he terrace was empty when Luke and Liane got back to the residential area. Liane asked Threepio to prepare dinner. The otherwise talkative droid silently complied with her request.
"Where's is my sister, Threepio?" Luke asked, "Is anything wrong?"
"Master Luke, the princess and general Solo have been arguing about the princess' questions. General Solo got angry with princess Leia because her questions have upset mistress Liane. The general believed that the princess had treated mistress Liane unjustly. Even Chewbacca was angry with princess Leia."
"Shall I tell them they shouldn't worry about me?" Liane asked.
Luke shook his head.
"Han and Leia have always been bickering about things. They will make it up. I assure you," He said.
The door to the guest quarters slid aside. Han walked through the living and stepped out on the terrace followed by Chewbacca. When he saw Liane he walked over to her.
"Feeling you alright, sweetheart?" He asked looking at her. Liane heard the concern in his question.
"Yes, I do, Han. Where's Leia?"
She saw Han's frowning face and suddenly she started to laugh.
"Oh, Han. Now you're looking at me in the same way as you once did in Wuher's cantina in Mos Eisley."
"Leia is in our quarters. Are you sure you're alright?"
"Yes, sit down, and have a drink. Do you also want something to eat?"
Han shook his head, and sat down on one of the comfortable couches, but he still looked downhearted. He started talking with Luke, but half way their conversation his voice trailed off. Liane who had taken a seat next to Luke, watched him and felt how unhappy Han was. Luke noticed her concern.
'Stop worrying about what happened between my sister and Han, Liane. Let me talk to him,' He said using the Jedi silent way of communication.
"I'd better have a look and see, if Threepio and Artoo are already busy with our dinner ," Liane said and left the terrace.
Han watched her go. Chewbacca grunted a dark barking.
"You said it, Chewie," He addressed his brother-in-law, "Luke, is she really alright? She seemed really upset after Leia's blunt questions about Darth Golluth's possible knowledge."
"She is alright, Han" Luke said.
"You're trying to reassure me, don't you?" Han said, turning his head to see if Liane was still there.
"No, I don't. Liane is alright," Luke said calmly.
"I hope it's true, kid. I owe her so much and to see her leaving our company the way she did, was devastating. Did she tell you what's troubling her?"
"I know already for a long time, what's troubling her. I've offered her my help more than once, but it isn't easy to support a person who is so very Force-sensitive, as Liane is. That's the main problem. She knows she should rely on and trust her Force abilities, but she's also very scared of the influence the Force has on her. But we had a good chat together and I think she finally has made up her mind."
Han revive and looked less depressed.
"Luke, honestly, I would hate it, if Darth Golluth would entangle her in his web of dark intentions. We have to do everything to prevent that he will get her. What she told us about him, gives me the feeling that he is a nitwit, a creep, a cheater as she says. He's definitely not a real Sith, like your father."
"That depends, Han, on how much he has learned about the Sith lore. According to Leia's investigation he seems to be a highly Force sensitive person, but neither Leia nor I know what he really knows about the Force or the Dark Side. At a later moment Liane will tell us more about him."
"Hasn't this talk given you and Leia enough clues?" Han asked surly.
"Liane wants to tell us what she knows herself, but not tonight. We'll let it rest for now."
Liane came back and walked over to the two friends. She saw Han's inquisitive look. Chewbacca rose at his full height and grabbed her arm. He grunted a long series of barking and growls. Quizzically Liane looked at Han and Luke.
"He wants a truthful answer of you, Liane, if you really feel alright again." Han said,
Liane stroke the long hairy arm that held hers.
"Don't worry, Chewbacca, I'm fine."
She saw Han's skeptical glance and started laughing.
"And you too should stop worrying about me, Han. Threepio told me that dinner is ready in a couple of minutes. Han, please, will you, warn Leia. She must be very hungry too, as we completely missed the refreshments Threepio would serve earlier."
Han rose and walked back to the guest quarters. A moment later he returned with Leia. Her face still had a gloomy look and she sat down on one of the furthest couches. Liane offered her a drink, but she refused with a silent gesture.
They passed the dinner in complete silence, although Threepio desperately tried to keep the conversation going. At last Han became so annoyed with the droid that Threepio hastily retreated to his quarters, uttering a long series of protest about human beings and their unpredictable behavior.
After dinner Leia immediately went back to her quarters and Han followed Chewie to the Wookiee's guest room for a chat. Liane and Luke stayed behind. Liane felt ill at ease about the situation, but when Luke asked her about her explorations of the other caves and the underground network, she put her worries about Han and Leia aside and went with him to the library. She activated the holographic map with her new discoveries and told him about a beautiful underground waterfall she had found.
"How far is it?" Luke asked.
"Not so far, would you like to see it?" Liane asked. She looked up at him.
"Luke, you said that Han and Leia have been bickering always, but I feel you're worried too."
"I hope Han will tell my sister, that she is your guest, otherwise I will do it."
"Luke, please, they argued, because Han choose my side. Don't start quarreling too with Leia. I hate conflicts."
"Liane, my sister is a Jedi. She should know better than to act like an offended princess."
"I know she is a Jedi, but does that mean she might not be disappointed because Han so openly choose to defend me. You too showed your disappointment when I nearly killed commander Dendicott on Endor. Although you remained calm when you reprimanded me, your behavior was cold and distant. Your behavior frightened me. It felt like you weren't my friend any longer."
