To Stalk a Skywalker


Timestamp: roughly 3 years before “From the Ashes” (Celi is roughly 19 years old)

Location: Correlia (The old world)



The sun was just setting over the Massassi temple in the center of the Correlian Jedi Academy when Celi finally reached the academy gates.  Bright red colors tinted the clouds and the edges of all the buildings reminding Celi of just how beautiful nature could be sometimes.  For a few moments, she just stood there and watched the sun slowly set.  She used the quiet moment to set her thoughts and bury her emotions which were always right below the surface after returning from a visit with Oni.  Closing her eyes, she ran through some breathing techniques to calm herself.  It was only a minute before she opened her eyes again, her feelings and thoughts centered, and entered the academy grounds.


Inside the main gates, a large fountain stood in the middle of a grassy courtyard.  A few students, most of them older than Celi, lounged on the edge of the fountan.  Guri, a Trandoshan from Correlia was exploiting his strength over Kyn, a male human from Duros as the two sparred with dummy lightsabers.  Both of them were third year warriors along with Celi.  The two fighting ignored her as she crossed the mostly empty courtyard but two of the students at the fountain watched her as she moved across the open area towards the dormitory.  Fortunately, vacation wouldn’t end until tomorrow so the courtyard was less crowded than usual.  It would give her some time to get settled once again and used to the way other students treated her.


Someone here was always watching her.  Sometimes people were wondering why she was still at the academy, despite her heretical beliefs she once expressed freely.  Some people felt sorry for her, since her mother died when she was only nine on an unknown mission for the Jedi Council.  But most people just noticed her because she was a Skywalker and naturally stood out.  When she was just coming back from visiting her boyfriend, she noticed the attention all the more since she felt somewhat guilty for the lie she was living.  No one knew that she and Oni were dating of course; since romance was once again forbidden to the Jedi.  Celi shook the thoughts of Oni from her head; surface thoughts could be easily read.  Thoughts of her love would get her expelled. 


She’d almost made it to the dormitory door before she felt a cold chill run down her spine as if she were being watched more intensely than someone feeling just idle curiosity.  A quick glance around her dispelled that fear but she hastily moved into the dormitory and up to her room on the second floor.  Maybe it was someone who disliked her feeling disappointed by her return?  One of the older students showed a special dislike to her presence.  Once Sin-deel even went so far as to call Celi a disease; she was infecting the academy with dissidence.  Now Celi’d learned to be discreet about it, just barely (she knew Skywalkers were never good at being discreet but she’d learned to shut up).


With a last glance over her shoulder, she turned and quickly navigated her way through the roomy stone hallways up to her second story bedroom.  Surprisingly, she didn’t pass any students the whole time.  There were fewer students on campus than she realized.  After she entered, the door closed quietly behind her.  Her bag went to the floor just inside the doorway, and her datapad went to her nightstand.  The door remained unlocked; trust was important among Jedi.  She was about to sit down on her bed when something white in the corner of her vision caught her attention.  Back in the corner near the door, a piece of flims fluttered slightly.  It must have been blown there when the door opened.  With her curiosity peaked, she walked back to the doorway and scooped up the note.  It turned out to be an envelope, addressed to ‘Celicia’ with no mention of the sender.  Once she moved back to the bed, she flipped on the bedside light then gently ripped the envelope open.


            “You’ve grown…more beautiful I mean…

and much shorter for a Jedi.”


There was no signature on the note but the line sounded very familiar to Celi.  It didn’t quite match her memory of the most recent remake of “Attack of the Clones” but it sounded almost like a line Anakin used on Padame.  Maybe it was from an earlier historical remake.  It couldn’t be from Oni; he would never endanger their relationship so casually; not to mention a note that traveled that far would actually have an address.  Perhaps it was someone in the academy teasing her?  Her father, a historian for the Council, had raised her to know more history than the average Jedi student.  Perhaps whoever had written the note was using history to mock her?  No matter, she wouldn’t let it get to her and eventually they would leave her alone.  At least, that was usually the best solution.


**                                **                                **


A few days later, Celi had completely forgotten about the note in favor of thoughts of a lightsaber and her training.


“What color are you going to pick, Mudakka?”  Celi asked her wookie friend at lunch.


