If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them - Bruce Lee.
A cry and a roar mixed becoming a single sound building up in his throat until he could no longer contain them. He threw his head back and the sound of anguish, the sound of despair, the sound of loss escaped fleeing into the room around him. He stopped screaming for a moment just long enough for her hand to slowly reach up and touch his face one last time and she smiled at him expressing her love for the final time before her hand fell to the floor her last remaining breath taken and exhaled with her closing eyes.
Across from him stood the one responsible, a Zabrak with red skin and black markings, his yellow eyes showed no emotion not even anger or hate almost as if his soul was taken from him. Only his head was uncovered, the rest of his body was encased in some kind of armor an armor that withstood a strike from a lightsaber. He was powerful, he was a murderer and he was filled with the dark side and the knowledge to use it.
"That was a mistake" Leon's broken voice said to him as he stood up.
"Why?" the Zabrak said activating his lightsaber, a double bladed crimson blade, "Because I've taken you're love from you?"
"Exactly" Leon growled reaching down and grabbing her lightsaber, "Now there's nothing holding me back".
The Resolute and three other star destroyers dropped from hyper space, an emergency alarm sounding throughout each ship as they appeared over the target world, Taspir III. The klaxon roared rousing every single crew member to their duties, boots stampeded in every direction across the ship from crewmen and soldiers alike. This was a rescue mission, a Jedi was being held captive.
Ahsoka remained in her room trying to meditate and clear her thoughts finding herself unable to do so, not because of the blaring alarm, but because of her own fear and concern.
"We have to go save him" Anakin said.
She was there during the briefing, Thalia revealed she had interrogated their prisoner to discover Leon's location and now they needed to rescue him.
"Taspir III is a Separatist controlled world" Master Windu reminded them, "There is no way we can accomplish this on our own we'll need reinforcements".
"We have to" Thalia told him, "I can hear him screaming, he's in pain and he won't last much longer we have to go now or he'll die".
"I know you're upset Thalia" the stoic Jedi Master said turning his eyes to her, "But Leon is strong he'll manage to pull through".
"There's no time" Thalia said again more urgently, "He's weakening. I can feel it maybe you don't care what happens to him, but I do".
"Be mindful of your feelings Thalia" Master Windu began to say before Thalia cut him off.
"I am not a Jedi" she almost yelled, "I don't follow the same code as you do. Yes I love him and even if I didn't he's saved my life more than once I owe him and so do all of you".
There was silence for a moment being broken by Luminara, "She's right. I owe Leon my life, he saved me from Dooku".
"And he destroyed the second goliath" Anakin reminded them, "In a time like this were the Jedi are too few to begin with can we really afford to lose someone as skilled as he is?"
"We're not going to lose him" Windu said, "But we're going to need reinforcements I have faith that he'll hold out until then".
Thalia drew her lightsaber leaving it switched off and slammed the hilt on the table between them, "And what if he doesn't?" she snapped, "If he dies before we get there? Will you take the blame? Will you be ok having his blood on your hands? I've seen your past Master Windu are you really ok having another one of your former student's blood on your hands?"
The dark skinned Jedi Master finally showed an expression at those words, surprise. She knew of his past, that one of his students was in a permanent comatose state because of him.
Thalia leaned against the table and her eyes moved over all of them, "After all he's done for you, for the Republic and the galaxy after all he's sacrificed your entire order owes him. And if you won't help him then give me a shuttle and I'll do it myself".
Anakin looked over to Admiral Yularen, "Admiral set a course for Taspir III at once all ships able to do so are to follow us".
"Skywalker" Windu snapped.
"Sorry Master" Anakin began, "But Thalia is right. Leon isn't just another Jedi, he's a friend and we owe him. He's done too much for us to just leave him there even if it's just for a minute longer. I'm going to help him".
"As will I" Obi-Wan said, "He's still young and he's already done almost as much for this war than the rest of us".
Luminara agreed as well, "I was the one that brought him to the Order. I will not stand by and take the risk of him dying when there is something I can do to help".
Ahsoka curled her knees up to her chest; she sat alone in her quarters with no light, just sitting alone in the shadows with her own thoughts. She wrapped her arms around her legs, they were going to save him, they had to. Thalia wasn't the only one who could hear him, she could as well. She heard him screaming, suffering and the times she heard nothing at all made her feel like she was going to die herself. She tried to meditate to follow his screams to locate him and tell him they were on their way, but his screams stopped and so did the pain she felt, her heart stopped with the screams and her mind went cold each pause in the screams was longer than the last and when they started again they were weaker until they weren't even screams anymore, but gasps and gargles and eventually those stopped as well.
"This is why we're supposed to detach ourselves" her mind told her, "If we fall in love this is what it leads to".
She closed her eyes and rested her forehead against her knees hugging her legs tighter. It wasn't her intention. It was never her plan to fall in love with him it just happened. After all his jokes, his teasing after all that he was still a charming guy when he wanted to be she had no problem becoming friends with him, but it was never her intention to become more than that. She had learned so much about him spent so much time with him it was hard to not feel attached to him after everything they had been through and done together, she didn't even notice until it was too late. She had come to care for him and it was a feeling she struggled to understand and contain until finally she gave in, she felt better around him even after a tiring day being next to him gave her energy to smile or be happy and she knew he felt the same.
