Solstice Knight

Darkness Falls

Leon sat on a boulder protruding from the ground reaching for a searing pain on the back of his head feeling a warm, slick wetness. Looking down at his hand he saw a smear of crimson covering his hand.

He shrugged, "Why not I've survived worse" he looked up to the being in front of him, "So who are you?"

"I do not have a name" he answered his voice sounded like a whispering echo, "Before I was known simply as The Son".

"Ok" Leon stood up and gently touched the back of his head again wincing from the sensitive pain, "Are you another Sith or something?"

"Sith?" he asked back as if amused, "Yes and no".

"So where are we right now?" Leon asked looking up at the dark heavens.

"A mile maybe give or take. I know the way back to the surface, but of course my stipulation remains".

Leon remembered the deal before he was separated from Ahsoka, this person or thing whatever he was needed help obtaining an item from one of the tombs. He still didn't know what it was, but he had his suspicions. The presence of the dark side coming from him was beyond overwhelming it was taking every ounce of self control he had to keep himself from keeling over and vomiting. From his presence alone he knew that whatever it was he wanted couldn't be good, but he didn't have a choice, but to agree or he would most likely never find his way out of this cavern.

Sighing inwardly he looked up to the being that called himself The Son and nodded agreeing to help him. Of course his help would come at a price beyond leading him out of the caverns Leon's number one priority above anything else was finding Ahsoka and confirming that she was ok.

"You do not need to worry about your friend" The Son told him, "She is fine I guided her back to the academy she will be safe there".

Leon shook his head, "I'll believe that when I confirm it for myself. If you want my help then you will help me first".

He chuckled the eerie whispering echo of his voice taunting him, "I don't require your help eventually I will obtain this item myself your aid will just hasten the process, but as a sign of good faith I shall comply with your request".

The Son turned and extended his arm to the side motioning for Leon to follow, "This way".

Leon remained cautious as he followed The Son a nervous hand on his lightsaber and his shoulders back in a defensive stance, he had no chance of fighting him, but he was ready to flee if he needed to. Curving stone walls that winded and looped formed a maze, but his guide seemed to know where he was going not stopping for even a second and taking each turn in mid step.

"Are you afraid?" he asked turning his head to Leon, "Does my presence bother you?"

"Bother is one word for it. I'm definitely curious as to what you are I sense nothing, but the dark side from you".

The Son didn't answer he returned his gaze forward and continued walking and Leon followed. He didn't like this, he didn't like any of it nothing good could come from following this son or whatever he wanted to call himself, but he had to find Ahsoka and find a way off this planet. Time didn't exist down here the perpetual darkness aside from the small bit of light that radiated from the Son Leon had no way of telling or judging how long they had been walking and the worst part was he could hear some of the creatures around them, but with the Son's overwhelming presence he couldn't sense anything else.

"How much farther?" he asked the Son tired of the silence between them.

"Not long, why afraid of the dark?"

"The dark no" Leon answered, "But I am claustrophobic especially when I'm as tired as I am so I would really like to get out of here and soon".

"Mortals and their trivial fears amuse me" he chuckled.

Leon noticed the word he used to describe him, "Mortals? Is that how powerful you are that you consider someone like me a mortal?"

He could see the corner of the Son's grin, "Impressive reasoning" he said, "I guess you could say that I'm sure you've noticed by now that my power is far beyond anything you could ever dream of obtaining".

"Power isn't really something I desire" Leon said, "Strength however now that's a different story".

The Son chuckled again, "Those two things go hand in hand you cannot have one without the other".

"That depends on how you're willing to use it" Leon corrected, "Strength doesn't always translate to physical prowess there's strength of character there's strength of will that sort of thing" he paused and thought for a second, "Of course now that I think of it having power does help to…let's say reinforce one's strength".

"Indeed" The Son answered, "And there are only a few ways to obtain true power".

"And is that what we're after?" Leon probed, "A way for you to obtain more power?"

