Chapter 1: Arrival
Amara couldn't help but marvel at the ship's interior. It was a thing of sheer beauty- sleek, dark, and smooth. She'd always known the Enclave's technology was more than several generations behind the Republic's, but this? This was a thing of splendor compared to the transports they possessed back on Dantooine, and it made her uncomfortable. Ignoring the technology gap had been easy enough when she'd first met the Jedi and their pilots. For all of their civilizations' advances, the traditional clothing of the Jedi had seen little change over the years, and the Republic's military branches were not known for their creative whims. Her own armor, as old and marred as it was, had not been a source of discomfort. Now, though? Now she was painfully aware of every faded blaster scorch mark, of every chipped surface. Thank the Exile her armor was the dark black and gray of traditional Echani coloring, for it helped disguise the advanced age and use a lighter color would have betrayed. Amara shook her head, burying her embarrassment as she felt the ship slow beneath her feet. Now was not the time for uncertainty, not when it appeared that they had finally arrived.
"Captain," the Jedi Master before her spoke, prompting the female pilot to turn from her controls to address him.
"Yes, Sir," she questioned, leaning towards the man as she waited for his response.
"Tell them we wish to board at once," the Jedi instructed, his robe shifting as he looked up to return the woman's gaze. The pilot gave a small nod of acknowledgement, pressing what Amara could only assume was their primary communications button as she leaned forward.
"With all due respect," the pilot began, their collective gazes drawn to the screen above as it flickered to life, "the ambassadors for the supreme chancellor wish to board immediately."
"Yes, of course," their soon to be host replied. "As you know, our blockade is perfectly legal, and we'd be happy to receive the ambassadors." Amara felt herself relax slightly as the Viceroy's words. In truth, both the Enclave Headmistress and Khoonda's Administrator had been nervous about the possible reception she and the ambassadors would receive. The choice to send Jedi was, in their eyes, a veiled message to the Trade Federation. They were keepers of the peace, yes, but the Exile's Order was living proof that the Jedi could make capable fighters when needed. Perhaps they were wrong about the supreme chancellor's meaning, the Headmistress had allowed, but she had urged towards caution nonetheless. Having received permission to land, the pilot further slowed their ship, angling towards the opening hanger bay. Their touchdown was smooth, barely a jostle going through the ship as it finally settled and powered down. Amara would have to remember to compliment the pilots on their skill when the negotiations were over- they had remained professional and courteous towards her during her entire time with them, a rarity that she had deeply appreciated. As the Jedi stood, their robes rustling with the movement, she slid her gauntlets on. As with her armor, they were worn with use, and she tightened them as she checked her weapons. A small noise of slight disapproval brought the woman's head up, and she met the Padawan's eyes as he too looked up from her spare blaster pistol. Amara knew little about the man before her, but she could remember well enough his rumored views about weapons that were not lightsabers. What had he been heard saying, once? Oh, yes. Uncivilized. It made her want to laugh. War cared nothing for the types of weapons used in it, nor did it care about the elegance with which they were wielded. Amara stood from her seat, pointedly brushing the hilt of her own lightsaber as she once again looked him in the eyes. Ah, and there was the slightest twinge of discomfort as he turned away, continuing after his Master. The Fifth had taught their Order many things, the non-Force aided construction of lightsabers being one of them. With a last goodbye nod to the pilots, Amara descended the ship's ramp. What felt like hundreds of eyes, mechanical and glowing, turned to watch her every move. She didn't like this, Amara decided as she fell into step behind the Jedi ambassadors. These were battle droids, and far too many in one location for her to feel at ease amongst them. A silver droid greeted them at the door, its words sliding over her as she turned once more to look out at the gathered droids. There were too many, even for a flagship in a blockade. Just what were they walking into? As Amara moved to keep in step with the Jedi before her, she once again checked her gauntlets. No matter how things here ended, she would do her best to be prepared.
Chapter 2: Negotiation By Gas
Negotiations do not go well.
The door before them slid open with a faint hiss, their guide gesturing to its modest interior. It seemed as if here were where negotiations would take place, and Amara flexed her hands as she strode into the room. Like the hallways before it, the room was sparsely lit. Dark greys and blacks dominated its settings, though the light of the stars beyond shown dimly through the room's most prominent window.
"We are honored by your visit, Ambassadors." the droid spoke once more, and Jedi turned to it as one at its words, "make yourselves comfortable. My master will be with you shortly." Its purpose apparently fulfilled, the silver droid turned from them, the clack of its feet receding as it exited the room.
"I have a bad feeling about this," Padawan Kenobi murmured, his face troubled as the Jedi pulled their hoods back. Amara bit back a curse at his words, her hand going to her blaster as she re-examined the room with a closer eye. The First had been known for his premonitions of danger, and it had become an accepted fact amongst the Order that such 'bad feelings' were almost always followed by very real trouble. It might be nothing, Amara allowed herself to hope- perhaps he was simply nervous about their upcoming-
"I don't sense anything," Master Jinn responded, as calm as if they were merely speaking of the weather.
"It's not about the mission, Master," his Padawan replied. "It's something... elsewhere. Elusive." She watched as he cast his gaze outwards, as if he were trying to ascertain its meaning through the Force.
"Don't center on your anxieties, Obi-Wan," the older man spoke again, his robes rustling as he moved towards the far side of the room. His Padawan made to follow him, and after a moment of hesitation, Amara joined them in their thoughtful progression. "Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs."
"But Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future," Padawan Kenobi argued.
"But not at the expense of the moment," Master Jinn replied, looking to the younger man as they continued forward. "Be mindful of the living Force, young Padawan."
"Yes, Master," the Padawan conceded, giving his Master a respectful nod. Amara shuddered at the Jedi Master's words, glad in that moment that they currently paid her no heed. The living Force. That they would so blindly trust in its will, be so obedient to its wants, it made her skin crawl. She fell back from the two, deciding instead to make use of the seats that had been made available to them. When the Jedi gave no hint that they had noticed her sudden distance, Amara forced herself to relax once more. Without the Force, freedom. Though it was only one line within the Exile's Code, she repeated it to herself as she settled in to watch the doorway. The Padawan's words meant that trouble would come to them- she would not be taken unaware.
The doors to their room once more slid open with a hiss, and Amara hid her surprise at the silver droid's re-appearance. She had expected the Viceroy himself to attend this negotiation- the Jedi had made it clear they wished to speak with the man, and few refused a Jedi. Said Jedi, who had eventually joined her at the table, apparently agreed.
