He then motioned to Fu Nan who advanced dragging something heavy as he set down his bow and arrows.

Shang-Li never let his gaze waver from the men as he lifted two large bags, one in each hand. He explained, “These are filled with shot, the things you were throwing around yesterday. Your goal by the end of your training is to be able to reach the arrow with both of these. They are strength and discipline, two important qualities of a soldier.” As he was explaining, he strapped each bag to Yoru-san’s arms and indicated that he should lift.

Yoru-san prided himself on being a strong man but when he tried lifting the bags of shot, he found his arms straining under the weight. He was frustrated and began grumbling and thinking of rude names to call the captain. He muttered, “Think you’re smart Pretty Boy?”

Shang-Li heard every word but took it like he would one of Matton’s bad jokes: he ignored it. He motioned that Yoru-san could put down the bags of shot and return to the line. He continued to explain, “Strength and discipline are not the only things that make a good soldier. Agility and speed are two others. All together you have a soldier, you get me?”

“Yes sir!”

“Yes sir,” Yoru-san grumbled.

“Something you want to add Yoru-san?”

Yoru-san looked up at the question. He glared at Shang-Li as he stood there. He would have liked nothing more than to punch in the pretty boy’s face but he would be disgraced if he did. Instead he straightened slightly and answered, “No sir.”

“Good,” Shang-Li replied, “Now before you can even begin to reach the arrow, you must learn to become fast and friendly to the environment. So we are going to take a little run through the woods. If you get lost along the way, don’t bother coming back to camp. Just head home in disgrace. Any questions?” Finding none from the recruits, Shang-Li barked out, “Columns of two!”

The recruits lined up in two straight lines rather haphazardly. Those that were not from warrior families had been scared by the threat of dishonor and wanted nothing more than to show that they could weather it out. It turned out that each woman was paired up with a man. Matton ended up being paired with Serena much to his delight. He found her pretty and not at all to his taste but more suited to his friend. He wanted to find out more about her and figured that he could while observing her.

Satisfied that the men were more or less in their columns, Shang-Li walked towards the head of the line. Taking one last look he then barked, “Double-time! March!” He then began to set the pace for the others.

It was clumsy going as the recruits tried to match his pace. The Handmaidens didn’t seem to have trouble and neither did the warrior from Amshrey for they kept pace fairly well. Shang-Li led the recruits out of camp and into the surrounding forest through the trails. His sharp ears picked up the stumbling and the shuffling of feet and he wondered if they could become soldiers. We’ve got a long way to go.

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Old 03-16-2008, 02:37 PM   #22
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Another good chapter JM. I liked the way Shang-Li put Yoru-san in place. Another interesting thing was the new Handmaiden character of Selene. I wonder if she shares something more with Canderous besides the clan name.

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Old 03-17-2008, 12:22 PM   #23
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If you recall in Heart of Deception, Canderous spoke to the one who was his wife after dropping the younguns with Mamesa.

Shang-Li had to put Yoru-san in his place. If a leader cannot control his men, how is to lead in battle? To tell a little secret, Shang-Li can be a little rash but other than that he knows how to be a soldier. Put him with Jedi stuff, think of how Carth reacts

Glad you liked the chapter. Things have been slow since this quarter has been packed with papers and quizzes to do. I will try to get the next chapter up ASAP.

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Old 04-02-2008, 05:58 PM   #24
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Chapter 8

The village looked peaceful with the people going about their business. Women were tending the herds while the men were busy in the fields. Children were helping their parents or learning their fighting skills from the old master of the village. Chang Tsung looked down with amusement on his face. He remembered a time when he used to be young and carefree as the children down there, playing at being a tough soldier, a warrior.

He remembered a time when his father was an honored lord and he was happy. Those were happy times and they were ruined by a traitor to their people.

Chang Tsung growled at the memory of his mother being spit on and turned out as if she were trash. They said his father was to blame but it cast a shadow on the family. The sins of the father are the son’s burden. He was paying for his father’s dream. Well he was going to achieve his father’s dream. This time he was striking at Belos, the strongest concerning military. Sixteen years he had been fighting the armies and now he closed his fist on Sheng Xin. Xao Lin was next.