He shrugged, and replied {I hadn’t thought about that yet.  I was more interested in building the lens assembly.}


“You were always more interested in tinkering than appearance,” Stephanie responded with a smile.


“Function over fashion is what keeps warriors alive,” Celi responded mildly, “Not that there’s much danger for a Jedi these days.”


“Well, I think I want to make my lightsaber pink.”  A grin spread out across Stephanie’s face as she thought about it.  “Something that’ll stand out and be fashionable.  Plus, it’ll match my outfit.  What about you, Celi?”


“The traditional Skywalker color is green, but I think I want to make mine silver,” Celi said after she swallowed a mouthful of her dinner. 


{You know, you don’t always have to think about what the “Skywalker” thing is to do,} Mudakka roared. 


Celi shrugged.  Luke Skywalker and her mother were never afraid to stand up for what they believed in.  She freely admitted she wanted to be like them.  “It’s just a crystal color…”


The sound of the hourly bell resounded slightly within the stone walls of the dining room prompting Celi to hop quickly out of her chair, “Sithspit!  I have my weekly meeting with my master now.  I’ll catch up with you both later,” she called over her shoulder, already halfway across the dining room.  The roll she still had in her hand was the only food she brought with her.


Mudakka howled a good-bye after her as she ran out into the corridor, nearly smashing headlong into an older male student on his way to dinner.


Celi ran up to her room to retrieve her padded lightsaber replica before she headed towards her master’s training room.  It would make her even later to her lesson, but she’d get chewed out for forgetting it.  With a gentle telekinetic nudge, her door swung open in front of her, allowing her to continue full speed into her room.  Where she skidded to a halt in the middle of the room as a package on her bed caught her eye.  The hairs on the back of her neck tingled a little bit, the classic ‘bad sign’ sensation for a Jedi. 


Haste momentarily forgotten, she cautiously moved to the bed and scooped up the package.  It was taped shut with only her name written on it once again.  She knew she should head to her lesson before she was even later, but the package had sparked her interest.  Gently, her fingers pulled off the pieces of tape and she lifted the lid.  Inside, there was a canister of hot chocolate from Coruscant and another note.


“Luke Skywalker loves hot chocolate, right?  I hope you feel the same way.”

-A fellow student”


She glanced over at her shelf where her jar of hot chocolate was nearly empty.  She hadn’t had a chance to refill it because she hadn’t visited her father on Coruscant in months.  But everyone liked hot chocolate, right?  She carefully put the note and the canister on the shelf.  Later, she would have time to mull over this later.  Right now, her master was not going to be pleased at her tardiness.


**                                **                                **


Once she reached the door to the gymnasium, Celi slowed her gate down to a walk and entered the room quietly.  In the middle, her master sat meditating, his own padded sword resting on the ground in front of him.  “We do meet at the same time every week, do we not Jedi Skywalker?”


“Yes master, I’m sorry master,” Celi apologized as she sat down cross legged across from him. 


After a moment he opened his eyes and smiled slightly.  “It’s alright.  Most students are excited about building a lightsaber and forget about classes entirely.  Did you have a good break?”


Celi nodded slightly while her master watched knowingly.  “Good.  Do you want to go take a walk outside?” he asked gently.


Again, Celi nodded.  She liked being outside with nature.  Master Ryshi scooped up his saber as he stood up and slung it onto his back.  His long, brisk stride carried him quickly to the door so that Celi almost had to trot to keep up. It only took about five minutes to navigate through the hallways out into the sunlight.  Once outside, her master continued across the courtyard and out into the forest which surrounded the academy.  Celi followed silently as he walked through the trees and into a clearing out behind the academy walls.  The place was familiar, as Celi often came out here to meditate.


“Why don’t we sit down, Celi?” he finally asked.  She shrugged slightly but sat down in the middle of the clearing.  The feel of the grass on her ankles tickled slightly.  Master Ryshi sat down across from her.  “Are you feeling ok?  You seem more tense than usual.”


Celi shrugged, knowing full well how hard it was for a Padawan to hide anything from his or her master.  The question was what particular problem was he keying in on?  “Things have been a little strange the last week or so,” she admitted.  It was true enough.


“If you have a personal issue that’s bothering you, then perhaps you should discuss it with someone you can trust.”