"Is it in their nature to make us wait this long," Padawan Kenobi questioned as it entered, expectantly looking toward the droid.
"No," Master Jinn replied before it could answer, his own suspicions finally showing through. "I sense an unusual amount of fear for something as trivial as this trade dispute." The droid said not a word, slowly working its way around the table to offer them drinks. Why was it not responding, Amara wondered, cautiously accepting the drink that was offered to her. Surely if the Viceroy was busy, he would have sent a representative to negotiate in his place. Why, then, had he sent the droid instead? They were capable negotiators, certainly, but an actual member of the Trade Federation would likely do better in this situation. Why? Why had they even been made to wait? The Viceroy had personally welcomed them aboard, what could he possible gain by stal- The explosion caught the woman by surprise, the floor beneath them rocking unsteadily as her Jedi counterparts leapt to their feet. Their darkened room was basked in blue and green, the hum of the Jedi's ignited lightsabers echoing in the chamber as Amara warily unhooked her blaster. The Padawan's trouble, it seemed, had arrived. The sudden low hiss forced their gazes to the few venting ducts within the room, and Amara felt the first real twinge of fear take root as she watched yellowed gas seep into the room.
"Dioxis!" Master Jinn warned his Padawan, and the two de-activated their lightsabers, sucking in deep breaths as the poisonous gas drifted ever higher. Amara took a gasp of her own, hands shaking as she holstered her blaster, standing from her chair. While the Jedi could use the Force to their benefit, she had no such advantage. The woman moved forwards through the ever densifying cloud of gas, her left hand outstretched as she dug desperately through the pockets of her armor for the sole security spike tunneler she had brought. Yes! As Amara's hand closed around the tunneler her other hand finally struck the door, and she pulled the item out as she dropped to a crouch. Her eyes stinging in the haze around her, the woman felt along the door's smooth surface for the catch that would be its lock. For a few precious seconds, Amara felt only the flat surface of the- there! The woman jammed the spike into the lock, scrambling to begin the unlocking process before the tunneler's short effects ended. The lock turned her grasp- once, twice, thrice, and Amara felt herself relax minutely as it finally clicked open. Thank the Fourth, she prayed as she stumbled from the room, the gas spilling out with her. She coughed, rubbing harshly at her eyes as she unhooked her own lightsaber. What was the Viceroy doing!? Even if the Jedi made no move to avenge any harm dealt to their own, surely the man knew that the Exile's Order protected its own! Amara leaned against the closest wall, praying to the Exile as she rubbed once more at her eyes, and one fact made itself known. They had to reach the ship.
Chapter 3: Escape
An army is discovered.
"Varr, dodge!" The Padawan's warning cry was the only one Amara got. Her eyes burning, tears blurring her vision, she barely had time to pivot to the left as the lead droid fired. Disoriented, slowed, she moved a moment to late. Agony ripped through the woman as the shot that would have went through her heart instead nailed her arm. Her lightsaber slipped from now useless fingers as she cried out, her right arm dropping to swing limply at her side. It was the Jedi Master who acted then, the droids before her knocked back by a Force push. The Padawan was amongst them in an instant, his lightsaber flashing as he cut them down. His Master joined him, the two descending down the hallway in an intertwining dance of green and blue. Droid after droid fell to their blades, and after Amara snagged her lightsaber she drew her blaster, adding her own shots to the fight. She managed to nail the last of the droids as the Master halted before an ornate door, pivoting sharply to plunge his lit saber into it. Amara flinched at the sparks that showered them, flicking her visor down as she turned to face toward the hallways before them. The woman stepped to the Padawan's side, giving him a nod as she fell into a ranged combat form. If they were to be overwhelmed, her aid would not mean much, but she would do her best to protect the Jedi behind her. She never got the chance, the arrival of higher grade droidekas forcing her to abandon any pretense of attack.
"Master," the Padawan warned them both, "Destroyers!" Master Jinn spun away from his task, adding his own lightsaber to their defense as the droidekas slowly advanced upon them. Her training in the way of the Fourth was what saved her, each glancing shot further scorching her armor as she only barely dodged them.
"They have shield generators." Padawan Kenobi observed, his deflected shots bouncing harmlessly off them.
"It's a standoff," the Master agreed. "Let's go." Once more, the Jedi moved as one, Amara following a heartbeat later as the three took off down the corridor. They did not go far, thankfully, sliding to a stop in the adjacent hallway as Master Jinn looked to the ceiling. The woman followed his gaze, surprised to see an entrance to the ventilation shaft above them. With a single harsh pull of the Force, the Jedi yanked the grating down. He leapt up into the opening he had made, his Padawan following after him not a second later. Amara paused, feeling her heart sink as she eyed the distance between herself and the opening. Without the Force, she couldn't make that jump. She clutched her blaster tighter, turning to eye the rapidly approaching Destroyers.
"Jump," Padawan Kenobi encouraged her, laying flat as he reached for her. Amara holstered her blaster, extending her hand as she turned back and did as he asked. His hand closed around hers, and after a moment's struggle, she clamored into the shaft beside them.
"My thanks," she murmured to him, and he gave her a grin as they turned to follow after his Master.
"Here," Master Jinn whispered back to them, and she questioned not his certainty as the man unhooked the grate before him. He lowered it slowly to the ground, slipping out only once he was sure the faint clatter had drawn no attention. His Padawan smoothly followed, a sound barely made at his descent. Amara winced as she pulled her legs forward, clutching at the opening's sides. Their time spent in the ventilation shafts had rubbed her knees near raw, her armor unforgiving as it dug in with each movement forward. She slung her legs over the edge, leaning forwards as she pushed off. The woman winced once more at the sound her boots made as they hit the ground, thankful that neither Jedi seemed interested in rebuking her as they crept forward. Amara took a moment to rub at her knees, wincing at her touch, before she moved to join the Jedi. She crouched beside the Master, leaning to his left as she hesitantly peered out from behind their cover. Even with her earlier suspicions, she was unprepared for the sheer mass of the droids she found.
"Battle droids," Master Jinn whispered, examining the situation before them with a frown.
"It's an invasion army," Padawan Kenobi agreed, surprise coloring his voice as he watched the droids.