"I didn't know I made that impression on you on Endor. Am I still scaring you?" Luke asked teasingly.
Liane blushed. She couldn't find an immediate answer to his words.
"Do you still want to see the waterfall?" She asked quickly changing the subject that embarrassed her.
Luke laughed, sensing her embarrassment about his question, and nodded.
"I do, but first I want an answer to my question: Am I still scaring you?"
He wanted to pull her to him, but Liane had heard the teasing tone in his voice. She looked up and saw a similar teasing twinkle in his eyes, nonetheless she also felt a tension in his words.
"If you're pushing me to become a Jedi Knight, I am," She said determinedly and gave him a push.
Luke started laughing. Liane walked over to the passageway that lead to her private quarters.
"I'll have get my infocom, and change my clothes."
Within a couple of minutes she returned with a wristband with an infocom and a flashlight, wearing her ordinary outfit. Her hair was brushed backward and fixed tightly on top of her head in a rolled up ponytail.
"Come, Luke, I'm sure you like the spot."
They left the residential cave to the entrance and turned right.
"All my explorations start at the outside right of the main entrance." Liane said.
A few tech droids were busy in the entrance hall; they beeped when Liane waved at them.
"How do you communicate with these binaries?" Luke asked.
"Threepio has promoted himself as the ultimate leader of all the droids, including Artoo, Luke," Liane said grinning.
"And Artoo has willingly accepted Threepio's self-proclaimed droid leadership? I can't believe that," Luke commented.
"Of course Artoo hasn't, but Threepio simply has overruled all his objections, saying that he is the only interpreter droid here."
Luke chuckled. They rounded the corner of the entrance and entered another huge cave. Liane ignited her flashlight, before they walked on. Every now and then she checked the display on her infocom to see if they were following the right path.
"I would love to put light tubes on these walls and inside these caves, like I have in the other passageway. I already laid out my plan to the tech droids. They can do it, but I need Mon Mothma's permission, for this path is leading to remote caves outside her residence. This part of the cave network doesn't belong to the residential area like the caves behind the lake. One of the tech droids explained to me that the Supreme Chancellor has to get a new authorization from the Dalmaranian government to add new areas to her underground residence. If permission is granted the droids suggested to install a kind of motion detection system which only switches on when some one is following these passageways. I told them to use any sophisticated technology necessary with light tubes that change color. Especially in the cave where the waterfall is running."
They continued their walk for a while without further words, just enjoying the Force flow that united them. Liane pointed at the blue line on her infocom.
"There are a lot of side tracks branching out from this part of the passageway. One wrong turn and we might get lost for hours, that's why I marked this path, but we're almost there. The next part is a little difficult, because the path slopes downwards much steeper and becomes a bit slippery and irregular." She said.
"I'll ignite my flashlight too," Luke said.
He took a tiny flashlight from his belt and switched on its power. The beam send a intense light in front of them. Liane went ahead, carefully minding her steps. Finally she stopped near a steep right turn.
"Listen, Luke, you can hear the sound of the water. We're almost there."
They rounded a corner, Liane reached for some five lamps on a small ledge and switched them on. Luke looked around and switched off his flashlight. Thousands of natural crystals reflected the light of the five lamps and gave the cave a exquisite appearance. Stalagmites had been formed on the floor of the cave and had build up in multicolored rings. Stalactites were hanging from the cave's ceiling trying to reach their opponents to form fragile columns like a calcite forest or hanging down like a curtain.
"This is really awesome, Liane. What a great discovery! I'm sure the Supreme Chancellor will also like this."
"I love to sit here, watch the water flowing along and listen to the falling water in the stream. Wait, Luke, I'll switch on the other set of lamps."
She activated another five lamps. The whole cave was now illuminated. Luke walked over to the spot where the water entered the cave through a small hole in the rear wall. The water ran over a smooth eroded slab of rock, then fell about one meter and half in a pool from where it flowed through a rocky bedding to the opposite end, where the stream vanished in a gap under the rocks.
"Well, you haven't said too much. This is really a wonderful spot."
"I managed to put some rough blocks next to the stream, using your lesson on Endor lifting the branch. Shall we sit down for a while?"
She sat cross-legged on a large rough rock. Luke sat on one of the other rocks and leaned with his back against a thick calcite pillar. He watched Liane while she was looking with staring eyes at the ever flowing bubbling water. They sat together in absolute silence, only the sound of the waterfall was heard.
The sound of the bubbling rushing sound of the water made Luke aware that the Force wanted to show him something. He reached out to his unseen ally. He cast a quick glance at Liane, but she also seemed completely absorbed and surrounded by the sound of the rushing water.
Luke closed his eyes and the Force opened a path for him to contemplate on a horrible moment in the past of his eternal companion. He saw Liane standing next to his father. In front of them stood a young imperial officer surrounded by a dozen stormtroopers. He heard his father's rumbling voice, accusing the young officer of the abuse of Liane's reliance. The young officer protested, but Anakin interrupt the guy angrily.
The next Force images Luke saw, showed the remains of the young officer and a crying and highly upset Liane who ran away from the scene. Luke recalled what Liane had told him on Endor about Tijan's death. How Anakin had forced her to use the forbidden Force Choke and Force Stasis to suffocate Tijan until he was dead.