The Son chuckled, "Do not believe everything you hear about the dark side to me power means nothing as I'm sure you can tell I have all the power I'll ever need. No what I am looking for has nothing to do with power it is just something I do not wish anyone ever find especially some lowly scavenger".

"So where is this mystery item?"

The Son led him up another dark path and finally toward light. They were still in the caverns, but he could see around them now there was a big crack in the ceiling of the cavern letting a large ray of light filter through and shine across most of the area. Leon looked around hoping to see something familiar or a sign that Ahsoka was nearby his eyes fell to the ground defeated and worried.

"Do not fear for your companion" the Son told him, "As I said she will be fine she has made it back to the academy above ground and will be safe there now come".

The Son continued on and Leon followed him through the caverns now that he could see the creatures of the underground he was awed at how they were cowering from the Son, his presence was fear inspiring. It still made him feel sick however and now that he had been with him for so long the nauseous feeling in his stomach had grown to a peak slowing him and causing him to sweat as he tried to fight it back. Between the massive predators, the underground caverns and the crushing weight of the dark side aura he couldn't leave this world fast enough.

Ahsoka dropped onto her back holding her lightsaber up and the large horned hound like animal impaled itself as it lunged at her. Leaning to the side she pushed the beast's corpse off her and stood up her clothes were torn and she had multiple cuts and scrapes running the length of her arm and legs. Since getting separated from Leon she had been attacked by a flock of large fleshy winged creatures, another of those large lizards she and Leon fought when they first woke up and now a pack of horned hounds just like they encountered in the academy. After everything that had happened so far her stamina was nearing its limit and her moves were becoming sluggish allowing the creatures to get close enough for a few hits.

She didn't give up though, she wasn't going to quit not until she found Leon and they both managed to get out safely no matter what she faced.

"He wouldn't leave me and I'm not going to leave him" those were her thoughts as she stared down the last of the horned hounds, "Just hang on Leon I'll find you".

The hound charged her and just like the one before it leaped into the air and the injured padawan stepped to the side and swung downward taking off its head as it flew past. Catching her breath as she looked down at the still body of the animals she switched off her lightsaber and returned it to her belt, these things were nothing the one in the academy were far stronger and larger in number these were three and weak. Maybe it was because the others lived in the academy she thought although the caverns had a strong presence of dark side energy inside the academy was much thicker, thick enough that patches of dark energy could be seen. That's when she started to piece it together the Force flows through all things from plants to insects from animals to fully sentient beings after being on this world for so long the creatures had been twisted by the dark side making them larger and more dangerous.

She coughed and covered her mouth the air in her lungs twisting a bit before leaving normally.

"I need to find Leon" she said looking around, during the fight against the hounds she had lost track of which direction she came from.

Closely inspecting the nearby walls she found the mark she left with her lightsaber a trick Leon used in the first cave they found, the one that led them into the valley and to the Sith academy.

"So this way then" she said turning away from the mark and breaking into a run marking another wall after a few yards.

She had to find him quick, he was far more injured than she was and then there was the chance his illness could hit him again and in a place like this where he needed to concentrate to control it could only end badly. Then of course there were all the creatures of this world that just seemed to want to kill them from the invisible lizards to the hounds and the strange fleshy birds to the intimidating terentatek everything on this world was dangerous enough, but if he was injured and incapacitated he would have no way of defending himself.

"No get that out of your head right now" her mind yelled at her, "He's one of the strongest people I know he fought Count Dooku and General Grievous by himself and won he won't die to monsters like these".

"He'll be fine" she said out loud her words not sounding as confident as the ones in her head.

Another mark on the wall and she found herself back at the tomb her and Leon entered the tomb of Darth Zannah. Heavy heaves of breath escaped her mouth as she stopped and looked around the path they took to get here the first time was right in front of her and would lead her back toward the Academy above ground at least she knew where she was now.

