Chapter 1: Meetings
Heart beat thumping, the sound of blood rushing in the ears, feet pounding on the pavement. These were the sounds I had been hearing everyday of my life for the last six months. Today was no different, I was at this very moment being chased down the street by two would-be bounty hunters. One (the leader) being a grey-skinned male Anomid and the other a Chagrian (also male), they both seem to be about 18 standard years old and are hot on my heels!
The three of us ran through the dark, dank alleyways of the Works in the underworld of Coruscant, ignoring anyone else who happened to be there, with only two main objectives on our minds; mine being “get away from them as soon as possible and there’s being “if we catch her we’ll get a truck load of money” of course the latter wasn’t going to happen. I skidded round a corner, using an abandoned factory as a hiding place.
It was night here now and even though it was rare that the sunlight from above filtered down into the harsh depths of the planet the fact that night was upon us only meant that it was even darker, allowing those who didn’t want to be seen more cover. That was why Coruscant’s underworld was the home to so many criminals, it was the perfect place to do their business and not get caught especially since there were so few police around. This of course was the main reason a twelve year old shouldn’t be here, yet I am.
I almost breathed a sigh of relief when I heard them run past, however that feeling disappeared when I heard them come back.
‘She’s gotta be somewhere here!’ The Anomid proclaimed. I felt them get closer until I sprung from my hiding place, swiftly kicking the two of them in the gut and sprinting off again, smirking to myself as I heard them groan in pain.
‘Better luck next time.’ I whispered.
Knowing that they would most likely come after me again I kept running for as long as I could, then continue to walk and somehow my “sixth sense” as some people call it, led me to the surface of the planet. I looked around in awe, I have been to a lot of planets and seen several cities, but this was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed. There were skyscrapers everywhere and the skylanes were jammed with thousands of speeders and people eager to get home after a hard day of work. Indeed this place was a blaze of light and sparkling colours, which whizzed and whirred around me. I was entranced by it........and I let my guard down.
‘Oomph.’ I groaned as I was hit by a high speed object and I tumbled to the ground. I struggled to move and realised I had been bound in a net. Looking to my attacker I froze. Looming in the darkness was a familiar figure, standing at almost two meters with a thin yet slightly muscular build I recognised him immediately. ‘You.’
‘Hello again, I’ve come to take you home.’ The voice sounded through his helmet. How did he find me? I had been careful not to talk to many people and I hadn’t revealed my identity to anyone.
‘I will never go back to that filthy, sickening, horrible place!’ I sneered.
‘Now, now. Is that anyway to talk about your home? My employer would be most disappointed if he heard you say that.’
‘That piece of slime will never hear anything from me again because I won’t be going back!’ I snapped and writhed and squirmed, trying to break free.
‘Don’t even try, girl, you’re coming with me.’ He started to come forward, his arms outstretched ready to throw me over his shoulder.
‘No!’ I screamed, fear taking over my mind.
‘Leave the person alone!’ Someone called. I looked just in time to see a stranger leap at the figure, wielding a glowing blue sword. I watched as he chased my attacker off then proceeded to kneel down beside me, it was at this point that I was thankful for my thick black hood. ‘Need a hand?’ He asked. I stayed silent and still as he sliced though the net with his sword, allowing me to untangle myself and stand up. I turned and started to walk away without uttering a sound, but unfortunately he wasn’t going to let that happen. ‘Hey, are you alright?’
‘I’m fine.’ I replied quietly.
‘I don’t think you are, where are your parents? You shouldn’t be out here alone.’ He pressed.
‘Look, thanks for the help, I appreciate it, now leave me alone.’
‘Come with me.’ I stopped in my tracks and turned to look at him. ‘I can offer you a place to stay, that’s safe and you won’t have to worry about being attacked.’ I took in his appearance, he had slightly scruffy brown hair, bright blue firefly eyes, a strong jawline and a scar starting just above his right eye and continuing a little below it. I also noticed that he was wearing a black tunic and the “blue sword” he was carrying was a lightsabre, which had been deactivated and hung lazily off his belt.
‘Why should I believe you?’ I asked skeptical.
‘Because you can trust me.’
‘Pfft! I can’t trust anyone.’
‘Would it help if I told you I’m a-’
‘Jedi? No.’ I cut him off. ‘I wouldn’t help, but I’ll go.’ I went against my better judgement, deciding that a safe sleep took precedence in this situation.
‘Good, this way then, my speeder’s over here.’ He led me over to what looked like a brand new high-class speeder and reluctantly I climbed in.
