Acacia sat up and put a hand to her head wondering how long she had been out. Opening her eyes, she stared at the grass beneath her feet. Looking around her, Acacia recognized the bizarre landscape of Felucia. Glancing to her right at the sound of a twig snapping, Acacia started at the sight of her younger self walking by talking with a young Felucian who was about the same age as the younger Acacia.
“We must hurry, Cia. Jedi Master said to.” The local explained exasperatedly as young Acacia knelt to examine something on the ground in front of her.
“He also said to careful, Chica. And I don’t this print was left by a harmless creature.” young Acacia answered softly, indicating the print she had notice as she scanned the surrounding area. Suddenly both phantom young ones turned their heads sharply in the direction they where heading at the noise of fighting. Acacia however stood still and watched them both keenly looking for the hidden meaning behind the vision. As the two phantoms hurried off, all caution forgotten, Acacia felt the dark presence behind her. Turning she came face to face with a nightmare of sith who looked oddly familiar. Fighting the apprehension rising within her, she stood still waiting for the inevitable words that would follow.
“Travel to Kot’tur, to seek the path of light and learn of Mandalore’s fight. Two only shall go, for this is Mandalore’s way. To the distant cave the two must go, this warning do I give: not everything is as it seems, for in the past your secrets lay, some of them unknown. Guardians of the stars, beware the ways of the night.
For in the darkness hides a warrior long thought dead who holds the key to the Downfall or Victory of the Sith. Seek out the keeper of knowledge to find your way, to the prince pay heed. Brother and Sister a path will follow to save my brethren from their end. This first clue I give you: what is lost yet is still there? What is gone and yet still lives? Answer this and you will find the secret behind Mandalore’s fight.”
Acacia eyes opened before she even realized they had been closed. “What happened?” Acacia inquired shooting up to a sitting position, knowing the answer even as she asked the question.
“You had a vision.” Anakin answered, sitting across from her on the other side of the heat lamp. Looking up, Acacia saw the look on his face.
“And so did you, brother.” Acacia observed gently, sympathy overcoming her curiosity. She could sense his inner turmoil over whatever it was the force had showed him. “You don’t have to talk about it, if you don’t want to.” she added after a moments silence.
“What did you see?” Anakin asked, looking a bit more relaxed.
Acacia told him what she had seen, not leaving out a single detail. Once she had finished, Anakin looked at the cave floor for a moment.
“Our visions where different, but the ending was the same. I felt as if I had seen that warrior before, though I cant remember where.” Anakin commented as he pulled his bedroll out of his pack.
“Neither can I. Let us hope Madam Jocasta has the answer.” Acacia replied, pulling out a ration bar from her pack and opening it.
“Seek out the keeper of knowledge.” Anakin quoted the part of the instructions Acacia was referring to. “What about the prince?”
“I have an idea, but I won’t know for sure until we get back to Coruscant. The last part is the only thing that is bothering me.” Acacia replied after taking a bite from her ration bar.
“What is lost yet is still there? What is gone at yet still lives?” Anakin recited as he stood up and moved into the center of the room. Exhausted as Acacia was, she set aside her ration bar and followed him removing her lightsaber from her belt as she did.
“There are many things that I can think of that are gone or lost, but aren’t actually.” Acacia remarked as they worked through their lightsaber forms together.
“So can I, but none of them really have to do with our quest to find out the secret of this mysterious warrior. Any ideas on how to narrow it down?” Anakin responded, moving his lightsaber in a flourish before he put it in training mode
“What if it isn’t just one thing, but two related things? What is lost and yet is still there, that had an influence on the victory or downfall of the Sith?” Acacia inquired, looking at her companion’s face.
“The Clones.” Anakin replied without thinking. The two young Jedi exchanged a look as the realization came upon them.
“Kamino!” They said together, both with a smile on their faces.
“Kamino was lost by the Republic because someone erased its existence from the temple maps. The people of Kamino where gone, and yet still existed. I wonder what it means by Mandalore’s fight? That phrase was repeated multiple times throughout the riddle.” Anakin finished.
“I don’t know, but I am going to find out. However, one thing is clear. Kamino or something there is the key to the downfall or victory of the Sith.” Acacia answered, sitting back down and picking up her ration bar.
Cole stood in the medical bay, doing his best not to be impatient with the doctors. He felt ready to do almost anything, but that wasn’t good enough for the Jedi Physician. Cole had a feeling this had more with letting him out of the council’s sight more than anything else. Which was why he was trying to being patient, knowing Acacia would want him not to ruffle anymore feathers than he had to.
“What do I need to do to get cleared?” Cole questioned the doctor as she moved about tending to other patients.
All he received for an answer was a glare. Cole rolled his eyes and turned to go back to his assigned room. The only way he was getting out of the medical bay was if someone wanted to talk to him. Even then, the likeliness of getting off the temple grounds without getting Acacia in trouble was zero. Sighing in resignation, Cole flopped down into his assigned bed. Studying the ceiling for what felt like the hundredth time, he wondered why the council was so interested in him.