"Lot of good that's going to do me" she thought as she panted, "I need to find him he's somewhere and he's alive" she said finishing her thoughts out loud this time her words agreed with her thoughts she knew he was alive she could feel it.

She paused at that thought she could sense him, but she couldn't tell from which direction or how far he was. Catching her breath she sat down and closed her eyes a dangerous choice considering her environment, but one she was willing to take for a moment. Calming her thoughts and putting up walls around her mind to keep out the dark side she stretched herself across the cavern trying to find him he had to be here somewhere.

No good, she just couldn't concentrate with the dark side and exhaustion pounding on her in tandem, but she could sense him. How though, she didn't sense him with her mind she couldn't feel anything she could hardly feel her own presence so how did she…she felt it again. It wasn't her mind or the Force that allowed her to sense him it was her heart. She stood up and moved her hand over her chest, he was alive that's what it was telling her and that's what she believed.

"Maybe the Force isn't the answer to everything" she thought, "I can feel him right now and I know he's alive is it because I…" he thoughts fell silent and she lowered her hand with them, "That's not important what's important right now is I find him and then we get out of here".

Her breath returned to her and she broke into another run determined to find him before anything else did.

"So this will lead us back to the surface?" Leon asked staring at a hole in the ceiling about ten meters above them.

"In a manner of speaking" the Son answered, "This leads into one of the tombs in the valley above, the tomb of Tulak Hord".

"And that is?" Leon asked curiously.

"A Sith Lord from ages past" the Son answered again, "Come now our objective awaits".

The Son leaped up flying through the hole above them and Leon sighed following after him.

"Dark" Leon said nonchalantly as he entered the tomb there was nothing, but darkness all around them the only features of the Son he could see were his deep crimson eyes, "Creepy" he noted irritably before activating his lightsaber and holding it in front of him, "Better".

"So how long ago did this Tulak Hord live?" he asked following the Son once again.

"Very long ago" the Son answered, "During the time of the Sith Empire".

"That was five thousand years ago" Leon said recalling his love for history, "Why the hell would you lead me into a five thousand year old tomb?"

"Because my objective is your salvation from this world".

"Why couldn't it have been at the beach or in one of the younger tombs" he sighed.

"Oh do not worry" the Son told him, "What I seek isn't here this is merely a path that will get us there quicker".

"You still haven't told me where 'there' is or what it is you're after".

"In time" the Son smirked, "Now come there is much to do".

Leon growled, "Whatever let's just get out of here. Five thousand years of wear and rot this place could collapse around us".

Again the Son chuckled at his words, "You amuse me young one it will be a shame to see you leave".

Leon gave an amused grunt, "Get to know me I'm usually much more hilarious".

Seeing the collapsed pillars and statues and ancient debris scattered around the tomb Leon sighed again, "So what was so special about Mr. Hord that he got such a large resting place?"

"This was the tomb of Tulak Hord, known as the greatest lightsaber duelist of the Sith Lords. His skill was considered remarkable even in his time, when many true lightsaber masters lived".

Those words were spoken and echoed by a female voice, an aged one by the sound of it. Leon looked around trying to place the origin of the voice, but he could not see or sense anything.

The Son also looked into the darkness, "That was the voice of someone long past. Her apprentice arrived on Korriban long ago in search of something and as he visited the tombs across the valley she told him about each".

"Echoes from the past then" Leon muttered setting his eyes on a statue of Tulak Hord, "The greatest lightsaber duelist of the Sith Lords huh? To bad he's dead I wouldn't mind seeing what he was capable of maybe even learn something from him…about dueling of course".

The aged female voice echoed again, "If you were to face an ancient Sith Lord in combat, you would learn that we are as children playing with toys compared to the prowess of the old masters".

"Well I guess we'll never know" Leon replied knowing the voice wouldn't answer back, "Dooku is considered the greatest duelist of our time and I took him down…well then again I didn't fight him with just my lightsaber".