He was important as an ally, a friend and something far more, he was too important to let go of and as much as she didn't want to admit it, if it came down to it she would have gone with Thalia alone to save him.
Admiral Yularen's voice echoed just barely over the roaring klaxon throughout the ship telling all troopers and crewman to prepare for battle this was going to be a full on assault against a Separatist facility in addition to the rescue mission. Gathering herself Ahsoka turned and slid off her cot her fists clenching and she took in a breath steeling herself before opening her eyes it was time. She strode out of her quarters feeling not renewed, but determined more so than she could remember they were going to succeed failure wasn't even a thought he would be saved even if she had to do it alone.
Transport shuttles and fighters poured from the Republic star destroyers in swarms all converging on the same target area, a massive manufacturing plant near a ridge of mountains and surrounded by a massive lake of molten lava. Half the facility was suspended above a chasm of lava with the other half being built into the mountain side. Leon was inside that facility somewhere and they would find him eventually. The fighter craft made a swift attack run destroying the few AA defenses around the facility before dispersing over the area forming a net of coverage as the facility's alarms went off. The first transport shuttle touched down and Ahsoka and Thalia were the first to jump off followed by a squad of troopers led by the remaining members of Titan squadron.
"We lost Edge and Coins we're not losing the kid to" Boulder said already warming up his favorite rotary cannon.
"Let's go" Thalia said taking point and running forward toward the nearest door into the facility.
She wasn't going to wait for anyone else to join them, she wasn't going to waste the time for a plan of attack or infiltration and she definitely wasn't going to give Master Windu another chance to debate or examine or feel out the situation she was going in and she was going to find the one she loved the one she wanted to give up everything for. Ahsoka followed trying to convince her to at least wait for them so they wouldn't become separated, but the former Jedi wouldn't slow down she continued running slowly getting farther and farther ahead of them.
Thalia slid to a stop running into a squad of battle droids ready to defend the facility, but they never had a chance to raise their weapons against her. A single violent force push sent them crashing into the wall with enough pressure to break them apart. She could sense him, he wasn't close, but she could sense him he was alive weak and exhausted, but he was still alive. Her arms pumped at her sides for more speed and through the Force her legs became lighter each step becoming faster and carrying her a longer distance. She was homing in on his location getting closer with each step, she would find him.
She turned a corner and her hand darted down to her waist and a flash of green rose with her hand slicing across the air cutting down another patrol of droids. Her lightsaber hummed as she stood over the droids she just cut down outside a thick plated door he was here, on the other side of this door. Taking her lightsaber she reared back and pointed the blade at the door and lunged forward impaling her weapon into the door's plating and began cutting. The thick material made it difficult, but she wasn't going to slow down she wasn't going to stop she focused the Force and pushed against the door as she cut her way through each pulse of the omnipotent power weakening the door and finally she was through.
She held her weapon at the ready the room was large, circular with only a single vertical table in the center and strapped to it, scarred, bruised and burned was Leon.
She ran over to him he was alive, but barely breathing so many injuries covering his body. When she grabbed his shoulders he stirred a bit and slowly opened his eyes unable to lift his head and barely having the strength to moan.
"Leon" she gasped, "Leon it's me".
"Thalia" he barely whispered.
"I'm here" she said tears already coming to her eyes as she tried to free him from his restraints, but the second she tried to move him a surge of electricity shocked both of them.
She jumped back on reflex and watched in horror, he was too weak to scream to weak to even react even as every muscle in his body cramped at the same time his strength was gone and aside from the spasming muscles he showed no reaction at all.
The electric shocks stopped after a few seconds and the small hairs on his arms and back of his neck were singed a little how long had he suffered from this…She walked around to the back of the table and saw a square shaped hole in the back and she gasped covering her mouth as she stepped back. She could see what was supposed to be his back through that one hole in the table, his skin burned and melted away by something. With each injury and torture mark she saw she felt herself dying.
She ran back around to the front and looked at him his eyes were just barely open not even enough for him to properly see her, "Leon, I'm so sorry" she cried, "I'm sorry I should have stayed I could have saved you".
"Well this is a surprise" a cold voice echoed in the room and Thalia spun around her lightsaber flaring to life in her hands.
"I was not expecting to see you here little Thalia".
The voice was Dooku's, but she couldn't see him anywhere, he must have been using the speakers in the room.
"You'll pay for this" she said loudly.
A hologram appeared at the doorway and the Sith Lord grinned at her, "Oh I'm sure. Even from here I can feel your anger, your rage, your hate".
"And I'm going to use every bit of it to kill you" she said to him switching off her lightsaber and turning back to Leon.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you" the Sith Lord grinned even wider, "If he so much as twitches the device will activate shocking him again".
Thalia turned back to him as he continued, "The controls are located in the observation room above you. Guarded by an elite group if you think you can reach them then by all means try. Even should you succeed do you really think you can carry him out of her by yourself? In his state he is nothing more than dead weight that would only slow you down. Trying to protect him will only lead to your own death".