Luke let the Force show him what had happened on Morantan after Tijan's death. He saw how Liane willingly seemed to adept to the Dark Side of the Force, using his father's dark teachings whenever she needed to control his father's men. In those images he didn't recognize the young woman who was his eternal soul mate. The flow of images show a violent and very aggressive Liane, especially when the Force showed him his first encounter with her and how she had been looking at him with eyes fully of hatred, firing at him with her blaster. Those images of Liane, using the Dark Side of the Force without any resistance or reluctance, hurt him. He couldn't believe his judgment of her was so wrong. Unwittingly he shook his head. No, Liane wasn't really the violent person he had met that first time on Morantan. He had seen through that mask of violent behavior from the beginning. He had felt that her anger and aggressive behavior had been led by her fear and anguish of the way she was using the Force. He recalled the first changes in her attitude after they had met again on Ortel and on Wegoyy. On Endor he had found a young woman who still had many doubts about the right use of the Force, but who intuitively had developed and was using her Force powers as a healer, feeling much compassion for the suffering of wounded Ewoks. He had felt her hesitating acceptance of the Good Side of the Force while they had been together on Endor and especially during her way to help him to overcome the pain of his many losses on Tatooine. Finally here in Mon Mothma's hidden residence she had accepted the eternal bond between them. He was sure that one day she would overcome the dark teachings of his father.
Suddenly he became aware of a soft press on his arm.
"Luke, you are recalling sad memories again, aren't you?" A soft compassionate voice said on a soothing tone.
He released himself from his Force trance and met Liane's worried look.
He sat himself next to her, laid his arm around her shoulders and pulled her to him. After what the Force had shown him, he simply couldn't find an immediate answer to her concerned words. He only knew that he didn't believe his eternal soul mate wasn't following of the Good Side of the Force. They had been luminous beings for aeons. Had the Force really shown him how she had killed the officer, using Anakin's evil teachings? He had only heard Anakin's angry reaction at Tijan's defensive words, he hadn't really seen Liane killing the young officer. Why had the Force been showing him only parts of these devastating moments?
"Luke, what's the matter with you? Why aren't you saying anything? Who or what did you see? Was it Biggs again, or did you see how other friends of you died during the Civil War?" Liane urged on a soothing tone.
Again Luke felt how she was using her Force healing voice to ease the turmoil in his mind and comfort him. He pulled himself free of his disturbing thoughts and caressed her cheek.
"Thank you, my lovely eternal friend, for comforting me at moments like this. I'm alright again."
He felt her concern, but before she could ask another question he gently pressed her head against his shoulder.
"Be silent for a while, my eternal friend. Don't ask anything. Just let me hold you," He whispered.
He pulled her tighter to him. Liane didn't object. She wrapped her arm around him and hid her face against his tunic. She felt one with him, united in their eternal friendship, united through the power of the Force. She felt the same overwhelming emotion when they had stood close together on the terrace in Mos Eisley, looking at the far mesas.
"You're lying," Trimas said to Mugin. "You know where he is."
"I told you, he's gone. Gone, you twerp. He's probably already back in Irithim on Dalmaran. That's where he came from," Mugin grumble and turned around to his work behind the bar.
"If I'll find out that you're lying to me, you're a dead man. I hate your kind," The Twilek' said angrily.
Mugin look at two very sturdy Kayvoks, more than two and a half meters in length, and made a slight gesture with his head. The two slowly walked over to the bar and positioned themselves left and right of the Twilek'. Mugin poured them a drink.
"Get me another one too," The Twilek' said.
Mugin placed a mug with dark foaming draught in front of him.
"Getting drunk so early in the morning, little one," One of the Kayvoks growled.
"Mind your own business, will you," Trimas said.
"Watch your mouth, little one, or my brother and I may become angry," The other Kayvok growled.
"Mind your own business, " Trimas repeated, took his mug from the counter and tried to slip away.
"Not so fast, little one. We heard you were threatening our Quelan friend Mugin. We don't like that. You come with us. We have some questions and we want some truthful answers."
Trimas felt the point of blaster in his left side.
"I have done nothing, " He squeaked.
"That's for us to decided. Get on walking, little one, otherwise we help you walking," The Kayvok brothers growled in unison. They put Trimas on his feet and push him to a booth at the back of the tavern.
"Sit down and don't move," The eldest Kayvok growl.
"Thank you, my friends, we'll take over," Toallin said. "Well, mister, why are you so nervous? We're only interested in your concern for Radin."
"I don't know any Radin," Trimas squeaked, nervously looking at the blaster Toallin held in his hand.
"Then why are you interested in someone with that namef, if you don't know him." Toallin said angrily.
"I only asked, where the regular bartender is."
"My brother told you already. He's gone. Left. Told us he needed to get back to his home planet."
"I spoke to him the day before yesterday. He didn't tell me he intended to leave. Will you, please, put that blaster somewhere else. It makes me nervous."
"And it makes us nervous, if our customers are threatening us. We don't like such behavior."
Toallin nodded at the two Kayvoks.
"Take him away and make sure that he can't escape. I want to squeeze the truth out of him tonight."
The Kayvoks growled an affirmative and grinned. One of the Kayvoks lifted the Twilek' at his head tentacles. Trimas screamed. The Kayvok look annoyed and gave the Twilek' a blow with his fist. The Twilek's nose started bleeding.
"Just a warning, mister. Don't scream, when these guys are near. They have a highly sophisticated hearing and can't bear high frequency noises, like screaming. It makes them angry and very unpredictable. Remember this warning, I'll see you tonight. If you've survived their treatment, you're going to tell me the truth, if not I leave your faith in their hands."
