The Padawans Join the Fight
Kan didn't remember exactly what happened, but suddenly, he was there. As soon as he saw the Jedi activating their lightsabers, he had activated his own unconsciously, responding to some secret instinct to join his fellow warriors, to fight back to back with them in the fray. The Geonosians had scattered in the confusion to grab their weapons, and now they were rising up in one great, buzzing cloud. For some reason it reminded him of the time when his Master had taken him for a tramp through the sunlit forests of Ünlé, a planet in the Syleeto system. Kan had wandered off on his own and had accidently tripped over a Ziizzi hornet nest. The angry insects had immediately flown up out of their nest and into his unprotected face, with their quadruple-forked stingers raised for attack…
Kan shook his head. This was different. Instead of painful but altogether harmless hornets armed with stingers, these creatures wielded powerful, high-tech blasters.
He winced. It wasn't the best thing to think of before a battle.
Aedan could contain himself no longer. With a triumphant shriek, he grabbed Kan by the collar of his tunic and leaped from their hiding place on the top level of the arena to the the execution ring below, which was swiftly filling with armed Geonosians.
Their feet made contact with the packed dirt floor. Aedan did a two-hand swing, decapitating two Geonosians. Kan did a quick back-stab and eliminated one more just as Terry, Jordin, Naathan, Kien, Minir and the cousins landed beside him. He caught a fleeting vision of Obi-Wan and his Padawan leaping off their steed as lightsabers were thrown to them. Kan heard rather than saw the arena gates open to admit the Confederacy's reinforcements ––– mass produced battle droids. The enemy began peppering the Jedi with blasterfire.
The battle had begun.
A droideka discharged a barrage of deadly blasts, sweeping Kan off his feet and into the dirt. Aedan leaped over him, deflecting the fire back, which absorbed harmlessly into the droids defensive shields. But Aedan knew their weakness; diving to the ground, he did an upward swing at his attacker, disabling its defensive system. Rolling to his feet, he chopped through the droid. It exploded, scattering flaming bits of debris all over him. Kan's nose wrinkled as the smell of burning cloth and hair drifted toward him.
Terry and Na'thin acted as one team, mowing down the infinite line of droids in relays. Kien and Minir could be heard from the opposite side of the ring, attacking the enemy's flank. Jahn Pal and Sai'wer finally seemed to come out of their brain fog, and they were displaying extraordinary skill for ones so young, though they relied more on strength than cunning.
Jordin was somewhere near him ––– he could feel her presence beside him, swinging her saber in an ever-moving circle. Her passing was scarcely more than a breeze, so light and graceful were her movements. A long line of fallen droids and natives alike marked her swift passing.
His back pressed against the solid form of a pillar. He had fought to the center of the arena. He looked around, searching for the fearless, powerful figure that was his Master. His battle mind became out of focus. That was why he never noticed the laser cannon aimed straight at him…
He felt himself rise into the sky as the impact of the turbo-laser hit the post, creating a huge pocket of air that yanked him away from the blast. He felt a scream rising up from his stomach, but he couldn't open his mouth to let it out. It was strange; he felt calm, ready. Just waiting for death to come. He wasn't scared of what was to come. Maybe death wasn't so bad, after all. Maybe death felt just like this…
A body slammed into him, knocking him away from a huge flying chunk of stone just about to smash into him. He landed on his back, coughing up the dust he had swallowed. The deadly missile shattered just millimeters away from him. He didn't see it ––– he stared up at the sky, just staring…
"Are you GOOD?" Aedan stood over him, hissing in his ear. "Do you want to croak? The GOOD man saved your sorry GOOD life, so use it, you idiot!"
The rest of the broken pillar came crashing down towards them. With a cry, Aedan yanked him out of the way. A dust cloud arose, yet Kan could still see the mangled forms of the Jedi who had been caught underneath. A small, brown hand was stretched out across a chunk of rock, as if beckoning to him…
He looked away.
Jordin stood there, a look of absolute horror etched on her face. "I saw it," she said. "I saw him ––– the Jedi Knight knocked you out of the way, out the blast, and he just died. He's dead. He was fine, he was healthy, and now he's…"
She crouched down to the ground, her body shaking as tears slid down her face and fell into the red dirt, staining it the color of blood. "He's dead," she screamed. "Dead!"
Kan stood still, realization of what had happened absorbing into his brain. The ugly thought in his mind blinded him, and he turned away to shut out the sound of Jordin's crying. He suddenly felt a stab of pity for the young girl when he remembered what she had said to him one day, only a few days ago. Was it really only that long ago? It seemed years.
I wonder why they kill people. What is it like to die?