"I'm going to save him" she snapped, "I'm going to get him out of here, I'm going to protect him and I'm going to kill you".
"No" Dooku replied calmly, "I think not".
Something appeared behind the hologram a tall figure clad in some kind of armor with only his head visible. It walked through the hologram of Dooku and stared down at Thalia with empty soulless eyes. A tall well built male alien whose species she didn't know his skin was blood red with curved black marking and small horns protruding from the top of his skull, his soulless yellow eyes just stared at her and within seconds she could feel the animalistic rage burning within him.
Activating her lightsaber she stood in front of Leon ready to defend him and she watched as the figure in the doorway held up what looked like a really long lightsaber hilt and a crimson beam extended from both sides. A dual bladed lightsaber, she had heard of them during her brief time with the Jedi, but never seen one up close. The figure glared at her no emotion in his eyes, but the unmistakable feeling of anger, rage and hatred within it and then it leapt at her.
The figure covered the distance between them in a single leap and its red blade crashed down on top of green as she moved to defend. Her stance was already broken and she dropped to one knee, whoever this guy was she had no hope of matching him in terms of physical strength. She angled her blade letting his slide down it and used the Force to push him throwing him back into the wall he once stood near. Thalia stood up and held her lightsaber ready waiting for the enemy to get back up before she attacked again. She summoned the Force around him spinning it like a small whirlwind capturing him inside and throwing him to the side after spinning him around.
The warrior stood up clearly feeling no pain as it just turned back to her and reached out his had and grabbed her by the throat. Thalia gasped and struggled to breathe as she was lifted of the floor.
Ahsoka had lost track of Thalia, but managed to meet up with the other Jedi somewhere in the facility they were surrounded by a horde of droids firing at them. Five Jedi and almost two dozen clones including Captain Rex, Commander Cody and Titan squadron they all fell into a defensive formation with no cover except for their lightsabers. They relied on their training of the Shien sub variant of Form V the collective barrier of blades technique creating a nearly perfect net around them deflecting the blaster bolts back to the droids that fired them with the clones tried to stay behind the Jedi and fire back.
The encounter only lasted a few minutes before the last droid fell, but before any of them could catch their breath they heard the chilling voice of the Separatist leader speak to them.
A hologram of Count Dooku appeared before them a tall one probably meant to be imposing. The hologram grinned at them as a nearby large computer monitor came to life showing the inside of the torture chamber that contained Thalia and a severely weakened Leon.
"I am please to see that so many of you could make it" the Sith Lord taunted, "No doubt you've come to save young Leon, but as you can see" he gestured toward the monitor and they all saw him being shocked by whatever device he was strapped to and Thalia unable to help him could only watch.
In that moment Ahsoka didn't hear anything, no screams and she felt no pain, Leon was still alive she could see that, but he had no strength left not even enough to feel the pain being inflicted on him.
"I will kill them" Dooku said, "You are welcome to try and save them if you think you can, but…" every door to the room opened and another much larger horde of droids stormed in, "You seem to be preoccupied".
The hologram of Dooku vanished as the droids began firing again forcing their enemy into another defensive circle. They would have to focus on the enemy around them, but to make it harder they could now hear the audio to go along with the monitor showing Thalia and Leon, they could hear Thalia gasping from something. Another enemy was fighting her now and it was holding her by the throat through the Force.
Thalia gasped with each strike and parry she made trying to remain defensive until her opponent showed an opening, he was physically stronger than she was and had a firm command over the dark side of the Force, but he showed no sign of tactics or intelligence he just attacked like a feral animal. She managed to push him across the room again and turned toward Leon quickly apologizing as she raised her lightsaber and swung down cutting at the device that held him in an attempt to free him.
As she swung down however something slammed into her back, something hot, burning and it knocked her forward into Leon and with his movement the device activated again shocking them both.
She formed a bubble around them with the Force lining each of their bodies with a bubble that protected them as the device tried shocking them and slowly she snaked her arms around his neck briefly resting her chin against his shoulder and leaning her head against his.
"I'm sorry" she whispered to him, "You fought alone for my sake, you were captured because of me. But it's my turn to protect you so just relax and let me take care of you".
She channeled the Force within her and moved it to him through their contact she channeled her own Force energy into him healing his injuries and reviving him. She could hear the enemy outside the bubble growling quietly as it watched them not attacking, but observing with a predatory obsession. Slowly Leon's eyes opened as most of his scars began healing and for the first time he fully recognized her.
"Thalia?" he gasped still weak, but alert.
She hugged him tighter, "I'm sorry" she said again, "I wanted to, but I couldn't get here any faster".
"How did you find me?" he muttered his strength still sapped.
Thalia moved pulling her head away from his shoulder and smiling at him, tears in her eyes, "I did what I had to".
"Enough" a voice yelled from behind them.
Thalia turned the force bubble around them fading as she activated her lightsaber, standing next to the warrior that attacked her was a Separatist officer the one that had tortured Leon so much since he had been here.
"Surrender now" he demanded to Thalia, "Hand over your weapon and give up".
"Not happening" Thalia said setting her stance.
