CHAPTER 17

 

 

Sarolyn Lordan slept heavily, dropping off almost as soon as her head touched the pillow, oblivious to the noise from the bar downstairs. The pub was now quiet, for the last customers had long since finished their drinks and left, and the bar had been cleaned and re-stocked, ready for the next day.

Sarolynís mind drifted, away from the gentle creaking of the inn as its timbers adjusted to the cool of the night, away from the quiet clinking of glasses as Gertran and Maré tidied up, away from Theed and the lush, green planet of Naboo...

Sarolyn studied the barren scrubland around her. The wind was hot and dry, and its dusty gusts cut across her face as if she were being slapped. She screwed up her face and pulled her hood tightly over her head in an attempt to protect herself from the elements.

Sarolyn squinted at the sky. In one direction, a fierce, white sun beat down upon the rocky terrain, and in the other, the heavens were crowned with a wide, pale arc. This ringed world was unfamiliar.

A hand gripped her shoulder, and Sarolyn turned to see Bil-Kit Jinn smiling at her. Her heart filled with emotion at the sight of her mentor, a man whom she believed she would never see again.

"Master!" cried Sarolyn, trembling with excitement. "Youíre alive! Iíve missed you so much!"

Bil-Kit straightened his posture and looked severely at her. An expression of mild bewilderment crossed his features. "Alive, dear Sarolyn? Alive? Iíve always been alive."

"B...but Master,í said Sarolyn, confused. "The battle with Japhta on Sorensia...I thought she had killed you."

Bil-Kit smiled. "You know what Thought did, young Padawan?"

"Master?"

"Thought had a dream that he owned a Bantha, but when he woke up, he only had the horn."

"Yes, Master," conceded Sarolyn, embarrassed by her careless assumption. She had been certain that her Master had died on Sorensia. Japhta Fettís lightsabre had run through his chest and he slumped to the ground. Still, Master Bil-Kit was strong with the Force in ways that she, as a twenty-year-old apprentice, could not even begin to imagine. Could he have faked his own death?

"We must go back to the ship, Sarolyn," said Bil-Kit quietly. "Master Yodaís waiting for our report."

The two Jedi, Master and Apprentice, strode confidently across the wasteland. As they climbed over an outcrop of rock, they came across an expanse of grey-green water that reached the horizon, shimmering in the heat.

A dark shadow fell over the two Jedi, and they were suddenly thrown to the ground, rolling down the rocks to the shore. A tentacle shot from the water and wrapped itself around Bil-Kit as he ignited his lightsabre. He slashed ineffectively at the tentacle in a desperate attempt to free himself as he was dragged to the ground.

Sarolyn lay bloodied and bruised on the rocks, watching the battle in horror as the creature continued to cocoon her struggling Master within a tight mesh of tentacles. Sarolyn was desperate to help her Master, but she was unable to move. It was as if something was holding her down. She tried to reach out with the Force, but her own powers were no match for the Dark Side energy that was pinning her, helpless, to the ground.

Bil-Kitís struggling was becoming slower as the tentacles pulled him into the water. His lightsabre fell from his hand with a splash.

"No!" screamed Sarolyn as her Masterís body vanished beneath the surface, dragged away by the tentacles that had crushed the life from his body. As Sarolyn lay sobbing in the dust, an immense gust of wind stirred up the dirt, enveloping her and carrying her away.

A roar filled Sarolynís ears, a booming howl like a thousand Krayt Dragons baying at once. The roar spoke. It said one word:

"Thon."

 

Sarolyn awoke with a start. Her body was dripping with sweat and the sheets were cold and wet. Lightning flashed across the sky, followed a few seconds later by a crack of thunder that echoed across the city. Rainwater dripped from the guttering and ran down the drainpipe with a gurgle.

Sarolyn got up and tiptoed to the window. Sheet lightning flickered in the clouds, illuminating the rain as it fell from the sky like a curtain. The thunder followed, somewhat more subdued than the previous burst.

The stormís receding, thought Sarolyn as she gazed out into the night. Her vivid dream perturbed her. She had dreamt of a planet she had never before seen; a dry, ringed dustball of a world orbiting a bright, hot star.

Sarolyn shivered as she recalled her dream. The planet seemed familiar, yet unfamiliar, and the sea into which Bil-Kit was dragged was evil, and she could sense that it contained sinister forces.

Sarolyn stood at the window, biting her nails as the rain began to ease off. Thunder continued to rumble in the distance. Who, or what, was Thon?

"The Force will show you many things, young Sarolyn," Bil-Kit had once said during a training tutorial. "It knows nothing of the confines of time and space, and it can allow you to manipulate events by showing you the past and the future, and people and places long gone."

Sarolyn remembered her lesson. She might not have visited this strange, ringed planet in the past, but that did not mean that she would not do so in the future.

The young Jedi dried the cold sweat from her body with a towel and returned to bed. The rain had stopped and the clouds had parted to reveal the waning semicircle of Nabooís smaller moon, its light diffused by the mist on the pane.

Sarolyn lay in bed, staring at the shadows cast by the moonlight. As she drifted off to sleep, she became certain that her dream had been a prophecy, a warning of a great evil stirring to life.

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