Solstice Knight

Warm Ice

"Ah the infamous ice world" Leon said as the Resolute dropped from hyperspace above the frozen Outer Rim world.

The four Jedi stood on the bridge of the Republic war ship while the crew tried scanning the planet.

"So what do we know about this world another than it's covered in ice?" Ahsoka asked.

Leon stepped in front of her, Anakin and Obi-Wan and turned to face them, "Hoth" he began motioning his arm back toward the planet, "Enjoys a constant year long climate with an average temperature of around -50 degrees Celsius. The planet is orbited by a single sun and 3 moons with a rotational period of 23 standard hours and an orbital period 549 local days which translate to 526 standard days. Hoth is located a casual 50,250 light years from the core and features many great local points of interest such as ice caves, frozen plains, canyons and Separatists bases in desperate need of deactivation".

The three Jedi in front of him as well the ship's admiral and some of the crew were all staring at Leon as he finished his report and smiled, "I would make a wonderful tour guide don't you think?"

Ahsoka and Anakin both gave a light laugh as Obi-Wan stepped forward, "Have our scans picked up anything?"

"Not yet sir" Admiral Yularen answered, "The blizzard around the planet is making it difficult. Add to it the freezing temperature is making it almost impossible to detect any heat signatures".

"Are we absolutely sure there's an enemy base out here?" Leon asked.

"As sure as we can be" Obi-Wan replied, "We don't have much choice though. Keep scanning the planet until we're sure if there's anything worth investigating down there or not".

"Hold on" Leon said looking over to Anakin, "Master Skywalker you said there was supposed to be a droid and weapon manufacturing facility out here right?"

"Yeah" Skywalker answered, "Why?"

Leon looked out at the planet, "Well unless their base is deep underground they couldn't produce droids here".

"What do you mean?" Ahsoka asked him.

"The planet is too cold" Leon explained, "If they're making battle droids here they'd have to do it deep underground or else they're components would freeze before they're fully assembled".

"What are you getting at?" Anakin asked him.

Leon placed his hand around his chin, "Well either the Intel isn't fully accurate or"

"Sir we've detected a small heat signature neat the planet's northern equator" one of the operators said announced.

"You were saying?" Anakin asked Leon.

While Obi-Wan and Admiral Yularen watched the centralized scans of the heat signature Leon closed and silently groaned, "Something's not right down there". Looking up he stepped forward, "Master Kenobi its faint, but I sense something down there".

"I do as well" the Jedi Master responded, "It may be our Separatist factory" he turned to Admiral Yularen, "Admiral we're going down there I leave the ship in your hands".

The Admiral stood at attention, "Roger that sir, good luck".

Obi-Wan turned to Anakin, "Alright Anakin we're going to take two ships down to the planet we'll land a few clicks away from the target and send some troops in to scout it and decide what to do from there".

"Why don't we just send a squadron of bombers in and just bomb it now" Ahsoka argued.

"Because we don't know what's down there" Anakin told his padawan, "They could have heavy AA defenses that could tear through any ships we send. Patience we'll do some recon first then we'll recycle some droids".

"Come on let's go" Leon called back to them as he left the bridge.

In the warship's hangar Anakin briefed the clone troopers on their mission before they loaded into the two transport ships.

"I think we should split up" Leon told Master Kenobi, "Two Jedi on each ship, in the event that one of the ships goes down".

Obi-Wan agreed to the idea, "That's a good idea young one. Anakin you and Ahsoka will go in one ship and I'll go with Leon in the other".

"As you wish Master" Anakin said, "Just don't fall behind".

"That sounded like a challenge to me" Leon said to Master Kenobi as they boarded their ship.

Master Kenobi sighed, "One thing you will learn quickly about Anakin is he's always eager for competition".

"I like" Leon grinned as the two ships left the hangar and made their way to the surface of the ice world.

After the two ships landed Leon immediately jumped out when the doors opened meeting a blast of snow to his face as he entered the blizzard. Quickly placing his hood and goggles on he looked back to Master Kenobi, "I may have underestimated just how cold this place is".

"You get used to it I'm afraid" he replied stepping off the ship with the clone troopers behind him, "Alright Cody we'll set up a temporary camp here and send some troops to scout the base. Once they have enough information we'll determine the best course of action".

"Roger that general" the clone Commander acknowledged before he ordered a few of his scouts to head out while the remaining clones began setting up a small camp.

"Well this is a nice piece of paradise" Anakin said, "Reminds me of Tatooine only ice instead of sand".

"Why can't we ever go anywhere nice?" Ahsoka asked, "So what are we going to do?"

"Master Kenobi" Leon called to them staring out into the blizzard, "I sense something".

"What is it Leon" Obi-Wan asked before seeing a silhouette approaching Leon through the snow storm.