"If you are done speaking to yourself and the dead let us continue" the Son said leading him through the tomb standing beyond the coverage of Leon's light.

"How can you see where you're going?" he finally asked him.

"Unlike you I do not need physical sight to see" he answered with yet another chuckle, "I see through the Force".

The two continued their way through the dark temple finding bones and time worn supplies and equipment littering the floor signs of explorers and excavators from times long past. Traveling deeper into the tomb they reached a large room with a sarcophagus in the center and a black spire behind it, the final resting spot of the entombed Sith. The Son nudged Leon forward silently gesturing for him to approach the tomb. Reluctantly and cautiously the young padawan did so his lightsaber raised as he approached the sarcophagus.

"I'm not grave robbing if that's what you're telling me" he called back to the Son.

"Nothing of the sort" the Son told him, "I merely wanted you to experience for yourself the power of a true Sith Lord even in his death. Also there is something you might find interesting sitting atop his shrine".

Leon looked up to the raised platform next to the spire there was a holocron there a pyramid shaped red holocron. He could feel the powerful dark side aura coming from the sarcophagus even this long after his death Tulak Hord commanded a dominating and fear inspiring presence. The holocron however was different, as he touched it he felt no corruption of the dark side from it maybe his senses were so overwhelmed from the prolonged exposure or it was a regular holocron to store basic knowledge. Weighing the options in his mind Leon swallowed and opened the holocron revealing many lost techniques that only Tulak Hord knew techniques he kept stored next to him for anyone who would come in search of his knowledge of lightsaber combat.

It all flooded into Leon's mind, some of it basic knowledge like footwork and balance and the rest advanced techniques and attack patterns the galaxy had not seen for thousands of years it was amazing. Unable to read and take in anymore Leon closed the holocron massaging his eyes with his fingers his brain throbbing after the knowledge suddenly crammed into it.

"That was…I don't even know how to describe it…it was incredible".

"See?" the Son asked him, "Not everything of the Sith was of the dark side sometimes knowledge is just knowledge. Now come we must continue on".

Leon nodded and followed him once again running hypothetical fights through his mind trying to visualize and determine the use of the tactics and moves he had just learned.

Ahsoka cursed herself for being so careless, her leg bleeding from the bite she just suffered. Faced off against another pack of the twisted hounds she was so exhausted she forgot to keep track of her footing and slipped allowing one of the horned hounds to sink its triple rows of teeth into her exposed leg. As it tried to pull and rip at her limb Ahsoka raised her leg and kicked its snout and then its eye forcing it to let go and then cutting its head off scrambling back to her feet to defend herself against the other three.

Her leg tried to buckle and give under her as she stood, but she held her stance refusing to give in. These creatures were more dangerous than she had thought, when they first ambushed her she tried to push them away with the Force, but they only slid a few inches they were so in tune and warped by the dark side that they had developed a resistance to the Force. It didn't matter anyway she was too tired to use the Force to fight instead having to rely on what her master had taught her about fighting. Her specialty really her lightsaber combat of course considering who her master was it wouldn't surprise anyone that her specialty was combat.

The hounds circled her like a pack of wolves cornering their prey advancing as a unit instead of attacking one at a time making sounds at each other, they were communicating. It would have intrigued her if she had witnessed it while they were attacking her to see animals communicating in what sounded like an alien language, but right now her focus was solely on defending herself. The three hounds leaped toward her at once forcing her to pick her target and she dropped down to a crouch extending her lightsabers out to her sides impaling the two attacking from her flanks and her eyes meeting the one in front of her. Bracing herself she allowed the beast to tackle her to the floor, but the second it pinned her and prepared to bite she pulled her weapons inward crossing them through its long barreled chest cutting it in half.