"This is an odd play for the Trade Federation," the Master Jedi murmured, and Amara caught the faintest hint of confusion from the older man as he glanced towards them. "We've got to warn the Naboo," he continued, and she could practically see the man before her shifting from peaceful ambassador to Jedi Master, "and contact Chancellor Valorum. Let's spilt up, stow aboard separate ships, and meet down on the planet." She gave a nod of understanding when he glanced back at her, watching as they split off before she turned towards the hanger bay's entrance. Alone now, Amara bit her lip as she watched the passing droids, dismissing the first groups of them as they passed. They all moved to assume their positions in the growing lines of battle droids, following them would do her no good. It was then that she saw them- a group that angled not towards the lines of droids, but towards the ships. A squad, if their few numbers were any indication, and Amara cautiously darted out to fall into step behind the lattermost droid. The unified clank of their feet upon the ground masked her approach, and she prayed to the Exile that none would glance back. Her dark armor could only mask her presence so much- she wished desperately for a stealth generator. Her luck held, though, and she boarded the transport behind them without being noticed. Releasing the tight breath she had held, Amara crouched low as she slipped deeper into the ship.
Chapter 4: Gungan
Amara Varr meets Jar Jar Binks.
I didn't want to deal with Jar Jar's manner of speaking, so I considered cutting him from the story. Then, because of "Reasons" and "Plot", I decided to put him back in, and simply made him (and all future Gungans who show up) speak normally.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When she finally found them, they were speaking to a Gungan, of all things.
"Excuse me," the creature started once more as she fell into step beside the two Jedi, "but the safest place would be Gunga City. It's where I grew up," he explained, "it's a hidden city." Master Jinn halted at his words, turning to face the native as he glanced at his Padawan.
"A city," he questioned, and the native nodded. "Can you take us there?" The other man gave them a wide smile, his agreement obvious, then paused. She watched as the creature's face fell, a mournful look replacing his former brightness.
"Um," the native muttered, hesitant. He lowered his eyes, clearly uncomfortable. "On second thought... no. Not really, no."
"No," the Jedi questioned, clearly waiting for the taller being to explain itself.
"It's... it's embarrassing," the native spoke once more, his words slow as he glanced between the three of them. "I, um, I was banished. I forgot. The bosses would do terrible things to me, terrible things to me if I went back." As if on cue, rumbling sounded distantly, and Master Jinn gave its direction a thoughtful look.
"You hear that," he questioned, gesturing in its direction with a meaningful glance at his Padawan.
"Yeah," the Gungan responded, still hesitant.
"That is the sound of a thousand terrible things heading this way," Master Jinn replied, stepping closer as his voice took on a dangerously smooth quality.
"If they find us," his Padawan continued, keeping pace with his Master as they crowded the creature back, "they will crush us, grind us into tiny pieces and blast us into oblivion." How, she wondered as the creature took a shaky breath, could the Jedi make their own deaths somehow sound so damn threatening?
"Oh," the native whispered, fear shining brightly in his eyes. "I... I see your point. This way," he declared, pointing to his left, "hurry!" Amara obeyed. Not ten paces in, however, the creature spoke again, his eyes sliding from the Jedi to rest on her.
"So," and she nearly winced at the way the Gungan strung the word out, "who're you? Are you a Jedi too?" What? He didn't, he didn't know? The crest of the Exile's Order sat clearly upon her left shoulder, had he somehow missed it?
"I'm Amara Varr," the woman replied, leaving the side of the Jedi to walk beside him. "I'm not a Jedi- I'm a member of the Exile's Order."
"Exile's Order," he repeated, sounding interested, "what's that?" She looked him in the eye, baffled when she saw no signs of deception or ill intended amusement. He really didn't know?
"It's..." How could she explain her Order's history in such short time, and in an active battlefield, no less? "How about this- if we see each other again after the Trade Federation has been dealt with, I'll explain everything. Deal?" The native nodded enthusiastically, his elongated ears flapping with the movement. It occurred to her, in that moment, that she still didn't know his name. "And who are you," she asked the Gungan as his yellow eyes met hers once more.
"Jar Jar Binks," he answered, giving her an easy grin.
"Then I greet you, Jar Jar Binks, in the name of the Dantooine Enclave. May you find victory in war, and prosperity in peace." Amara extended her left hand, giving the tall being a hopeful smile. He had been... nice, so far. And with no prior knowledge of the Exile's Order, he appeared to be completely nonjudgmental towards it and her. Neutral, she thought, and neutral would always be better than hostile. Yellow eyes flickered from her hand to her face, and he returned her smile, taking her hand in his own.
If not for the threat of the Trade Federation's invasion force, Amara would have thought the fog covered lake a beautiful sight. Her boots squelched in the mud, and she fiddled nervously with her blaster as the native halted beside the water's edge.
"How much further," Master Jinn asked, and the Gungan turned to them at his question.
"We're going underwater, ok?" He answered, gesturing to the lake's still surface. "I'm warning you, though, Gungans don't like outsiders, so don't expect a warm welcome." The native turned from them, stretching his arms and legs as he eyed the water.
"Oh, don't worry," Padawan Kenobi muttered. "This hasn't been our day for warm welcomes." Amara fought back a snort at the understatement, trying to focus on anything but the water before them. As much as she hated it, the woman had to admit that she had become a liability. As she was now, swimming would be near impossible, and without a breathing device? No, it would be suicide to even try. When they reached the edge of the lake, Jar Jar plodding without pause into the shallows, Amara caught the Jedi Master's arm. He turned at her touch, quirking an eyebrow as he looked up from her hand.
"Master Jinn," she muttered, keeping her voice low as his Padawan started after the Gungan. "I'm in no condition to swim, and I don't have a breathing device. You need to go on without me, I'll-"
"Amara," Jar Jar called out, and she started in surprise. He had heard her? "Don't worry- I can swim for you, we Gungans are fast! You just need to hold your breath!" His offer was an unexpected one, and she looked to the Jedi Master. Chancellor Valorum had been clear that all authority rested with the man before her, if he told her to accept the offer, she would have to obey. As if hearing her thought process, Master Jinn turned from her, wordlessly wading out into the lake to join his Padawan. So, the decision would be hers and hers alone then. Did she dare trust the native? If Amara did as he asked, she would be at his mercy the moment they left the surface. The thought of it made her skin crawl, but she looked once more at his guileless face. He hadn't displayed any disapproval towards her, hadn't shown that he favored the Jedi over her...
"Ok," she whispered to herself, wincing as Jar Jar grinned at her agreement. She would have to remember that he could hear far better than any human could. "I'll do it," she continued, speaking louder for the sake of the Jedi. Master Jinn gave her a single nod of understanding, fitting his breathing device in as the Jedi turned from them. As the two men dove smoothly below the surface, Jar Jar reached for her, and she took his hand.
