Star Wars fan fiction
introduction and preview
Only For A Season
Chapter 1: Desert Visitor
Chapter 2: Game of Marbles
Chapter 3: Stargazer
Chapter 4: Dewbacks and Darklighter
Chapter 5: Skyhopper
Chapter 6: Beggar’s Canyon
Chapter 7: Boonta Eve
Chapter 8: Sunstealer
Chapter 9: The Stone Needle
Chapter 10: Shifting Sands
Chapter 11: A New Season
Chapter 12: Japor Strands
Chapter 13: Farmer’s Holiday
Chapter 14: Starkiller
Chapter 15: Setting Suns
Chapter 16: Seeds of Rebellion
Only For A Season
Dewbacks and Darklighter
Luke juiced the speederbike a little faster and waited ‘til the last second to swerve around the rock base directly in front of them. He grinned all the wider when Windy squealed in alarm.
“Luke! Be careful. If you smash up your uncle’s speeder bike again–”
“I’ll have to fix it again,” Luke answered with a bored drawl as he eased off the throttle.
“After he un-grounds you,” Windy finished.
Luke shrugged, unimpressed. Sometimes Windy was no fun at all. “Okay. So where’d Deak say to go after we rounded that flat rock base?”
Windy sat up a little straighter. Maybe he was remembering that they were on a mission here and not just killing time while their folks were visiting at the Lars’s.
“He said pass the flat rock, circle east, and the Cave of the Kyrat Dragon is supposed to be straight ahead.” Windy craned his head to catch a glimpse of the bike’s control panel. “Luke–” his voice faltered. “If we go that way we’re crossing into the Jundland Wastes.”
“So?” Luke challenged. “You gonna go back and tell Deak you were too scared?”
For a minute Luke really thought Windy was going to back out. Then he shook his head. Deak had laid down a dare and neither of them wanted to turn back before they had even reached the dare site.
“I think that’s it,” Luke whispered a few minutes later.
“Wow. Look at the size of those tracks.”
The cave had gotten its name when a rock wall had collapsed on a kyrat dragon years and years ago. The collapse had entombed the dragon and the desert had worn away rock and flesh alike until its impressive fossilized bones remained as part of the cave. But right now the cave was used by migrating dewbacks. Their tracks cut deep ruts into the drifting sands.
Luke slowed the bike to a crawl as they approached the cave. According to Deak there was an injured dewback living in the cave, abandoned by its herd when it fell behind in the migration through the wastes. According to Deak a lame dewback was easier to ride than a tame bantha. He and Windy had argued over it until the dare had been made.
“You got the holo recorder?” Luke whispered, pushing the bike inside the cave so they could use its headbeam for light.
Windy nodded, seemingly incapable of speech at the moment.
Luke leaned the bike against one side of the wall and caught hold of Windy’s tunic to pull him along. Luke could hear the breathing of something very large ahead of them. The louder the breathing got the louder Windy’s whimpers became. Luke shushed him impatiently and peeked around the next corner.
“It’s there,” he hissed at Windy. After a brief argument about who should try to ride it first both boys agreed to jump on at once. They climbed a rock ledge and on the count of three Luke and Windy both jumped from the ledge toward the sleeping dewback.
Luke’s heart was pounding in his throat as he launched himself through the air and landed slightly off center high up on the creature’s neck. Windy landed behind him and promptly slid down toward the tail. They had about three seconds to celebrate their victory. Then the creature gave a horrible screeching howl and whirled in a tight circle, trying to catch sight of the burden on its back.
Both boys held tight for a moment, then the creature’s momentum and a switch of its powerful tail sent Windy flying. Luke closed his eyes and gripped his knees tighter but the beast stumbled and sent Luke careening to the stone floor next. Freed from its unwanted burden it barreled from the cave as fast as it could, stumbling hard into the wall in its haste to escape.
Luke tumbled across the floor and came to a rest unharmed, with only scrapes and bruises. Windy had been less lucky. He was thrown hard against the cave wall, cutting a gash in his head and injuring his wrist in the process. Luke quickly crawled on hands and knees toward his friend, and for an awful moment he feared the cave would collapse when the frantic dewback careened into the wall.