His thoughts were interrupted by his aide coming. His aide said, “Sir, Yaudi-san sent word. The Kataran Plains will be in his reach in two days.”

“Good. Right on schedule.”

“Sir, why split our forces? The quickest way to the governor is through the Soresu Pass. We would need all our forces in order to take the city.” The aide was curious and knew he was foolish in asking.

He paid for it when he felt his throat begin to tighten. Chang Tsung looked at his aide struggling to breathe. He replied, “You question my judgment?”

The aide couldn’t speak but managed to gurgle a no. He then said, “Don’t…un…under…stand.”

The rush of air was a relief to the strained lungs of the aide. Chang Tsung looked at him gasping on the ground with a slight contempt and said, “You’ve got to look at the larger picture. Strike at two fronts and you divide their forces. We will swing around and envelope Xao Lin.”

The aide managed to gain enough oxygen in his lungs to speak, “So…you…plan to…”

“Yes encircle the enemy. A gun at the front and a gun at the back,” Chang Tsung confirmed with a malicious grin on his face. He turned to look at the village below. “We strike at this village. The general of Belos will never see it coming. Have the men form the divisions and prepare to march. We will take this village and slowly squeeze.”

“And the women and the children?”

“Take no prisoners. This will be won on blood.”

“Yes sir,” and the aide trotted off to have the commanders form the ranks.

Chang Tsung chuckled at the fear his aide had for him. He may be an Outcast and his family disgraced but he was a military leader. His tactics and maneuvers rivaled that of the great generals of Mikkado so his instructors at the academy on Mikkado. Of course that was before his father was declared a traitor. He turned to look at the village one last time. Yes, the time will come and he will have what is rightfully his.

He turned to join his men. He mounted his stallion and looked at the ready ranks. He said, “Men, we go forth into battle. Remember what they have taken from us: our land, our freedom, our honor!”

The men cheered in response. Chang Tsung turned his stallion around and led the charge. The stallions’ feet pounded into the earth. Nothing could stop them now.

****

A red sun rose over the mountains as Lady Kiara looked out over the balcony. It meant one thing to her people. A red sun rises. Blood has been and will be spilt.

Ever since the order had been issued, warriors from Belos and a few from her sister planets flocked to the training camps to report in. General Starlighter was among those that had left the Honshu Camp but there had been no word since then. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust him but she was worried. The last time no word was received, Sheng Xin was taken and now under Chang Tsung’s control.

Lady Kiara sighed deeply as she watched the sun rise. She felt more alone than ever standing there. For eighteen years she had tried to maintain peace on Belos and now it was being threatened. She knew better than anyone that if Belos were to fall, Avalon would fall and it would echo throughout the Republic. That was something the Republic didn’t need after the Mandalorian wars and the Jedi Civil War. The war on Avalon didn’t affect them much but friends from the Republic helped them anyway.

Most importantly, she owed her sense to self to the one that passed on. She closed her eyes as she felt the morning breeze flit across her face. Old friend you taught me not to keep the hate in my heart. Now you are gone but your spirit lives on.

She opened them to see the sun reflect its rays over the city of Xao Lin. Soon the people would be coming out into the suq to do their daily trade. Even with the face of war on the city, a living had to be made. She could see one of the refugee camps made for those that had retreated to the safety of the city. It reminded her of her state when she first met the hero of Belos. Serena wouldn’t have admitted it then but they were in dire straits until he came along.

She laughed to herself about the water battle he had with Serena. Both were strong warriors but he was the more cunning. Later she learned that he did it because he wanted to get out of the water. She later learned that was how he died before coming back. She recalled that as she thought that on Yavin was the last one. That time he didn’t return but instead went to walk the plains of Jasilyn.

The Jedi called it the netherworld with the Force. They said that there was no death, only the Force. It sounded similar to what the elders spoke of in the plains of Jasilyn. The stories went that only heroes could go there and enjoy a life of peace after their service to the people. It was amazing and fascinating that they were so similar. It goes to show that we are not all that different from each other.

