My Disloyal Followers

A Lost Friend

     Wind whistled as the rain splattered in the fading night sky. No stars were seen, all covered by the clouds. Suddenly people started leaving. Quietly, even quieter than usual. As if they didn't want to be seen.
     A seven year old boy, his twin sister, and older brother were playing in their home. Seth and Armaeda were running around chasing Nayk. They were both smaller, and even while working together, they couldn't catch him.
     "That's not fair! You're ten and we're only seven and you think we can catch you?" Armaeda, or Mae, squealed while plopping herself onto the ground.
     "It's a game," Nayk sighed, waiting for her to get up. Then he glanced over at Seth who was standing by the window. "Seth?" he called out. He didn't answer, just staring out of the window.
     Nayk began walking over to him. Seth looked over his shoulder calmly a moment before he approached, as if he had already seen him coming before. "Look," he whispered, turning his clear blue gaze back outside. Two cloaked figures were roaming around, checking people's houses.
     "Well, I hope they don't come here." Nayk looked uneasy.
     Seth, on the other hand, almost wished they would come. "I don't know, Nayk. They feel kind of friendly. As if they want to protect us."
     Mae, who had just been listening, laughed. "You think everyone is friendly," she crowed. When Seth's face turned beet red, both she and Nayk laughed.
     Then came the first explosion and swarm of people. Well, they weren't people, but some weird robot like things. They all seemed to be looking at the two cloaked figures. Then they took out their guns. At the same moment, the two figures took out some small metal thing. But then light shot out, blue and green. "Whoa, they are Jedi!" Seth exclaimed, eying the lightsabers enviously. "I want to be a Jedi," he breathed.
     Then he turned to his brother and sister, who had said a word. Mae looked frightened, and Nayk seemed to be comforting her. Seth felt strange. As if his life was about to change forever, but not necessarily in a bad way.
     The door burst open on his thoughts. One of the Jedi strode in. "Come," he commanded. "If you don't leave, you will be killed."
     Nayk and Mae just stared in shock at him. Seth thought fast. Then he ran upstairs. "Mum! Dad! Come down! Hurry!" he called. They must have heard the urgency in his voice because they rushed downstairs immediately. "Come on!" he pressed, then ran back to the room with the Jedi and his siblings.
     "What happened?" his mother asked.
     "You must come with me," the Jedi said.
     Seth's father looked uncertain. "Why should we listen to you?"
     In less than a second, the Jedi pulled out his lightsaber. "Because I am a Jedi and I am trying to save this village."
     That seemed to do the trick. "Alright," they said simultaneously. Although they tried not to show it, Seth could tell they were afraid of what was going to happen next.
     Another Jedi just rushed in. "Three of you must come with me." They were taking too long to decide who, and so he just took Seth's mother, father, and sister.
     Seth and Nayk glanced at each other. Then they were ushered out by the first Jedi.

