Chapter 1 - Exile
The cold wind blows across my face, making my tears ice cold. I don't have the strength to wipe them away.
Every step I take is like a lifetime, and my stomach sinks deeper with every movement I make. I can still hear him, sobbing.
I know, he's holding that braid in his hand, clutching it tightly, holding it to his face. I know I've betrayed him. He's alone because I was too afraid of the Jedi.
I was afraid of the people he was so committed to.
The orange-red sky attacks my eyes with its brightness, but I feel like it should be raining. It's the end of the day, the end of my journey as a Jedi. It should have been longer.
Maybe I can go back...
I made my choice.
The sun finally sets, and I'm somewhere in the ghetto of Coruscant. I remember seeing Ventress for the first time in a very long time, in an alley not unlike this one.
There's an exhaust vent next to a stack of boxes here.
The cheap cloak and food supplies I bought with the last of my credits are all I have now, but the cloak will at least keep me warm during the nighttime. Hopefully no police clones find me here.
I press up against the set of boxes, and pull the cloak over my legs, then put my arms through the sleeves, and pull the hood over my face. As the world quietens for the night, I drift away.
At first, it's just darkness. Then a blue sky appears, like the one on Naboo. Blue and big and beautiful. Peaceful birds chirp in the trees which rustle in the quiet wind.
A sea expands in front of me, calm, not a ripple on its surface.
From above, a single raindrop falls from the sky, and it splashes down onto the cool lake, and two sets of ripples ring out, in sync with one another.
A dark current of water changes the directions of the ripples, and soon the water is black and waves crash onto the golden sea bank, taller than my head.
Then, two figures emerge from the place where the first droplet fell. They look like children, and as they grow they are pulled further and further apart.
Once they are fully grown, they outstretch their hands to the now red stormy sky, and with their movement the clouds begin to clear.
One figure reaches down for something, and a small figure appears at her side, holding her hand. A dark cloud surrounds him, like smoke. He opens his eyes, glowing yellow like the eyes of a Sith.
And then I wake up.
The sun beats down on my back as I swerve my way through the streets of Coruscant. Other people in dark cloaks lean against cement buildings, their hands in their pockets, faces obscured.
I wring my hands as I walk, slick with sweat. I just don't want to run into any clones or Jedi. Keeping myself out of trouble is my first priority.
Somewhere, I have to find some transit out of this system.
"You need a power converter," a woman with a raspy voice asks, and shoves her wares into my face.
"No, thanks," I say as I push them away. A quick sting shocks me for a moment. Static. "Sorry."
"Not a problem," the woman says. "Is there something else I may be able to get for you? For the right price of course."
"Transit would be nice."
"Sure thing, doll." She holds out her hand, and I give her my transmitter, already signed out of the republic system.
"I can get you a ship of your own for this," she says.
That transmitter is worth a small fortune, but a ship would be great.
"Make? Model?" I smile at her, hoping for the best.
"Follow me," she says, and turns slowly, her body hunched over, and hobbles forward. She leads me through several alleyways, to a large garage with a landing platform.
The sides of the grate are lined with several different ships, ranging in efficiency from pieces of junk like the Holkram 25c, to a pretty new Lezzaire.
"Here," she says, gesturing a ship in good condition, a smuggler. "I can't guarantee that you won't a have a few bounty hunters on your trail for this, but it's the best I can give you.
"This is great, thanks." I make my way to board the ship.
"Wait," she calls. I turn to look at her. She outstretches a hand to me with something in it. "You forgot your change."
"Keep it," I say.
"No, it's yours. I'm not a thief. I'm not a gambler either. I've had a few too many run-ins with exiled Jedi in my day."
I stutter as she places a small pouch in my hand.
"That should be the exchanged total for that transmitter. Mostly in credits, but there's some other currencies as well."
"But the ship..."
"Wasn't mine in the first place," she shrugs. "Head to Jakku, there's a settlement of former Jedi there, calling themselves the Grays. A friend of mine is the leader. Ask for Leon Rambi."
She squeezes my hands between hers, and looks up at me.
"Thank you," I say.
"No, thank you." She kisses my cheek, and walks out of the hangar.
I can get to Jakku within a few hours, so I decide to pick up some food first. There's a dingy food stall across the street from the hangar, that sells non-perishable foods.
I buy 100 packets, stuffing them into a knapsack I also buy there. The owner tries to push me to buy other things as well, but I don't need them. I pay him as much as it costs, and leave.
By now, it's midday.
I wonder what Skyguy would be doing now? Would he still be sad, or would he have moved on and done... Whatever he does when I'm not around.
It's always weird, whenever he's not around, neither is Senator Amidala. Fishy.
It's hard to stay alert without letting my mind drift on the way to Jakku. Flying alone is unbearable. Especially without a mechanic droid.
An R2 unit would be nice right now, if only to give my updates and percentages. My mind wanders, revisiting times between deployments when master would teach me.
He'd throw empty tin cans at me, I'd push them back, he'd come at me with an Ataru attack slash, and I would defend with the same style, batting his saber away.
Then I'd draw my other blade, and shift stances to better suit a two-bladed fighter. I smile at the memory, and feel a wave of regret wash over me.
I shouldn't have left.
But there's no turning back.
I finally land in a small hangar on Jakku to refuel, and then use the ship as transport over the planet's surface. It's mostly just sand, with ridges like mountains.
Small water springs start little villages around them, and the people who own the fountains start scavenging businesses, taking parts in exchange for rations.
Locals drift past each other, shooting dirty looks and sneering. Three people wait for payment for parts that they brought.
A young child with orange skin which falls across his fat body in wrinkles plays in the sand. His father, face unshaven for several days, serves the scavengers with instant meals.
His gruff voice sounds like a heavy rock being dragged across a wooden board. His eyes are black and beady, and his mouth twists into a permanent frown.
People pass me by, not speaking, not really doing much of anything. The sun hangs low in the sky, and it's hard to see, especially with a cloak over my head.
Cautiously, I remove my hood, and set it across my shoulders. Nobody gives me a second look. I take a deep breath and start moving back to my ship.
I'm suddenly knocked off balance, and I fall to the ground. Sand flies, and my cloak opens up to expose my belt. The person who bumped into me mumbles an apology and offers a hand to help me up.
Flustered, I take it, and he pulls me to my feet. One moment I'm on my feet, the next I'm trying not to kiss him.
"Come with me," he whispers. His voice is hoarse.
I pry my wrist out of his hand, and look him in the face. The man I see in front of me is old, a grey beard covers the bottom half of his face, and thick eyebrows twist into a concerned look.
"No," I say, "I have to meet someone here."
"Oh?" He smiles. "I might be able to help you." He extends his hand to me, and with out even touching me, I'm pulled back towards him.
"Are you a gray," I gape. "Who are you looking for?" "Leon Rambi," I reply, reaching for my weapon. "Look no further," he whispers, "follow me."