Just as a head's up to everyone, there will be more Jar Jar in the future. Not immediately, of course- he won't show up in every chapter and have mountains of dialogue in each, but he does have a role to play. I'm well aware that this will probably drive a far amount of readers away, but to those who stay, I do have my reasons.
Chapter 5: Gunga City
Gunga city is visited, and a deal is struck.
The city awed her. Amara had seen old pictures of the Gungan cities in the Third's archives, but to actually see it up close in person... Jar Jar slowed as they reached what she could only assume was the entrance to the city, strong arms shifting her from his back to his side. A single, powerful stroke forwards, and she shivered at the strangeness of passing through whatever material formed the wall they had breached. Her feet once again on solid ground, she took a timid breath- and very nearly gasped in relief. Jar Jar had not lied when he had declared himself a quick swimmer, but she could still remember the last few feet. The desperate need to breathe, the tightening of her lungs. Yes, Amara very much liked being able to breathe again. The Gungan moved forward to give the Jedi room, and a sudden tug made her stumble to his side. Amara realized, belatedly, that she still held Jar Jar's hand. The Gungan had taken hers to pull her through the door, and he had yet to release his hold. She opened her hand, fingers going wide in an attempt to let him know she was fine now, but the Gungan's grip stayed firm. He gave her a cheerful smile, his free hand gesturing up at the domes above them. Her gaze followed the movement, and she once more felt awe at the distant lights above them. It was like a midnight sky, she mused, yet under the sea.
"It's so good to be home," Jar Jar declared, giving the three of them a wide grin. Gasps made Amara drop her gaze from the lights above, and she finally looked to the citizens before them. They retreated in the face of Jar Jar's leisurely advance, and she blinked in bafflement at their obvious fear. What were they afraid of? The Jedi? Jar Jar had recognized Master Jinn and Padawan Kenobi as Jedi, surely the Gungans knew they would mean no threat. Movement caught her eye, and she looked to the strange creature that approached them, a Gungan sitting on its back.
"Hey, you," the Gungan guard, she guessed at the sight of his armor, spoke. "Stop there!"
"Hello, Captain Tarpals," Jar Jar greeted the man, giving her hand a little swing as they looked up at the Gungan. "I'm back!" He gave an enthusiastic wave, his grin widening.
"Not again, Jar Jar," the other Gungan spoke, his voice shading into wariness. "You're going to the bosses. You're in big trouble this time!" Jar Jar made a small, wounded sound at the man's words, his ears drooping as he glanced mournfully at her. For a moment, Amara panicked. She had been taught how to lead, how to obey orders, how to fight- she had never been given any lessons on how to comfort another! Hesitantly, she gave his hand a squeeze, feeling the scales along his palm in a move she hoped would reassure him. The Gugan visibly perked up at her touch, giving a squeeze back as he cast her a nervous smile. It would have to do for now, she decided, as weapon heads swung menacingly towards them. To these so called bosses, they would go.
She remained at the Gungan's side, her hand in his, as she watched the two Jedi before them. It had been a hard choice, to let them advance alone, but she was well aware that she would have little to contribute. She acted with only the authority of the Order, and such an authority could mean nothing here, in a place where no eyes looked at her Order's crest with recognition. Better to let the Jedi speak, for they carried far more authority than her.
"You can't be here," the king of the Gungans spoke, his voice heavy with disapproval. "This army of Mackineeks up there is a new reason." Well, she thought pessimistically, negotiations had certainly gotten off to a hopeful start. Perhaps no one would attempt to kill them this time, one could always hope.
"A droid army is about to attack the Naboo," Master Jinn explained, resting his hands on his hips as he looked to the king. "We must warn them."
"We don't like the Naboo," the Gugan king retorted sharply. "The Naboo think they're so smart," he continued, voice filling with anger, "they think their brains are so big."
"Once these droids take control of the surface, they will take control of you," Padawan Kenobi cut in, stepping forwards as he spoke.
"I don't think so," the king replied, giving a dismissive wave of his hand at the thought. "They don't know of us." The Padawan glanced at his Master for support before he spoke once more, conviction filling his voice as he looked to the king.
"You and the Naboo form a symbiont circle. What happens to one of you will affect the other," he tried to persuade the Gungan royalty. "You must understand this."
"We don't care about the Naboo," the king refuted him once more, shaking his head vehemently in disagreement. From behind, Amara saw the Padawan's shoulders drop. She felt sympathy for the man- the skill of persuasion was a hard one to master. Still, he had given his best, she hoped he knew there was no shame in failing.
"Then speed us on our way," Master Jinn spoke, his voice edged with impatient sharpness.
"We'll speed you way," the king agreed, giving the two Jedi an understanding nod.
"We could," and she frowned at the tone that entered the Jedi's voice, "use a transport." And there, she caught the ending arch of his gesture. Force Persuasion, she thought with a chill, re-examining the king in an attempt to discover if he truly knew what was being used on him.
"We'll give you a bongo," the Gungan royalty agreed again, and she felt a flash of relief as none of his advisors reacted with recognition. It appeared, for now, that they knew naught what the Jedi was doing. "The fastest way to the Naboo," he continued, "is going through the planet core." And wow. That tone of voice, that knowing grin- if the king thought he was being even slightly subtle about the danger he was happily sending them to, he was greatly mistaken. "Now," scaled fingers waved once more dismissively, "go."
"Thank you for your help," Master Jinn spoke, both Jedi bowing simultaneously, "we leave in peace." They turned, retreating from the perched throne. The sudden clench of Jar Jar's hand made her look to the man in confusion, wondering why he seemed so upset.
"They're setting you up," he spoke in rushed tone, leaning towards the Jedi as they neared. "Going through the planet core? It's dangerous." Master Jinn gave a nod at his warning, and Amara loosened her hand once more, turning to follow the Jedi- Only to once again be pulled back to the Gungan's side as he kept his grasp firm, the man looking from her to the Jedi. "Any help would be hot," he muttered to the man, desperation tinging his words. Master Jinn's gaze turned considering, and he placated his Padawan's objection with the truthful claim that they would need a navigator. His mind clearly decided on the matter, the Jedi strode once more to the center of the room.
"What is to become of Jar Jar Binks here," he asked.
"He'll be punished soon," the king replied, and she frowned at the unpleasant smile that curled across his face.
"I saved his life," Master Jinn objected, "he owes me what you call a 'life-debt'. Your gods demand that his life belongs to me now." She flinched as he yet again gave a subtle wave of his hand, wishing dearly that the Jedi would stop using the Force to persuade the king to his side. The Gungans knew of the Jedi, that much was clear, how many more times could he use it before they finally caught on?