‘Oh Ani, can’t you stay for a little longer?’ Padme asked as I bid her goodbye.
‘I only wish It could, but I’ve got to go back to the Temple.’
‘When will I see you again?’
‘Soon I’m sure.’
‘Until then my love.’
‘Goodbye sweetness.’ I murmured then headed back downstairs and getting in my speeder.
I sighed, things were getting harder for everyone. The war was still rampaging, people were dying, sources were becoming more and more limited for the troops that were out fighting and because of all this my secret marriage to the beautiful Senator Amidala was becoming strained. Very rarely do we get to spend any time together and when we do, it’s often when I’m on Jedi business and romance isn’t on the agenda.
Such were the thoughts on my mind as I flew through the “streets” of Coruscant, I looked down admiring the view when I felt something through the Force. Anger, fear, sadness and frustration all poured down on me and I looked to find the source. My eyes narrowed as I saw a figure tied up and struggling on the ground while a larger figure advanced towards it.
As much as it is a Jedi’s duty to help people, many things were best left to the local police around here, but I sensed this was different, it was almost as if I was being called to come and help this person. Whoever it was has a strong presence in the Force. I quickly parked my speeder then ran over to help, igniting my lightsabre which I slashed at the advancer, frightening him off.
‘Leave that person alone!’ I yelled and the attacker, before ran back into the darkness. Not so brave now. I smirked to myself before going over and kneeling beside the figure on the ground. It was wearing a black hooded cloak, making it impossible to see who was beneath it and while I tried to stretch out with the Force it was as though ran straight into a brick wall!
Because of this I wasn’t game enough to pull back the hood, so instead I prompted it to talk. ‘Need a hand?’ I asked. Unfortunately I didn’t receive a response, all the same I stood up and cut the net she had been trapped in. I watched as the person stood up and began walking away. I was shocked, what kind of person, just left after something like that? They were just attacked for Force sake! ‘Hey are you alright?’
‘I’m fine.’ It replied. The voice told me that it was a female and given the height she couldn’t be very old, fourteen at most.
‘I don’t think you are, where are your parents? You shouldn’t be out here alone.’ I reasoned, there had to be a reason she was here by herself and from the way she was acting I had a feeling she didn’t have anyone else.
‘Look, thanks for the help, I appreciate it, now leave me alone.’ She growled. I shook my head there was no way I was going to let her wander these dangerous streets without someone else.
‘Come with me.’ At this she froze, slowly turning around to face me. ‘I can offer you a place to stay, that’s safe and you won’t have to worry about being attacked.’ Her hood still prevented me from seeing most of her face, however I knew she was studying me and I managed to catch a glimpse of her lips and chin. Her lips were a soft grey, while her skin was orange. The combination reminded me of something or rather someone, but my thoughts were lost as she spoke again.
‘Why should I believe you?’ She asked, suspicion lacing her voice.
‘Because you can trust me.’ I replied.
‘Pfft! I can’t trust anyone.’
‘Would it help if I told you I’m a-’
‘Jedi? No.’ She interrupted. ‘I wouldn’t help, but I’ll go.’ I sighed, thankful that she had some sense in her. Now the on,y thing to worry about was what the Counsel will say.
‘Good, this way then, my speeder’s over here.’ I brought her over to my speeder and we both got in. I started it up and smiled as we rose of the ground and flowed into one of the thousands of lanes in the traffic. Knowing that there was no need to rush, I kept pace with everyone, but didn’t try to push through the crowds. I glanced to the passenger seat beside me and watched as the mysterious girl took in the sights, her sigh giving away her awe of the place. I smiled to myself, it was obvious that she either had been here for long or she lived in the underworld....... I hope the former was right. ‘So what’s your name?’ I asked curious.
‘Doesn’t matter.’ She murmured, returning to facing the front.
‘If you want to stay at the Temple you’re going to have give them your name.’ I prodded.
‘The Temple? As in the Jedi Temple?’
‘That’s the one.’
‘Oh no, let me out! I can’t go there!’ She began to panic.
‘Woah!’ I reached to put my hand on her shoulder to calm her down, she jumped back in her seat, pressing herself against the door. ‘Hey, it’s ok. No one’s going to hurt you.’ I assured her.
‘You don’t know that! Now let me out!’ She demanded.
‘I can’t do that.’
‘Then goodbye.’ She undid her seat and stood up.
