Anika Skywalker was born in the middle of a sandstorm to a slave woman and no father. Her mother pressed her lips to her bloody head and murmured the prayer all mothers hoped would one day come to the Children of the Desert.
“May the Desert Mother break your chains. May her Daughter come to us and lead us to Freedom.”
Anika grew up in sand and heat and bombs under her skin and quiet defiance against both Masters and Desert.
She grew up making herself useful, avoiding the slaps of Watto who was kinder than most but only because he did not wish to damage his merchandise. He preferred to starve them of food or water.
The Jedi came.
Anika was 9 years old, the youngest and only human pod-racer in Mos Espa and the desert and the wind and the minds of the people around her had always spoken to her. It was nice to know that she wasn’t the only one who heard their Voices, even if the Jedi had an odd idea about it.
She was 9 years old when the Jedi took her from the desert and the sand and the bombs under the skin. They called her The Chosen One. All she wanted was to free her kin. She had not lost her defiance.
Anika was 18 years old when the Desert called her home.
It started with an itch. A nagging feeling that she was needed elsewhere. Anika tried to release it into the Force as she had come to learn the Voice was, but it would not take it.
“A Warning, Daughter of the Desert Mother. Heed it.”
Anika startled. She had long tried to forget her Desert Slave roots, but the Desert had not forgotten her.
There was no second warning.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, her Jedi Master, found her staring at the wall completely catatonic, only murmuring the same words over and over, sometimes in Basic, others in a language he’d only briefly ever heard Anika speak in. The secret language of the slave people of Tatooine. The language of the Children of the Desert.
“Bring the Daughter of the Desert home.”
There was much deliberation within the Council when Obi-Wan brought Anika’s condition to them. The healers could find no cause and not even Master Yoda could break into her mind.
The Force itself seemed to be deliberately silent but there was something else that hovered in her mind.
There was only Sandstorms and Desert Wastes and a Mother’s fury at her children being chained.
Eventually, it was decided that Master Mace Windu, Master Plo Koon and Obi-Wan would take Anika to Tatooine to see if there was a cause.
The moment they arrived on Tatooine, Anika regained her senses. The sandstorm fury in her head had not stopped nor had the itch under her skin but she knew this was a gift given.
“Masters, I don’t have a lot of time. I need to go talk to someone.” She slipped on her cloak and ran towards her old slave master’s home, leaving the three Jedi behind her to race after her.
She ignored Mace’s demands and Obi-Wan’s pleas for knowledge.
She didn’t have time.
And Anika wanted to talk to her mother before the Storm came.
Finding her mother, free and happy, was a bittersweet moment as it only lasted until her arms wrapped around the older woman.
“Keep the Jedi out of my way, mother. I love you.” Anika whispered as the Sandstorm in her blood rose and demanded Vengence.
She was no longer Anika Skywalker, Padawan of the Jedi Order.
She was The Daughter of the Desert Mother and she would spill the blood of those that dared called themselves Master. She would lead her kin to Freedom.
Obi-Wan watched as Anika stiffened in her mother’s grasp then pulled herself away rigidly.
Her presence in the Force changed from the Bright Light she had been, smothered by the Fury and Anguish of Sand, Heat, Desert Winds and Bombs under the Skin.
When Anika turned to face the three Jedi masters, her blue eyes were gone, replaced by sand and wrath.
“Don’t attack her. She has her calling and she will kill you to achieve it. Please, leave her to it. The Desert Mother has Called her and Anika has answered.” Shmi said, moving slowly to grasp at Mace’s bicep. The Jedi master hesitated then nodded, slipping his lightsaber back into its place.
Obi-Wan watched his Padawan shed her cloak then her tunic and leggings. Soon she was dressed in nothing as the sand rose up around her and left her in a short, ragged grey tunic that only the most downtrodden of slaves would wear and her hair in a loose tangled mess. Around her wrists were old fashioned steel manacles, broken and cracked.
Then she slowly walked into the Desert towards Mos Espa. Around them, a sandstorm gathered.
It was a short hour later that first slaves arrived at the Lars’ Moisture Farm, bleeding in various places from where the slave chips had been removed.