"Binks," the royal Gungan slowly spoke, turning his gaze to Gungan beside her. "You have a lifeplay with this man?" At his words, Jar Jar gave a cautious nod, his gaze flinting uncertainly between the two. The king made a strange sound at the confirmation, loathing clear is his eyes. "Begone with him," he commanded, angered at being cheated out of whatever foul plans he had made. She followed beside the Gungan as they started after the Jedi, glad that he had been spared.
The Gugan ship was a marvel of technology, even if it was a tight fit. Its movements were smooth and graceful, and she turned to watch the receding glow of the city's lights as they descended.
"This is nothing," Jar Jar confidently reassured her, and she jumped as he then plastered his face against the side of their transport, his voice going childlike as he pointed at a passing fish. "Gobberfish," he declared with excitement, using what she could only assume was the native term for the species.
"Why were you banished, Jar Jar," Padawan Kenobi asked.
"It's a long tale," the Gungan replied, "but, um, a small part of it would be that I'm... clumsy." What? She turned fully at his odd words, wondering how clumsiness could have possibly caused him to be banished. Padawan Kenobi agreed.
"You were banished because you were clumsy," he questioned, his disbelief clear.
"Uh, you might be saying that," Jar Jar hedged, yellow eyes shifting between the three of them. At their expectant looks, he faced away from them, looking to depths of the sea. "I caused maybe one... two little accidents, yeah? You'd say, I might have hit something, and that something might have crashed on the boss's house, then I was banished." Crashed onto the house? What could the Gungan have possibly done to result in such an accident? Still, the man clearly did not wish to discuss it, so she turned to once again watch the sea around them. Amara had never been under the sea before, the Head Teacher of the Path of the Third would mob her for details. She smiled at the thought, settling back in silence as they moved ever forwards.
"Where are we going," Jar Jar asked, pulling Amara from her thoughts. The water around them had darkened considerably, and she wondered just how far they had descended since the Gungan's story.
"Don't worry," Master Jinn reassured the native, "the Force will guide us." Reminded once more that she traveled in the presence of two who devoutly believed in it, Amara turned once more to look beyond the their ship. Ignoring the Gungan's reply, she focused of the fish that leisurely passed by. Without the Force, freedom. A scaled hand brushed her fingers, and she looked to Jar Jar in confusion.
"Are you cold," he asked her, and she hid a wince of discomfort as the Jedi glanced at her.
"Yes," Amara lied, giving him a strained smile, "I'm just cold." She sat in silence for the rest of the trip, breathing a small sigh of relief when Master Jinn ordered the ship to ascend.
Chapter 6: Queen of Naboo
The Queen is rescued, a futile promise is made.
Amara followed closely behind her Jedi counterparts, glad that Master Jinn appeared to know where he was going. The city was like a maze to her, a puzzle made of buildings that threatened to bear down upon her. How could the people of Naboo stand living in such closeness, so near to one another? She focused back in as Master Jinn halted, peering cautiously down from walkway they had taken. He dropped to a crouch, padding as quietly as possible along the path as he tracked whatever had caught his attention. His Padawan followed not a heartbeat later, and she too peered over the edge as she started out. The Queen! Amara's heart leapt at the welcome sight, and she fought back a sigh of relief. The group took a sharp right, stopping just before the small retinue passed beneath them. Master Jinn gave her blaster a significant look, his gaze pointedly going to the droids below. She gave a nod of understanding, unhooking her blaster and opening fire as the two Jedi leapt down. She shot once, twice- careful to aim for the droids' heads. The ambassadors made quick work of the meager droids, easy movements that severed arms and heads with ease. She fought back a flash of jealousy at their work, glowering at her right arm as she carefully dropped down to join them.
"We should leave the street, Your Highness," Master Jinn said, gesturing down the street to his right. Holstering her blaster, Amara fell in line with the Queen's guards, feeling relief at their presence. She would be a blind fool to dismiss the power of the Jedi, but she couldn't lie to herself- she felt more at ease amongst the guards than with the Jedi. They had given her no reason to doubt them, but old fears took time to fade. She ignored the hushed conversation around her, the accusing tones and steady responses. The Queen was safe- that was all that mattered.
Attaining entrance to the main hanger had been near laughably easy, a simple quick stroll and their group was safely inside.
"There are too many of them," Captain Panaka whispered to them, worried over the number of droids he had seen in the hanger.
"That won't be a problem," Master Jinn reassured him, turning to the Queen. "Your Highness, under the circumstances, I suggest you come to Coruscant with us."
"Thank you, Ambassador," she replied, "but my place is with my people."
"They will kill you if you stay," the Jedi responded.
"They wouldn't dare," the Governor cut in, and Amara wondered at the certainty in his tone.
"They need her to sign a treaty to make this invasion legal," Captain Panaka explained, catching their confusion at the Governor's statement. "They can't afford to kill her." Couldn't afford to? Amara felt herself relax, however minutely, at their words. Protecting a person from capture was, in her experience, far easier than protecting them from murder. It would make the Trade Federation's mission that much harder, and at least now she need not fear of a sniper simply shooting the Queen where she stood.
"There is something else behind all this, Your Highness," Master Jinn insisted. "There's no logic in the Federation's move here. My feelings tell me they will destroy you." And there went all her relaxation, banished at his words.
"Our only hope is for the senate to side with you," the Governor spoke once more. "Senator Palpatine will need your help."
"Either choice presents great danger," the Queen declared, looking to the handmaiden who stood closest, "to us all."
"We are brave, Your Highness," the handmaiden responded, her determination clear. The Queen lowered her gaze, considering the options she had been presented.
"If you are to leave, Your Highness, it must be now," Master Jinn told her, and Amara caught the sympathy in his gaze.
"Then I will plead our case to the senate," the Queen of Naboo decided, even as worry and determination warred for dominance in her eyes.
