The Jedi Nursery: Part Two--Rise of the Sith

Part Two

by Autumn P. Torkorgana

Anakin quickly gained on them once they were in the air. However, none of his shots hit their mark, and the two Jedi lured him down onto the volatile planet of Yestou.

He finally caught up with them in an empty hallway of the docking bay complex.

"Obi-Wan, you don't have your lightsaber!" Andriya exclaimed.

"Yes I do," he replied as he checked his belt. He didn't.

"What did you do with it?"

"It's in my room," he recalled. "The clip wasn't working and I didn't want the kids to get it."

"Can we get on with this?" Anakin asked. He drew his lightsaber.

Obi-Wan was at a loss. How could I forget my lightsaber?

"Who's first? Obi-Wan? Councilor Delvee?"

"No need to be formal," she replied lightly. "You may call me Andriya."

"Okay, Andriya, Obi-Wan, since you aren't armed, just hold still for a moment and it will all be over." He raised his lightsaber as if he really planned to strike them down.

"You underestimate us, Skywalker."

"You don't need to talk, Andriya. It's not going to stop me." He began the graceful arc of the lightsaber that would surely slice Andriya in half. At the latest possible second, an orange blade parried Anakin's blow.

"Oh, this is Roc's. Oh well."

"Fine, we'll do battle later. But first, please--"

"No, we fight first."

Instead of responding with words, Anakin responded with an attack. Andriya stepped back, using the Force to determine whether she had room for further retreat.

Obi-Wan followed at a safe distance, watching them, realizing that he hadn't been a spectator at this sport in a long time . . . and he didn't like it very much.

"Have it your way," Andriya called, tossing her lightsaber to Obi-Wan with one hand and continuing to block and parry with Roc's lightsaber in the other.

"Thank you."

"You're welco--" Andriya interrupted herself with a scream as the walkway gave way underneath her.

Anakin turned around to face Obi-Wan. "Don't worry, Obi-Wan," Anakin said. "You really are a failure."

The insult surprised Obi-Wan long enough for Anakin to knock his lightsaber out of his hands and send it tumbling after Andriya.

"Easier than I thought," Anakin said with satisfaction. He raised his lightsaber and swung down toward Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan closed his eyes, awaiting the strike, but instead, he heard the clash of two lightsabers. He opened his eyes to find Andriya standing between them, using her lightsaber to block Anakin's attack. Anakin would soon overpower Andriya if she didn't do something. Something she did--she took one hand off her lightsaber and switched off Anakin's lightsaber. She turned off her own and pulled the lightsaber from Anakin's shocked hands.

"Easier than I thought. The crystal in Roc's lightsaber cracked," she explained, "so we're down to two lightsabers for the three of us." She glanced back and forth at Anakin and Obi-Wan, who appeared to be engaged in a staring contest. "I think I'll take these and go way over there so you two can talk."

Obi-Wan barely waited for her to retreat out of earshot before beginning the conversation. "Anakin, why are you using the Dark Side?"

"I'm not Anakin anymore. My name is Darth Vader, and I am a Dark Lord of the Sith."

"Fine. Darth Vader, why are you using the Dark Side?"

Vader considered his answer. The fact that it was easier and faster occurred to him, but that didn't sound like the justification Obi-Wan probably wanted. "Because it's more powerful than Light."

"No, it's not, it's just faster for now. What about your future?"

"What about it?"

"The Dark Side will consume you mentally and physically."

"I control the Force, not the other way around."

"I don't think so, Vader. You can control the Force, but it guides you as well. Using the Dark Side denies you the power of the Light and leads you down a path of destruction."

"The path I choose leads where I want it to."

"You can choose your path but you can't choose its destination."

"With the Force as my ally, I can choose anything I want."

"But the Force is not your ally, only the Dark Side. And the Dark Side is never anyone's true ally--especially not when they need it."

"It is my ally," Vader insisted, his anger rising.

"Anakin, you must control your anger."

"I'm not Anakin and I don't have to control anything but the Force!" he yelled. "Andriya!"

Andriya ran up behind Obi-Wan. "What now?"

"Give me my lightsaber," Vader commanded.

"Obi-Wan? You know him better than I do."

"If that's what he thinks he wants."

"And I'd like to confront Obi-Wan instead of you, Andriya."

"Fine with me. Obi-Wan?"

Obi-Wan held out his hand. Andriya gave him her lightsaber and tossed Anakin's back to him. As the battle began, Andriya headed for an area of the walkways obscured by shadows and turned off her Force.

Vader jumped slightly. He began a conversation which continued during short lapses in the battle. "What happened to her?"

"Why would you care?"

"Is she dead?"

"Does it matter?"

"Not really. It won't be long before all the Jedi are."

"What do you mean?"

"The Emperor has issued an extermination order on all Jedi."

"And what does the Senate say?"

"It doesn't matter, it's what the Emperor wants."