Celi shrugged slightly.  Over the years she’d wished she could have someone to talk to but the only person who fit that description was Onuite.  Mudakka seemed to be pretty open; perhaps she could talk to him.  When she looked up from her thoughts her master was still staring at her calmly.  As a fairly open person she was always a terrible liar.


“I’ve been getting these love letters back at my dorm room.  The first one was already in my room when I got back from break,” Celi finally spoke up.  Surprisingly, it felt good to let someone know.  And, even better, her master didn’t seem upset with her.  That really shouldn’t surprise her though.  He never showed much disappointment.


“What kind of love notes?  Could they be from someone close to you?”


Celi shrugged, “I don’t think so.  I had assumed it was a student that was trying to get under my skin, but he knows some strange things about me.”


“Like what?”


“I don’t know if it was coincidence or not, but I have a hot chocolate supply in my room and he left me a new canister right before my old canister ran out.”


Her master thought for a moment, “I’d like to see these letters, if you don’t mind.  You are sure they aren’t from a friend at the Yavin academy?”


Celi blushed slightly but simply shook her head, “I know it isn’t him.”


Master Ryshi nodded slightly then stood up, “Well, I appreciate your honesty, and willingness to trust me.  Bring those notes by when you get a chance, but I believe you have chores to do?”


Celi glanced down at her chrono…almost 1400 hours, “Yes, and thank you,” Celi stood and bowed quickly before running off in the direction of the academy.




Celicia Skywalker ran through the cafeteria, on her way to the cleaning closet.  Only about ten students remained in the cafeteria, finishing their lunches, or simply chatting about some lesson or another.  Two other students were already at the closet getting out the cleaning supplies for scrubbing down the tables and floors.  Celi nodded in greeting as she scooped up a bucket and washcloth.  One of the other students, a Wookie, picked up the broom while the third got out a mop and pail.


Across the cafeteria, one student sat quietly, watching as everyone moved about their daily chores.  He always loved to watch people, especially other humans.  But one student had sparked his interest this year.  It was always hard to find a situation when he could watch Celicia in person, rather than through the force.  She moved with a quiet confidence as she went about her tasks.  Someday, she’d be a great Jedi just like Skywalkers were known for.  But for now, she was just another student trying to survive the trials of Jedi training.


How he wished he could touch her and run his fingers through her red hair.  She was so small and fragile, he wondered how she made it through the warrior training she had enlisted in.  But even as he wondered he could see the muscles moving in her back and arms as she scrubbed the day’s grime off the tables.


Part of him wondered whether she still felt the same way about romance as she’d expressed her first year at the academy.  He only heard the rumors and gossip other students spread about her behind her back.  They were afraid of her defiance to the Jedi Council.  But the rumors only actually spoke of her defiance during her first year.  He knew that deep down in her core, love was more important to her than anything.  She’d lost her mother when she was young, and she wasn’t very close to her father if she never went to visit him on vacations.


So why was she so quiet about love now?  Perhaps the teachers had finally worn down her spirit and forced her to succumb; they had used some Jedi mind trick on her; or she had just learned to hide her feelings.  He hoped whatever had happened to Celicia that he might be able to get through to her when the time was right.  Unfortunately, the academy was too crowded, so he would have to wait to approach her until he could get her alone.  Then he’d express his true feelings for her.  Until then he had another note to deliver.




{This is strange.  Are you sure you don’t know who it is?}  Mudakka asked Celi as they sat at lunch with the three letters.  Another one had been slipped under her door while she’d slept the previous night.  The third was the most disturbing and she wished she could explain to someone why.


“The others may hate and fear you, but I’ve grown quite fond of your beliefs.  Maybe together we can find love if we’re brave enough to defy.  Despite what they believe, there is power in emotions.  But we must be cautious and balance our feelings with school.



-an admirer”


The words: balance, power, hate and love together were all too familiar to her.  Almost instinctually, her right hand moved to the small of her back where her tattoo lay hidden underneath her tunic.  She’d had those four words tattooed on her back when she was young but no one, not her father, not even Oni knew of it.  She wanted to be a Jedi more than anything…but a Jedi who loved like her mother and the tattoo reminded her daily of that.  The tattoo was a brand she’d given herself, when she’d been a scared little girl, who was afraid the world would take her mother’s beliefs away; It was a reminder of who her mother had been.