"No matter what," Amara spoke quickly, "Dantooine supports Naboo, Your Majesty. The Exile's Order will stand by your side." It was a weak promise, she knew. The planets that dared to allow their Enclaves' existences had been politically neutered centuries ago. Yet having weakened support was better than the alternative- nothing. The Queen, too, knew their support would be near useless, but she still gave the woman a small smile. Amara's heart warmed at the simple gesture, and as she once again unhooked her blaster, she felt a hardened resolve to see the Queen through their situation alive. Her Majesty's decision made, the Jedi started into the hanger. Amara quickened her pace, tightening her grip on her weapon as she looked between the two clusters of droids. She sized both groups up, trying to best determine her point of attack. She need not have. Both Jedi moved before Amara could even lift her blaster, cutting through their droid opponents with efficient ease. The closest droids fell to strokes of blue or green, deflected blaster fire by the more distant survivors rebounding fatally back at them. She slowly tucked her blaster away, cursing her useless arm as they made for the ship. She was a Teacher of the way of the Fourth, yet she had trained for combat under the Exile's Path. It rankled, then, to be confined to ranged weaponry. Amara touched the hilt of her lightsaber, its presence reassuring as she boarded the slender vessel.
Chapter 7: Tatooine
A slave boy by the name of Anakin is met.
Amara shifted uncomfortably in her armor, wiping away the sweat that had gathered upon her brow. Hardened sand crunched beneath her boots, and she fiddled with ends of her makeshift sling. She would have to thank Captain Panaka upon their return, it was a relief to no longer have her arm awkwardly flopping about beside her.
"We'll try on of the smaller dealers," Master Jinn put forth his plan, and she followed the man as he entered into the small shop he had picked to try first.
"- - - you," its Toydarian owner greeted them, and Amara's small grasp on the Huttese language failed her. "- - - want?"
"I need parts for a J-type 327 Nubian," Master Jinn replied, and she was glad that he appeared to understand Huttese quite well.
"Ah, yes!" The creature's sudden switch from Huttese to Galactic Basic surprised her. "Nubian. We have lots of that." The shop owner turned from them, speaking quickly in Huttese as she gave up on deciphering the meaning of his words.
"My droid has a readout of what I need," the Jedi told the Toydarian, and the sound of light steps made her turn towards their source, revelaing a young boy with hair the color of sand.
"- - you - -?" The Toydarian snapped, displeased even at the boy's quick appearance.
"I - - - - -," the boy replied, his tone defensive.
"- - -. I've - - - - -." The shop owner commanded, turning back to them with a wide grin. "So," he spoke once more in Basic, "let me take thee out back. You'll find what you need," he finished, giving a dry chuckle. The winged creature headed towards the back door, the Jedi moving to follow him. Left to her own devices, Amara examined the shop they had entered. It was rougher than the ones back on Dantooine, but it was closer to home than any of the buildings on Naboo had been. She felt her shoulders loosen at the favorable comparison, and she leaned against the wall beside her as she watched Jar Jar wonder the shop.
"Are you an angel," the boy asked in their silence, looking to Padme. Both women turned to him, Padme blinking at the boy.
"What," she asked, startled by his odd question.
"An angel," he replied. "I heard the deep space pilots talk about them. They're the most beautiful creatures in the universe." Amara would have to agree with the kid there, she could remember her own awe at the luminescent beings' appearance when she had first seen the Archive's records on them. "They live on the moons of Iego, I think."
"You're a funny little boy," the handmaiden responded, giving him a smile. "How do you know so much?"
"I listen to all the traders and star pilots who come through here," he explained, turning the device he held in his hands as he scrubbed at it. "I'm a pilot, you know," he declared. "And someday I'm gonna fly away from this place."
"You're a pilot," Padme obliged him, and the boy gave a nod.
"All my life," he responded. And yet he was so young, Amara though with a smile of her own.
"How long have you been here," the handmaiden asked.
"Since I was very little," the boy explained. "Three, I think." He hesitated, glancing down before he continued. "My mom and I were sold to Gardulla the Hutt, but she lost us betting on the Podraces." What? The boy was a-? Amara had to turn from the group as disgust flared across her face, her fingernails drawing blood as she clenched her shaking hand. A slave. And she would bet her armor that the winged creature was his master. The woman ignored the handmaiden's reply, abandoning the suddenly too close too close walls of the shop for the heat of the suns outside. The boy with the bright eyes was a slave. And they were going to buy things from his master. She didn't fight the wave of disgust that went through her at the thought, and decided to remain outside. Better to face the heat than the slaver.
The rest of her small group exited not long after that, the Jedi's face a calm mask. Negotiations had not gone well, Amara took it, then almost laughed at her thoughts. Negotiations had not gone well for the Jedi in any manner since the start of their mission, why was she surprised that the streak of ill fated endings had continued here? She took her place beside Jar Jar as they passed, fiddling once more with her sling as they wondered the mazes of shops and stands. Dantooine's Enclave held information on many planets, and she could remember briefly reading about Tatooine, but to be here in person? There was so much sand, far more than Amara could have ever pictured on a single planet. It would take her ages to clean her armor when she returned to the Enclave, but at least it would be proof to the younger Students that her words were true. She smiled at the thought, so caught up in imagining their disbelieving faces that the sharp words behind her caught her by surprise. The Gungan no longer walked beside her, and she frowned when she finally spotted the man. Half of a- no, she refused to think of it as a corpse,- food hung from his mouth. The merchant of the food he had been in the process of swallowing advanced on him, face a cloud of anger.
"Jar Jar," she muttered, and she could almost imagine a headache forming, "please... Just, release the... food. We can't pay for it. I'm sorry, sir," she apologized to the vendor, "my companion-" And the Betrayer take her wording, Jar Jar did exactly as she had asked, the food in his mouth shooting out as he opened it. The fragile cord holding it to its hanger snapped easily, and the food somersaulted through the air, landing with a wet splash in an inhabitant's bowl. The creature jerked back, patting furiously at his drenched clothing as he vaulted over the table.
"Oops," the Gungan whispered, clenching his hands behind his back as he turned his head to the sky, whistling as he tried to catch up with the rest of their group. To no avail, it would seem, as the drenched man kicked him back in a move that surprised her. Amara dropped to the Gungan's side, but before she could help him the other man was upon them. The creature waved the wet food before Jar Jar's face, harsh Huttese words made cutting as a leg flashed out, closing around the Gungan's neck as he pulled the man closer. She caught the creature's ankle, fisting her hold she ripped the his foot from Jar Jar's neck.
"Leave him alone," she warned the man, "I'm sorry for-" And once more the creature moved with surprising dexterity, thin arms wrapping around hers in a viselike grip as his other leg shot out. His toes curled around the base of her neck, the same move he had pulled on the Gungan. She gave him a harsh grin as he found not the soft flesh of her neck, but the unmoving hardness of her armor. "Release me," she told him, "and I will release you." The man's lips pulled back in a snarl, and that when familiar Huttese cut in. The boy from the shop stared up at the creature in a strange mix of confidence and contempt, very nearly sneering at the man as he spoke. They exchanged heated words that once more eluded her, and the creature withdrew, giving her one last snarl as he went on his way.
