She’d been a Jedi Knight for a total of two weeks, three days, and seven hours, and thirty-six minutes and she was going to die. She knew this fact with absolute certainty, praying that the Force would keep her Master safe. It was misplaced prayer, she knew, and a selfish one, but it was the only thought that consumed her mind as she sprinted through the halls of the once peaceful Jedi Temple.
The choking atmosphere of smoke hung heavy in the air, strangling her senses. She didn’t need to see, thankfully, her Master had made sure of that, but it made it more difficult to breathe. She wished for the safety of the library, where Jocasta Nu lay dead on the ground, or the Council chambers where she’d found tiny beheaded bodies.
Bile rose into her throat at the thought, but she shoved it down. The nursery. That was her destination now. The screams of the fallen filled her ears, whispering names and words or just screaming and screaming and screaming. She tried to remember the names, tried to say prayers for them in her mind and under her breath, but the jumbled mess of noiseless sound was making her head spin.
The nursery, she reminded herself. The nursery. Shaak Ti , a voice crooned in her ear and her heart thumped painfully against her chest. So the monster lurking these halls had even taken down the Masters. Was Master Windu safe? Or Master Yoda? Or even off-planet Masters, like Master Plo Koon? What about her Master? Was she safe?
She stopped. A cold, unnerving chill settled in her bones, crawling down her spine, digging into her head and muscles. She resisted the urge to tremble, to shake as the horrifying, sickening presence drew closer. What was she going to do? A newly Knighted Jedi against someone that had killed so many? So many more skilled than she? Who was she compared to them? She turned, but when her hands grazed her lightsabers, they flew from her belt and into the waiting hands of someone else.
The cloaked figure stood down the hall, silent, a blue saber gripped in his hand. And she could tell now it was a “he”. She could even tell, from this distance, that the signature felt somewhat familiar, but it had been twisted and warped into a dark, disharmonious entity that threatened to swallow her whole.
She had faced many things in her young life, but never something so evil and vile.
Her knees gave out underneath her as the man approached, dropping her lightsabers onto the ground as if it were nothing but a toy for him to throw away. His steps were sure and he almost swayed like a puppet left to dangle. She scrambled back. Every primal instinct in her urged her to get to her feet and RUN . Run away from this monster. From the Temple. From the Order if she had to.
She just had to run.
The man continued towards her, unperturbed by her desperate attempts to get away.
Her hand hit open air and her head cracked against a stone step. Hot blood slipped down her head, mixing into her already scarlet hair. She caught herself as a series of wails cut through the silence. The nursery.
With every ounce of energy left in her body, she summoned a lightsaber to her and- A sharp, unbearable pain ripped through her chest. She watched as her saber shuddered in the air and thudded to the ground. With wide green eyes, Opheia looked down at the beautiful azure blade dug into her body, as if starlight had exploded from her heart. She gasped, unable to draw the air into her lungs as she turned her gaze to him . The man that killed her. The man that had killed all of them, even the innocent children that knew nothing of life or death.
She knew him. He was someone she admired. Someone she’d hero-worshipped until her Master taught her the futility of it. He was a great man, a great Jedi.
But his eyes glimmered a sickening yellow, the color of amber in the sun and molten gold. The color of greed. The color of hatred and sorrow and so, so much anger. “Skywalker?” the name fell from her lips, more of a hiss than actual comprehensible syllables.
He didn’t respond as he removed the blade from her heart. She slumped to the ground, her skull once again smacking against the marble steps, and watched with fading vision as his feet stepped past her and continued to the nursery.
The crying fell silent, but the Force continued to scream. There was nothing she could do now. No one she could help, even if she managed to get up. She wasn’t good enough. Wasn’t smart enough. She hadn’t seen this coming and for some inexplicable reason, she blamed herself. She, a young woman that had only spoken to Anakin Skywalker maybe twice in her entire life, blamed herself for the entire fall of the Jedi Order.
She would’ve laughed at the morbid thought if she could. She didn’t want vengeance though. She wanted to understand. She wanted to know what led to this. What went wrong and when. She would’ve tried to stop it, if she could, even if she ended up right back here, only the marble floor of her home. At least, then, she would’ve been worth something.
With one last shaky exhale, she closed her eyes.
And in the Jedi Temple, Opheia Heldsworth, newly appointed Jedi Knight, died.