The unknown figure continued approaching cloaked behind the veil of snow, "Halt" Cody called to the figure as he and the rest of the clones formed a defensive position aiming their weapons at the figure.

Leon quickly held up his arm, "Stand down Commander this one is no threat to us".

The figure stepped out of the veil of snow revealing itself to be humanoid wearing a cloak that seemed too small to provide proper protection against the freezing temperature.

"Who are you?" Obi-Wan asked the figure.

The figure stepped closer to Leon pulling down its hood revealing itself to be female. Her hair was unkempt and shoulder length and almost as white as the snow making it hard to see it. Her eyes were an icy blue, but her skin was her most striking feature it was the same as her hair such a pure white that she could easily hide in the snow if it wasn't for her brown clothes.

Leon smiled at her as she stopped in front of him and reached out to him, "Hello" Leon greeted taking her hand, "Leon Solstice soon to be Jedi Master, self-appointed ladies man and hopeless romantic…not necessarily in that order".

"You are hopeless" Ahsoka sighed after hearing the way he introduced himself.

"What?" Leon laughed looking back to them before the woman fell forward. Catching the unknown woman in his arms Leon smiled awkwardly as he looked back to them, "I didn't know I was that good".

While the clones were setting up the camp site Master Kenobi decided to take their guest inside one of the transport ships to shelter her from the howling blizzard.

"What do you think she was doing out here?" Anakin asked his former master, "I thought this planet was uninhabited".

Master Kenobi scratched his beard while he thought about their visitor, "Well either its not or she somehow ended up here. Maybe her ship crashed somewhere on the planet".

"No she lives here" Leon said moving closer to her, "Look at her skin" he pointed at her face and then at her arms which had a few small tattoos, "Its obvious from her features she's human. And when humans are exposed to such extreme cold their blood rushes through their body to help keep it warm basically it looks like their whole body is blushing and after prolonged exposure that fades and the skin starts to turn a dark blue because its freezing right?"

Master Kenobi realized where Leon was going, "Then why does her skin appear to be perfectly healthy?"

The unknown woman's skin was a pale white, but didn't have any blood rush or blue tones to it. It didn't make any sense the light layer of clothing she was wearing she should be freezing and yet her skin seemed to be completely fine.

"There's only one possible explanation to this" Leon said, "She's lived here long enough that she's adapted to the climate".

"That still doesn't make sense" Anakin said to him, "She's obviously human, but no one could possible adjust to climate this harsh".

Leon cut him off, "Unless has a way of keeping herself from freezing".

"Like living in the Separatist base" Anakin noted, but Leon shook his head.

"Maybe, but I don't think that's it".

"How can you tell?" Anakin asked him.

Before Leon could answer the woman began stirring, "She's coming to give her some room" Obi-Wan told them as she groaned and opened her eyes.

"Are you alright?" Leon asked her.

The woman turned her head toward him and smiled as she was happy to see him, but didn't say anything.

"Can you tell us your name?" Leon asked her.

The woman finally spoke, but she spoke in a language none of them recognized.

"I don't recognize that language do you?" Anakin asked Obi-Wan.

"No I don't" Obi-Wan admitted before kneeling next to the woman, "I'm afraid we can't understand you do you speak Galactic Basic?"

The woman looked at him and frowned before speaking in the unknown language again.

"Fantastic" Leon groaned stretching his arms back.

As Leon stretched his arms the woman looked at him and saw his lightsaber and immediately began speaking frantically before snatching it from his waist.

"Whoa now" Leon said quickly grasping her hand and his lightsaber, "I'm sorry, but you can't have that it's very dangerous".

The woman looked at him and began speaking again calmer this time.

"It's a weapon" Leon said slowly, "It's very dangerous I can't let you take it".

The woman slowly reached her hand up to Leon's neck and touched him as she slowly closed her eyes and began speaking no more like chanting.

"What is she doing?" Anakin asked his former master as the woman chanted something in her language.

"Quiet Anakin" Obi-Wan quietly snapped as he watched the woman chant.

At first Leon seemed just as curious as Master Kenobi did, but his expression quickly changed from focused to exhausted. His eyelids began closing and opening again as he tried to stay awake and he began panting as if he just stopped from a light run.

"You know" the young Jedi panted as he struggled to stay conscious, "You should really buy me dinner first".

Leon looked like he was about to fall over cueing Ahsoka to ignite her lightsaber and point it at the strange woman, "That's enough" she yelled, "Get away from him".

The woman moved her hand away from Leon's neck and he fell forward catching himself and breathing heavily, "Not sure I liked that" he managed to say before falling to the side passing out from apparent exhaustion.

"What did you do to him?" Ahsoka demanded before Anakin grabbed her shoulder and yanked her back.

"Hold on Snips I don't sense any danger from her".

"Danger?" Ahsoka argued turning to face him, "Did you not see what she just did she almost killed him".

