CHAPTER THREE: A CHANGE OF PLAN
Obi-wan sat and looked at the food that surrounded Anakin with a frown.
foreign delicacies- sweetened meats and smooth wine. But he had no urge to eat- Unlike Anakin- Who had helped himself to not only two plates full but also Obi-wan's. But Obi-wan couldn’t help but smile at his naive but eager apprentice. He had grown well since Tatooine.
He had all but forgotten his anger. Anakin looked up from his plate with a mouth full of food, and smiled, showing Obi-wan perfectly white teeth tarnished with gushing foodbits.
“Anakin, you’re too old for that” Obi-wan sighed, putting a hand to his face- A habit, he realized, he had acquired when he first started training the boy.
Anakin laughed, gulping down his food and then taking a very generous drink of his wine- after which he put his glass down softly, patted his stomach, and laid back in his chair with his hands behind his head.
“You’re going to need to keep up your strength, master. Especially if they try to kill us or something.” Anakin said nonchalantly. Obi-wan didn’t respond, just stared ahead, looking at Anakin with a blank expression.
“...You do realize that, right? I mean- Tarkin doesn’t want to see us. They started the invasion. They’re going to try to kill us.” The young apprentice explained. But his master didn’t respond.
His facial expression didn’t change. Anakin sighed, and got up from the table, stretching his legs and walking to the wall of the suite. There were a few pleasing paintings on the wall, and though Anakin wasn’t exactly one for art, he did know a good piece when he saw one. He focused on one that caught his eye especially- It was a painting of a planet- deep green in color, almost similar to Naboo. He found himself smiling- He didn’t know why.
“I guess it’s a beautiful picture. The Federation has some taste.” He said. Anakin turned his head to look to see his Master, who was still sitting at the table- His face expressionless.
“Skark it, Kenobi.” Anakin muttered. He sat down on the floor, folding his legs, and began to meditate.
That was the only thing he could do, while he waited for Obi-wan to wake up from his nightmares.
“They’re going to kill us, Obi-wan!”
What is that smell?
Eighteen years ago. Stark Hyperspace war.
Obi-wan ran through the fields of Concord Dawn. He looked up to the red sky- Massive Imperial star destroyers hung in the lower atmosphere- throbbing rods of light coming from the ships and exploding on the ground below. He heard footsteps behind him. He turned while he ran to see them.
He motioned them forward as he broke through the fields, ash smearing his face and his tunic. A militia of farmers met them- they were armed. Obi-wan, gasping for breath, began his speech- a statement that had been drilled into his mind the day before.
“I am A jedi representative of the Empire. If you lay down your weapons you will not be harme-”
A blaster shot zipped by his face and found itself crashing in the helmet of the first clone to push aside the crops to get through.
“No!” Obi-wan screamed as he ignited his lightsaber.
“You fools! They’re going to kill you!” He bellowed as the farmers released more shots at him and his clones. He weaved and turned, his blade flashing before his body like a round shield- No laser fire hit him.
Twenty clones now surrounding him, they raised their rifles- took aim- and fired. The militia returned fire, but the clones advanced on them, firing as they slowly marched forward. The farmers didn’t stand a chance. They all fell. Most died. As the clone troopers marched on to another settlement, Obi-wan walked by a youth who had been conscripted in the militia. a massive hole had sheared through his leg. It smoked and crinkled..
He was crying. Asking Obi-wan to save him.
“I’ll make it quick,” Obi-wan said. The youth cried louder and louder as Obi-wan raised his weapon, that symbol of peace and justice, and then brought it down.
Then it was silent.
He felt sick. But he was a Jedi. He had his duty. Just as the boy had his.
He vomited, then jogged after his clones.
Maul watched as Dooku poked at a handheld device, the old former jedi entirely focused on the technology. He exhaled deeply and returned his attention to space.
He was never impressed by much of anything, but he did always feel awe when he saw the vast, dark expanse. Space reminded him of the embrace of the dark force. Cold. All powerful.