Toallin left the booth and the two Kayvoks dragged the Twilek' between them to the backdoor of the tavern. They vanished with their victim in the dark alley.
Toallin and Mugin had watched the Kayvoks leave the bar. They looked at each other.
"Do you really think this is the guy who is behind those droid attacks?" Toallin asked his brother
"Absolutely. Look, I've got a holographic," Mugin said and showed his brother a datapad.
"Can't be mistaken. It's him. I'm going downstairs now. You'll manage." Toallin said.
Toallin left the bar and walked between his customers to the backside. He had some words of conversation and offered some drinks to regular customers. For a while he sat on the bench of booth, watching the hussle and bussle, before he disappeared through a hidden door. Quickly he crossed the courtyard through a covered passageway and entered his private quarters. For a moment he let his eyes adjust to the darkness indoors, then he found his way to the closet. He removed the crates, opened the trapdoor, switched on his torch light and vanished into the underground cellars, closing the trapdoor behind him.
"Ian, where are you? Feeling alright, son. I've got news." He whispered.
Ian Tydon looked up. He switched on his own flashlight. Toallin watched him.
"Any luck?" He asked.
Ian shook his head.
"Keep trying, son. Here I brought you some food and drinks. The news is, that we've got him. Your Twilek' friend, I mean."
"He showed up?" Ian said surprised, "He certainly has courage."
"No, he seemed desperate. He lost an informant, and he is serving an unfriendly master. I'm going to interrogate him tonight."
"He won't tell you anything, Toallin. He is very elusive," Ian said shaking his head.
"Leave that to Mugin and me. Some good friends of us are preparing him for interrogation. I can assure you, that he will talk."
"You won't kill him, will you?" Ian asked concerned.
"We won't, that's a promise. We hate unnecessary violence, but he has to be cooperative. If we extract the truth out of him, we'll see to it, that he won't be able to inform any one. I'll have to go now. Go on with the way of communicating between you Jedi and asked that master of yours to get you out of this trouble fast. "
"I will, boss. I wished ... "
"Stop calling me 'boss', it's Toallin, understood. My brother and I want you help you, for you've picked up a lot of troubles. Let's find a solution. Wishes are irrelevant now. What we need is help from that master of you. Find a way to contact him."
Toallin left the cellars. He replaced the crates in the closet and closed its door.
'Too uncertain about his skills, probably not yet experienced enough,' he thought, 'His master shouldn't have left this guy on his own. I'd wish I knew a way to reach that Jedi, but the Palomintar System has no possibilities to communicate with Dalmaran.'
Ian had switched off his torch light and sat in the dark. He tried to reached out to the Force, but his concentration was distracted by all kinds of disturbing thoughts.
'What if I'm unable to reach master Luke? Would he be disappointed in me? I've spoiled our mission. He will certainly cast me out of the Jedi order. I have failed him.'
"Come on, Ian," He whispered, "Give it another try. You have done this before, and master Luke was proud of your progress. You must keep trying. One way or the other you will be able to reach master Luke and tell him you need his help."
Then he focussed on the Force again and this time he felt he became one with his powerful ally.
'Master, hear me. I need help,', He thought and tried to focus on the Force, but again his concentration slackened and the flow of the Force left him once again. Desperate Ian Tydon stared in the darkness around him. A darkness that seemed to enclose him more and more.
Next morning as Luke woke up, he immediately recalled the events of the day before. Most important, of course, was Liane's acceptation of their joint eternal past, as partners and as servants of the Force, as Jedi Knight. Luke understood, how much uncertainties Liane still felt, having been a Jedi Knight in a some of their former lives, but after their serious chat later that day, he was convinced, that she would learn to accept her destiny as a future Jedi-healer and Jedi Knight, like her mother had been.
For a moment the image of Liane's Force vision where she stood among his other friends as a fully-fledged Jedi Knight, popped up in Luke's mind. He smile. If Liane would lose her fear for the Force, and learned to use the Force in the ways of the Jedi, their joint future would certainly become true. He pondered on the plan he had in mind to show her the secrets in the Jedi archive. His former master had more or less agreed with his idea, that the hidden knowledge of the Jedi would intrigue Liane. What's more, master Yoda seemed to be looking forward meeting Severine daughter, as he had called Liane.
Yet after his Force vision last night of Tijan's death and Liane's use of the Dark Side afterwards, Luke couldn't suppress a certain reluctant feeling. Hadn't master Yoda warned him about his strong emotions for Liane? Hadn't his former master warned him to avoid the fatal decisions of his father, and stay in control of his feelings for the girl who was his eternal partner? Could it be that they should remain opponents, because of her upbringing by Anakin? Could he really be wrong about her, because his feelings for her were blinding his mind.
Luke put his hands behind his head and thought about everything he had learned so far about Liane. Anakin had told him that she could be a powerful Jedi. His father had insisted more than once that he should take her as his padawan learner. If Anakin was so sure about Liane's Force use as a Jedi Knight, then it seemed impossible that she already had fallen victim to the Dark Side of the Force. Master Yoda had warned him to control his feelings, but he hadn't rejected his eternal relationship with Liane. His old master had said that Liane had to find out her destiny herself, and had urged him to protect and guide her, not as her master, but as a friend. That's what Ben and Anakin had asked him too on Endor, after his reaction on Liane's accusations and his misuse of the Force.