"He will recover" the woman said surprising them, "I merely barrowed his knowledge of your language. He has only fainted from exhaustion I'm afraid the spell has a drawback on tiring the one it's used on".

Obi-Wan looked over to the collapsed Leon glad to see that he was still breathing before returning his eyes to their visitor, "So my dear can you tell us who you are?"

The woman bowed her head and introduced herself to them, "I am Spirit Dancer Thalia".

"What's a Spirit Dancer?" Ahsoka asked looking to Master Kenobi.

"I'm not sure" he replied looking at the woman again, "Could you tell us what that is?"

"We are a small group of people who channel and communicate with the spirits. We use our abilities to help lead our people".

"What kind of abilities?" Obi-Wan inquired further, "And who are your people?"

"We are the Licht" she answered, "We serve the spirits of our ancestors and it is through them that we are able to live on this world. Several generations ago we came here from another world and another one before that".

"So you're a nomadic people then?" Obi-Wan nodded as he listened to her, "Where did you live before you came here?"

Thalia shook her head, "I do not know. When we move to a new world we no longer speak of the one we left to avoid being tied down by our past. We believe that is the only way we can move forward".

Leon groaned finally coming back around he attempted to say something as he pushed himself off the floor, but his words were slurred. Thalia moved her hand to his shoulder, "Do not move too quickly allow your body to recover first".

"What did you do to me?" he asked her in a slurred speech.

Thalia helped him into a sitting position, "I used my power to learn your language it drains the energy of the receiver. I'm sorry".

Leon took a moment to allow his vision to return to normal lightly shaking his head he gave his fellow Jedi a reassuring smile, "Alright I'm back, where were we?"

Thalia looked at Leon and bowed her head to him, "I am Spirit Dancer Thalia".

Leon bowed his head to her in return, "Leon Solstice a pleasure to meet someone so beautiful".

Thalia smiled at him, "You flatter me, but I'm afraid I need your help".

"Is something wrong?" Obi-Wan asked her.

Thalia nodded to him, "Several weeks ago the spirits warned us of a great darkness that would visit our world. The time for us to migrate to a new world is soon approaching, but there strange people came to our world and began building large structures in the caverns".

"The Separatists?" Anakin asked her.

Thalia nodded, "That is what they called themselves. We avoided contact with them at first, but eventually they found us. I do not know why, but they attacked and imprisoned us without provocation".

"That sounds like them" Leon muttered, "So what happened?"

Thalia continued, "Our warriors were preparing to fight, but I received a vision from the spirits telling me that they were too dangerous to fight alone and to wait" she looked at the floor, "The spirits told me that help would arrive from off world, but I was beginning to lose hope they are using my people as slaves those who resist are killed".

"Where are they?" Leon asked her in a dark tone, "Take us to them and we'll deal with it".

"Patience Leon" Obi-Wan warned, "We will help her people when the time is right for now we should wait for our scouts to report back".

"We can't!" Leon yelled, "You heard her those Separatist bastards are executing her people and forcing them into slave labor are you really going to tell me to wait when there are people who need our help?"

"I know how you feel, but we don't know what kind of defenses they have. Rushing in now would be fool hardy".

Leon gripped his lightsaber in his hand trying his best to keep his frustration restrained he wanted to help Thalia's people, but he knew Master Kenobi was right. Leon took a deep breath to calm himself, "Alright, but once the scouts come back with their report we're going in".

"That thing in your hand" Thalia said eyeing Leon's lightsaber, "It is a lightsaber right, does that mean you are a Jedi?"

Leon looked at her his anger finally subsided he managed another small smile and nodded, "Yeah I'm a Jedi and so are they".

Thalia closed her eyes and a thankful smile raced across her face, "Then I have nothing to fear. If you are Jedi then I know my people will be fine".

"That reminds me" Anakin said looking down at Thalia, "Why did you take his lightsaber earlier? You obviously knew what it was".

Thalia lowered her eyes again, "One of the people who are enslaving my people wields them as her weapon. The hilts of them are curved and the blades they glow red".

"Ventress" Obi-Wan, Anakin and Ahsoka concluded. No one else they knew fitted that description. If Ventress was at the separatist base then taking it out just became more difficult.

Thalia continued, "When I saw his lightsaber I thought I could use it to free my people I was so happy at first that I ignored the possibility of you being Jedi…I'm sorry".

"Its alright" Leon said sitting next to her, "Don't worry we'll free your people and defeat the Separatist I swear it".

"Thank you" Thalia smiled, she was happy to hear those words with four Jedi as her allies she knew she could save her people.

Thankfully it didn't take long before the scouts returned with good news; the Separatist base was unguarded on the outside with only 3 AA towers for its defense. According to the scouts the base's interior wouldn't be hard to reach, but they had no way of telling what was inside.