“He’s going to betray you, Dooku.” Maul said quietly. He placed a hand on the fibroglass view-screen, all that separated him from space. His space.
“Who? Tarkin? Gunray?” Dooku asked, still absorbed in his device.
“Both. All of them.” Maul answered simply. Dooku laughed, and pocketed his object, and rose from his seat, the clicking of his boots causing Maul to turn around to see him.
“Of course they will betray me. Us.” Dooku said.
“Then why do we not just kill them? They are useless.” Maul demanded.
So blunt, so un-diplomatic. Dooku thought to himself as he regarded the Zabrak. Maul had taken off his hood, the disgusting reality of his alien heritage visibly apparent- multiple white horns curving from his skull. He felt like he constantly had to hold in the desire to vomit whenever he was with the beast.
“Because they are useful to us now. Once they are no longer useful, which won’t be for much longer, mind you, they will be killed.” Dooku said, wiping his hands as if he had touched something dirty.
Maul scoffed. “Real servants of the Bogan have no need for foolish tools.” He spat.
He’s challenging me. Dooku thought with a laugh.
“My dear boy, I know more of the Sith, the dark side, the Bogan as you call it, than you.” Dooku placed his hands behind his back and walked towards Maul, who still stared at him, not backing down.
“You’re still a Jedi to the Empire. They still view you as an ally. You cannot serve two masters.” Maul fired back. But he didn’t raise his voice. His voice was barely louder than a whisper, but hinted of unimaginable rage and power.
“You are young, Maul. But even you know the first Sith were Jedi. When we numbered in the thousands-no, hundreds of thousands, all of us could trace our lineage to one rogue jedi, one disgruntled jedi scholar-” Dooku began.
“Don’t bring this up with me again. The Rule of Two is law. It cannot be removed.” Maul said simply.
Dooku sighed. He had tried convincing Maul, and his master the ultimate failure of the Rule of Two. There would never be enough Sith to adequately challenge the Jedi. And the fact that this beast, Maul, would inherit all of the secrets of the Sith while he, Dooku, who outclassed Maul in skill and intellect by right of human birth alone, would be forced to sulk around the outskirts of the Sith teachings-
It was madness. But Dooku was a planner. He would get what he wanted. He always had, and he will continue to do so. He would use Maul, and their shared master until they ran out of their use, and he would be the one to end them. And then nothing would be in his way to demolish the foolish Rule of Two.
But he had to wait. And he had to be careful.
“I have arranged for us to be removed from this ship. We’re going to Coruscant.” Dooku said.
“Coruscant? What...what of the Jedi?” Maul hissed. Dooku smiled thinly.
So single-minded. Short-sighted. “They have been on the ship for quite some time.” Dooku teased.
Maul bounded up to Dooku in a flurry of black cloth and yellow eyes. The Zabrak repressed the urge to grab Dooku, but stared him down venomously.
“The delegation has arrived?” Maul asked.
“Yes. I know where they are.” Dooku answered.
Maul was silent. And then he darted for the door. Dooku simply raised a finger- And Maul was frozen in his tracks.
“That...would be unwise...my young sith friend.” Dooku warned. Maul grimaced, surrounded himself in hate, and broke free. Before Dooku could respond, Maul was already out of the room, letting his hate led him to where the Jedi were.
Dooku was speechless.
He summoned his holocom to his hand and phoned Tarkin. Immediately, the whelp answered.
“Yes, Dooku?” Tarkin said, bowing to the man.
“You have the Jedi in- Good. Lock them down. I will be there shortly.”
“Kenobi and his apprentice will not be leaving the suite, master Jedi.” Tarkin said respectfully, and fizzled out.
As Dooku was rushing out of the room, Tarkin’s words almost brought him to a halt.
Kenobi. Obi-wan Kenobi.
He smiled. Things were about to get much more interesting.