"Hi," the boy greeted her with a smile, giving a small wave to the Jedi as he joined them. "Your buddy here," and he looked to Jar Jar, "was about to be turned into orange goo. He picked a fight with a Dug," the boy explained at Master Jinn's inquisitive look, "an especially dangerous Dug called Sebbulba." Amara offered the Gungan her hand, and he once more took it as she pulled him to his feet.
"I hate being crunched," Jar Jar objected, "that's the last thing I want!"
"Nevertheless," Master Jinn responded, "the boy is right. You were heading into trouble." He gave the boy a grateful smile. "Thanks, my young friend."
The boy led them through the maze of settlements, taking each turn with confidence that spoke of experience in the streets. He paused by an older woman's stand, briefly conversed with the woman, and that's when Amara learned the boy's name- Anakin. It was kind of him, to offer them sanctuary from the sand storm, and even kinder of the woman to accept them into her house with an offering of food.
"All slaves have a transmitter placed inside their bodies somewhere," Anakin's mother explained to the handmaiden as she poured the Jedi a new drink.
"I've been working on a scanner to try an locate mine," Anakin confided to them.
"Any attempt to escape-" his mother started.
"And they blow you up," her son finished, slamming his hand against the table to emphasis that grim fate.
"I can't believe there's still slavery in the galaxy," Padme spoke, her voice thick with revulsion. "The Republic's antislavery laws-"
"The Republic doesn't exist out here," the boy's mother cut her off. "We must survive on our own."
"No," Amara said, breaking her silent observation. "Have you heard of the Exile's Order?" The woman gave a hesitant nod.
"My parents," the woman replied, "they used to tell me stories of the... the..."
"Kashyyyk Enclave?" Amara guessed, watching as the woman's eyes lit up in recognition.
"What's the Kash- Kashy- What's the Enclave?" Anakin asked, "I've never heard of it. Isn't that the planet where the wookiees live?"
"Yes," the woman confirmed, feeling herself brighten at the chance to share information on her Order. "They're some of our strongest supporters."
"They are?" the boy questioned, "why?"
"Long ago, a former Jedi named Revan visited their planet." She ignored the way Master Jinn's hands tightened at the name, keeping her eyes upon Anakin as she continued. "She helped liberate them from Czerka's rule, and they never forgot her aid. The founder of my Order had served under her during the Mandalo-"
"Teacher Varr," the Jedi cut in, his voice a touch sharp. "You know the Council's mandates." Yes. Yes, she did.
"I'm sorry, Anakin," Amara spoke tightly after a moment of quiet, "I'll have to leave the story at that." Tense silence descended, and she rose from the table. "Thank you for the meal, ma'am," she addressed their hostess, "but I must meditate. Goodnight, Anakin," Amara said, smiling down at him. She fiddled with her sling as she exited the room, releasing a shuddering breath as she reached the guest room they had been given. She... had forgotten her place. Forgotten where they were. Forgotten the stranglehold the Council had upon her words. She would rest, then, and see if tomorrow brought a better day.
Amara did not bother to hide her awe of the massive stadium, giving it once last look as she entered into the side building with the Jedi Master. She eyed the podracers before them in interest, examining the many varied designs. She hoped Anakin's plan succeeded, and Master Jinn's belief buoyed her own.
"I want to see your spaceship the moment the race is over," the Toydarian slaver's words broke through her admiration, and she clenched a fist at being reminded of the creature's existence.
"Patience, my blue friend," Master Jinn reassured him. "You'll have your winnings before the suns set. And we'll be far away from here."
"Not if your ship belongs to me, I think, huh?" And damn, she had never supported a Jedi so much in her life. She couldn't wait to see the slaver's face when he lost. The short creature gave a laugh, assured in his own victory as he faced the Jedi. "I warn you, no funny business."
"You don't think Anakin can win," Master Jinn questioned, a hand going to his hip as the small group momentarily stopped.
"Don't get me wrong, no. I have great faith in the boy. He's a credit to your race, but, uh," and the slaver's large eyes drifted to the creature that had attacked Jar Jar, "Sebulba there is going to win, I think."
"Why do you think that?" the Jedi asked, a frown upon his face as he waited for the winged creature's response.
"He always wins," the Toydarian explained, laughing once more. "I am betting heavily on Sebulba," he said, shouldering past her to circle the Jedi. Master Jinn looked from Sebulba to the slaver, then back again, a strange glint entering his eyes.
"I'll take that bet," the Jedi spoke, crossing his arms. He what?
"You what?" the slaver asked in flat disbelief.
"I'll wager my new racing pod against, say, the boy and his mother." What. What was he doing?
"What are you doing?" Amara hissed at him, her eyes going dark with anger. The Jedi ignored her question, looking the Toydarian in the eyes as he waited for a response.
"No pod is worth two slaves," the creature argued, giving a hard wave of his hand, "not by a long shot."
"The boy, then," Master Jinn responded, and Amara saw red. She caught him by the shoulder, spinning the Jedi towards her as she spoke again.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm helping Anakin," he replied, as if he couldn't understand why she had not grasped his meaning.
"You'd be winning him in a bet! You'd be- you'd be-" Words failed her, lost to fury. The Jedi looked calmly at her, as he couldn't see what was wrong with his actions. And he would never listen to her, Amara realized, so sure was he in whatever reasoning he had made to himself. She released him as if burned, pivoting wordlessly as she clenched her hand. The Jedi would manipulate things, somehow. He would manipulate them, and the slaver would agree, and he would eventually win the boy. Win him. Disgust coursed through her, and she started back the way they had came.
"Amara," Anakin's unexpected voice startled her from her thoughts, brought her to a hard stop beside the boy. "Where are you going?"
"The Jedi-" She hissed, and caught herself as he flinched at the tone in her voice. "Forgive me," Amara began again, struggling to soften her words, "I can't stay for your race. I- I can't. Good luck, Anakin," and she took the boy's hand, trying to give him a smile. "I know you'll do well." Her well wishes given, she started back towards his mother's home.