The terrifying warrior she had fought activated his own lightsaber again and prepared to attack, but the officer stopped him.
"No Maul" he said, "Let's see if this one will see reason unlike her friend".
The officer stepped to the side and a platoon of twenty battle droids marched in along with a pair of magna guards and a trio of spectre droids all of them except the magna guards aligned themselves in a formation with the three spectres at the front and the magna guards in front of them. The two magna guards advanced on Thalia until they were standing right in front of her their electro staffs already switched on. One held out its hand demanding her lightsaber.
"As you can see" the officer began, "You have no hope of escaping or even surviving the smart move is to surrender".
"We'll see about that" she said swiftly turning to the side swinging her lightsaber up cutting the first magna guard down the middle as he free hand shot out pushing the other away with the Force.
"Maul restrain her" the officer ordered and the warrior next to him grabbed Thalia with the Force restraining her arms and legs lifting her off the floor again.
"Let her go" Leon yelled finally finding some strength within himself.
"You're in no position to give orders" the officer told him before raising his hand, "Spectres".
The three spectre droids raised their weapons aiming at Thalia as she floated in front of Leon.
"Now young lady" the officer began again, "Last chance, drop your weapon and surrender".
Thalia closed her eyes focusing the Force within her again, channeling it and molding it to her will and with a single breath she directed it at her enemies and unleashed it. A wave of raw force power was thrown at the enemy lines crashing down on them like a tsunami sending them all back including the warrior that restrained her and as she dropped she turned to Leon to free him. She held her lightsaber up and prepared to cut him free, but a blaster shot echoed through the room and Thalia froze.
Leon's eyes went wide as Thalia's lightsaber switched off and fell from her hands and she dropped to her knees in front of him before falling to the side. He stared at her a smoking scorch mark on her back from where she was shot, he tried to call her name, but was unable to speak he felt like he was drowning, suffocating as he looked down at her motionless body and then he screamed.
"Damn these bastards are persistent" Boulder said after the last droid was destroyed.
"We have to keep moving" Anakin said, "Let's go".
They ran for the nearest door in a group, but before they could reach it a force field appeared around the door sealing it from their reach.
"What the hell?" Baron gasped barely able to withdraw his hand before the ray shield appeared, "Try another door hurry" he yelled turning around.
It was too late every single door leading out of the room was closed off a ray shield covering each of them sealing them inside.
"We're locked in" Captain Rex said confirming that each door was locked away, "What should we do?"
"Look for another way out" Anakin told them before hearing voices from the monitor that was still running.
As one they all looked at the large screen and saw Thalia being restrained by a tall Zabrak male in heavy armor a platoon of droids between him and Thalia.
"That Zabrak" Anakin said looking closer, "Is that?"
"Darth Maul" Obi-Wan finished, "He's returned again".
"I thought he disappeared after the attack on Mandalore" Anakin said, "What's he doing here?"
"It's obvious he's allied himself with Dooku" Master Windu said, "All the more reason for us to find them".
A blaster shot echoed from the monitor and they saw Thalia fall, first to her knees then to the floor Leon still strapped to whatever torture device held him and they all fell silent as they watched Leon scream.
Leon fell silent again and looked down at Thalia he was trembling this wasn't really happening it couldn't be, no. Not her to, not after everything he had done after everything he had already lost after all the training he went through to become stronger he couldn't lose her.
His body trembled and he felt it, the fear inside him slowly being pushed aside being consumed by a burning storm building up within him and then he heard the officer that tortured him speak.
"Typical Jedi, always thinking they are so superior".
Leon's eyes clenched shut he felt something snap in his head and it burned, but it wasn't pain. His breathing started low almost a growl and then it sped up becoming a huff then heavy panting before it was stopped behind his clenched teeth demanding to be set free.
"I'm going" he growled as his muscles tensed and tightened, "I'm going to kill…all of you" he screamed and began struggling against the machine that held him setting off the torture device.
The electricity surged through him magnifying his screams of rage along with pain as he struggled even more his anger building as he struggled more and more. His jaw locked with his clenched teeth as he continued to scream his shoulders threatened to pop out of their sockets as he pulled his restrained arms toward him his knees echoing the same motion as he continued to struggle and his screams grew louder echoing through the entire room.
They could feel it, the trapped Jedi forced to watch him fend for himself, they could feel his rage building reaching its peak and continuing to grow to a new height each second. He was giving in he was losing himself to his anger and hatred if they didn't find a way to get to him now they would surely lose him.
"Leon" Ahsoka's mind cried as she watched helplessly trapped in this room and unable to peel her eyes away from the screen before her.
Leon's screams continued to echo and part of the device he was strapped to shot off leaving behind a small cloud of dark smoke, the more he struggled the more power the device put out he was causing it to overload.
The separatist officer took a step back and raised his comlink, "Increase power to the torture chamber now".
"But sir" another voice replied, "If we increase it anymore it could overheat causing an entire system shut down".
"Do it" the officer yelled, "Maximum power now".
There was no reply, but the machine that held Leon glowed as its power increased and the electricity caused a visible storm to arc around its victim. Leon's screams grew even louder to the point the sheer power of his screams were clawing at the inside of his throat. His lungs burned begging for a break begging for it to stop so they could refill themselves with air, but his screams continued and another part of the machine was fried.