Sure, he was Acacia’s second in command when it came to the security of Mandalore. However, that wasn’t what they had been asking about. Which of course brought him back to the problem of not causing trouble for his commander. While Acacia’s master, Obi Wan Kenobi, seemed to understand why he was unwilling to answer certain questions, the council was not so understanding. Even with his limited training, Cole could sense their apprehension of whatever secret they thought Acacia was keeping. Knowing his commander, Cole knew that there was only one reason they didn’t know the answer they sought. And he determined to tell them what it was next time they asked him about her family.
The next morning, they climbed back up to the surface and found R2-D2 waiting for them. As they approached the ship, the droid was waiting for them on the ship ramp and appeared excited about something. Beeping non stop, he followed them into the cockpit.
“What is he saying, Anakin?” Acacia inquired, even though she had a rough guess based on her companion’s expression.
“He found evidence of a human village on the planetary scan.” Anakin answered, sitting down in the pilot seat and prepping the ship for take off. As the ship left the planet surface and started the process of jumping to hyperspace, Acacia looked at the stars around them. Many of them she could identify, but many others she didn’t know.
“The origin point of our assailants?” Acacia guessed, glancing at R2 as he started out of the cockpit probably on his way to start repairing yet another failing system.
“He is not sure, but it seems like the only likely explanation.” Anakin responded, flipping more switches as a button on the control board start blinking red.
“The galaxy is a big place. How do you think we are going to find what we are looking for?” Anakin asked as he to looked at the stars.
“By trusting in the Force and following the clues it has given us.” Acacia replied, watching as the stars turned into streaks as they headed back to Coruscant.
“We just passed the first security checkpoint.” Anakin told his companion as she sat down in the co-pilot seat next to him.
“Have you sent a message to the Temple yet?” Acacia inquired as she pulled up their travel times.
“Yeah. The council has someone they want you to talk to. Apparently Pilot 1 has been refusing to answer their questions about your family.” Anakin informed his young friend, noting the exasperated look that his words brought.
“What kind of questions?” Acacia asked, tapping a few buttons on her data-pad to bring up the Twilight’s fuel consumption.
“Like which clan you are from, and who your parents are.” Anakin replied, tapping a few buttons on the dash with his right hand, keeping his left on the ship controls.
“No wonder he didn’t say anything. He knows just how vital and highly confidential that information is. Had they asked about my connections they would have a whole different problem.” Acacia observed wryly, though her expression was anything but amused.
“What is that?” Anakin commented as they passed the second checkpoint and headed to the planet’s surface.
“They wouldn’t be able to get him to stop talking.” Acacia answered, a smile breaking through the unease she felt rising within her.
Satine Kryze sat in her throne having finished the last of her official duties for the day. Of course, there where a hundred unofficial things she needed to work on, but those could wait a moment. Studying the way the sunlight came through her throne room window, Satine thought of her daughter. She had missed Acacia’s smile and negotiating skills more than once since Acacia’s departure. Satine was about to stand up when her special comm-link blinked on.
“Satine, are you there?” Obi Wan’s voice came through the small disk.
“I am here Obi, is everything alright?” Satine inquired softly feeling an unexplainable pang of worry course through her.
“It is Acacia. Someone is on the revenge trail and the Jedi Council is upset over her rebellious and untrusting attitude. While I realize that I may be stepping out of normal boundaries, I don’t think they are going to back down considering the events around her exile. We need your help, Satine.” Obi Wan explained his holo image looked exhausted.
“You look exhausted, Obi.” Satine observed, her worry even more evident on her face.
“Between mediating council meetings and trying to outthink the Separatists, I haven’t had much time to rest.” Obi Wan admitted, running a hand through his hair in an attempt to neaten up its appearance. It didn’t help much, though it did make Satine smile despite herself.
“Get some rest, Obi. I will get there as soon as I can, and Acacia is fully capable of defending herself.” Satine told him, glancing up from her seat at Naemes who simply nodded and moved a few feet away before talking softly into her own comm-link.
“Your influence, no doubt.” Obi Wan commented, a hint of irony in his tone and smile.
“And here I thought she got her knack for getting trouble from you.” Satine teased him, feeling the tense feeling in her stomach ease slightly.
“Indeed. May the Force be with you.” Obi Wan replied, allowing his exhaustion to leak into his voice and expression.
“And with you, Obi Wan.” Satine responded with equal seriousness, the words bringing back a memory. Qi-gon Jinn’s good bye to them during Obi Wan’s first semi solo mission to protect her. As the comm in her hand flickered off, Satine wondered why the words had sparked that memory. Sighing as she stood up and Satine chose to dismiss it as something she would think on later. The ways of the Force had always been mysterious to her. Absent mindedly, Satine wondered what her long gone father would think of all this. After all, he had been a peace loving warrior just like Acacia’s father was. A pang of guilt came with that thought, and Satine resolved that her visit to Coruscant wasn’t just going to be about putting the Jedi Council back in their place. It would also be about regaining what little family Satine had left. Even if it meant putting aside her pride to do it.
To be continued
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