Chapter 8: Sith
A Sith. Her world contorted around the fact, wild and horrid. A Sith. The travel back to Coruscant was background noise to her thoughts, an unwelcome distraction to the dangerous dilemma they had stumbled into. A Sith. The Exile's Order had spent centuries rooting out the dark beings, had fought disastrous war after disastrous war with them, their own numbers left smaller and smaller with each conflict. And now those beings of destruction had returned, and they had been caught completely unawares. How? How? Amara chewed at her finger tips, ignoring the looks of concern the handmaiden shot her. They would have to hunt it down, kill it before it could spread its evil ways. But how? None of the Enclaves had reported Sith sightings, how would they track the being down? She shivered, unable to enjoy the smooth landing of their transport as she stood to exit. Her body ran on a rough autopilot, and she was only barely aware of the stiff bow she gave the Supreme Chancellor, of the hurried excuses she tossed at them as she started swiftly towards the small transport her Enclave had managed to scrounge up for her. The wind whipped at her hair, and she smoothed it back in annoyance as she crawled into the vehicle. Rough cut edges, dull colorings, and familiar old technology met her there. Amara took a deep breath, shuddering as she started the vehicle and exited the landing platform. She had to inform the Headmistress, had to tell her what had happened as soon as possible.
The Teacher ignored the looks she got as she rushed into store, digging through her pockets as the establishment's owner laid eyes on her Order's mark, her face going tight.
"We don't serve your kind he-" The owner started, but Amara slapped her last credits into the woman's hand, locking eyes with her.
"Keep it, keep it all- just let me use your holo-communicator!" The woman's eyes flickered down to the credits in her hand, and she glanced back up at the desperate Teacher. She fisted the credits.
"Make it quick," she muttered, "when you leave, go out the back." Amara gave a shuddering gasp of relief, pushing her way through the other patrons to make it to the few bare bone holo-communicators available in the back. A quick tug of the ragged privacy curtain, and she was once more alone in her situation. With trembling fingers she entered her Enclave's code, stepping back as she waited for the connection to be established. A moment passed, and then another one- And the familiar face of her Headmistress flickered into view, the Twi'lek relaxing as she caught sight of Amara's face.
"Teacher Varr-" the other woman greeted her, turning to fully face the Teacher.
"Headmistress." Amara cut the woman off, ignoring the confusion that flickered across the woman's face at her unexpected interruption, "Headmistress... The mission..." She took a shuddering breath. "While we were escorting the Queen of Naboo...Master Jinn, he was attacked by... by..." Amara paused, the words catching in her throat. She didn't want to say it. To say it aloud would make the situation real. She didn't want it to be real.
"Teacher Varr," the Headmistress questioned, the tips of her lekku twitching in confusion and concern.
"Sith. It... it was a Sith," she managed to choke out, and the other woman's eyes widened in shock.
"A Sith," the Headmistress repeated slowly, "is there... is there any chance the Jedi was mistaken? Any chance-"
"No," Amara cut her off, shaking her head. "Master Jinn did battle with the creature, and it matched him strike for strike. I saw its lightsaber before we escaped- it was red." The Headmistress sat in silence at her words, inner conflict twisting the dark tattoos she wore into an angry riot. She pressed a fist tightly against her mouth, face paling.
"Sith," the Twi'lek woman repeated, her voice small. "Sith." The two sat in momentary silence, their eyes downturned. Amara's eyes flickered upwards as the Headmistress shook her head, her lekku swinging with the motion. "For now, focus on aiding the Queen," the Headmistress commanded. "Khoonda's Administrator is at the capital, as are the other leaders of our planets, they'll do everything they can to aid her. I'll alert the other Enclaves to the situation, perhaps those of the Third will uncover clues we missed." Amara nodded her understanding, her hand moving to cut communications, but the Headmistress spoke once more. "And Teacher Varr, stay on guard. The Sith has already made one attempt on the Queen- it will surely try to do so again. Please, be careful."
"I will," Amara responded, giving the woman a tight lipped smile as she ended the transmission. She pushed aside the privacy curtain, trying to ignore the way the owner's eyes tracked her every movement, and- ran into a patron. She connected hard with the person's chest, stumbling back in surprise. Regaining her balance, she hunched her shoulders. "I'm sorry," Amara muttered, keeping her face down as she sidestepped the patron she had bumped into. She prayed to the Exile that her transport was still where she had parked it- And scaled fingers closed around hers, the creature's grip going almost painfully tight as she tried in vain to pull her hand from its grasp. "What are you doing," Amara demanded, eyes going up to land- on Jar Jar's smiling face. She blinked, staring at the Gungan in blank surprise. "Jar Jar? What- what are you doing here?"
"You left so quickly, Amara! Padme and I were so concerned," he began walking in the direction she had been headed, and she stumbled as he pulled her after him, picking up her own pace to keep up. "So she said, 'Jar Jar, you must go find Amara'. And I said, 'ok'. So here I am!" The Gungan gave her bright, cheerful smile, leading her out the back door.
"But, how did you find me?" Amara asked, just barely able to shut the door behind her as he continued onwards without pause.
"Oh? It was easy!" He crowed, grinning down at her. She waited for his explanation, but none was forthcoming.
"Jar Jar-" she started, determined to get an answer from the Gungan, but he happily pointed ahead of them as they wound their way through the crowded streets. Begrudgingly, she followed his gaze, and blinked at sight of the Naboo guards who greeted her. Jar Jar caught the baffled look she shot him, his grin widening.
"See, I told you she was concerned!" Indeed, Amara admitted, glancing with caution at their new escorts. They did not meet her gaze, their eyes fixed on the crowds around them. "Come on," Jar Jar encouraged her, releasing her hand as he hopped nonchalantly into the vehicle she assumed he had come in. Amara was slow to follow him.
Chapter 9: Nope. Done. Update.
I freaking give up on this part of the damn story!
Trying to figure out a decent end to this part of the story eventually made me want to tear my hair out, so I'm ending the Phantom Menace part of the series right now. I can't express to you all in words the amount of sheer anger this "ending" part has caused me. Over the course of the time since my last update, I've gone through multiple drafts that all went in different directions- Kenobi died in one them, Amara died in another, Jinn lived in the third one, ect ect. I tried to write some more today, but needless to say it didn't happen. I'm so sick and tired of this story.
Everything pretty much went exactly as they went in the movie- Master Jinn died, the good guys "won", and Anakin became Kenobi's Padawan.
New change- Maul is dead. Like, dead dead. He is not coming back. Ever. I know that f's with some of Star Wars: Clone Wars and Rebels, but I don't care right now. I'm just so done with this story.
I'm putting the entire series on Hiatus. I'm sorry to the people who actually like this story, but I just can't make myself write any more of it. I might continue it in the future, I might not, but for now, I'm done.