"This isn't good" Obi-Wan said feeling the pure, burning rage even from where they were standing.
Baron turned to Boulder and Chip, "Blast a way through the walls if you have to" he ordered, "Get us out of here now".
The members of Titan squad ran over to the nearest wall and began planting whatever charges they had. They didn't understand a thing about the Force, but they understood the urgency of the situation if they didn't get to Leon now they would all lose him.
The Jedi and other clones joined in all going to a different wall trying to cut of blast their way out, all except for Ahsoka. She could only stand there and watch as Leon gave into his rage, a rage that was about to explode and would surely take him with it. She felt like she was suffocating as she watched her throat closed unable to breath and her heart stopped she wanted to help him, to save him from himself…She didn't realize it, but as she stood there her eyes were flooding with tears as she watched him scream losing himself more and more to the dark side.
Leon's screams continued to grow louder and the muscles in his body were now threatening to tear themselves apart if he struggled anymore. He locked his shoulder and lowered his head slamming his eyes shut as he screamed even louder. His mind went blank and everything was shrouded by darkness he saw Thalia standing before him the loving smile she always wore around him she was flashing by him flying off to the side as his own screams echoed shadow encased mind. He saw Edge next, the clone who had once been his best friend he saluted the screaming Jedi as he flashed by just like Thalia had and then he saw Coins, the pilot who was once a member of his team and the first friend he lost, the clone gave him a smirk and a thumbs up before vanishing from view as well.
He could still hear his own screams they were deafening him now and his throat was too sore to feel, but still he screamed and the darkness in his mind began to light up. Dozens, no hundreds, thousands of dots of lights appeared in the shadows that surrounded him and he could see everyone. Everyone he had come to know in his life, Edge, Baron, Senator Amidala, Anakin, Master Windu and Master Yoda, everyone he had met at the Jedi Order and even Chancellor Palpatine. Everyone he had ever met flashed before his eyes along with every world he had visited every battle he had fought they all flashed through his mind along with his screams and then he saw himself. He was still a child the first time he awakened to Force sensitivity back on Dantooine he saw himself using the force to protect his parents from bandits and then he saw himself grow younger into an infant cradled in his mother's arms.
His screams his voice alone was now threatening to tear him apart he could feel it, there was a power building in him unlike anything he had ever felt and it was calling out to him. He reached for it feeling warmth as he reached out his mind's arm it was offering him a safe haven and true power, he struggled and reached for it more and more as he continued to scream and then the image of his infant self shattered like glass and was replaced by an image of Ahsoka, she was what he was reaching for. He could see her outstretched arm calling out to him and he reached for it.
His screams grew louder as he got closer to her, but he could hear her voice he could feel the warmth coming from her as he got closer. He screamed even louder as their hands finally met and a light exploded out from them banishing the darkness around him and he felt his voice reaching its limit as he pulled Ahsoka toward him and wrapped his arms around her.
His eyes flew open and his screams reached their peak and with a single pull he jerked his arms and legs free of their restraints. Curling his arms and legs inward he hunched over and with one last scream threw his head back sending out an explosive wave of force power destroying the device he was once strapped to and knocking over the platoon of droids in front of him sending the Separatist officer and the Zabrak that attacked Thalia into the wall.
He stood there glaring at the enemy in front of him exhausted and far past the limit of any normal person he reached out with his arm and lifted the droids all of them at once and began closing his hand into a fist.
They felt the explosion, the sheer amount of force power Leon expelled and it drew their attention back to the monitor. He was standing there free of his restraints and his anger had reached its peak, but something felt strange. They could feel his anger, his rage and hatred they could feel it all, but it was…calm and controlled like the eye of a hurricane an almost serene sense could be felt as they watched him raise one arm capturing every droid around him with the Force and then with a single motion of his closed hand crushed all of them.
"Impossible" the officer gasped shaking his head before looking back to the Zabrak, "What are you waiting for get him" he yelled pushing the Zabrak in front of him before he ran away.
The Zabrak watched the free Jedi kneel down and lift the body of the girl into his arms, her hand moved and found its way up to his cheek and ran across it. She smiled at him and whispered something to him. Her hand fell to the floor and her eyes closed her last breath escaping as he gently set her down and returned his eyes to the Zabrak who was grinning.
"That was a mistake" he growled.
"Why?" he asked showing the first bit of reaction since he appeared, "Because I've taken your love from you?"
"Exactly" Leon said grabbing Thalia's lightsaber, "Now there's nothing holding me back".
The Zabrak leapt forward flying toward Leon and bringing his crimson blade down on top of him, but he froze in mid air. Leon hadn't moved didn't even flinch he just stood there and the Zabrak hovered over him his lightsaber mere inches from splitting his skull.
"What?" the Zabrak growled struggling against whatever was holding him.
Leon felt a power coming from within himself and Thalia's lightsaber a pure, untainted power that was channeling into him adding to and restoring his strength. He grabbed his enemy with the Force with his mind not bothering to move as he held him and threw him to the side slamming him into the wall. He looked down at the lightsaber in his hand feeling the power coming from it.