“No.  I’d assumed it was someone trying to get me in trouble initially.  But why go to all this trouble?  I’m not that easy to scare.”


“Are you sure you want to be alone?”


“I’m not running from this, whoever it is.  A Jedi must not be governed by fear.”


{As long as you aren’t being stubborn because of fear either,} Mudakka replied.


“You should take this to the masters, Celi,” Stephanie added.  “Maybe they’ll know what to do or how to find out who this is.”


Celi nodded slightly, “I already showed the first two to my own Master,” she replied as she scooped up the notes and stuffed them in her pocket…If they get worse…then I’ll go to the masters back to the masters, she thought to herself, but not before.  I don’t want them to know how much this guy knows about me.


**                                **                                **


What do I need to do to spark her interest? He thought in frustration.  He’d written her four notes now; the last one was delivered to her room with a beautiful flower from the top of one of the Massassi temples.  And she hadn’t shown any more reaction than confusion.


Well, she had tried to catch him.  She and her friends had guarded her room for two days straight but with the force as his ally it was simple to watch from a safe distance and wait for them to grow bored.


She must be afraid that someone will get her in trouble.  I hear she’s already on thin ice with the council for accusing the Jedi of being hypocritical.  She’d never liked the line in the code “there is no emotion, there is peace,” when Jedi are supposed to have compassion for all.  That must be it.  Poor girl, she shouldn’t be afraid.  I’ll be there for her…




“Today, class, we’re going to teach some of the Master Reader’s students a few things about defense since she’s a bit ill,” Master Ryshi told a group of his own warrior students one morning.  The ten warriors Celi normally went to class with were gathered in one corner of the gymnasium while a group of eight students Celi barely recognized.  “If my students would kindly partner up with one of Master Tyrrel’s students, we’ll begin.”


Mudakka ambled over to one of the Reader students who looked to be roughly his size.  Celi was about to go as a young girl if she would be interested in a partner when a boy, maybe 20 years old tapped her on the shoulder.  “Hello, there.  Do you have a partner?”


Celi shook her head gently, “Not yet.”


The boy bowed slightly, “My name is Gabriel; and you are?”


Celi nodded her head in greeting, “My name is Celi.”


“I’ve heard a bit about you, Celi,” the boy scooped up a padded saber from the storage rack on the wall.  “So, warrior princess, where do we start?”





In her room, Celi gathered up her sleeping bag, her stuffed vornskr, and the bag she’d already packed for her two week journey into the woods.  Inside, she should have everything she needed for the two weeks she’d spend alone constructing her lightsaber out in the woods except food.  She still needed to stop by the cafeteria to grab that.


She swung by Mudakka’s room on the way down to say good bye for the week.  He gave her a big Wookie hug before waving her off as she headed down the hallway again towards the cafeteria.  She’d miss his company while she was outside, but the time out in the middle of nature would ease her mind.  Each Jedi spent two weeks alone in a familiar and comfortable surrounding to make his or her lightsaber.  For Celi, the choice was obviously someplace where she could go and enjoy nature for a while.  And that meant she’d get to relax and not worry about prying eyes for a while.  It would be a nice change from the academy grounds.


It was only a few minutes before she entered the cafeteria where about half of the school was eating breakfast.  She grabbed a roll off of one of the tables she walked by and winked at Stephanie before heading up to the kitchen.  Over her shoulder she could hear Stephanie call out, “Good luck!"


Inside the kitchen, four students were hard at work making the morning meal.  When Jacen, a second year warrior, spotted Celi, he pulled a sack out from underneath the counter and handed it over to her.  “Good luck, Jedi.”


Celi accepted the sac and nodded her thanks.  Briefly, she skimmed the contents of the bag, double checking that there was no meat in the food.  It would be a shame if she had to come back to get vegetarian food or was forced to scavenge.  “Thanks, Jacen,” she called to the young chef before heading off to check in with her master one last time.


She found that her master was waiting outside at the entrance to the woodland path with all the tools she’d need for lightsaber construction.  “Do you have your crystal and your lens?” he asked her gently as he handed over the bag of tools.


Celi nodded, “I think I’ve got everything and then some,” she replied as she double checked her bag and ran across two books about lightsaber construction from her father.