‘No don’t!’ I yelled, but I was too late. She jumped. I scrambled to see her free falling through the air. In a split second I reached out with the Force and stopped her. I heard her growl even from 30 clicks above her. Shaking my head I slowly lifted her back into the speeder and we continued on our way. ‘What were you doing? You could have died!’
‘I had it under control.’ She stated.
With that I turned on my comlink and contacted my old Master, knowing that I would need his assistance in getting an audience with the Council.
‘Master.’ I greeted into the comlink.
‘Anakin, where are you? You were supposed to escort the Senator home then come straight back.’ He scorned.
‘Well I had planned to do that, but I made a slight detour.’
‘What have you done now?’
‘I have someone who needs to stay a few nights at the Temple until she gets back on her feet again.’ I explained, glancing at the aforementioned
‘Anakin.’ He warned.
‘I just need you to tell the Council and I’ll talk to them when we get there.’
Soon we arrived at our destination and I was glad to be back at the Temple, slowly we walked up the steps and in through the large doors. I nodded to the clones we passed as we headed down the halls, noticing how afraid and amazed my new acquaintance had become.
‘It’s ok.’ I tried to soothe her.
‘Where are we going?’ She asked.
The High Council Chamber.′ I replied.
‘All of this just for a lousy room, I should have just snuck into a motel. It would have been easier.’ She grumbled. I rolled my eyes as we stepped into an elevator and rode it up to the top of the Temple. Once we stepped out I saw my old Master, I smiled at him and he gave me a small one in return.
‘I’m assuming this is the reason for the meeting.’ He gestured to the girl.
‘Yes.’ I nodded.
‘Well the two of you had best come in.’
I followed the two of them in to a circular room where several people were already sitting inside, out of all of them I only recognised one: a small green alien with large pointed ears, who’s name I knew to be Yoda. He is the highest ranking member of the Jedi Counsel, earning himself the title of Jedi Grandmaster.
‘Welcome young Skywalker.’ Yoda greeted.
‘Thank you master.’ “Skywalker” replied.
‘Now, what is it that you wish to speak to us about?’ Another, dark skinned, human Jedi asked.
‘Tonight after escorting Senator Amidala back to her apartment, I felt something in the Force: a strange surge, if you will. Someone cried out and I saw this young girl trapped in a net while a man attempted to kidnap her. The Force called me to help her, so I did and upon freeing her I discovered that she had no where to go-’
‘So you thought to bring her here.’ The other man finished. Skywalker nodded.
‘Hmmm. Interesting this is.’ Yoda stroked his chin in thought. ‘Young one, what is your name?’ He asked looking at me.
‘Does it matter?’ I asked.
‘Matter it does, need something to call you, we do.’ He replied. I sighed and gave in, I can’t keep it to myself forever.
‘Well Miss Arnjard, would you mind revealing your face?’ The human asked.
Reluctantly I obliged. The black hood fell back against my shoulders revealing my bruised and beaten face.
My eyes widened, she was a Togruta. My thoughts instantly went back to my padawan: Ahsoka Tano. It was almost like seeing a ghost. Well not really. I gulped as I took in her appearance, her blue crystal-like eyes were blackened as if they had been punched, a small amount of blood trickled from her bleeding nose, she was covered in dirt and mud and the scars. So many scars for such a young face. Some were old and faded, while others looked as she had only received them this morning, they were still red, raw and weeping.
Yet she didn’t seem fazed as we looked on, she kept her head held high and practically ignored our looks of shock, horror and sympathy. Still she stayed silent as the whispers rose around her, everyone unsure of what to do next, everyone asking their neighbours for their opinion of what to do with this poor girl. It was only when the words “parents,” “family,” and “child abuse” were heard that tears began to leak from her eyes.
She tried fruitlessly to blink them away, but they just kept coming and despite her best efforts to remain strong, she broke down in front of us. Sobbing she fell to her knees, as I watched in shock; this wasn’t the angry, independent girl I had saved on the street. Now she was broken and there was nothing I could do about it.
‘Skywalker, take Miss Arnjard to suitable quarters.’ Windu instructed. I nodded stepping forward.
‘Thank you Masters.’ I murmured then I rested my hand on her shoulder and she looked up at me with red, watery eyes. After helping her up we walked out the door and I took her to a spare room near mine. ‘I’m sorry about that.’
‘It’s fine, I’m just weak that’s all.’ She sniffed, wiping away her tears.
‘You’re not weak, try and get some sleep.’ I replied, she nodded before walking in and shutting the door softly behind her.
This is going to be interesting.