In only a few seconds, Seth was soaked. And tired. Suddenly he saw something crash onto the ground before him. He swerved to the side just before it hit him, a smile growing on his face. It faded away when the Jedi stopped and stared at him.
     "How did you know that was coming?" he asked.
     Seth was confused. "" he replied, blinking water from his eyelashes.
     "Huh. Well let's go. The ship is near by. I want you two to go in and hide."
     Seth and Nayk nodded and ran in the direction where the Jedi pointed. Then they were stopped at the entrance of the ship. More of those robots guarded the entrance. In the middle, a large man dressed in long black robes stood. "Who are you two?"
     Seth stepped closer to Nayk, afraid. "I'll distract them," his brother spoke softly, "while you sneak on board."
     Seth nodded and pretended to run away, afraid. Then he crept to the side of the ship. He faintly heard his brother talking to them. Then he saw the man advance on Nayk. Please be safe, he begged in his mind, Then he climbed up the ramp and went and hid behind a box inside.
     All Seth could see from behind the box was lights flying around. The area cleared up. "No!" he couldn't stop himself from screaming when all that was left was his brother's still body on the ground.
     "What was that?" a robot said to the other robot, looking around.
     Seth quickly shrank back and went further in the ship, looking for somewhere to hide. If I don't hide soon enough, then Nayk's death would have been for nothing. He controlled the urge to cry and to run back out.
     The inside of the ship was chaos. The lights were flying in opposite directions. He just had to figure out which side was the side the Jedi was on. He couldn't go in now, so he decided to stay in one corner of the room.
      He waited there even after everyone was gone, and all was silent, afraid of what he might find when he came out. Shivering, he sat there, until a hand was placed on his shoulder. He whipped his head around, then relaxed when he saw the Jedi.
     "Are you alright?' his kind voice came. Seth nodded, realizing everything was alright now. Everything except for Nayk. "I saw what happened," he said.
     "About Nayk?" The Jedi nodded.
     "I'm Paedon," the Jedi said, stretching out his hand. "Who are you?"
     "S-Seth," he stuttered.
     Paedon nodded, acknowledging his response. Then he said, "Follow me," and turned away.
     Seth followed him, then stopped with his eyes wide open. Nayk's body lay there. "I brought him inside."  Seth fell to his knees at the sight of his brother. He was dead, and Seth would never see him again. Never play with him again.
     Paedon didn't give him much time to grieve. "Seth, do you want to be a Jedi?" Suddenly Seth's sorrow clashed with new feelings of absurd excitement.
     "Of course!" he said, looking up at Paedon hopefully.
     "A Jedi starts his training at about your age." Paedon paused, looking at Seth's face. "And you obviously have Jedi reflexes."
     "So I can train?" Seth asked excitedly.
     Paedon looked smug. "I suppose." Then his face turned sorrowful. "My mentor, the other Jedi with me, died battling the man who just killed your brother. So if the Council grants me the rank of Jedi knight, I can train you."
     Seth remembered that Mae and his parents were with him. "What happened to-"
     "I don't know," Paedon said, looking away. "And let's leave it at that."

Seth followed Paedon, his hand on his lightsaber, ready for an attack. Thirteen years old, he'd been training for six years - and was a brilliant fighter. He'd been told that no other Jedi has matched his speed in a fight.
     Seth was proud.
     Now they were going to go to a volcano - Mt. Fura. He was slightly nervous, since they were setting out to kill Darth Heouss, a Sith Lord. Seth had eventually learned that it was a Sith Lord, Darth Swatar, who had killed Nayk all those years ago. And that Sith were often Jedi who betrayed. I'll never betray the Jedi and the Republic, Seth thought to himself. No matter what.