“Good.  May the force be with you, and I’ll see you in two weeks,” he replied as he bowed to his apprentice.  Celi bowed in response, then scooped up her belongings and walked out into the woods along the path she knew very well.




It was almost nightfall when Celi found a comfortable place to pitch camp for the week.  She selected a clearing where she would be able to light a small fire and she’d be able to gaze upon the stars at night.  It only took about ten minutes to get a fire started after she finally gathered enough firewood.  The air had a slight chill to it; that along with her excitement regarding her lightsaber blinded her to the danger sense that would normally have been tingling.


Celi?” a voice called from the darkness.


She looked up in the general direction of the voice, but it was a moment before the person finally came into view.  “Gabriel?” she asked cautiously.  It was the boy she’d sparred with in class a few days earlier.  He had been decent with a saber as far as Readers went, but he relied on brute strength more than finesse most of the time.  He also had had a very intense stare that made Celi a little nervous.


“You remember me?” he asked cautiously as he moved towards her fire.


Celi nodded, “But I’m supposed to be building my lightsaber.  I’m not supposed to interact with anyone, lest they interfere with my connection with the blade.”


Gabriel nodded but moved towards a clear patch and sat down about a meter from the fire, and a meter from where Celi sat.  “But how can you make a lightsaber when you aren’t in touch with your feelings yet?  I wanted to speak with you regarding some personal business while we were out from under the watchful eye of the Jedi.”


“What do you mean?”


“I think you know what I mean.  I’ve been sending you letters for weeks now, trying to gauge your feelings.  But I finally realized that I wouldn’t be able to uncover your true feelings until we were alone…completely alone,” Gabriel replied simply.


“You’re the one who’s been leaving love notes in my room all this time?” Celi asked in disbelief, “But I hardly even know you.”


“You don’t know the details of who I am, but I am much like you in spirit.  I heard the stories of your defiance to the Jedi Masters.  You exposed their hypocrisy to their faces; that takes a lot of courage.  You love others, just like your mother.”


“You don’t know anything about my mother,” Celi retorted more as a knee-jerk reaction than anything thought out.  She just didn’t like people poking her about her mother.


“I know that she died when you were a child and that she must have loved you and your father very much to marry him and raise such a beautiful daughter.”


“I think it’s time for you to leave, Gabriel,” Celi responded slightly.


“But, don’t you understand what I’m getting at?  I think I’m in love with you.”


“Love is forbidden to the Jedi,” Celi responded, wishing she could put more conviction behind the words.


Gabriel picked up on her tension, “I know you don’t believe that.  You’re just spitting out what the masters have taught you to say,” he leaned in closer to her causing Celi to lean back slightly to avoid letting him too close.  “There’s no one out here to judge or condemn you or me.  Now is the time for us to admit our true feelings.”


“Gabriel, I appreciate the gesture, I really do, but I’m not in love with you.  I just want to get out of school without any more trouble.”


Gabriel sighed sadly.  “The masters have really done a number on you.  I was afraid of this…” his voice trailed off, leaving Celi a bit nervous.  She wasn’t sure exactly what Gabriel had in mind until it was too late.  Gabriel drew a blaster…Celi tried to scream, but all too quickly she was engulfed in darkness.




When she finally regained consciousness, the sun was barely starting to peek over the Massassi temple in the distance.  Celi could feel the ropes around her wrists biting her skin, meaning she’d been tied up for at least a few hours.  Behind her, her arms were hugging a narrow Hy’tha tree, holding her shoulders at an uncomfortable angle. Across the clearing, Gabriel was tending the dying fire Celi had started late the night before.  Over the fire some sort of soup was cooking.


“Good morning, Celi.  I was wondering when you were going to wake up.”


Celi gave her hands an experimental tug, but the ropes held fast and the tree she was tied to barely budged of course.  “Who are you?”


“Gabriel.  I think we’ve been through this before, Celicia,” he replied mildly.


“I know your name, what do you want from me?” Celi asked, though she already had a decent guess.


“I’d like to get to know you better,” he replied.  Her heart sank a bit; no one was going to notice she was in trouble since she was supposed to be out alone in the woods anyway.  Gabriel picked up a ladle off the ground and stirred the soup gently.  “Are you hungry?”


