Acacia stood in front of the Jedi Council beside her master. She had given her own report, purposefully praising the men for their obedience, ingenuity, and promptness. Now that her master was giving his report, she studied his face. Obi Wan’s report was rather short, he having already given his main report before Acacia had been summoned. Acacia braced herself for the abrupt change of subject that would follow the end of Kenobi’s report.
“The Council has discussed your position Padawan Drii, and we have a few more questions before we finalize our decision.” Mace Windu began after asking Obi Wan a few questions about his report.
Acacia nodded her understanding, forcing her face to stay neutral.
“What exactly are your duties as Mandalore?” Master Mundi inquired in a respectful tone.
“To honor the past and protect the future of all Mandalorians. My rule extends beyond borders and political lines. Anyone who has Mandalorian blood running in their veins is under my protection, and by tradition my command.” Acacia replied in a dignified tone, addressing her answer to Windu.
“Then your power is greater than that of your mother’s?” Master Mundi continued in the same tone.
“You could say that, Master Mundi.” Acacia responded hesitatingly, looking to her master for the first time since Windu had spoken.
“Thank you padawan. You are both dismissed.” Mace Windu said, dismissing them with a wave of his hand.
Obi Wan suppressed his surprise as he followed his padawan out the door. Ignoring the insult to himself, he turned to his daughter.
“What part of Mundi’s question is bothering you little one?” Kenobi probed as he and Acacia stood near a window down the hall from the council chamber.
“I’ve never really thought about the fact that I have more power than the Duchess. It dawned on me just how big of responsibility it is, that’s all.” Acacia replied, pulling a stray stand of her bright red hair back into its place.
“I know what you mean. I never fully realized the responsibility of raising someone until I held you.” Obi assented quietly as two other Jedi walked past them. With a jerk of her head, Acacia indicated the outside. Nodding, Obi Wan led the way. Once they where out of earshot of the other Jedi, the Obi Wan inquired after his daughter’s activities during her days at the Mandalorian Academy.
Cole Nuhri watched as his sister and friends disembarked from the Mandalorian cargo vessel. Standing in the shadows with Shadow 2, Cole knew that it was unlikely that any of them would recognize him. He was dressed in his racing outfit which consisted of a dark cloak, black cargo pants, boots, gloves, and a light grey jacket over his black protective body glove. Since he had usually either worn the traditionally light colored cloths of a Mandalorian official or the blue armor of one of Satine’s personal guards, none of his friends would expect to see him in anything else. Shadow 2 was dressed in similar attire, and Cole could see the platform security officer watching them.
“Do you think they are going to see us?” Shadow 2 murmured out the side of his mouth.
“Probably not. They aren’t the ones who are supposed to, though.” Cole murmured back, casually scanning the landing area. His trained eye caught the intelligence officer watching them from the cover of a nearby ship.
“Are you sure this is a good idea kid?” Shadow 1’s voice inquired over their ear-comms.
“It wasn’t my idea, Shad, and C knows what she is doing. I was ordered not to go into the details.” Cole reminded him, adding “I just hope that security officer plays his part sooner rather than later.”
“Got other plans a pilot?” Shadow 2 teased, chuckling at the look Cole gave him.
“None of your business.” Cole growled back as the security officer began to move toward them with the air of a man on a mission.
“What do you two think you’re doing, loitering around my landing platform?” The security officer accosted them, folding his arms and glowering.
“Meeting a friend coming in on that ship.” Cole replied casually, lazily jabbing his thumb in the direction of the cargo ship.
On cue, one of the passengers disembarking from the ship began heading in their direction.
“Fine. But you two had better be gone by the time that ship lifts off.” The security officer threatened, walking away to yell at the droids unloading the cargo.
“Somebody’s having a bad day.” The older man remarked as he joined Cole and Shadow 2.
“Well, he is about to have an even worse one once that intelligence officer does his background check.” Cole observed dryly as they walked away.
“I though that guy was following us.” Shadow 2 commented, giving his partner a confused look.
“He was following me.” Cole corrected as they entered the private speeder that Chryii and her party had embarked on moments before. Ignoring the confusion of his sister and her friends at the strangers, Cole had a quick conversation with the pilot before sitting down with his companions.
Acacia stood in the new office space in her house, watching as Shadow 2’s crew put it in order. Walking through the rooms, she checked that everything was on schedule. Going down a flight of stairs, Acacia arrived in the small speeder bay at the same time the speeder from the space port arrived.
Scott jumped out and turned to help Chryii disembark. Andre followed them out as Acacia greeted them.
“I am glad you decided to come.” Acacia said, giving Chryii a hug.
“We wouldn’t miss it.” Scott responded, returning her greeting.
“Where is my brother? Ava told me he was injured, but from what she said I expected him to be here.” Chryii asked, glancing around the small speeder bay.