Chapter 1
     A grin had begun to spread across Anakin's face when he had been told what their next assignment was. But rather than bursting with excitement, he only mechanically answered, "Yes, Master," before Obi-Wan began leading the way to the ship.
     A volcano seemed like a perilous place to be, and that was where a Sith Lord was battling two other Jedi. More Jedi were needed to defeat him, or most likely the two already there, dueling, would perish. When I kill this Darth Swatar, all on my own, the Jedi Council will have to make me a full Jedi, he thought. Anakin couldn't wait for the day when he would be made a Jedi Knight, and when he would be able to train his own apprentice, like Obi-Wan.
     "Anakin!" his mentor called sharply from the entrance of the ship.
     "Yes, Master!"  Anakin replied and ran to his side. "Sorry."
     "You must be careful and aware of your surroundings while we are there. This is a dangerous area and we can't afford to have any mistakes."
     "Of course, Master."
     "And remember to be aware of the Force, especially."
     "Is that not always the case, Master?" Anakin asked cheekily while rolling his eyes. He hurried inside before Obi-Wan could reply.
     Anakin made his way to the control room, where they flew the ship. He’d always been a good pilot, and even when he wasn't flying it himself, he’d liked to watch them do it and give a few "tips".
     Before Obi-Wan could call him, Anakin felt his presence and turned around. "Yes, Master?"
     "Come on the way back. First we must discuss what we're going to do once we get there."
     "Oh, of course." Anakin quickly followed him out. There was no arguing with Obi-Wan. He was his mentor, and they had a father son relationship. Whatever Obi-Wan says has to be done by Anakin. Simply out of respect. He knew Obi-Wan would not get too angry if he didn't listen, but he did anyway. It had been like that since he started training six years ago. Obi-Wan's mentor, Qui-Gon, had freed him when he was nine, a slave on Tatooine.
     Obi-Wan suddenly rose to their feet. "I sense a disturbance," he said, a grim look on his face.
     Anakin stood up beside him. "I feel it too." Then they ran outside.
     A large plume of fire roaring awaited the two Jedi outisde the ship. Two dark lumps lay just outside where the flames reached. Although it was hard to see, Anakin thought he saw one of the lumps move, then falter and crash down.
     "Anakin, go see the younger one!" Obi-Wan shouted.
     "Yes, Master!" Anakin rushed over to smaller lump. Pressing his ear to the boy's chest, he noticed that his breath was coming in short, rough gasps. Without thinking too much, Anakin put his hand on the boy's chest, and felt the Force flow through him. He smiled in satisfaction as the young Jedi opened his eyes. The boy was two or three years younger, only about twelve or thirteen. He had blue eyes and golden blond hair, which was, like his own, tied in the back.
     Anakin was aware of Obi-Wan dragging the other body beside the boy's. "How is he?" he called out.
     "Not well," his mentor grunted. "And Seth?"
     He figured Seth was the boy's name. When he looked back at Seth, his eyes were closed again, and his breathing was slowing down. "He'll live, most likely." After hesitating, he asked, "Paedon isn't going to, is he?" Anakin knew Paedon well enough to recognize him, even with the burns on his face that covered Seth's too.
     Obi-Wan shook his head, deep in thought. "Seth won't have a mentor then..." he mused. He picked up Paedon's limp body and signaled for Anakin to take responsibility for Seth. "We should get going, he grunted.
     "And what about the Sith?" Anakin asked, walking alongside him with the boy slung over his shoulders. Disappointment only barely swam through him when he realized they weren't going to have a fight.
     As soon as they got to the ship, men took the limp bodies inside. Obi-Wan and Anakin stayed out just a bit longer. The apprentice followed Obi-Wan to the other side, where he pressed a few buttons. After a moment, they could see the Jedi Council. Anakin stayed behind, while Obi-Wan told them what had happened. "They are inside right now, being taken care of," he finished.
     "Worry for them, I do," Yoda said. "As do we all."
     "Master Yoda, do you think that it is the Sith who caused this?" Anakin asked, after thinking for a moment.
     The Jedi Master thought about the idea, while Anakin received an approving nod from Obi-Wan.  "Smart one, you are," Yoda finally said. "I sense that it is related."
     "Very well, Master Yoda," Obi-Wan replied. He and Anakin bowed simultaneously, then shut it and walked inside.

Murmurs sounded inside the room where Obi-Wan was speaking to the Council, while Anakin waited outside. When he finally came out, his face was serious.
     "What happened, Master?" Anakin asked, walking beside him.
     "As Paedon is dead, they were discussing what would happen with Seth's training." Anakin nodded. It had been only a few days since they had rescued them. Seth's condition improved tremendously, while his mentor didn't survive. "Until further is known, he will be training alongside you," Obi-Wan finished, stopping and looking at Anakin.

     "I sense your reluctance, Anakin. But you must accept that this is how it will be from now on."
     "I try, Master," he muttered. "However, is this wise, if I may ask? For one, the Code doesn't allow it. And perhaps there is another Jedi who is willing to take him on?"
     Obi-Wan shook his head. "It will take time to find someone who can do it. Seth is very different from most. The Council would not have agreed to his training had it not been for Paedon who took him as his own Padawan learner. He was and still is very much like you, Anakin."
     Again, the pair stopped. "What's that supposed to mean, Master?" Anakin demanded, fury slowly stirring inside him.
     "Anakin," Obi-Wan warned softly.
     He exhaled slowly. "Sorry, Master," he finally said, not meeting Obi-Wan's eyes.
     "You must learn to control yourself, Anakin."
     "Yes, Master."
     "Yoda himself has told you," Obi-Wan lectured.
     "I know, Master."