No, he felt certain, Liane wasn't a user of the Dark Side. There was too much good in her, too much compassion in her for other living beings. He clearly felt it, every time when she unwittingly used her healing powers to sooth and comfort his mind. Whatever objections master Yoda could have against his feelings for Liane, he felt sure about those feelings. Weren't master Yoda's objections similar to the discussion he had had with Ben on Dagobah about the good he had felt in his father. Ben had rejected his remarks, saying that Anakin was a machine, twisted and evil. He had surrendered to his father, after he had told Leia, that she was his twin sister and that he had to bring their father back to the Good Side. His feelings had been right, Anakin had admitted that there had been conflicting feelings for Luke. Hadn't Liane told him she had felt the same conflict in Anakin too? As he had been right about his father, could he be wrong about Liane? What's more, hadn't she herself ask him to teach her the basic principles of the ways of the Jedi yesterday.
While Luke was pondering on how he had to proceed his relationship with Liane, she was talking to Threepio about their breakfast.
"Make it something extraordinary, Threepio. Yesterday's dinner didn't do justice to your skills as supervisor of those cooking droids," she said.
"Didn't you like what I served you, mistress Liane?" the droid asked, "I noticed that none of you have eaten much, except for master Luke. He complimented me, but general Solo seemed rather crossed with my servings, and you and mistress Leia didn't have much appetite too.
"What you served, was delicious, honestly, Threepio," Liane said gently, "We didn't do justice to your dinner, because of what happened early."
"You mean the quarrel between the general and princess Leia? Or was it because I saw you rejecting master Luke's gestures? You shouldn't have done, mistress Liane. Master Luke has the best interest in you. He likes you very much."
Liane started laughing, "Thank you for concern, Threepio. Now, please, do as I asked."
The protocol droid left. Liane watched him go. She liked this mechanical companion and his barrelshaped counterpart and saw them as her friends. Still in a happy mood she made a few elated somersaults on the terrace stairs, crossed the lawn and entered the cool forest cavern. Between the several trees a soft whirl of fog patches covered the leaves of trees and the undergrowth with little drops of dew. Liane enjoyed the soft dripping sound as the droplets fell from the leaves to the cave floor, although she was aware that the technical system always created the fog patches and the little droplets during the hours she was sleeping. She let her hand touch some leaves and felt the moist on her fingers. Everything looked so real in Mon Motha's residence that it was hardly believable most of it was done technically and artificially.
Liane walked further into the forest cavern and reached the spot were Luke and she had talked the day before. She looked for a nearby branch, but here the trees were smaller and the branches to thin to carry her weight. Slowly she walked back to the large tree which had become her favorite place to daydream. Easily she reached out to the Force and landed on the lower branch. She climbed to a higher branch which gave her a better view on the underground lake. With a happy sigh she sat against the tree stem and relived the unbelievable and unexpected arrival of Luke and the incredible outcome of their chat. No longer did she have to be reluctant about her feelings for him, because their feelings were mutual.
Liane closed her eyes and recalled Luke's words before he gently had kissed her her. Definitely he had felt her secret longing. Hadn't he looked at her in his own special way at that moment, while she had tried to hide what was on her mind? Had he really felt uncertain about her feelings for Ian? Her happy response to Ian's attention during their trip in the submersible must have hurt his feelings. She wished she would have noticed his uncertainty, for than she would have assured him that his friendship meant more to her than Ian's. If she would have told him how she felt about him, he surely wouldn't have felt their goodbye as a separation. Deep inside she wished she already had understood the meaning of his question on Ortel and not after the mysterious voice had explained it on Tatooine. Why had she been so occupied with what was going to happen to her after she had been brought to Irithim the first time? Would Luke had given her the Jedi-pendant if she admitted that she knew who he was? Her behavior had caused so much trouble, but that would change from now on. She had asked Luke to teach her the basic principles of the Ways of the Jedi, although she couldn't decide yet, if she wanted to become a Jedi Knight, like him, although she had seen herself as a Jedi Knight among her other friends in that wonderful Force vision. For a moment Liane opened her eyes and smiled, gently and serenely.
She closed her eyes again and mused about that awesome vision she had seen on Tatooine. She also recalled several other Force visions she had seen. What had struck her in some of those visions was that if one of them had passed away, the one who had been left behind, had withered and died soon afterwards. Only if they had been both Jedi Knights or Jedi Masters each of them had served his or her time until he or she had become one with the Force again and to meet the eternal partner again in a next Force life.
"It's so incomprehensible," She whispered, "We've always been partners, companions and friends for generations."
Again the image she had seen on Tatooine appeared in her mind, but suddenly the scene changed and she saw herself standing between to Luke and Wedge with ignited lightsaber, fighting a group of droids. Again the vision changed and now she was kneeling next to a severely wounded young man, while three imperial officers were running over to her. Two of them wanted to push her aside, but the third one knelt next to her and looked at her in a particular way.
"Master Severini," she heard him say, "I never have been able to thank you for saving me life." The man started talking to the other two officers. He seemed to urge them to let her take care of the severely wounded young man. Once again The images vanished and she was standing in a dark cave, looking at a kind of furniture draped with a cloth. On it lay Luke with an ashen grey face. She stretched out her hand to place her hand over his face, but before the Force could tell her what had happened to him, a voice disturbed her concentration.
"Your Jedi friend is dead," the voice said, "and now I'm the only person in this galaxy who will be your protector, Liane Vader. Only I, Darth Golluth!"