The halves of its body dropped and rolled off her. Switching her weapons off she laid on the ground for a few moments catching her breath and running everything through her head, this place wasn't safe even a member of the Council would have a hard time surviving here. Again her thoughts drifted to Leon who was badly injured before they were separated, she thought about the bite on his arm that had become infected turning a pale purple and causing his skin to crack apart she wondered if that would happen to her as well or if it was just that lizard's bite that caused it. Too many thoughts ran through her head the negative outweighing the positive, Leon being alive was about the only good thought in her head right now.

Sitting up she caught her breath and stood up her leg begging for her to stop moving, but she wouldn't listen to its throbbing cries. Continuing forward she saw a bright light ahead of her and as she approached it she was outside in the valley again not too far from the academy she could see the entrance and the abandoned spaceport. The sun was setting now what felt like an eternal nightmare was only half a day, she fell to her knees gasping at the open air feeling like she was about to break down. After wondering around for who knows how long she had made it back outside she wished her attempts at contacting aid from the Republic had worked even if she didn't get a response and that by the time her and Leon made it back to the surface there would be a ship waiting for them.

Closing her eyes and lowering her head she could feel the despair building in her and then something beeped. Her head snapped up and she looked at her comlink its light was on, but it wasn't what turned on. A second beep it came from her belt. Her hand flew to her supply pack and pulled out the transceiver she took from their shuttle its light was on and flashing.

"Hello" she called into the device, "This is Ahsoka Tano is anyone there?"

"Commander Tano" the voice was Admiral Yularen's a voice she was glad to hear; well she would have been glad to hear anyone's voice at this point.

"Admiral" she gasped, "Finally I thought I wasn't going to get a response from anyone".

"I apologize for the distress Commander, you're signal was picked up by a relay station unfortunately a storm had prevented them from replying to your hails. They've isolated your signal and forwarded it to us we're on our way to your coordinates".

"Ahsoka!" her master's frantic voice called out somewhere from behind the admiral, "Snips where are you? Are you and Leon ok?"

"I'm fine" Ahsoka answered, "But I got separated from Leon and can't find him anywhere".

"Where are you?" Anakin asked, "We received some estimated coordinates, but we can't pinpoint your location".

Ahsoka drew in a deep breath, "We're on Korriban…"

"Korriban?" Anakin muttered, "How did you" Ahsoka cut him off.

"Our hyper drive malfunctioned when we were attacked after the battle over Iziz. It turned itself on and jumped across the galaxy and we crashed here".

"Alright we're on our way now just get somewhere safe and don't move until we get there that world is very dangerous".

"You don't say?" she asked mirroring Leon's sense of sarcasm.

"I'm coming for you Snips so just hang in there".

"I have to find Leon" she said, "He's still lost in the underground caverns somewhere".

"No" Anakin snapped, "Listen you need to find somewhere safe and stay there when we arrive I'll help look for him, but for now you need to worry about your own safety".

"I can't just leave him down there he's wounded and needs help".

"Ahsoka" Anakin snapped, "That's an order now find somewhere and wait we'll be there as fast as we can".

Ahsoka lowered her head, "Understood Master".

"I'm sorry I know you're worried, but I can't risk something happening to you as well I promise we'll find him after we've rescued you. I'll see you soon".

The transmission ended and Ahsoka's hands tightly clenched around the transceiver before she jumped to her feet and reared her arm back hurling the device into the distance. She watched in anger as the transceiver smacked against one of the spires and broke. Again she dropped to her knees calming herself, anger leads to the dark side.

"There is no emotion, there is peace" she muttered reciting the Jedi Code to herself.

Even good news was turning into something bad how could Anakin tell her to think about herself and not go looking for Leon. If it was any other place she would trust him to be able to look after himself, but this world was dangerous she needed to find him.

"So where are we now?" Leon asked following the Son through another stretch of the caverns and into another tomb.

"This is the tomb of Darth Bane" the Son answered.

Leon looked up to him and then sighed irritably, "Is what we're looking for here?"

"Yes" the Son answered and finally Leon seemed to relax a little.