Seth opened his eyes and stifled a groan. His entire body stung, and he couldn't move. When he tried, it burned. A man walked into the room he was in. "Master Obi-Wan," he managed to croak, and he dipped his head.
     "Hello, Seth," Obi-Wan said, smiling. He ran his hand down the side of Seth's body.
     Immediately, some of the pain was lifted. He pushed himself up to a sitting position where his feet dangled off the side of the bed. "How is Paedon?" was the first thing Seth asked. The unease he could feeling rising in Obi-Wan was enough to tell him what he needed to know. "No," he muttered. "He can't be."
     "Sorry, Seth. But it is so, I'm afraid."
     Seth squeezed his eyes shut. After another moment, though, he opened them, showing no sign of his grief. As a Jedi, he had to be able to let go, or as Yoda said, it would be a path to the dark side. "What is going to be of me, then?" he asked after recovering his composure.
     "Until further is decided you will be training with me."
     " have an apprentice already, don't you?" he asked nervously. He didn't think Obi-Wan's apprentice would be happy with this.
     "Yes, but never mind that. I've already spoken with the Council. You will be training with me." Obi-Wan held out his hand to Seth, who accepted the help graciously. Once on his feet, he felt shaky. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply until he felt more comfortable.
     Able to support himself now, they two began to leave. "Are there any new assignments?" Seth asked.
     His new mentor shook his head. "For now all we will be doing is some training. Perhaps lightsaber training?" Seth nodded, excitedly. Obi-Wan chuckled softly. Then, more serious, he asked, "Do you think you're fit to train?"
     "I believe I will be alright," Seth nodded.
     "Good. Now let's find Anakin." Obi-Wan said, smiling.
     Seth hesitated. "Anakin?" he asked with wonder. "Is Anakin your apprentice?" he asked. He continued when Obi-Wan nodded, confused. "He's the Chosen One, isn't he?"
     Obi-Wan took a step closer to the young boy. "How do you know that?" he asked, trying to search Seth's thoughts.
     Seth backed away uncomfortably. "Oh, uh. I, er, overheard Master Paedon talking about it" He looked around, not wanting to meet Obi-Wan's eyes.
     "Ah." Obi-Wan gave away nothing. "Come," he finally said.

Anakin saw Obi-Wan walking with Seth next to him. He nodded to Seth, then turned to Obi-Wan. "Well?" he asked.
     Obi-Wan just narrowed his eyes at him, feeling the hatred rise in Anakin toward Seth. "Seth, this is my Padawan, Anakin."
     "Hello, Seth," Anakin acknowledged.
     "Pleasure to meet you," Seth replied with the same coldness.
     Anakin smirked at him, then looked down as he felt his mentor's glare burning into him. "Sorry, Master," he muttered.
     Seth was surprised. He hadn't expected the "Chosen One" to be so cold. And he definitely didn't expect him to not get along well with his mentor.
     "Anakin, take him to where we practice. I have some business to attend to, and then we'll start our training." Obi-Wan nodded, then walked away.
     The two apprentices stared at each other for another moment. "Well," Anakin finally said, breaking the silence, "we'd best get going. Obi-Wan won't be happy if he doesn't find us there."
     Once in the room, Anakin studied Seth. Then he took out his lightsaber. "Let's see how well you can fight," he challenged.
     Seth smiled. He was a better fighter than Anakin, he knew. He was the best fighter of all the Jedi.
     He lunged forward, sword spinning in Seth's hands. He sliced the lightsaber across the air towards Anakin's midsection, who parried it easily. Seth tried again, first right, then left. He moved quickly. He knew his steps and moves were not very accurate, so he relied on speed to confuse the opponent.
     Anakin, too, used the steps he was taught to confuse Seth. He spun his lightsaber around many times between deflecting blows. But the thirteen year old boy didn't pay attention to it. He kept moving quicker and quicker, and Anakin could only deflect rather than attack, himself. He could sense he was nearing the wall, and if he was trapped, that would mean he had lost. He quickly jumped up and somersaulted, landing just behind Seth, who turned around, confused.
     Anakin saw his chance. He lunged forward and knocked Seth to the ground, sending his lightsaber flying up. Anakin easily caught it and stood over Seth, both swords pointed at him. He smiled triumphantly. "Not bad," Anakin congratulated, handing the lightsaber back and allowing him to stand up.
     Seth was breathing heavily, and Anakin guessed that along with the fight, the smoke from the fire had affected his throat badly. He was about to ask if he was okay, but Obi-Wan startled him before he could.
     "Well fought, both of you," Obi-Wan said, stepping forward. Anakin cast a sidelong glance at Seth, who seemed caught by surprise, too. "But your technique does need some work."
     "When did you get here, Master?" Anakin asked, respectfully but indignantly.
     Obi-Wan smiled as he could no longer feel the hatred in Anakin. The fight seemed to do them good. "I saw the entire thing."
     Anakin stepped up to him. "Oh, really? I thought you had something to do?"
     Seth watched the scene unfold, and was sure Obi-Wan wouldn't be happy with that. But he was surprised when he smiled, and realized that they had the same friendly relationship he had had with Paedon. Grief flooded through him again, and he closed his eyes in memory of the loss he had experienced only three days ago.
     Neither Obi-Wan nor Anakin noticed. "Oh, do you really think I trust you enough with Seth alone?" Obi-Wan teased.
     "Now what's that supposed to mean?" Anakin asked, shifting his weight and looking at his mentor knowingly.
     "Never mind that. I'll speak to you later, Anakin. You've already learned the lesson I'll be teaching Seth today, You may leave." Obi-Wan was looking at Seth, then, and Anakin could feel his all too familiar envy beginning to flare up.
     "Yes, Master." Anakin bowed, then left, his mind spinning with questions. How come he had managed to beat Seth in a fight, when Seth was obviously much better? And why did Obi-Wan send Anakin away? The mentor he knew would never miss a chance for him to learn something, no matter how many times he had already.