"Trevor Matrik," She thought, "On board the Falcon I also have heard Trevor Matrik in that nightmare. Luke called it a nightmare, but it certainly was a Force vision. Will Trevor kill Luke? Will he be able to do that and how can it be that I meet him again. This doesn't make sense with the Force vision I shared with Luke. The one that made him so happy. It also contradicts with what I have seen before the voice of Trevor disturbed me."
Deep in thoughts Liane fought with these contradicting and confusing images in her mind, as she suddenly remembered an old lesson of her foster father.
"My daughter, when any circumstance confuses or scares you, you must keep in full control any disturbing emotions, for losing control will make you vulnerable. Look at your situation carefully. You're the one who's in charge and you need to stay in control of the situation. Don't let any opponent control you, never listen to arguments, outwit your opponent, you're smarter than anyone, for you can rely on the most powerful ally we have: the Force. Just rely on her power and ask her to give you her answer to all your questions and let you control everything what's needed."
"Rely on the Force," Liane murmured, "I have to use my Force skills to find out what harm has been done to Luke. Trevor said he was dead, but will the Force tell me the same."
She reached out to the Force to recall the images, but her attempt was in vain. The images didn't reappear. With growing confusion Liane sat motionless for some minutes, before she jumped on the cave floor.
"I have to ask Luke and tell him what I saw," She decided determinedly. She left the forest cave.
"Oh, there you are," a familiar voice called her as she crossed the lawn, "I went looking for you in that harvest cave. Threepio has asked me to tell you that breakfast is ready. Leia, Han and Chewie are waiting for us."
Luke wanted to walk up with her to the terrace stairs, but Liane grabbed his arm and pulled him with her to where he had come from. Luke noticed a familiar uncertainty in her attitude.
"Come with me. I need to tell you something," She said on a determined tone, "I don't want the others to hear what I'm telling you. At least not yet."
"What's troubling you, Liane?" Luke asked.
They had reached the small cave which she used as a storage room for her dried herbs. Liane switched on the light tubes and pulled him side the cave, before she turned to him.
"Luke, I am now absolutely sure that Trevor Matrik is Darth Golluth. Do you remember I told you about that dark clad person who told me you were dead. It was Trevor who spoke to me. You said I had a nightmare, but I'm sure I had a Force vision on board the Falcon. I had a similar vision a moment ago. Again I saw you laying on a kind of catafalque in a dark cave. You looked very pale and I heard Trevor's voice saying that you were dead. This time I clearly have recognized his voice. I felt confused about what he said, for I had put my hand over your face, and I was certain that the Force wanted to tell me something else. However the image vanished and as I reached out to the Force to show me what would occur next, nothing happened. Luke, this doesn't make sense, for I have shared a completed different image of you, me and the other Jedi standing before a building. I think it's time to find out what Trevor wants of me, and more important if he is a threat to you."
Luke Skywalker looked at the young woman who stood in front of him with a determined, but also the familiar aggressive look in her eyes. However, he also sensed the confusion about the Force images she had seen. He sat down on one of the stone slabs and pulled her next to him.
"Liane, you felt confusioned about what you saw, didn't you?" He asked, "and you expected that the Force would tell you more, don't you?"
Liane nodded and wanted to respond to his remark, but Luke hushed her with a gentle gesture.
"After those confusing images vanished did you reach out to the Force again?"
"Yes, Luke. I wanted to reassure myself, that nothing serious had happened to you, for Trevor's words had disturbed my Force concentration."
"So, you wanted the Force to take away your confusion and the rising fear about what you saw?"
"Yes, your father always told me, that I never should give in to disturbing emotions, like confusion or fear. I should always remain in control of any situation and use the Force to obey me and tell me what I had to do."
"Liane, my dearest, the Force will only obey your commands if you ask no questions and have a peaceful mind. You weren't at peace with yourself, for you reached out to the Force to get reassurance about the vision you saw which had disturbed you. Your attempt failed and the failure aroused your aggressive feelings, didn't it?"
Liane nodded and whispered, "Yes, that's true, Luke. Like always I couldn't see more, for the Force never seems to obey my commands, as Anakin said she would."
Luke gently stroke her cheek and smiled, "You always act this way when you feel threatened, attacked or, in this case confused, and because the Force does not tell you what you want to know or should do, you seek to control the situation with the aggression to mask the frustration and disappointment you feel. It's lucky that you already have learned to put into practise my lessons more and more. Also this time, although I still sense your confused emotions about what the Force has shown you about me. I can't take away your confusion, my dearest, for what you've told me is unclear to me too. It's important for you that you learn to look at your Force visions from many more points of view, and above all look at them with a peaceful mind. What the Force shows you, probably has to be interpreted as a possible event, not as an absolute possibility."
"But the Force has shown me the recovery of Teebo and his friends. Leia and Ian have confirmed their recovery. And I also have seen Leia's wedding gown which no one, not even you, knew about," Liane protested, "You also believe in the Force vision I shared with you, and now you're telling me I have to be more skeptical about what the Force is showing me. All those visions I have had, have become true, at least the first ones. Luke, just before I saw the terrifying vision with Trevor, I had another strange vision of us. You, me and your friend master Antilles were fighting a group of droids which were attacking us."
Liane told him about the images of the strange fight and also of her encounter with the three imperial officers.