More rock fell around him. Luke covered his head as the pieces pelted him, then Windy screamed. Luke looked up through the falling dust and rock. A huge bolder was teetering over a crumbling ledge; if it fell on Windy it would crush him. Luke watched the rock teeter, hoping and praying with every ounce of his being that the massive bolder would change course... just a little. Then, with a heavy crash, the rock fell and shattered into sections. Luke breathed a sigh of relief. The bolder had changed direction just as Luke had hoped it would, almost in mid-air, as it fell.
Luke crawled the rest of the way to Windy as fast as he could, frantically calling his friend’s name. The falling rock hadn’t hurt Windy but when it had shattered Windy’s ankle had gotten wedged between a piece of rock and the cave floor. Luke quickly discovered that he couldn’t move Windy or the heavy shard of rock.
Windy was trapped. Luke couldn’t free him. He didn’t want to leave his friend here, but if that was the only way to get help.... Luke looked toward the mouth of the cave, belatedly noticing that the cave was too dark. They had left the speeder bike parked in the cave to give them light, and the speeder bike had been crunched by the escaping dewback.
Deeper into the Jundland Wastes Obi-Wan Kenobi was in meditation inside his small hut of a home. His meditations had again led him into the past. He placed a hand to Padme’s shoulder. He didn’t want to rush her goodbyes but the moment was at hand and he knew that time was short for all of them. Padme gave him an almost imperceptible nod and bent down to kiss each of her children, tears falling from her eyes.
The girl, Leia, she wrapped in an ornate blanket. Padme, herself, would deliver her to Alderran where Bail Organna awaited. There Leia would begin her life as royalty and Padme would remain protected as a handmaden in the royal court of Alderran. The boy, Luke, was likewise wrapped securely in a blanket for travel, but his blanket was made of a coarse brown material that would protect him from the elements of Tatooine.
Little Luke’s hand curled around a piece of jewelry that had been carved years ago from a japor snippet, and Padme paused to touch it.
“It’ll bring you good fortune, my son,” she whispered through her tears. Then she handed the boy to Obi-Wan.
For a long moment they looked into each other’s eyes. Obi-Wan could see the wash of emotion in her face, but most of all he saw a deep, unwavering pain in her eyes. And he saw a look of defeat that he recognized well. Padme had lost everything dear to her, everything she had ever worked for was gone... and now the only thing that mattered to her was the safety of these two helpless lives. No matter how much she loved and wanted to protect them, ironically the only thing Padme could do for her children now was to let them go. Their parentage could never be revealed. Their lives depended on that secret.
Obi-Wan nodded in silent understanding of his responsibility as he stared down at his charge. The little boy was beautiful, tiny, less than a day old... and so much depended on his future. Many diverse emotions flowed through the Jedi’s mind and heart. Hope. Fear. Pain. Regret. He put them all aside; like Padme, his only concern now could be the boy’s safety. His fate was in Obi-Wan’s hands.
The hooded Jedi slowly turned away, and a soft coo could be heard from the bundle he carried as the brown blanket blended into the brown material of Obi-Wan’s flowing robes.
For a moment there was unspeakable anguish on Padme’s beautiful features. Obi-Wan hadn’t seen it then, his back turned to her, but he could see it now. She bit her lip and held back tears, held back the overwhelming desire to rush to her firstborn and take him back into her arms. She blinked back the tears and regained control, though her inaction greatly deepened the pain and anguish within her. Then her eyes settled onto her daughter, and a ray of hope pushed through her sadness.
The baby girl gave an answering coo to her brother as Obi-Wan’s stride lengthened, and then he was gone.
“Don’t worry, Leia. He’ll be all right,” Padme managed, trying to sooth Leia as well as herself with the reassuring words. But it was a different voice Obi-Wan heard now.
“Don’t worry, Windy. We’ll figure something out. We’ll be all right.”
The Jedi refocused his thoughts and emotions, following the familiar trail back to its source. He felt a great deal of fear and uncertainty despite the bravely spoken assurances. Luke was in trouble.
“I’ve got to go for help,” Luke whispered. It was getting darker outside and his teeth were beginning to chatter from the cold.
“It’s too far, Luke,” Windy argued, the cold causing his voice to shake as well.
“Ben!” Luke abruptly remembered. “Old hermit Kenobi, he lives around here somewhere.”
“That crazy old man? No way.”