"It's called a Solari crystal" Thalia whispered in his ear as he held her, "Only someone who truly believes and follows the light can use it. You can be angry, but don't let it control you. You're stronger than that".
His hand tightened around the lightsaber hilt and he switched it on the green blade coming to life in his hand he could feel the power flowing into him and now, nothing was going to stand in his way.
The Zabrak had jumped at him again and this time Leon defended raising the lightsaber at an angle allowing the enemy's red blade to clash and slide down. The Zabrak turned trying to strike Leon with the other side of his double blade, but the renewed Jedi stepped to the side avoiding the strike, he felt a cleansing presence fill his mind he could see everything seconds before it happened. He stepped to the side avoiding a backward swing and then reversed his step to return to his original position and stance avoiding the front end of his opponent's blade.
The Zabrak's lightsaber slid past him and Leon sprang up his fist clenched and aimed right at his enemy's chin. Focusing the Force into his fist Leon augmented the power to his uppercut causing his enemy's head to snap back and launch him into the air. Using the Force he grabbed his opponent while he was falling and threw him into the wall clutching his hand around him he pulled back and slammed him into the wall again.
The Zabrak slid to the floor and dropped to his hands and knees catching his breath before standing up and grinning, "So much power…I will make it mine".
His soulless yellow eyes set on Leon as he grinned there was no emotion to his gaze, but a twisted joy in his voice, something had to have happened to this man at one point to make him like this.
"Maul" Dooku's voice said interrupting them, "You lack focus. Stop toying with the boy and kill him".
"I'd start running if I were you Dooku" Leon said to the hologram that appeared, "Once I'm finished with this one I'm coming for you".
"I think you overestimate your chances" Dooku said to him, "Maul here was once a Sith Lord of great power, but now he is a mere puppet to my control. He has killed many Jedi in the past before he was defeated by Obi-Wan Kenobi back when he was still a padawan, but Maul has only become stronger since his downfall. He will prove to be more than a match for you".
"Guess that makes him stronger than you" Leon retorted, "Considering I beat you and Grievous by myself if this Zabrak can defeat me then he could easily over power you".
The Zabrak seemed confused for a moment and looked at the hologram of Dooku which glared back at him, "Do not lose focus Maul. You will obey me and you will kill this boy".
Maul raised his lightsaber and swung at the hologram of Dooku harmlessly cutting through it and Dooku's glare worsened.
"You dare to turn on me?" he asked, "So be it you will perish along with the Jedi".
"I am stronger than any Jedi" Maul replied, "If this child claims to be able to best you then you are not fit to be a Sith Lord. I was the first chosen by our master I was meant to be the ruler until he replaced me with you".
"So you have a master after all" Leon said glaring at Dooku, "Looks like you're not the real leader behind this after all".
Dooku was silent as he looked at Leon, a few seconds passed before the facility shook, "You won't live to find out" he said before his hologram vanished.
"I will kill this child" Maul yelled, "Then I will find and kill you".
The Zabrak leapt at Leon again and began swinging like a feral beast, but there was coordination to his attacks a desperate primal fury that Leon was forced to defend against. Step after step Leon had to back away defending against the sudden onslaught, ducking to the side Leon barely avoided being impaled before the Zabrak jumped over him and kicked him in the back sending him to the floor. Landing on his side Leon rolled away as the crimson blade stabbed into the floor where he just was. Standing up Leon stepped forward bringing his lightsaber down at an overhead angle watching Maul block his strike before turning his double bladed saber around in his hands simultaneously pushing away Leon's attack and striking back with the other end.
Leon was forced to back away, this double bladed saber was a problem and it was clear his enemy knew how to use it very well. He eyes his opponent and his weapon his mind swimming through everything he had ever learned about weapons and combat, but before he came up with an idea the Zabrak attacked him again.
Maul rushed forward using a thrust as a feign before turning his weapon around to catch Leon off guard with an overhead swing, but the young Jedi jumped to the side and swung his leg around catching the former Sith in the back of the knee causing him to buckle. This was his chance, Leon brought his lightsaber down aimed at the Zabrak's back and his blade just glanced off and the weapon briefly shorted out.
"What?" Leon gasped backing away as Maul sprung up and laughed.
"Surprised child?" he chuckled hysterically, "It's called cortosis and it's a counter to lightsabers. You'll never be able to kill me".
Leon switched off the lightsaber and clipped it to his belt, "Challenge accepted" he said jumping forward.
Maul swung his lightsaber and Leon ducked under it slamming his open palm against Mauls' side sending a pulse of force power along with his strike and the Zabrak felt one of his ribs break as he stumbled back.
"What?" he gasped, "What did you do?"
"That's strike one" Leon told him, "Now I have a challenge for you, try to survive past strike three".
"Do not mock me child" Maul roared breaking into an immediate charge and swinging his lightsaber.
Leon ducked to the side and sprang up avoiding the lightsaber blade and grabbing Thalia's lightsaber from his belt he lunged upward cutting the double bladed saber's hilt in half before using the Force to push his enemy back.
"Fool" Maul growled throwing one end of the blade to the floor, "You've only allowed me to attack you faster".