"One of them called me 'master Severini' as if he saw my mother. He said he wanted to thank me for saving his life. I sat next to a severely wounded young man and wanted to help him, when two of the imperial officers wanted to hold me back. Those two retreated after the officer who addressed me as Severini talked to them. Who were those men and who was the severely wounded young man?"
Luke put his hands on her shoulders.
"Why are you still seeking answers to something the Force has shown you. Learn to rely more on the power of Force, my dearest, not in the way Anakin taught you, but as a Je... user of the Good Side should do and stop questioning the will of the Force. Learn to be more aware of where you are now. Focus your mind on what you're doing. Only then the Force will show you what has to be done, what next step you have to take. There is no other way. 'Now let go of that disturbing vision with Trevor, clear your mind. Don't seek for answers anymore and don't ask any questions. We won't talk more about all this, not until Leia and Han have gone back to Irithim'."
Liane heard Luke's soft and gently Jedi voice penetrating her mind. She looked at him and tried to smile, but her smile became a deep sigh.
"This is all so difficult, Luke. I don't want that any harm will be done to you or to others."
"I appreciate your concern. I know you care about me, but, Liane, I have learned to rely on the Force and you should do the same."
For a while Liane averted her eyes. Luke gave her time to find her composure.
"We have to get back to the terrace, Liane? Threepio has served a delicious looking breakfast and Leia has told me, that they want to leave today. I have told them, that before they are going you want to tell them more about Trevor Matrik."
Liane nodded. Luke rose and pulled her to her feet. Before they went back to the residential area, Luke said, "After Leia and Han have gone, I promise that I will come back to these disturbing images you have seen, but as I said earlier, don't expect that I can give you the reassurance you are seeking. I only can help you to find a certain way to cope with them."
They walked back to the terrace were Leia, Han and Chewie were waiting at the breakfast table. Liane cast a quick glance at the table and nodded approvingly. She looked at Threepio and Artoo.
"Well done, my friends. Thanks for your efforts," She said, before she sat down.
Han wanted to say something, but Leia shook her head.
"Your droids have done their utmost to give us an excellent start of the day, before we head back to Irithim, Liane," Leia said.
"Luke told me that you and Han want to go back to Irithim today?" Liane said.
"Yes, we do, for I think that my brother wants to be alone with you again, so he can continue with your Force training," Leia answered.
Liane blushed, as Luke commented on Leia's words.
"That's right, Leia, but before you leave us, Liane wants to tell us all she remembers about Trevor. But, let's enjoy this exquisite breakfast first, for I sense that Chewbacca is looking longingly for the plate with those pieces of raw meat."
Chewbacca grumbled. Liane jumped from her seat and put the plate with the raw meat in front of her hairy friend.
"Looking at this plate must have been tantalizing, so enjoy your meal, Chewie," She said with a laugh.
They all started to laugh when Chewie began to indulge in the dish that Threepio had specially prepared for him.
Liane noticed happily that during their breakfast Han and Leia were teasingly talking to each other. She sighed relieved. Luke had been right, they had made up their silly argument.
After they had finished their breakfast they sat on the couches on the terrace. Leia looked invitingly at Liane. For a moment Liane seemed to hesitate, but then she felt the encouraging presence of Leia and Luke through the Force.
"I already wanted to tell you more yesterday, but Luke thought it would be better not to do it at that time. As you're planning to leave today, I want to tell you as much as I can remember. It's not easy for me, because I also have to recall much of my own misuse of the Force which still scares me. Leia, you asked me if Trevor might have gained his dark knowledge on Morantan. I'm not sure about it, but as I said yesterday he might, for Trevor has been spying on me and Anakin while he was on Morantan. That is to say, before Anakin started to teach me any real use of the Dark Side, like the forbidden Force Choke and Force Stasis. During the first year of his assignment on Morantan Trevor something accompanied Anakin and me, as Anakin was supervising my endurance training with a group of his men in the jungle forest around his stronghold. During those sessions Trevor told me, how much he admired Anakin and that he wanted to learn how to use the Force the way Anakin was teaching me. He also often scoffed me if I disobeyed Anakin's instructions, or argued with Anakin about his teachings. He said that he would be a far more dedicated apprentice than I was. I'm not sure if he really has gained any real knowledge of the Dark Side at that time, because I mainly had to practise numerous physical exercises, using my Force abilities. During those lessons it became more and more clear to me, that Anakin greatly mistrusted Trevor, and as I had to learn more specific Dark knowledge, Anakin took me within him to the remote island of Ferlusa, an island in an archipelago on the other side of Morantan. There was a well tended building were we stayed overnight, if Anakin needed more time to instruct me. There I had to practice his dark teachings until he was satisfied. Trevor has never accompanied Anakin and me on those trips."
The last words Liane had said on a whispering tone. Luke commented on her words.
"So it's unlikely that Trevor has learned much about the Dark Side on Morantan. Liane's words tell us that father took severe precautions as he sensed that Trevor could be a thread to his position as emperor Palpatine's most trusted man. If we would find out that Darth Golluth is a real Sith Lord, then Trevor must have found another Dark Lord elsewhere who has taken him as his apprentice. That is a severe warning for us Jedi, for that means that there might be another Sith lord hiding somewhere. There also is chance that Darth Sidious, the emperor, had become annoyed with Anakin's own secret goal to train his foster-daughter on the Dark Side of the Force without consulting him. In that case Trevor's master could have been emperor Palpatine, or Darth Sidious. My dearest, have you ever met the emperor personally?"