Lady Kiara realized that the people would not be where they were now if it hadn’t been for him. He taught his people that they didn’t have to treat others differently based upon who they were and where they come from. With this newest threat from Chang Tsung, the new world created was in danger of being lost. She looked at the wall of the city that was near the forest she met him.

How many times had she heard the story of him picking up an astromech droid with one hand and vaulting with it over the wall? I guess that goes to show that even the most impossible could be possible. She wasn’t going to give up on General Starlighter. He will get a report to her as soon as he could.

Her thoughts were interrupted be one of her advisors announcing visitors. She replied, “I’ll be there in a minute.”

The advisor nodded and replied, “I have them waiting in the receiving room.”

Lady Kiara nodded and watched the advisor leave. She cast one last look at the city below and sighed. Long days seemed to be coming but she won’t give in. She turned to head out towards the door to greet her visitors. She headed down the stairs towards the doors to the receiving area and pulled open the doors. She opened the door and said, “Welcome. I have been expecting you.”

****

He saw the sun rise red and knew that something had happened and he missed it. General Starlighter frowned as he watched his men reinforce the village in the Soresu pass. One thing he had learned and taught his son from day one was that you never underestimate the enemy’s capabilities nor should you overestimate them.

They hadn’t met anything on their way to the Soresu pass. As far as he could tell, those from the smaller villages and the bands had packed up and evacuated either into the forests or to Xao Lin. In a way it left a clear path for Chang Tsung to ride through to him but it was better than having those that couldn’t fight being in danger. This was the last line of defense between here and Xao Lin and if it fell, then there was nothing to stop Chang Tsung from riding into the city.

General Starlighter looked away from the defense fortifications to the perimeter and the horizon. He saw something appear over the rise. He whipped out his viewing scope and adjusted it to where he spotted whatever it was. His aide was standing beside him and asked, “You see something, sir?”

General Starlighter made an adjustment and peered through the viewer. The figure was much closer this time and he could see who it was. He saw that it wasn’t the enemy and his eyes widened at the sight of the man’s appearance. He shouted, much to the surprise of his aide, “Open the gates! Medic!” He then went down to greet the lone man.

The man looked like he had been thrown to a pack of straif cats and had barely made it out alive. The general pushed his men aside to reach the wounded man as he staggered and was able to catch the man as he fell. The man was sputtering, “Must…see…the general…”

General Starlighter peered at the man and held him so he could see. He gave a bit of water to the man and allowed him to catch his breath. He replied, “I am General Starlighter. What has happened warrior of the Shinto tribe?”

Relieved that he had found the general, the man replied, “Too many…too many of them. Tried…to…fend them off.”

“Fend who off?”

“Chang Tsung.”

A murmur began to resound through the gathered soldiers as the general leaned closer to try to hear. He couldn’t hear and he gave a stern look towards his men who became silent under the glare. He leaned forwards again and asked, “What did you say?”

“Split his forces. He comes this way but the others through the plains,” the man cut off to catch his breath.

General Starlighter listened and thought about it. His son suggested that a division of forces was a logical choice. That meant that Chang Tsung was attempting to envelope the city. He said nothing but called to his medic to take care of the wounded man. He stood and said, “Finish the redoubts and make sure that those that cannot fight are taken to the mountain stronghold.”

The men went back to their chores while General Starlighter spoke to the medic. The medic assured him that he would do what he could for the warrior who must have traveled a long way. The general nodded and turned to walk away. He had to think this over. His aide followed him and asked, “Sir, what does this mean?”

General Starlighter replied while heading towards his tent, “Chang Tsung divided his forces like Captain Starlighter suggested. This means that while we are fortified here, the people of the Kataran plains are left with minimal defenses.”

“Sir didn’t you send two companies to protect the settlers there?”

“The plains have no natural defense system. Two companies may be able to hold them off but in the end they will be rolled over.” Upon entering his tent, General Starlighter pulled out a map of the Kataran plains. He had an idea form in his mind but it was full of holes.

His aide knew he was thinking of something and said, “What of sending a company to join them? There are also the Jedi to consider.”