"Finally…so where is it and" he began raising his voice, "Why for the last time can you not get it yourself?"

The Son smiled at him, "I could have reached here at anytime I pleased I just wanted someone to accompany me along the way".

"You could have just said so" Leon grumbled walking toward the sarcophagus of the infamous Sith.

As he approached he felt a great wave of dark side energy far stronger than he had felt from anything other than The Son and then as if caused by a fire a cloud of smoke raised up from the sarcophagus and a face formed in its center a mask covered face with yellow eyes.

"Jedi" a powerful voice boomed, "Have you come to learn the secrets of the dark side?"

Leon held his hand up to the phantom, "Get lost I have neither the time nor the energy to deal with phantoms".

The spectre growled and vanished and Leon now stood in front of the sarcophagus and pulling the heavy stone lid open. Inside along with mummified remains were two items a lightsaber and a crystal almost the size of his fist one that glowed in a deep crimson color.

Reaching for the crystal Leon apologized to the deceased Sith, "Sorry Bane, but I get the feeling this is my ticket off this rock" grabbing the crystal in his hand he stood up, "Well you helped me in a way so…thanks I guess" he turned around and held the crystal up for the Son to see, "Is this it?"

The Son smiled, "Yes the lightsaber is important to bring them both to me".

"Still don't see why you couldn't get these yourself" Leon complained under his breath picking up the lightsaber, "Wow this is heavy" he said holding the weapon.

It was almost twice as heavy as his and he balanced it in his hand, "Were all lightsabers back then this heavy or did he make modifications to this one?"

There was a dark power emanating from the crystal and the lightsaber, a strong dark aura. Suddenly Leon felt like handing these to the Son was a bad idea it wasn't just another dark aura he was sensing no this was pure darkness holding the crystal alone made his skin feel like it was burning.

"I can't give these to him" he thought, "I don't know what he plans on doing with them, but it can't be good".

A growling hiss came from behind him and Leon whipped around on instinct igniting the lightsaber in his hand, its powerful red blade humming in the air. He recognized that hiss it was the same from the lizard that attacked him and Ahsoka there was another one nearby.

"Be careful" the Son told him, "Hssiss are a dangerous opponent even for experienced Jedi or Sith oh and do not let it bite you. They have been so twisted by the dark side that their bites carry a poison of the dark side itself".

Leon froze when he heard that his eyes traveling down to his arm that was bitten the day before. He remembered how it burned and ached and the skin around it began turning a pale purple color and began cracking as if some form of necrosis set in. He was so fixated on the thought of being poisoned that he didn't notice the lizard, the Hssiss reveal itself and charge at him.

The large reptile rammed into him knocking him down and biting into his leg. Leon screamed as he felt its teeth sink into his flesh quickly sitting up he aimed the red lightsaber in his hand and stabbed forward skewering the beast through its skull killing it. The grip around his leg was released and Leon quickly pulled his leg free and stood up wobbling a little before catching his balance.

Furiously he kicked the dead Hssiss in the head before looking at the Son and yelling, "Thanks for the distraction" his rage was seething and he made no attempt and calming himself as he stomped back toward the Son, "I should kill you".

The Son chuckled, "I think we both know how that attempt would end".

Leon held the crystal and lightsaber in his hands, "You don't get these until I find Ahsoka and you show us a way out of here and if you try to attack me I'll destroy them both".

The Son continued to smile confidently, "You have my word".

Turning around the Son showed Leon the way out of the tomb and back into the valley the light of the setting sun casting long shadows across the ground. It felt good to see the sun again and to have open air filter into his lungs of course as good as it all was to be above ground after so long there was still a lot to do. He turned to the Son and mentioned Ahsoka's name to which the Son nodded and pointed across the valley toward the academy.

"As agreed she is safe inside".

"I guess we'll see" Leon said taking off toward the academy entrance his injured leg caving with each step, but he refused to listen to the pain from it.