Liane nodded reluctantly.
"Emperor Palpatine has visited Morantan several years after Trevor had gotten his assignment as member of the Morantan staff. He was one of the officers who welcomed the emperor who he seemed to know very well. Anakin introduced me as a future assistant and apprentice to the emperor. I felt quite anxious when he called me to come over and kneel before him. He subjected me to a whole series of assignments and questions that I had to execute and answer on the spot. He was so completely malicious, that I only saw a huge cloud of darkness and evil whirling around him. "
The emperor seemed to be very pleased with my answers, for he complimented Anakin with the results of my upbringing. As he left Morantan he made me promise that I should make enough progress so he could complete my training on Coruscant at a later stage. He certainly was accepting me as his future assistent, but I've never met him again, nor has Anakin ever told me that he had any plans to send me to Coruscant."
Liane's voice trembled as she recalled her encounter with emperor Palpatine.
"Do you remember when the emperor visited Morantan, " Leia asked gently and continued on a caring tone, "I mean, can you give us an idea when that visit took place. You said, that the emperor came to Morantan some time after Trevor Matrik had arrived at our father's stronghold. How old were you."
"Fifteen, maybe sixteen, Leia, for something odd has happened after Trevor had come to Morantan. More than once I noticed some odd changes in my fa... Anakin's behavior. He became less demanding, sometimes he even was friendly and showed he care about me. More and more I sensed odd conflicting thoughts in his mind. After Anakin had found out that Luke could be his son, his behavior was changing. At first he became very secluded, but after some months he started to tell me about the Jedi and about a certain Luke Skywalker who wanted to become a Jedi Knight. He also told me more about the two sides of the Force: the Good Side and the Dark Side, and about the servants of both sides: the Jedi Knights and the Siths. I had to listen to those teachings which were more a kind of monologues to himself, as if he couldn't believe what the Force was revealing to him. It seemed all so very odd to me, as he mentioned the name of Luke Skywalker. He sometimes seems to have caring emotions about Luke, although he repeated every time that the Jedi Knights were the ultimate enemies of the Siths."
"Enough of this. Thank you, my dearest," Luke said and put his arm around Liane, "So, Palpatine agreed with Anakin's plan. Anakin has presented Liane as his apprentice, his padawan learner at the dark side with the full consent of the emperor. That leaves us to the following conclusion: it's unlikely that Palpatine, as the Sith lord, Darth Sidious has taken Trevor as his apprentice, for he wanted Liane to join him on Coruscant, so he could personally oversee the completion of her training."
"Sounds reasonable,Luke, but how will we find out, what real knowledge of the Dark Side Trevor has?" Leia asked.
"Ian and I will continue with our investigation in the Palomintar System. I'll go back to Palomintar Six to pick up Ian and we will go into orbit around Palomintar Four again. I want to observe the planet more closely and seek the place where Trevor might be hiding. But most important; we all have to be patient, you too, Leia. We know that Trevor lives on Palomintar Four, for that's where Olon Dendicott and Rand Phylotar wanted to take Liane. You told me that Mon Mothma has confirmed some information Coruscant has shared with us about Trevor's possible hiding place," Luke said and Liane felt the dominant power as a Jedi Knight.
"I don't agree kid, I think we should land on Palomintar Four and defeat this guy as soon as possible." Han said.
"How should we do that, Han. Palomintar Four is indeed the smallest planet of the Palomintar system, but still the locations where Trevor can hide are numerous. We haven't pinpointed his exact hiding place yet. We also need to know more about his intentions. We only know, that he is looking for Liane. Does he still expect that she will tell him more about the knowledge Anakin has taught her; does he seek an alliance with her, hoping she will help him carrying out the plans he has in mind. In case he is a fully fledged Sith lord, does he want her to become his apprentice, taking over Anakin's position as her teacher. He even still might have the intention of marrying her," Luke answered.
Liane opened her mouth to protest, but when she saw Luke's serious look she silenced and looked away to the lake.
"Ian and I will start with our next investigations while orbiting the planet, while the Astræga will be invisible, using her cloaking device. I've sensed some strange Force vibrations when we did a fly-by at a high altitude near the planet, but the tremors were short and weak. I also need to find out if Trevor can sense our presence through the Force. Moreover Mon Mothma has told us no one is allowed to land on Palomintar Four without permission of Coruscant and Irithim. I only hope that Mon Mothma will give Liane permission to stay here as long as necessary."
"That's no problem, Luke," Leia said thoughtful, but also cautiously, "but your plan might take much time before we get results. What about Liane and you? You're both looking forward to be together and Liane might get bored with the way she has to live here in seclusion after you've gone back to the Palomintar System."
"I'm alright here, Leia. You shouldn't worry. I always can be together with Luke if I use his gift, and I like it here, I can do what I want and there still are a lot of caves and caverns to explore. I've already told Mon Mothma about my discoveries. She is delighted. I have stored the results of my explorations in the library computer, so future residents might profit from it. I see it as a way to pay back for all the trouble I have caused in the past."
"You mean, you see your stay here as your eight years of detention?" Han said.
"Well I hope my stay here will be shorter, but at least I know you will all visit me every now and then, and there isn't any commander like Dendicott to scoff me. Of course I want a normal life, because I want to explore the galaxy together with Luke," She said.
"I'll do everything to make that happen, for I can't imagine a more wonderful future," Luke said, looking at her with a happy smile.
To be continued...