"Why would the Emperor want to destroy peace keepers?" Andriya called.

"I can think of one reason," Obi-Wan replied.

"Sith," they said in unison.

"Good guess, Jedi."

"Well, that explains a few things."

Obi-Wan retreated to the shadows.

"How's it going?" Andriya hissed.

Obi-Wan almost laughed to think that she'd asked. "Discouraging," he whispered, climbing up a ladder to a higher level of suspended walkways.

Darth Vader, as he called himself, was still standing on the first level, waiting for his former mentor to reappear from the shadows. When he didn't, Vader addressed Obi-Wan. "Are you going to come out or shall I go in after Andriya? We all know that you--"

"We don't all know," Obi-Wan interrupted from the upper level.

"I'm unarmed, Vader," she called from the shadows.

"That just makes it easier," Vader replied, heading in.

"That wasn't an invitation." Andriya's mind raced. If she turned on her Force-sense, he'd find her immediately, probably before she could summon enough energy to protect herself. She realized she was rubbing her left elbow, which had become a nervous habit ever since that training accident that had shattered her elbow and kept her out of the Clone Wars.

That's it! Andriya grabbed the nearest narrow, loose cylinder. Remaining as calm as possible, she waited for Vader to step in range. Her chance came quickly. She stepped into the swing, solidly connecting with Vader's fingers, and maybe breaking one or two of them.

He yelped in pain, dropping his lightsaber. Andriya turned on her Force-sense and summoned the lightsaber before Vader had even finished nursing his wound. She walked out of the shadows, looking up at Obi-Wan. "Toss me my lightsaber."

"Are you sure?"

"Very." The lightsaber handle came tumbling down, right into Andriya's outstretched hand (with a little help from the Force, Andriya wasn't very good at catching). "Vader," she said in a sing-song voice, baiting him. "Come on out and get your lightsaber."

Vader followed her down the walkway to a bridge extending over a pit of molten lava. Something made him uneasy about the pit, but Andriya tossed him the lightsaber and it was too late for misgivings.

Obi-Wan witnessed a surprisingly fierce lightsaber battle.

After a short while, Andriya glanced behind her and noticed Obi-Wan had moved to the end of the bridge. She retreated very quickly to the end of the bridge where Obi-Wan was waiting and handed him her lightsaber. "This isn't my battle."

"I can't do this," he said, attempting to return her the lightsaber.

She refused it. "No, Obi-Wan. You're the only one who can."

Before Obi-Wan could respond (and what kind of comeback could he have to that?), the time for discussion had passed as Vader approached. "Remember what you stand for--and what he stands for," Andriya whispered, stepping back.

During the ensuing fray, the two combatants cut out a section of guardrail, leaving them free to fall at any moment. Three times, Obi-Wan was forced to the unprotected edge, making it clear that Vader wanted this to be a fight to the death.

Live by the lightsaber, die by the lightsaber, Andriya thought as she looked on helplessly.

The battle continued until Vader neared the edge for the first time--and lost his balance. Obi-Wan dropped his lightsaber and dove for Vader's hand, catching him in time to keep him from falling.

"Anakin, hold on, we'll get you up."

"And back to the Light Side," Andriya added.

"I am Vader," he yelled in rage, wriggling free from Obi-Wan's grip.

"Anakin!" Obi-Wan called.

"No!" Vader yelled back.

The two words were all they had time to say before the molten lava swallowed Vader.

"We've got to help him," Obi-Wan yelled to Andriya without taking his eyes off the point where Vader had entered the lava.

Andriya looked away. "We can't help him, Obi-Wan. We tried." She walked down the narrow walkway, and picked up her lightsaber and Vader's, which had dropped from his hands as he lost his balance. She knelt next to Obi-Wan, who was still laying on his stomach on the walkway. "Obi-Wan, we need to leave."

"What about Anakin?"

"Anakin is dead."

"No, I can still--"

"Obi-Wan, Anakin was a Jedi Knight. He doesn't exist anymore. Darth Vader destroyed him, and he'll do the same to us if we don't leave."

"But Anakin--"

"Obi-Wan, please, we have to go."

"How would you feel if it were Roc Klephra down there?" he asked, finally looking up at her with more sorrow in his eyes than she'd thought possible.

"Awful and in danger. But the Sith took Roc, too--in a different way. Obi-Wan, I beg of you, come with me now."

"I can't leave Anakin."

"If you don't leave him now, who will take care of the galaxy? That's for Jedi, not Sith. And we'll both die if we don't leave now."

Slowly, Obi-Wan got to his feet, still staring down at the lava. Andriya jumped to her feet, began to run and grabbed Obi-Wan's arm as she ran past him.

"Why are you running?"

"I have six children to protect with my life--and ten thousand Jedi to warn."

Obi-Wan remained silent during their return flight to Dantooine. He said nothing when they rescued the still-frightened children from their quarters. He went to bed without a word just after they took off from Dantooine.

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