Obi-Wan shouldn’t have come alone on this mission. He should have sent for backup as soon as the ship’s proximity sensor started beeping. He should have been more alert and not assumed that the approaching object would simply be incinerated by the ship’s active shielding. He should have checked that it was actually a simple rock or bit of space debris instead of, for instance, a nudinium stealth hunter mine.
But he didn’t do any of those things and now here he was, stranded on an icy rock in the ass-end of nowhere, carrying what he could salvage from his crashed ship on his back and making his way to the nearest mountaintop, praying that the peak extended high enough into the planet’s refractive atmosphere to allow his low-powered emergency beacon to push a signal to the the Jedi Council. Assuming, of course, that whoever had placed the mine didn’t find him first. The mine could have been leftover from some blockade or other, and Obi-Wan had stumbled across it by truly unfortunate coincidence. But, as Obi-Wan had been recently reminded (rather forcefully), assuming the best of situations just got you stranded on icy hell-planets. So he had to operate under the assumption that it had been a deliberate trap, and the information on which the Jedi Council had sent him on this mission had been designed specifically to lure him in.
So, Obi-Wan trudged through scattered snow and rocks, up a narrow ravine, trying to keep under the cover of the weird-looking trees and keeping the narrow river on his right. The water tumbled down the ravine, skipping over rocks and filling the air with a dull rushing roar that Obi-Wan hoped would disguise the sound of his feet crunching through the snow if there were any auditory spy drones patrolling the area. He shivered, pulling his cloak tighter around himself in an attempt to block out the wind. Snowflakes drifted down half-heartedly from a white and dreary sky. It was well below freezing, and Obi-Wan would soon have to consider finding shelter, or else spend the entire night trying to keep himself warm with the Force alone. Well, that and rigorous calisthenics, maybe.
Something tickled the edge of his senses and he was ducking before he could question why, a blaster bolt sailing over his head and burning a hole in the tree behind him. His lightsaber was ignited and in his hand, and he deflected two more bolts from two different directions. At least three of them, then. Obi-Wan crouched down and ran for a nearby boulder. Ducking behind it, he spotted a humanoid figure in white camouflage dropping from a tree, quickly joined by two others. Separatists? Bounty hunters? Disgruntled natives? They moved like soldiers. He didn’t have time to wonder; he was quickly becoming surrounded. He took a deep breath and extended his awareness, trying to pinpoint the locations of the ambushers around him.
Obi-Wan leapt over the boulder with a Force-enhanced jump, catapulting himself over his assailants to land behind them. With a sharp swing, he cleanly sliced through one soldier’s wrist, whose blaster (and hand) dropped to the ground as the man stared at his brand new stump, too shocked to scream. Obi-Wan blocked bolts from the other two soldiers, then turned and dashed up the ravine, zigzagging between trees and boulders. \
With his Force-enhanced hearing, he heard one of them saying something into his radio, before the sound was drowned out when the one he’d maimed finally remembered to scream. Great. They had reinforcements. Legs and lungs burning, Obi-Wan scrambled up the slope, slipping on loose rocks and dodging tree roots and blaster fire. The ravine leveled out, becoming wider. Shit. This was a bad place to fight. The ground here was more open, the river wider, and cover was scarce. There was a large pile of boulders, more than twice as tall as he was, hugging a curve in the river, but it was too far from Obi-Wan. The two pursuing him were too close for him to hide. Maybe their backup was far away- no such luck. Half a squadron appeared from between the trees ahead of Obi-Wan, faces covered, blasters leveled. Obi-Wan reacted on instinct. He put the river at his back and concentrated on deflecting blaster fire, lightsaber a blur in his hands as he moved it left and right, intercepting bolts by feel alone. Just like the training exercises he had done as a Padawan. Except if he missed one here it would do a lot more than just sting. Obi-Wan shook himself, releasing all thoughts except for the present moment. He gave himself over to the Force.
The soldiers were slowly advancing on him, falling into some sort of formation, clearly allowing themselves to take their sweet time getting close to him, banking on his stamina running out. Well, they wouldn’t have to wait long. Obi-Wan felt himself growing colder. Colder? His extended Force senses were tingling. With a horrible jolt, Obi-Wan realized that someone else was here. Someone whose familiar presence in the Force felt like frozen lightning. No, not here. Not now.
A red lightsaber blade protruded through the chest of the soldier to Obi-Wan’s right. She fell with hardly a gasp. The saber turned off, sheathing its blade, then flew back to the hand of its master. Darth Maul was standing on top of the pile of boulders, a stark black figure against the white sky. What the hell...? Black tattoos stood out against red skin, and his yellow eyes seemed to pierce right through the distance between them. Maul smirked at Kenobi, baring his pointed teeth. Obi-Wan’s attackers turned chaotically, suddenly uncoordinated and unsure who to fire at.
“In a tight spot, Kenobi?” Maul called. His sharp grin turned into a snarl, and he ignited both blades of his saberstaff, leaping through the air to land amongst the soldiers, his blades already flashing as he landed. Obi-Wan shoved his utter bewilderment back down his throat and seized the opportunity, taking advantage of the distraction to introduce the nearest soldiers to the business end of his lightsaber. Maul almost seemed to be having fun, using kicks as much as his blade, and even throwing his saberstaff into opponents and recalling it with the Force, like some kind of Sith Lord death yo-yo. Obi-Wan would have disapproved of the unnecessary showiness if he hadn’t been a bit busy. The soldiers scattered and ran for cover, leaving several wounded and dead in Obi-Wan’s and Maul’s wake, taking up positions where they could and firing at the two Force users from a safer distance.
Maul and Obi-Wan ended up next to each other, deflecting blaster bolts, the river behind them. Obi-Wan estimated that there were five enemies still left. Maul hurled his saberstaff end over end at the closest soldier, bisecting him with a furious pinwheel of doom, which Maul recalled to his hand just in time to block the next bolt. Ok, four left.
“Do you have to show off?” Obi-Wan asked, as if a Sith Lord who regularly tried to kill him showing up to save his ass was a regular occurance. Maul treated his question as rhetorical. Which was good, because Obi-Wan plowed on: “What the hell are you playing at?” Maul’s saber flashed in front of Obi-Wan, blocking a bolt that his saber had already been in position to intercept, thank you very much . Obi-Wan gave Maul a flat look, and Maul gave Obi-Wan an expression halfway between a grin and a predatory snarl.
“Your death belongs to me, Kenobi.” he growled. “I refuse to allow-” Maul’s eyes widened, staring at a spot behind Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan whipped around, and registered several things. One, there was a sniper in a tree that neither of them had noticed. Two, he was using a long-barrelled slugthrower, whose metal bullets could not safely be deflected by a lightsaber, and three, he was aiming it directly at Obi-Wan, and he was so totally fucked. In the next moment, a crack split the frigid air, and Maul rammed his shoulder into Obi-Wan’s, sending him sprawling out of the way of the incoming bullet, which struck Maul squarely in the chest. His snarl had not quite faded from his lips as he crumpled backwards, falling down the short, steep embankment and into the icy cold rapids behind them. Obi-Wan’s stomach dropped out of existence, replaced almost immediately by a burning firerand that he refused to call rage. Yelling, Obi-Wan leapt towards the remaining fighters, who cowered in place. Maul would not last long in water that cold, assuming the bullet hadn’t killed him outright. Obi-Wan had seconds before Maul would be swept away. The Force was ringing in his ears and singing in his blood and death was in his hands. Seconds was all he needed.