Anakin was in his Padawan assigned room, on his bed still pondering when Seth walked in. "Uh...Obi-Wan told me to, er, stay with you here."
     Not really looking, Anakin used the Force to open a wide door to the left of him. Then, with more concentration and effort, but still looking somewhere else, he Forced a bed to slide out.
     "Oh, uh, okay," Seth stammered. He sat down awkwardly on the bed. He was afraid of how Anakin would act with him, since he hadn't seemed very friendly. "When did you begin training?" he asked after a moment of awkward silence.
     Anakin looked up at him. "Oh, six years ago. When I was about ten." He stood up and walked over to the table at other side of the room, and fingered a small ring.
     "Oh, that was about the same time as me. Except I was seven." Seth's voice became quieter. "I lost my entire family then, you know. A Sith killed them."
     He put the ring down and turned around. "My mother is still a slave on Tatooine. Master Qui-Gon, who was Master Obi-Wan's mentor, freed me."
     Seth was astonished. "Tatooine? You're from the Outer Rim?" When Anakin nodded, he continued. "I am, too. My planet was actually very close to Tatooine. If you were still there, then, you must have heard about the destruction of Alforse."
     Anakin looked up sharply. "So that's what Obi-Wan was talking about," he mused, mostly to himself.
     Determined to learn more about Anakin, and hopefully become more friendly with him, Seth kept talking. "What happened with you?" he asked.
     "Me?" Anakin smiled. "Qui-Gon's ship needed some parts to fly, and I helped them get it. By pod racing. I also got my freedom with that. mother didn't." He began to dwell on the promise he'd made to Shmi Skywalker, his mother, then stopped himself. Master Yoda told me not to focus on the past, he reminded himself. "But why are you asking?" he asked, narrowing his eyes.
     "Oh, just-" Seth cut himself off. "Never mind," he said, shooting Anakin a furious glance and laying down, sick of his temper.