“What are you talking about? I’ve been here the entire time.” Cole objected from behind her.
Chryii and Scott both jumped and whirled to see the author of the voice. Leaning against the speeder with his arms folded, Cole seemed to be enjoying their reactions.
“I don’t remember seeing you.” Chryii protested, her face full of confusion.
“You walked right past me, actually. Not that it matters, since you weren’t supposed to recognize me anyways.” Cole replied, directing them to the stairway Acacia had just left.
“How is my favorite Jedi niece?” A familiar voice inquired from behind Acacia. Turning to see who it was, Acacia was as surprised as Chryii had been.
“Uncle Rau!” Acacia exclaimed as she embraced the older man that Cole had brought with him. (Shadow 2 had returned to shadowing duty upon entering the hanger).
“It is good to see you to, Mandalore.” Fenn Rau chuckled, returning his niece’s embrace.
“What brought you here?” Acacia asked, looking up at her uncle.
“The team you sent to Oba Diah’s moon reported to me on Concord Dawn, and I came straight here to give you their report.” Rau told her quietly as they walked out to the garden.
“Did they find it?” Acacia inquired once she was sure they where alone.
“They did. There wasn’t much left of the ship itself, but they did find this.” Rau answered, pulling a lightsaber out of his cloak.
Acacia took it and held it reverently, the tears coming unbidden to her eyes.
“When I could not find it after he died, I though that perhaps his killer took it. I never dreamed. . .” Acacia said softly as she ignited it. The perfectly balanced green blade cut the air with a steady hum, just like it had the last time she had seem it. Rau proceeded to give her his full report, and Acacia listened intently. After he was done there was a few moments of silence.
“Have you talked to my father recently?” Acacia asked after she had processed the information.
“Not since shorty after you where exiled, why?” Rau replied, giving Acacia a suspicious look.
“Because, if you had it might make meeting him a bit easier for both of you.” Acacia explained as they walked back inside.
Satine listened as the Senators argued back and forth over preposed plans of action. She had remained quiet, not wanting to broadcast her presence. So it wasn’t that hard to leave when Obi Wan arrived and requested an audience. Dismissing her guards with a wave of her hand upon arriving in her Coruscant office, Satine turned to her husband.
“What is it, Obi?” Satine inquired, looking worriedly up into his face.
“I got a message from the Mandalorian High council.” Obi Wan told her as they stood by her office window.
“How find they find you?” Satine exclaimed in surprise which turned into concern as she recognized the look on his face.
“Honestly Satine, I have no idea. However, that isn’t what is worrying me.” Kenobi responded, stroking his beard.
“They expressed their concern over the future of Mandalore and inquired what you where going to do about the fact that I have vehemently refused to marry any of their sons?” Acacia finished from behind the doorway. Obi Wan and Satine couldn’t help but smile at the dramatic way she said it and the mocking expression on her face.
“Should they be?” Obi Wan probed, doing his best to suppress a chuckle.
“Considering the fact that Korkie is the heir apparent to the throne of Mandalore not me, no. But the problem is that I am still your daughter and having a connection with the royal house is still advantageous. Which is something I can understand. What I don’t understand is how they expect me to agree to marry someone minutes after I meet them.”Acacia explained, joining them at the window.
“I know that this whole thing is upsetting you, my dear. But if you don’t give them a definite answer, they will continue to pursue the issue.” Satine observed gently, placing her hand on Acacia’s shoulder.
“It’s not that easy, Mother.” Acacia replied soberly, closing her eyes and quieting her mind. Reaching out through the Force, Acacia touched Cole’s mind with a gentle request. As she pulled back, she could hear her father’s distant response and sense the restless mind waiting outside the door.
“It never is, little one.” Kenobi responded, placing his hand on Acacia’s other shoulder.
“I’ll talk to Cole about it. In the meantime, I did not come looking for you to discuss political outmaneuvering. I was hoping you would both have a few minutes to talk to an old friend.” Acacia said, indicating the door with her head. As her parents exchange confused looks, Acacia tapped a button on her glove. A few seconds later, Fenn Rau stepped through the door. He hesitated in the doorway for a moment, and then came forward.
“Your majesty.” Rau acknowledged Satine courteously, bowing in the traditional Mandalorian fashion.
“Protector, it is good to see you. You remember Master Kenobi,” Satine responded gracefully, accepting the bow and waiving her hand at her companion.
“Indeed I do, Duchess. It is a pleasure, Master Kenobi.” Fenn Rau greeted his old friend.
“The pleasure is mine, brother.” Obi Wan Kenobi returned the greeting with one of his amused smiles.
To be continued
Want to read more of Acacia’s adventures? Check out the rest of the Phantom Jedi series!