Celi shook her head.  Actually, she was kind of hungry, but who knew what was inside the food.  Gabriel simply shrugged and spooned out a bowl of soup for himself.  “So, you have me, what do you want to know about me?” Celi finally asked.


“What are your interests?” he asked between mouthfuls of soup.


Celi shrugged, looking around for something to help her get out of her binds.  “Animals, reading, graduating from the Jedi academy.”


“Are you still worried that we’ll get in trouble?”


“Romance is forbidden last I checked,” Celi replied sarcastically.


“We’ll keep it a secret; just like Anakin and Padame did,” Gabriel offered, “I’ve only got one year left and you’ve got two.  Then we’ll be out and we can go someplace where we can be together.”


Celi sighed; this guy wasn’t going to let go, “I’m not interested in you.  I barely know you.  Maybe we can be friends.”


“That’s the masters talking,” Gabriel replied quietly.  “Give me some time, and I’ll help you.”


Celi wished she could just say she was taken; tell Gabriel that another Jedi already held her heart.  But if she made it out of this in one piece Gabriel could easily blab to the masters.  All in all it just seemed best to stick to the partial truth…she honestly wasn’t interested in him.  “I don’t need your help,” Celi argued prompting a sympathetic looking headshake.  “I’m sorry, you’re probably a great guy but I just want to go back to school.”


Gabriel inched closer to his prisoner or guest as he would call it, “Why are you afraid of me, Celi?  I’m just another rebel Jedi like yourself,” he let his hand rest on her back where the tattoo rested underneath Celi’s clothing, “And I love you.”  Celi struggled, but with her hands bound, there wasn’t much she could do about the descending kiss…well other than bite him.


“OUCH!”  Celi didn’t even have time to register the hand flying at her face before it impacted with her jaw bone.  When the stars cleared from Celi’s vision, Gabriel was kneeling in front of her with a glass of water.  “I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have struck you Celi.  It’s just that my love for you is burning inside me, like that kiss you never should have given me.”


Great…I get tied up by the one person in the galaxy that thought the Episode II documentary was good…Celi thought to herself ruefully.


“Hopefully, you’ll grow to like me once you move past your fears,” he whispered as he gently stroked her cheek.  Celi didn’t know whether to scream for help or to try and kick him.




For nearly two hours Gabriel tried to hold a conversation with Celi; trying to learn all about her.  Celi humored him as best she could while also trying to keep him as far away from her physically as possible.  After the first hour, Gabriel had taken up a resting position where his head was cradled neatly in Celi’s lap.  She gritted her teeth and went with it, hoping she’d be presented with an opportunity to escape before he tried anything too forceful with her.  The idea of kneeing him in the jaw crossed her mind several times, but she guessed that would be more likely to get her legs bound as well.  If he got too aggressive, she’d do it.


The boy flirted and occasionally stroked her hair.  He really thought he was the best thing since hot chocolate.  When his hands ventured any place Celi could reach with any significant force, she’d kick or bite at him or occasionally use telekinesis to restrain him; but he was so strong she often lost those fights.  It was funny how this boy was about as strong as Oni but she never felt threatened by Oni’s presence like she did by Gabriel’s.


“What are you thinking about, Celi?”  Gabriel asked, when he noticed Celi staring off at the distance.  A bird had just settled on a nearby tree, sparking Celi’s interest.


“Whether I could give you a black eye or not before you knocked me out again,” she lied.


“Not a very nice way to treat your boyfriend,” he chided; one of his hands drifting dangerously close to Celi’s shirt hem.


“When did I agree to this?”


“You will, when you’ve been properly stimulated,” he whispered in her hear, as he slowly moved to straddle her.  Ok, now this is definitely too close she thought as she brought both her knees up…hard.


Gabriel’s eyes crossed before he rolled onto the ground next to Celi, clutching at his injured pride.  “Temperamental; I’ll be back to deal with you,” he grumbled through clenched teeth, as he moved into the woods a little ways in order to collect himself.  It was Celi’s only chance.  She took a deep breath to calm her nerves then whistled gently to the bird across the way.  It perked up slightly then flew to a closer branch to her.


“Hey there little guy, can you help me?” she whispered; just loud enough for the creature to hear.  Her mind focused the force on translating her words for the animals, like she’d done many times before.