Chapter 2
      Anakin stirred, unwanted dreams echoing in his mind, ones that hadn't stopped in five years. A familiar face haunted them all, the same every time. Sometimes it came as a nightmare, sometimes in a soothing, calming way. As if he needed to be pacified, to reduce his fears.
     This time, the face who had been a friend seemed to taunt him, to torment him. Her eyes glowed with happiness, yet sorrow, and desperation. That she needed his help. And at the same time, she gazed at him with joy, more than he had ever seen her. Other than in his dreams, of course.
     Gasping, Anakin sat up, his eyes wide open, images of Padme still filtering through his mind. He had to remind himself multiple times that it had only been a dream, that she was alright. She was in the running to be the next senator, and he was certain that she would win.
     "You alright?" Seth sat on the floor, leaning against the side of his bed. A beam of sunlight lit up half his face, which glowed dully with memory of the family he hadn't seen in so long. Most of his thoughts dwelled upon his brother. Had it only been now. I would have been able to save him, he had wailed over and over in his head earlier.
     "Oh, uh, yeah," Anakin stammered, unnerved that Seth had seen him at particularly one of his weaker moments. "Uh, tell me, how long have you been up?"
     "Me? Not very long," Seth replied casually, but clearly lying.
     Anakin looked relieved. "So you didn't see anything right?"
     A faint smile curled Seth's lips. "If by anything, you mean the gasping, twisting and turning, the saying 'no', the constant reminder of the name of the next senator, then no, I did not." He watched for Anakin's reaction.
    The glare that had settled on his face since the moment Seth had met him, reappeared on Anakin, who was waking up. He didn't say anything, just stared at Seth furiously. Finally, before getting out of his bed, he muttered, "Get ready. We need to go."
     Anakin leaned against the wall and stared at Seth, who was still getting his cloak on. "You look much better," he commented.
     Looking up at Anakin, Seth slide his left arm into the sleeve. "What?"
     "I mean, the burn marks on you. I can hardly see them anymore."
     Seth looked surprised. "Oh, well I feel much better, too."
     Forgetting his hatred for the boy, Anakin smiled. "I can tell that. How did you learn to fight so well? You would have finished me if it was real, for sure."
      Seth turned his head away, remembering his days training with Paedon. "Six years of training with Paedon, I guess. He taught me everything I know."
     "Paedon was a great fighter," Anakin agreed. "Obi-Wan has tested me many times against him." He looked around, silently, as none of them spoke. Suddenly, he jerked up and said, "We'd better get going. Obi-Wan isn't happy if we're late. Don't be surprised if I get lectured."

Seth winced as Anakin hit the ground, gasping for air. "Battle training," Obi-Wan had said when they got out of the room and asked him what their assignment would be.
     "It's not only the lightsaber you need to worry about, Anakin. How many times have I told you that?" Obi-Wan asked, clearly exasperated.
     Anakin stood up shakily. "S-sorry Master." Slowly, he walked over to Seth, his arm covering his chest. "You turn," he rasped, half mockingly. Then he sat down and closed his eyes, waiting for the ebb of the pain to dissolve. Instead, he felt another strong force of pressure thrust him backwards. When he sat up again, he glared at Obi-Wan, who had his hand out towards him.
     "Focus, Anakin," his mentor warned.
     At that, Seth couldn't resist a smile. He ignored the shooting glares coming from Anakin as he doubled over in pain.
     Obi-Wan casually strode towards Anakin and helped him up. "Sorry Anakin," he said, amused. "Though I'm surprised you weren't expecting that." His eyes glinted with mischief.
     Anakin looked up at Obi-Wan, and although he stared at him furiously, a hint of laughter crept into his voice. "Oh, no, Master, you're just too unpredictable for me."