Reaching the academy entrance Leon looked at the large crack in the wall they used to enter the academy reliving everything that had happened to them so far since they crash on this forsaken world. He entered the academy through the crack in the wall just big enough for him to fit through the first room was as empty as it was when they first found it the next room still littered with the still corpses of the horned hound like creatures that attacked them. Room after room he checked not seeing any sign of Ahsoka anywhere then he felt something pull at him. He followed it keeping his gaze in the direction of whatever was tugging at him and finally his eyes fell on the patch of dark side energy that was cackling from the floor.

It still made him feel sick to be this near such a strong aura of darkness, but this time he was feeling drawn to it. He took a step forward and the tugging became stronger another step and he could now hear voices calling to him a third step and he could feel the raw, unhindered power coming from that single patch of purple mist.

"No" he growled taking a large step away from it, "You will not tempt me" he yelled shaking his head.

Turning his back to the dark aura his arm spasmed and burned as if it was suddenly enveloped in a wreath of fire. The sudden pain was excruciating and crippling causing Leon to immediately fall to his knees his body flailing as he tried cradling his burning arm. He clenched his teeth screaming through the pain as tears formed in his eyes he felt like something was making its way through him then through the blinding pain he remembered what the Son had told him.

"Hssiss are a dangerous opponent even for experienced Jedi or Sith oh and do not let it bite you. They have been so twisted by the dark side that their bites carry a poison of the dark side itself".

A dark side poison is that what's causing this pain. His thoughts of pain suddenly mixed with panic as the blistering pain continued. It wasn't just his arm now it was his leg to the bite that happened not even an hour ago. He fell onto his side and began rolling still clutching at his wounded, burning arm the tears in his eyes blurring his vision and everything started to fade from his view. He wanted this pain to end he wanted it to stop and like a merciful release his body went numb just before he passed out the pain becoming too much for him.

Ahsoka walked over to the cave entrance that led back into the caverns she didn't care what her master told her what his orders were she wasn't going to leave Leon down there. Stepping into the caverns again she began her search knowing the caverns were too large and the chances of finding him were low, but she could not bring herself to leave without doing something. The place was as quiet as it was when she left it various animal corpses scattered across the ground all of them felled by a lightsaber without their territorial growls of warning this place was eerily silent even with the presence of the growing dark side.

Ahsoka stopped and spun on her heel facing back at the entrance to the caverns the dark side was getting stronger, but it wasn't from around here there was something outside with an overpowering presence of darkness. So strong she could feel it from this far away, the valley was over a hundred meters long it was large enough to land several shuttles, but what she was sensing was so strong that it may as well have been right beside her. She stood there frozen by the overwhelming presence not sure what to make of it she had never felt something so powerful not even while inside the academy or the tomb of a Sith Lord this kind of power seemed unworldly and then it was gone. Existing for only a few moments the presence had vanished leaving only an echo of it behind enough to make the young padawan cautious.

Crouching low to the ground Ahsoka returned outside and scanned the valley aside from the spires and excavation pits and tombs she saw nothing. No movement, no figures nothing something like that can't just up and vanish it isn't possible. Standing up she turned back to face the caverns again she was wasting time she had to find Leon stepping back into the caverns she felt something else.

It wasn't the dark presence she sensed a moment before no this was a presence of pain. She could hear screaming no she could feel screaming she could feel suffering and then she heard his voice. His voice his yells roared into her mind and she whipped around now facing the abandoned academy.

"Leon" she gasped breaking into a sprint immediately falling over forgetting about her injured leg.

Hurrying to her feet she slowly began running and then sprinting toward the academy entrance her leg collapsing with each step, but she kept her balance as she increased her pace. She entered the academy and called out his name receiving no answer she couldn't sense him anymore the pain she sensed was gone. It didn't take long to find him searching the rooms she found him lying on the floor near the patch of dark side energy laying on his side his eyes half open as they stared absentmindedly at the ground.