They brought a story of how a ragged slave woman with the eyes of a sandstorm had walked into the centre of Mos Espa and slew any master who stood in her way. She had walked through the Slave Quarter first, tugging the chips out with a sure invisible hand.
Only the slaves, younglings and those who tried to help the slaves were left unharmed.
Everyone else was claimed by the sand; slavers, bounty hunters and criminals alike.
The Sandstorm howled in victory around them.
It was sunrise the next day when the sandstorm in the distance died down and the final slaves arrived with Anika at the back, her ragged tunic splashed with sticky blood. In her arms, she carried a young twi’lek girl that she slipped into her own mother’s arms.
The former slaves stared at her as the three Jedi moved protectively around the huge camp.
She turned her head towards the vaporators and walked towards them at the same sedate pace that she had left in. Curling one hand around one of the poles on the side, she yanked it upwards and it turned into sand, ignoring the sharp yell from Owen Lars.
The outrage quickly turned to amazement as freshwater sprung up out of the hole the vaporator had left. Again and again, Anika pulled each of the vaporators out of the ground, leaving springs of water in its wake.
As she came to last one and pulled it out, Anika stayed in the water that welled up. She tilted her head then drew her arms up before slashing them outwards.
The water followed the movement causing a gasp of awe and a murmur of prayers to rise. Within seconds, a large lake had appeared. Anika had disappeared under the water as the sand had sunk down to create a basin.
“Anika?” Shmi murmured.
Obi-Wan was not one to pray but just this once, he prayed to the Force and to the mysterious entity that had taken over his Padawan for her safe return.
There was a beat of silence as a ripple slowly started making its way to shore.
Soon the first hint of Anika’s head appeared, only for another gasp to ripple its way through the crowd.
Anika was no longer dressed like a ragged slave.
Her blonde hair was braided back with loose curls draping down her back and little golden desert flowers entwined in the tresses. Her tunic turned into a simple bright Tatooine-sky blue dress that dropped to her ankles. The flowers were also twisted around her wrists and she had a simple belt carrying a water gourd.
She stepped out of the water and when she did, the water’s edge burst into life. Trees, bushes and simple flowers exploded all around the edge.
Once the new vegetation had settled, Anika plucked six flowers from her hair and blew them into the wind. They were swept up by a sudden breeze and scattered into six different directions.
“A flower and new water for the rest of the seven deserts.” Someone murmured behind Obi-Wan.
Anika snapped her head towards them, her eyes boring into Obi-Wan’s. He took a stabilising breath and met her eye determinedly even as she approached him.
Mace and Plo moved to intercept but the others held them back gently.
“She will not harm him.” One of them whispered
Anika stopped two steps from Obi-Wan and spoke in a rasping voice that sounded more like the sandstorm and the wind that raced through caverns.
“She was my Daughter first, Jedi. She has no need for your code. She is sand and heat and survival and deadly protection. She has sandstorms in her veins and defiance in her heart. But she desires to return to you. She may follow your path, but she will obey no code for I have led her to Freedom and she returned to lead my children home. She will have no more chains. Take care of her, JEDI.”
With that final warning, Anika’s eyes fluttered, and her normal blue eyes returned. The feeling of sandstorms and heat didn’t leave her Force presence but instead entwined itself with the brilliant light Obi-Wan was used to sensing.
“Obi-Wan?” she murmured then collapsed into his arms.
They say the Daughter of The Desert Mother was born in the middle of a sandstorm to a slave woman and no father. She was freed at the age of 9 by Jedi and returned to free the rest of the slaves at the age of 18.
They say the Daughter of the Desert Mother brought sandstorms and heat and blood to the former masters of Tatoonie and defiance and freedom and new life to the Children of the Desert.
They say the Daughter of the Desert Mother followed the only man she would ever call Master (but never as ownership, always as equals) back into the stars. That she led the Jedi out of their own self-made chains and freed them too.
They say that as long as the Daughter of the Desert Mother walks through the sky free, the Oases of Tatooine will always be there for those who are defiant enough to live in the Desert.