     A glint of blue light ignited the eerie night sky. No greenery stood out in the moonlight, only large, looming shapes. Rocks and caves were all to be seen.
     "Well, Anakin, which cave do you say we should enter?" Obi-Wan asked. When he heard no answer, he turned to look at his apprentice.
      They both stopped, And Anakin's gaze seemed to be fixed on a not too large hole in the ground. "That one," he murmured, felling the gravitational pull of the Force. It seemed almost as if it were calling him.
      "Yes...I feel it too," Obi-Wan replied softly. Then, before plunging himself in, he muttered, "I have a bad feeling about this."
     Anakin landed right on top of Obi-Wan. "Oh, sorry," he apologized quickly and got off before Obi-Wan could shove him. Then he scanned his surroundings. It was black. Everywhere. "So which way, Master?" he asked, smiling.
     But Obi-Wan was not in a mood for jokes. "You must be careful, Anakin. This one is much more dangerous than any of the Sith we have encountered before. He possesses something that I don't know if we can withstand."
     "What is it, Master?"
     Obi-Wan shook his head. "I don't know," he muttered. "But you must feel it too?"
     A shiver ran down Anakin's spine. He couldn't see at all in the cave, and he was using only the power of the Force to guide him. And he was following Obi-Wan.
     But unlike his usual self, he felt uncertain, and nervous. He only barely heard Obi-Wan  murmur, "Stay close to me, Anakin. This is a dangerous place."
     Obi-Wan could feel Anakin's fear and discomfort. His apprentice's strong sense of the Force seemed to be slowly fading away. It wouldn't do any good if Anakin lost the ability completely while they were there. He had always been very connected with the Force.
      He heard a stumble behind him.
     "M-master!" Anakin gasped. "I can't tell-I can't feel-"
     "Quiet, Anakin. We'll be found." Obi-Wan waited until Anakin calmed down before continuing on, all the while feeling the dread of the actual opponent rise. When all was utterly silent, he finally asked, "You've lost all awareness, then?" When he heard no response, he realized that Anakin was trying to strengthen his mind.
     Finally, Anakin calmly replied, but obviously panicking. "Master, I cannot feel the Force. I cannot tell anything right now. I feel...almost vulnerable."
     "I feel it too," Obi-Wan mused. "But you must try to connect yourself again. Or it will be futile to continue any further."
     "I know, Master."
     "Come, we should hurry."
     The two walked on slowly, deeper into the cave. Suddenly a luminous light brightened the area, and many creatures, armed, stood around Obi-Wan and Anakin.
     At the sight of the danger, Anakin could slowly feel his strength returning back to him. But it wasn't enough. He still couldn't tell what was behind him or hidden from him. He took a step closer to Obi-Wan.
     "Afraid, Jedi?" a sinister voice cackled from the hidden corner of the cave.
     "Never," Anakin snarled back.
     "Then come and face me," the Sith hissed.
     Anakin's eyes flew to Obi-Wan, who shook his head discreetly. Anakin just shrugged and announced confidently, "Fine. First you must show yourself to me."
     He heard a defeated sigh from Obi-Wan as he waited. Suddenly, more awareness returned to him and he felt  movement behind him. Before he could turn around, a heat far worse than anything he had felt began to build up on his back. He sank to his knees in pain, then collapsed.
     Obi-Wan's gaze flickered back and forth from  the unconscious Anakin and the Sith Lord. The Sith, all covered up in a suit and a mask, was holding something sharp.
     "You're no match for me," the Sith said. "As you can see, this here is very powerful." He held up the sharp object, which was now dripping with blood, and looked at it. When he looked up again, he stated, "It's poisoned. He will die soon enough." The Sith looked at Anakin with an expression of disdain.
     "I doubt that," Obi-Wan replied smugly, but he was uncertain for what to expect and worry flashed through his mind once before pulling his lightsaber out.
      Obi-Wan dodged out of the way as the Sith lunged at him, now two red lightsabers out. He spun around fast and parried the next blow which was aimed for his midsection, then twirled his sword to confuse the Sith. Obi-Wan stepped forward and aimed right by the Sith's head, who ducked and jumped to a ledge in the cave.
      “Coward,” Obi-Wan accused, hoping to get the Sith back down so he wouldn't have to go up. And they needed to finish this fast if he was going to help Anakin.
      Obi-Wan barely moved out of the way in time; a lightsaber crashed down right where he was just standing. He jumped over the Sith and tried to push him backwards using the Force. The Sith just swung his lightsaber at Obi-Wan , who, again, had to move out of the way.
      Anakin groaned as he slowly opened his eyes. He couldn't feel his back, but when he put his hand there, it was wet. His eyes locked on Obi-Wan, who was pressed against the wall by the Force of the Sith. The Sith was advancing towards him, Obi-Wan's lightsaber in his left hand, and using the Force with the right. It was obvious Obi-Wan wasn't getting out of it.
     “No!” he shouted and jumped over the Sith. By the time he turned around, the Sith had put the lightsaber away and had his left arm out toward Anakin. Then he felt his throat tightening and couldn't breathe anymore. Anakin's lightsaber clattered to the ground. Seeing his chance, he kicked it close to Obi-Wan.
      Obi-wan used the Force to get it, and feeling the pressure less strong on him now that the Sith was distracted, he rushed forward and attacked him. The Sith immediately let go of Anakin, who crumpled to the ground, gasping for air.
      The Sith turned around and ran to his ship, which was just outside the cave. Obi-Wan chased after him, but before he could do anything, the ship was lifting off into the air. Then he hurried back to Anakin, picking him up and holding him over his shoulder.
      Seth rushed out of the ship once he saw Obi-Wan carrying Anakin. "What happened?"
     "We need to get him to a medical center. Immediately," was all Obi-Wan said.
     "Yes, Master Obi-Wan." Seth went to the controls of the ship and waited for Obi-Wan.