Falling to her knees next to him she turned him onto his back and called his name, he didn't move. Calling his name again she placed her fingers against his throat he pulse was almost nonexistent, fear finally made its way into her mind as she grabbed hold of his shoulders and shook him desperately calling to him begging him to wake up. Lifting him up she looked into his half open eyes an empty stare meeting her and then she saw it his eyes were changing color. His eye color had changed before from what his doctor had told him the physical trauma from the bomb he survived altered the pigmentation in his eyes changing their color to an icy blue, but now they seemed to be turning yellow and his skin was turning grey and what looked like cracks were appearing all over his wounded arm. The worst part of it all was as she held him in her arms she could sense the dark side in him it was growing.

Was it the wound on his arm she wondered, was it somehow infected by the dark side or was it because he passed out so close to a nexus of dark power. Either way it wasn't good she had to get him away from it and outside. She tried to lift him up as much as she could, but with him unconscious he was dead weight and her injured leg only made it harder.

Falling to her knees she gently set him back down and shook him again, "Come on wake up" she pleaded still not getting a response, "Leon please…you can't die not like this…please".

She noticed something glowing from his supply pouch a dark red light and next to it she saw a third lightsaber. She felt a strong pull of darkness from both the lightsaber and the light in his pouch reaching for it she retrieved the crimson crystal and examined it.

"This crystal is filled with the dark side" she looked down to Leon, "Why do you have this?"

She gasped when his arm suddenly flew out to the side and he jumped using his arm as a stand as he flipped over to face the ground and vomited a mixture of blood and sick pooling onto the floor.

"Leon" she gasped grabbing his shoulder and then she was slammed into the wall.

Her touch startled him and in a primal sense of self preservation he turned and extended his hand a wave of Force power throwing her against the wall. Falling to her knees after the impact she looked up and tried to call out his name, but she was pinned against the wall before she could form the words in her mouth. His hand was around her throat a vice like grip that was already forbidding the air entry into her lungs.

"Leon" she choked looking into his fury filled eyes, "Leon it's me".

She watched unable to speak any further as his hand closed even tighter around her throat and he raised his lightsaber placing it against her stomach, he was going to kill her.

"Leon" she struggled to say as the lack of oxygen and pain forced tears from her eyes, "It's me…"

His hateful glare disappeared his eyes shooting open with horrific realization and his hand fell from around her throat.

"Ahsoka" he cried as she fell forward into his arms, "Ahsoka" he cried again as she coughed and gasped refilling her lungs, "I'm sorry" he gasped through a stream of tears, "I'm sorry I wasn't I didn't I" he was panic-stricken terrified at what he had done to her what he was about to do.

"I'm sorry" he gasped again, "I didn't…"

Ahsoka looked up to him still fighting to regain her breath, "I'm ok" she managed to say, "I'm alright".

"I'm sorry…I'm so sorry I"

She silenced him with a hand against his shoulder he was still holding her a position that normally she would be the one panicking, but this time she was happy. She had found him and they would soon be rescued all they had to do was wait for Anakin to show up. There was an old saying that no plan survives contact with the enemy and considering her experience she should have known better exhausted, wounded and no idea if the valley outside would remain secured she led him outside just ready to finally be free from this place.

Helping the half conscious Leon outside and away from the academy and to the excavation site she set him down leaning him against one of the many spires and looked up to the sky hoping to see a ship somewhere. Leon's breathing was shallow and slow his pulse weak, just moments ago he was frantic, but now what little energy he had left in him was sapped.

"Stay awake" she told him sitting next to him, "I finally got a message through Anakin is on his way we just have to hold out a little more".

She watched his eyes open wide as he stared out ahead of them and she could feel what it was that forced the sudden reaction from him the overwhelming dark side presence had returned. Slowly turning her head she saw it, him a being she saw die and had nightmares of The Son.

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