Maul rushed forward again and Leon waited stepping to the side at last second flipping the lightsaber around in his hand holding it reverse as he turned to block and avoid Maul's follow up attack. Maul swung to the side after his first attack, but Leon blocked it as he pivoted on his heel spinning around slapping his open palm against Maul's face.
"Strike two" Leon said as Maul stumbled back, the force tap attack like a direct punch to each eye blinding him.
Maul started swinging his lightsaber wilding a blind beast as he stumbled around. Leon stepped forward swinging his lightsaber up to catch Maul's flailing blade and he twisted wrenching the blade from its wielder's grasp. Feeling his weapon fly from his hand Maul raised his hand and blindly used the force to push in every direction in front of him. Slowly he removed the hand covering his face and looked around his vision was blurred and distorted, but he could still make out his target.
"I don't need a lightsaber to kill you" he yelled using the Force to push Leon only to see the Jedi jump upward.
Maul turned around expecting his opponent to land behind him, but he never did Leon jumped straight up and came back down catching the near blinded former Sith off guard. Holding out his hand Leon grabbed Maul with the Force and lifted him up as the facility shook again. Holding Thalia's lightsaber tightly in his hand Leon channeled the force from the crystal within the weapon into his body and willed it to his hand letting it build like a lake behind a reservoir. Maul yelled and swore, demanding that Leon release him and maybe he would grant him a swift death, but his threats were silenced by a sudden yank pulling him backwards.
"Come here" Leon yelled pulling with the Force.
Maul turned as he was pulled toward Leon and watched as Leon's fist flew outward to meet him. Leon's fist slammed into Maul's chest and the reservoir of Force energy collapsed allowing the built up force energy in his hand to explode outward at the moment of impact. Maul was sent flying back by the explosive force of the attack, his back slammed into the wall and he felt a sharp, crushing pain in his chest. His ribcage was shattered as was his armor, but there was another pain one deeper underneath his ribs and as he tried to take in a breath he felt something burst in his chest.
In the few seconds he had left he realized what happened. His heart had burst in his chest, the impact…the explosion of force power at the moment of impact…he dropped to the floor his life fading just as he heard Leon's final words to him.
"Strike three…You're out".
Maul's body collapsed to the floor and the facility shook again this time followed by an alarm. He didn't know what was going on, but he wasn't going to wait to find out he clipped Thalia's lightsaber back to his belt and ran over to Thalia's body scooping her into his arms, he wasn't going to leave her here no, she deserved a proper burial.
"I'm sorry" he said as he held her and then felt her move in his arms.
"Thalia!" he gasped seeing her eyes open and she looked up to him.
"Sorry" she said, "I…got careless".
"No its ok" he said managing a smile, "Can you stand?"
Thalia nodded and he set her down holding her by the shoulder until she gained her balance.
"What happened?" she asked.
"Doesn't matter" he told her just as the facility shook again, "We need to leave now".
Leaving the room they ran through the halls as fast as they could Thalia trying to remember the way she came from as they fled. The few droids he ran into along the way were thrown to the side or swiftly cut down, the facility's staff were running around in a panic fleeing to hangars and the outside trying to get away from whatever was happening and as he stepped out a door and onto a walkway that ran the length of a lava filled chasm Leon saw what was going on…the goliath.
The final goliath, Verdugo Finale the Final Executioner it was attacking the facility determined to bury it and Dooku's enemies.
"You'll pay for this Dooku" Leon swore taking his eyes of the massive machine and sprinting across the walkway.
"This way" Thalia said pulling his arm.
They ran across the walkway, but were thrown back by a blast as a bomb shell hit the door they were running toward. The blast sent both of them flying back and it was on reflex and instinct alone that they were able to grab the side before falling off. The two pulled themselves back up in time to see the goliath flying down toward them. Leon stepped forward pushing Thalia behind him in an attempt to shield her from the monster looming over them, but Thalia pushed his arm away and stepped forward on her own.
"It's my turn to protect you" she said, "You're injured and tired now it's my turn".
The goliath's cannon aimed down at them and Thalia reached out her hand seizing the cannon and with all her might she pushed and pulled and twisted.
"Size is nothing compared to one who can wield the Force".
Both Dooku and Plo Koon had both told her that. For one who can use the Force no task is impossible or too big unless she believed it to be so.
She concentrated casting her senses out toward the goliath as she attacked its cannon and finally she felt it breaking she pushed and pulled and twisted it more until the cannon broke off and fell from the goliath's arm falling into the chasm of lava below. The goliath roared, whatever sound the machine made as its cannon was torn from its arm and raised its other weapon at them only to have Thalia rip that apart as well. Equipped with both a ray shield and a particle shield the goliath was invincible to the weapons of war, but against the Force it had no defenses. Leon moved to help reaching out with the Force grabbing hold of the goliath unsure of what Thalia's plan was, but following her lead.
"Rip apart its engines" she told him, "Drop it into the chasm".
The chasm below, filled with a lake of lava that would do the job if they could rip apart its engines and shield generator. Together they attacked, the Force their weapon against the goliath and as one they reached inside it attacking its shield generators pulling it apart.