"Good, good," a voice hissed from the dark corridor sealing all opportunities of escape. "You have fought well, my apprentice."
     "Thank you, my Lord," the shadows seemed to whisper back. "I believe I have also killed the boy. There is no way he could have been saved."
     The markings of a face began to twist in anger. "You did what?" it screeched."Lord Swatar, this boy is vital in our quest for sovereignty!"
     Darth Swatar stepped into a shaft of moonlight, revealing his suit and mask covered face. His voice changed suddenly, becoming robotic and anonymous. "I am sorry, Lord Sidious. I will not fail you again."
     "Never mind," Darth Sidious snapped back. "I will see to it myself that Anakin Skywalker shall not die."
     "Yes, my Lord," the apprentice nodded once he had stepped back into the shadows, his voice once more like a girl's whisper.

"Good, Seth, good," Obi-Wan commented on Seth's perseverance in improving the ability to use the Force. He had noticed right away when he first saw Seth his problem. Seth wouldn't ever attune to the Force except when he was fighting, which was why he was so fast. He needed to balance his talent.
     Obi-Wan didn't think Anakin should know about this, just yet. As much as he disliked to admit it, his apprentice was too unpredictable, and too confused about himself. The boy was untrustworthy. And since he disliked Seth, it was too risky to find out if he would use Seth's weakness against him.
     Fortunately, Anakin was doing okay. He'd wanted to join the training today, but on Obi-Wan's word he hadn't. Anakin looked too weak and Obi-Wan didn't want him to hurt himself.
     "Alright Seth. You may leave now," Obi-Wan told his new apprentice.
     Seth stood up shakily. "Yes, Master Obi-Wan," he replied. Uncertainly, he added, "Should I get Anakin?"
     Thoughtful for a moment, Obi-Wan hesitated. Finally he answered, "Yes. Yes, get him. I don't think he would be easy to manage if he doesn't get what he wants," Obi-Wan added with a hint of a smile.
     "Yes, Master Obi-Wan." Seth dipped his head and left the room.

     Anakin was meditating. Pain still surged through his veins, even though he had recovered, and he was focusing on disintegrating all physical feelings and only having the Force. He didn't notice when the dorr creaked open.
      He snapped his eyes open and turned to Seth.
     "Uh, Obi-Wan wants you," Seth told him, almost unnerved by the speed in which Anakin looked at him. Surprisingly, Anakin didn't reply, only nodded in acknowledgment. Then he got up and walked out.
     Anakin quickly walked to the room in which Obi-Wan awaited him, all the pain he had forgotten slowly returning to him. He felt his steps slow.
     When Anakin walked in, Obi-Wan noticed his state. He walked straight, tall, and confident, but Obi-Wan knew his apprentice well enough to realize that Anakin was masking his pain, judging from the look on his face.
     "Hello, Anakin," he greeted. "Are you alright?" he asked, when Anakin just stiffly nodded. 
     Anakin's eyes met his. They looked challenging, almost as if he were daring Obi-Wan to consider him weak.
     Obi-Wan sighed. "Anakin, you-"
     The Padawan cut him off. "Don't give me another lecture, Master. Not another one about how if I would just listen to you, I wouldn't get hurt."
     His mentor grinned. "Oh, you know me too well," he joked.
     Anakin couldn't resist a smile. He walked over to Obi-Wan. "Have there been any news of Darth Swatar?"
     Obi-Wan shook his head. "No, not yet. But depending on the circumstances, we may have to track down Viceroy Gunray's whereabouts. There have been rumors that he is up to something."
     The apprentice looked thoughtful, the expression on his face morphing into confusion for just a moment. Then he nodded.  "Master, may I ask you something?" After a nod from Obi-Wan, Anakin continued. "I can sense something is wrong. That something is being hidden from me." He was about to continue, but from the look on his mentor's face, he kept quiet.
     For a few moments, Obi-Wan was silent. Finally, he looked Anakin squarely in his eyes. "This has nothing to do with you," he responded curtly.

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