They sat in silence for a while longer before Luke stood and walked to the mouth of the cave. The twin suns had already sunken under the horizon, and Luke knew they were in deep trouble. They had no emergency supplies and only a little water, which he had carelessly used to clean the blood from Windy’s face. By the time Luke returned to Windy he was shivering violently, and not just from the rapidly dropping temperatures. Luke could hear noises outside the cave... Sandpeople, or worse.
“We can’t stay here all night, Windy. I’ve got to go for help.”
Just as Windy opened his mouth to protest, the deafening high-pitched call of a Kyrat Dragon broke through the air and echoed across the cave. Luke jumped and scuffled further into the cave beside Windy.
A figure appeared in the cave’s entrance, shaking off the cold wind and the swirling sands. Far from a Kyrat dragon, it stood on two legs and it didn’t look like a Sandperson. Luke and Windy were both rendered speechless as Ben Kenobi quickly came the rest of the way inside and lowered himself down beside Windy to investigate his injuries.
Windy looked wild-eyed toward Luke, and Luke moved closer to his friend. “What are you doing?” he demanded.
“Not to worry, young Luke, he'll be fine,” Kenobi assured him lightly. “But we need to get the two of you out of here,” Kenobi decided firmly as he stood and looked outside the cave worriedly.
Windy actually laughed in disbelief. “How? The speeder won’t run. Luke tried it.”
“Let me see about that,” Kenobi suggested. “You don’t spend so much time alone out here without learning how to get by.”
Again Luke followed the old man’s every move. “How did you do that?” he demanded when the speeder bike turned over after only a few moments of Kenobi’s fiddling.
“Let’s talk about that later,” Ben suggested, giving Luke’s arm a squeeze.
He returned to Windy and closed his eyes for a moment, carefully extending his hand without touching the boy.
Again Windy looked terrified beyond belief. “W-what are you doing now,” he stammered.
Kenobi only smiled, hardly allowing his concentration to be broken. “Something I’m sure your parents would call wizardry. See if you can stand.”
“I can’t stand! My leg is stuck, you crazy old womp rat–”
Kenobi glanced meaningfully toward Luke.
Luke moved to his side to help Windy get to his feet. Meanwhile Kenobi moved the huge bolder aside with ease.
“That’s impossible.” Windy looked between Luke and Ben, utterly terrified now. “It– it doesn’t even hurt,” he whispered to Luke. “How can he do that?”
“Does it matter now?” Ben breathed. “If we stay here any longer we’ll all start freezing to death, assuming the Sandpeople don’t find us first.”
Windy threw his arm across Luke’s shoulders and Luke helped him onto the speeder. But Windy was too weakened from blood loss and exposure to keep himself upright.
“I can’t carry him and drive the speeder. And in the dark...” Luke looked up, trying to orient himself in the night sky, but none of the stars looked familiar the way they did when he watched them outside his window at home.
“I’ll come with you,” Kenobi decided quietly.
The three of them squeezed onto the speeder and Luke gunned it in the direction they had come from, Kenobi occasionally giving him directions. It was pitch black outside when Kenobi stepped off the speeder bike carrying Windy, who had fallen unconscious during the ride, in his arms. Owen and Beru rushed outside. Windy’s parents had returned home hours earlier in hopes the boys might turn up there.
“Beru, take him inside. See to his injuries and contact the Marstraps,” Owen ordered. His eyes never left Kenobi’s and Uncle Owen sounded as angry as Luke had ever heard him. Aunt Breu took Windy and hurried inside. “Get inside, Luke.”
“But–” Luke wanted to explain what had happened.
“We’ll discuss it later. Now go,” Owen ordered, his attention never leaving Kenobi. The old man was adjusting the robe that he had wrapped around Windy for the ride back, now having replaced it securely around his own shoulders.
“Yes, sir,” Luke whispered, but he lingered on the courtyard steps close enough to hear what was said between the two men.
“We had an agreement, Kenobi.”
“And if I had kept it Luke and his friend may not have survived the night.”
“And that’s my fault, is it?”
“Nobody’s fault. Just boys getting in a little over their heads.”
“If you’re waiting for a ‘thank you,’ you might as well leave now.”
Kenobi only smiled that curious smile of his. “No. I only hoped you might reconsider some of what we said before.” Kenobi withdrew something from his robes and held it as an offering in his open palm.
Owen Lars laughed, but the sound seemed even angrier than his previous words. “Get off my property, old man. I don’t want to see you here again; we agreed to that.”