"No target is too big" Leon said in his head as he concentrated his exhaustion catching up to him, "We can do it" Thalia's voice said in his head, "Together we can do anything".
They felt the goliath's shield generator's give under their assault and the monster's engines ignited the AI that served as the goliath's brain telling it it was time to retreat, but the two Jedi held on with the Force grabbing hold of its engines like predators capturing their prey and pulled it back down. They hammered and ripped at every joint or seemingly vulnerable spot they could find within the goliath's body and finally the thruster on the goliath's right leg was torn apart. The goliath's direction shifted and it turned into the mountain side crashing into it as it tried to right itself, attempting to compensate for the lost thruster giving the Jedi time to tear apart its other one.
With the thrusters on its legs gone the goliath was forced to rely on the main engine in its back for escape. Just a bit more and they would have it. Leon pulled along side Thalia forcing the goliath back down and suddenly something hot slammed into his arm knocking him to the ground and his concentration was broken.
He recognized the pain, it had happened to him so many times he realized what it was immediately. Jumping back to his feet and activating Thalia's lightsaber Leon engaged the squad of droids that came out to attack them. A singe force push sent the droids over the edge of the walk way, but they were quickly replaced by another squad and then a third filed out forcing Leon to defend Thalia as she disabled the goliath.
"Just hold them off" Thalia said straining herself to keep perfect concentration on her target.
She could feel her hands closing around the goliath's main engine she felt it in her hands as her fingers wrapped around it and began squeezing.
"Size means nothing to the Force" she repeated in her mind again and squeezed even harder until she felt her fingers crush the engine in her hands and she began pulling.
The engine on the goliath's back flared even brighter the final desperate attempt to escape before the engine on its back was crushed and ripped apart.
With a gasp Thalia released her held breath and stepped back as the goliath fell unable to fly or hover any longer, its last mechanical roar following in into the chasm as it fell into the lake of lava below. She leaned against her knees catching her breath as Leon finished off the droids and took a step back waiting to see if any others would come to challenge him.
"Is it over?" he panted looking back to her.
Thalia nodded, "Yeah…it's finished. There's no way it can survive that".
"Then let's get out of here" Leon said switching off her lightsaber and handing it to her, "After everything that's happened…there's not enough food in the galaxy".
Thalia chuckled, "It's been a while since I ate anything you made. Maybe on the way back we can have lunch".
"Yeah" Leon nodded before stepping forward and hugging her.
Surprised at first Thalia smiled and wrapped her arms around him something she had wanted to do for so long, to embrace him and love him. Her life changed the day she met him and even though in the end she would still mourn the loss of her people she still had him even if he did not return her feelings as long as she could be with him she would be happy.
Her arm wrapped around the back of his neck tightening her hold on him, "I love you" she said sounding as if she was about to cry.
He loved her. He truly did, but his heart belonged to another. There was still a part of him that wanted to be with Thalia so she wouldn't be alone, with her people dead she had no where to return to except the Jedi Order and chances were they wouldn't accept her again. She had saved his life this time and he was the only thing she had left. He loved her, he truly did.
He opened his mouth ready to return the words she just spoke to him, but when his lips moved she suddenly released him and shoved her way in front of him as the sound of a lightsaber being activated briefly echoed around them.
Leon turned around to see Thalia hunched over a silver beam impaled through her torso.
"No" he yelled as the lightsaber was pulled from her and she fell back.
"Thalia!" he yelled catching her, "Thalia, Thalia!"
Looking up Leon saw the officer that had tortured him over the course of his imprisonment here and in his hands were Leon's lightsabers.
"Now it's your turn" the officer said quickly raising both lightsabers and bringing them down on his enemy.
Leon let go of Thalia's body and jumped up grabbing the officer's wrists in his hands and twisted them making him drop the stolen Jedi weapons. Kneeing the officer in his stomach Leon released his wrists and grabbed his neck and choked him. The officer clawed at Leon's hand his nails peeling away bits of skin as he fought and struggled against his enemy's grasp until his vision started fading and he could no longer breathe. As the officer's hands stopped clawing and fell to his sides Leon moved his other hand behind the officer's head and pulled as he pushed with his other hand in the other direction. The officer's last breath was accompanied by the sound of his spine snapping before his limp body dropped to the floor.
Leon turned back to Thalia and kneeled down quickly lifting her into his arms as she struggled to breathe.
"Just hang on" he said to her fear already overtaking him, "I'm going to get you out of here and you're going to be fine so just hang on".
"Its ok" she gasped raising her hand up to his cheek and then behind his neck, "It's going to be ok" she gasped again.
With what little strength she had left she pulled herself up against his weight and closed her eyes as their lips met. Leon's arm snaked across her back the other up her spine to the back of her head wrapping her in a tight embrace so she wouldn't have to hold herself up he could feel tears flooding his eyes as he kissed her, he let his guard down it was his fault.
Breaking away Thalia smiled as she looked up to him tears in her own eyes and her breathing became shallow.
"That was worth waiting for" she smiled as her eyes closed and her arm fell from his neck to her side.
Love has no age, no limit; and no death - John Galsworthy