The general stiffened slightly but it passed unnoticeable. He continued to stare at the map and make notations in a field journal he kept. He replied, “It was an idea to send a company. More than likely it will have to be the recruits from the Honshu camp. The other camps are dispatched to fortify the city itself.”

“And the Jedi, sir?” The aide knew that the Jedi had been helpful, particularly one who never considered himself a Jedi. If he remembered correctly, that Jedi had a drawl that was tinged with sarcasm at times and looked every bit a scoundrel. He recalled seeing a recruit that looked like a younger version of him at the camp. He wondered if they were related.

“The Jedi will more likely be with the other recruits in the city and the other villages that haven’t been on Chang Tsung’s path.” He spoke too soon for a shout resounded through the camp. General Starlighter got up from his seat and moved towards the tent flap. He peered out to see a hooded figure come up to his tent. A closer inspection revealed a lightsaber hanging on the belt and the general repressed a sigh. He opened the tent flap to let the Jedi in.

The Jedi wore its hood up but there was no mistaking the outfit of a Jedi from the Republic. General Starlighter motioned for the Jedi to stand in the middle of the tent. He said in a carefully rehearsed voice, “Master Jedi, always an honor to have you here. What brings you to the Soresu Pass?”

The Jedi didn’t remove its hood but stood there as if to examine the general. It then spoke with a slight purr in its voice, “My master expresses regret in not meeting you again general but she thought it best to help with the fortification of Xao Lin.”

General Starlighter looked at the Jedi. He had heard the purring voice before. It had been a long time indeed. He replied, “As well a should be done. We have a war on two fronts but obstacles must be set.”

“Indeed. That is why I have come,” and the Jedi held out a datapad towards the general.

****

Revan looked out the window of the villa that had been home for so long. She could see Carth sitting on the stone bench, staring at the river, Daranka on the ground beside him. Her heart went out for him for she knew that he was extremely fond of their only daughter. Through the Force, Revan could see the deepened bond between father and daughter and it worried her as to what would happen should anything happen to Lilah.

Jolee must have been reading her thoughts for he ambled in saying, “Don’t you worry lass.”

Revan looked at Jolee as if he were crazy. She replied, “Telling me that makes me worry all the more.”

“Of course you do. She’s your daughter but you know maybe she wants to prove something to herself,” Jolee replied.

“Prove what?” Revan asked confused, “She knows that she is who she is.”

“But to whom?” Jolee pointed out. “She was born here on Avalon. It is assumed that she is one of them. It doesn’t matter that she’s your daughter.”

Revan looked at Jolee with a knowing look. Her Jedi brother once told her that there were things that a native-born Avalonian understood about life, honor and duty. He couldn’t truly explain it to her then and now he was gone so she never got the chance. She did realize though that in order for Lilah to find her place among the people she loved, she had to do what she thought necessary. That didn’t make the ache hurt any less and she voiced it aloud, “It doesn’t make the ache hurt any less. You would know that better than anyone.”

“I never had a daughter but you made your point missy,” Jolee replied gruffly trying to hide the emotions that threatened to spill.

“Old man you know you can’t hide that from me and Lilah loves you.”

Jolee sighed, “I know you’re right and I’m right.” He then gave a toothy grin, “That’s why I know that she’ll be alright.”

Revan made a face at Jolee’s comment. “And how do you know that?”

“I asked the Force.”

Jolee had said it so solemnly that it was rather comical under normal circumstances. Revan knew that he wasn’t kidding and prudently kept her mouth closed. She cast another look at Carth sitting on the stone bench. She said, “For Carth’s sake I hope it will help.”

“It will. He will make sure of it.” Jolee put an arm around her shoulders.

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Old 04-15-2008, 05:37 PM   #25
igyman
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Another good chapter. I liked that this one focused on the secondary characters more than on the principal ones. I also think that General Starlighter's figuring out Tsung's plan will provide some interesting battles in the chapters ahead.

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Old 04-17-2008, 06:42 PM   #26
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Glad you liked the chapter. Indeed I do have a couple of interesting battles for the General considering all that has happened. The next chapter is in the works and I work on it when I can. Thanks for reading.

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