Uncle Owen’s temper was well-known, but Luke found it hard to believe that his uncle was so angry with the man who had rescued him and Windy. Then his heart froze up as the only explanation Luke could fathom came unbidden into his mind; maybe Owen hadn’t wanted him to be found.
“And take that thing with you,” Owen Lars spat in conclusion.
Kenobi reluctantly drew back his arm and returned the object to his belt. “The farm won’t be enough for him, Owen, we both know that.”
“The hell we do,” Owen snarled, advancing on Kenobi until the two were nearly nose to nose and Luke could no longer hear what was being said. “I told you before, I won’t have you filling his head with that dangerous nonsense. Damn fool idealistic–” Owen broke off his insult. That same benign smile had returned to Kenobi’s face. “His father belonged here. Never should have gone off with your sort, crusading across the galaxy – see what’s come of it now,” Owen growled. “The boy belongs here. I’ll see that he stays here as long as there’s breath in my body. And you, Kenobi, are not to interfere with him!”
Kenobi watched Lars for a long moment. He hadn’t really expected anything to change. Owen Lars had made his terms more than clear years earlier.... Obi-Wan inclined his head slightly in concession. Then he slowly turned and walked away into the night, but not before his gaze caught Luke’s. He smiled at the boy, that childlike and slightly mischievous smile that made the old man look years younger... and Luke turned tail and ran into the homestead before Owen could see him standing there.
“Of all the harebrained stunts, Luke. Jundland Wastes. Wild dewbacks,” Uncle Owen ranted.
“I’m sorry,” Luke whispered. Tears stung his eyes in spite of himself. They had nothing to do with his uncle’s anger or the deep trouble he knew he was in. Owen had been so angry at Ben, like he hadn’t cared that Luke was all right, that Ben had saved him and Windy... almost like Owen hadn’t wanted him back.... Luke had always been aware that he wasn’t their child, but until that moment he had never doubted that his aunt and uncle wanted him. “I didn’t mean–” he stammered through tears he could no longer control.
Owen and Beru looked at each other for a long moment. Then Owen knelt down in front of his nephew. “Do you know how much you worried your aunt and me?” he asked softly.
Luke looked stunned. “No,” he answered honestly.
Owen hugged him tightly. “Promise me, Luke– you’ll never disappear like that again. We thought something horrible had happened to you.”
Beru was weeping as she stroked the back of Luke’s head affectionately.
“I’m sorry,” Luke whispered, holding his uncle tighter. “I won’t do it again.”
“We love you so much, Luke,” his aunt whispered.
Owen quickly released him, and Luke could see tears on his face in the second before Owen turned away. “Get to bed now. Your punishment will start early tomorrow. Tonight your aunt will bring you something to eat and tuck you in,” he finished at a hoarse whisper.
Luke nodded, and he hesitated, looking up at his aunt. Then he took his Uncle’s hand. “I love you and Aunt Beru too, Uncle Owen,” he whispered.
Beru came forward and smoothed his hair again. She stooped down to kiss his cheek and gave him a little shove toward bed. “Go on to bed now,” she whispered, smiling at him.
Luke ran from the room without looking back. When Breu came to tuck him in a short while later he was already sound asleep.
Obi-Wan Kenobi slowly and steadily made his way through the desert night. Owen’s reaction to his unexpected appearance hadn’t been that surprising but Obi-Wan was still surprised.
He’s not Anakin, that voice whispered in his mind, so familiar and unobtrusive.
“I know he’s not.” Obi-Wan stopped in his tracks and took a deep breath. There were small differences. Luke was weathered by a life spent outdoors at his uncle’s side, wrestling stubborn vaporators for every drop of moisture they yielded. And Padme’s features were there in his slight frame and delicate face... but he looked so much like Anakin had. Anakin had been Luke’s age the first time Obi-Wan had set eyes on him. So eager, so full of light. Obi-Wan’s thoughts dwelt on the sandy haired boy who had grown up at his side until the voice became more persistent.
He is not Anakin, Obi-Wan, and you cannot allow yourself to forget that.