"Alright then" Leon said stepping out of the transport ship, "Here's the plan we go in cut down everything in our way, free Thalia's people, get them to safety and then level the entire facility".

"Patience Leon" Obi-Wan told him again, "We'll get to that, but for right now we have to be careful".

"With all respect Master I can't sit around and wait while her people suffer it's not something I'm capable of".

Thalia placed her hand on Leon's shoulder, "Its ok my people are still safe for now I am grateful for your concern, but you must be cautious. Whoever that Dark Jedi woman is, she is very dangerous".

Obi-Wan called for Anakin to help him with their plan of attack leaving Ahsoka with Leon and Thalia until they were ready.

"So these spirits you were talking about" Ahsoka began, "You said they were the spirits of your ancestors?"

Thalia nodded, "Yes only a Spirit Dancer has the ability to communicate with them so it falls to us to lead our people in the right direction…" Thalia suddenly fell silent as she remembered something, "Actually there was one person who wasn't a Spirit Dancer and she was able to communicate with spirits as well".

"Who was it?" Ahsoka asked her interested to know more about the Spirit Dancers and their roles.

Thalia looked out into the howling blizzard, "I do not know her name she died when my grandmother was still a young girl. The story says that an outsider arrived in a time of great need by my people and helped them safely travel the galaxy in search of a new world this world. It is because of her that we are still here today are people were almost wiped out by a powerful enemy, but she saved us".

Leon thought for a moment, "Aside from that what can you tell us about her and the enemy that threatened you".

Thalia pointed at Leon's lightsaber, "They were both Jedi. Her name was not known to us, but the one she fought his name we know it was Darth Plagueis".

"Darth Plagueis" Leon muttered to himself, "I don't recall that name being mentioned in the Jedi Archives".

"Could it be in the restricted sections?" Ahsoka asked him, "I know some of our archives can only be accessed by members of the council".

"It's possible" Leon said, "The only other explanation is the Jedi didn't know of him so he was never recorded into the archives".

"How could they have not known about him?" Ahsoka asked, "That doesn't seem possible".

"You'd be surprised" Leon told her, "I remember hearing a story once about a Sith Lord who was so powerful he could completely conceal his presence from anyone even another force user. No one would know he was there until he wanted them to".

"Leon, Ahsoka" Obi-Wan called to them, "I hope you two are ready because we've got a plan".

"You know me Master Kenobi" Ahsoka called back with an enthusiastic tone, "I'm always ready".

Obi-Wan scoffed and looked at his former apprentice, "I wonder why that sounds familiar".

"What?" Anakin chuckled weakly as his own padawan joined them along with Leon and Thalia.

"Alright here's the plan" Obi-Wan began, "Cody and I will infiltrate and attack the facility once they're focused on us Rex's team will come in from the side and box them in. While we keep them preoccupied Anakin you will take Ahsoka and Leon inside and free Thalia's people once they're safely out of harm's way we'll plant the charges and bring the entire place down".

"I like it" Leon said, "Especially that last part about blowing something up".

"What is my role in your plan?" Thalia asked the Jedi Master.

"You will be staying here" Obi-Wan told her, "I don't want you in harm's way so you'll be staying here where it's safe".

"No!" Thalia protested, "My people are in there I am going with you to help them".

Obi-Wan remained adamant on his decision he wanted Thalia to stay behind.

Thalia looked to Leon hoping he would side with her, but he agreed with Obi-Wan, "Sorry Thalia, but he's right you'll be safer here".

Thalia tried to argue further, but Leon stopped her when he placed his hand on her shoulder, "Thalia I gave you my word we'll help them, but you'll be in danger if you come with us. I want you to stay safe".

Thalia didn't approve of staying behind she wanted to help her people, but she knew they had a point it would be dangerous if she went with them.

"Don't forget" Leon said waiting for her to return her eyes to him, "We're Jedi so everything will turn out fine right? Isn't that what you said?"

Thalia looked away and nodded with another small smile, "I trust you".

Leon smiled back, "Good then we can begin" he looked to Master Kenobi, "I'm ready to go once you give the word Master".

Once the preparations were made Obi-Wan took Commander Cody and most of the clones to infiltrate the facility in the nearby cavern and once they were inside the perimeter they began attacking using minor explosives to destroy tanks and equipment forcing the droids to retaliate. Now that the droids were out in the open Captain Rex led the second phase of the plan rushing in with his troopers to flank the enemy and box them in giving Anakin and the two padawans a clear shot at sneaking in.

When they made it inside Anakin contacted Obi-Wan, "Obi-Wan we're inside I'll contact you once we find Thalia's people".

"Roger that Anakin, remember Ventress is in there somewhere so be careful".

"Understood Master we'll be careful just focus on keeping them busy out there".

Looking back at the two padawans Anakin gave them his signature time to go to work smile and led them down the corridor to find and free Thalia's people.

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