The little bird tilted its head and chirped What you want, human?  Celi’s mind pulled from the bird’s whistling.


Go to the big human building; towards the sun.  Find the human that smells of citrus berries.  He’ll give you a snack if you tell him where I am.  Celi crossed her fingers behind her back.  The Beastmaster always smelt of citrus berries after he fed his animals in the morning.  Unfortunately, Celi wasn’t all that good at getting complicated ideas across to animals, but the creatures this close to the academy were somewhat used to the Jedi’s that could speak animal.  There was a long pause, and then the bird tilted his head once more before flying off towards the south.


One task was done, now one more to accomplish before she ran out of time.  It took her a full minute to find a useful animal that also seemed to understand her words.  It was a tiny field mouse that skittered into the clearing looking for food scraps.


“Hello, little one,” she whispered, “I won’t hurt you.”


The mouse bobbed it’s head slightly; unsure what to think of the Jedi’s words.


“There’s some food here, but to get it, you need to chew through something.”


Where’s the food? The mouse asked hungrily.


Celi moved her arms up and down a bit, causing the rope to move as well, “Behind me.”  The mouse looked at her for a long moment before cautiously approaching her.  When it finally moved behind Celi and out of her sight she heard the mouse’s thoughts once more.


No smell food.  Where food? It asked insistently.


There was a rustle in the grass off in the woods; Gabriel must be coming back, she thought, a tinge of fear creeping into the edge of her thoughts.  She pushed the fear out of her mind as hard as she could.


“If you chew through the ropes, you’ll get the food,” she whispered.


The first rope of two snapped when Gabriel finally entered the clearing.  Unfortunately, the sounds of his footsteps scared away the tiny little creature.


“Feeling better?” she asked innocently, “you didn’t look too good when you left.”  Behind her back, Celi pulled at the ropes, hoping that she could snap the one left.


If looks could kill, Celi would be ashes.  “Much better, thank you,” he replied.  “You can’t honestly want to live your life like this?” he asked, with a sweeping gesture of his arms, “Alone and unloved like the rest of the Jedi?”


Celi shrugged, “I don’t want to spend the evening tied up either, but we can’t all get what we want.”


“I’d untie you, if only you’d promise not to run away.”


“I’d rather rot,” Celi retorted.  She could feel the ropes fraying; just another minute, if she could keep him far enough away.


Tsk, tsk, tsk,” Gabriel chided, “Then I’m afraid you’ll have to remain tied up until you’re mind has cleared a bit.  Just relax and you’ll see there’s little to fear.”


Celi nodded reluctantly, “I know, I’m sorry I’m so scared,” she played along instead.  If she couldn’t convince him that she wasn’t in love with him; maybe she could convince him that she needed time to think.”


“You have a week to think,” he replied.


Celi shook her head, “It’ll look suspicious if I don’t have my lightsaber done by the end of my time in the forest.  And I’m not very good at hiding things from my master.  Maybe we can delay this idea until we graduate, and then pursue it when we’re safe?” she pleaded.  Behind her the rope finally snapped and her wrists regained some much needed circulation.


Gabriel shook his head, “I don’t think I can wait that long to know that you are mine, Celicia,” he replied and there was a fire in his eyes.  Now was probably her best chance.


“Gabriel, look out!” she screamed, causing the boy to duck and look behind him.  Celi scrambled to her feet and ran off into the woods.


“Hey!  Come back here, Celi!” Gabriel called after her.


Celi ran headlong through the woods in the direction she thought the academy was.  Behind her, she could hear branches breaking as Gabriel closed in on her position.  With her short legs, she doubted she could out-run him.


When she came to a clearing in the woods she didn’t recognize, she paused for a moment to catch her breath.  The sun was creeping up in the sky now and the morning haze was starting to dissipate.  When Gabriel snapped a particularly large branch in the woods, Celi dove for the nearest rock to hide behind.


“Come out, Celi.  I know you’re afraid.  But we can work it out!” he called.


Celi held her breath and waited, hoping he wouldn’t be able to find her.  But instead of leaving to search for her, he sat down in the middle of the clearing and began to meditate.  Then the fact that he’d known so much about her made sense…he was a reader…and he was clairvoyant…which meant, he was going to know where she was any moment.


She continued to hold still; intending to make it as hard as possible for the boy to spot her in the force.  But it was only a minute, before she could hear Gabriel laugh slightly, “I see you girly girl.  There’s no place to hide from the force.”


This is it, she thought to herself as his footsteps approached her hiding spot.  It was only about twenty seconds before his head popped around the rock and he grabbed her arm hard enough to bruise it.  “Ouch, you’re hurting me.”


“No more games, please.” He replied calmly, then a large crash came from the woods and a large cat bounded into the clearing followed by the Beastmaster and Celi’s own master.


She must be a seer and seen this coming earlier…Gabriel thought to himself, referring to her warning.  She tried to protect me, but I wouldn’t listen.


“Drop the girl,” Celi’s master called gently to Gabriel while the cat circled around the clearing to cut off Gabriel’s escape.


Outnumbered, Gabriel reluctantly let go of Celi’s arm and whispered a gentle, “I’ll come back for you…I promise,” into her ear.  Then he was escorted back to the academy by the beastmaster and his pet.


“Are you alright, Celi?” her master asked gently.  Celi could only nod and follow him back to the academy.




Four days later…


Celi?” Master Tithonus said from behind Celi at the dinner table.  Master Tithonus was one of the ambassador Jedi Celi rarely interacted with.


“Yes master?” she asked politely as she scooted out from her chair and bowed slightly.


“There’s a Jedi here that would like a word with you,” she replied calmly.  “If you’d come with me,” the master gestured to the entryway to the cafeteria.


“Of course,” Celi replied.  The Master nodded then led Celi out of the cafeteria and down the maze of corridors to her office.  Inside was a Jedi Celi hoped she wouldn’t have to see for some time.  She took a deep breath and bowed, “Hello Inquisitor Jomark, is there something I can do for you?”


“I’m here to take one Gabriel Uthrius into custody and I wondered if you knew anything about what drove this student mad?” he asked, his words prompting Celi to answer his questions.


She shrugged mildly, “I barely knew him before he attacked me.”


“You don’t think it had anything to do with your less than orthodox views on the force?  The minds of some of the Jedi here are innocent and easily melded to the dark side.”


Celi fought the urge to argue with his implications.  While she didn’t believe that her views were of the dark side, arguing with the inquisitor would only give him the information he needed to twist her words against her.  Instead, she replied with something a bit more PC.  “I’ve not voiced any disruptive opinions in almost two years, inquisitor.  I think the masters here can vouch for my cooperation.”


The Inquisitor just looked at her for a minute longer before turning away, “You’ve stayed clean this time, Jedi Skywalker.  But it’s only a matter of time before your true feelings surface.”


Celi bowed, “I would appreciate it if you didn’t mention this incident to my father.  He has enough worries as it is without thinking the Jedi academy is no longer safe for his only daughter.”


The Inquisitor nodded, but it was not a reassuring nod but that of a predator assessing his prey.






Gabriel watched the skies.  It was pretty much the only thing to do on the wretched planet he’d been brought to.  On Myrkr, no Jedi was able to use their force powers which left precious little entertainment.  And precious little to distract him from losing his love.  He’d expected her to come to Myrkr with him, but alas, her Skywalker family had gotten her out of prison.


“Gabriel is it?” a female voice said from behind him.


The boy looked up, “yes?”


“A word with you, if I may…” the woman whispered as she took up seat next to him.


“About what?”


“Well, I hear that you’ve had some trouble with a Jedi Skywalker,” she whispered knowingly.


“Not so much trouble with her, as trouble with the world.”


“I know how that is.  This world just isn’t ready for people like us.  But tell me, how Jedi Skywalker took to you?”


“Not very well I’m afraid, she was too fearful of what the Jedi would do to her if they found out about me,” he replied honestly.


“That’s not the only thing she feared,” the mysterious woman informed him.


“No?”  Gabriel asked; his interest piqued.


“Do you know of a Jedi by the name of Onuite Windu?”


Gabriel thought back to a rather large and intimidating Jedi that had visited Celi on occasion during her stay at the academy…and remembered just how the boy had shadowed Celi’s every move.  And then it all made sense.  “She’s afraid of him, isn’t she?”