“I know, Master,” Obi-wan breathed, feeling very much like the arrogant and headstrong Padawan he had still been at the time of that first meeting long ago. His feet found their way forward again, slowly and steadily. “Luke is... he bears Owen’s mark, and Beru’s. Strong and brave. Thoughtful and compassionate. Practical. Grounded. Good-hearted.” Obi-Wan laughed in spite of himself as he remembered how this had begun with wild dewbacks in the Jundland Wastes. The boy was also fearlessly reckless. For a moment Obi-Wan allowed himself to wonder if the Lars’s could tame the boy’s inheritance of risk and trouble.
He will learn love, Obi-Wan, not as something lost or forbidden, but as a feeling of wholeness that completes him in a way that Anakin never learned... and as a result always longed for. That mark will remain on him also.
“I hope you are right, Master,” Obi-Wan breathed.
Looking up, one of the moons had risen over the barren sandy horizon. Obi-Wan still doubted the wisdom of this plan in the depths of his heart. In the depths of his heart he feared the truth. Mustafar still haunted his dreams with surprising regularity, even after a decade. And he dreaded a day in which the past might come to repeat itself....
There, in the deepest depths of his heart, lay knowledge that the losses Luke would be asked to face would be greater than any Anakin had ever dreamed to fear.
“Do I have to go?”
Beru turned away from the lunch she had been preparing at the kitchen counter and looked at the little boy sitting at the table. Sulking, was more like it, and she was a little confused. Luke’s punishment was nearly ended and Beru had promised him a trip to Anchorhead a couple of days ago. She tried to take him there as often as possible since he seldom got the chance to visit with kids his own age otherwise. Today he sat abnormally still, absently scratching at the table surface with a fingernail.
“Cept for Windy the other kids tease me,” he admitted quietly.
Beru wiped off her hands and sat down beside her nephew at the kitchen table. Now she understood his lack of enthusiasm for the field trip. Luke remained silent a while longer before he looked hesitantly in her direction.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of, Luke. You be proud of who you are, and it doesn’t matter what anybody says about you.” Luke nodded. But she could tell he still didn’t feel good about the prospect of facing the other kids. “You know, I got teased too?”
“Oh yeah. Dirt farmer. Rain dancer. You name it I heard it.”
“What did you do about it?”
Beru smiled mischievously. “I learned that there were advantages to living on the farm.”
The following day Luke and his aunt drove into Anchorhead with Luke behind the controls of the landspeeder. He was used to piloting the speeder and his uncle’s speeder bike – he had to be able to manage a landspeeder in order to help out around the farm – but he had never been allowed to drive into town before.
After a full day of shopping and running errands they came to a halt outside several shops on the outskirts of Anchorhead. Luke powered down the speeder and looked around eagerly. He was still ecstatic over his newfound privileges but a little disappointed that no one had seen him pull in here, at least no one that he recognized. Luke collected a final list from his aunt and set off along one side of the street while she headed for the other side. In a nearby doorway a tall, dark-haired boy stood watching with great interest.
Luke had saved his final stop for the power station at Toshe Station. No longer able to avoid it, he took a deep breath and walked into the shop. Fixer and his gang were lounging around one of the game tables in back, nothing else to keep them busy. They all noted Luke’s arrival, and the teasing that he had been expecting quickly began.
Luke tried to ignore it as he moved through the shop collecting different spare parts his uncle needed for the vaperators, but he could feel his face reddening and had a hard time keeping his feet from shuffling restlessly when he stood still. Luke had a habit of squirming when he was nervous. His peers had noticed that tendency years ago and had developed several creative ways of making Luke feel even worse about it.
“Squirmy Wormie,” they chorused, and Luke felt the flush in his cheeks deepen.
“Give it a rest, guys,” Luke intoned, his embarrassment giving way to impatience.
“What’s a matter, Wormie, can’t hack it?” Deak demanded.
“Go on back to the farm, mama’s boy,” Fixer taunted.
“He doesn’t have a mama to go back to,” Tank chimed in cruelly.
“He’ll go hide behind his Auntie’s skirts,” Camie amended the taunt.
Luke’s face turned a deeper shade of crimson as Fixer laughed over-loudly at Camie’s insult. That was hitting below the belt. Suddenly Luke found himself on the verge of challenging Fixer to a fight, which only showed how unnerved Luke really was. Under normal circumstances Luke would have known that fighting Fixer on his own turf in the middle of his gang was more likely to earn you a bone crunching than jumping on the back of a wild dewback.
“Leave him alone, Fixer.” The sharp voice drew everyone’s attention. Behind it a tall, dark-haired boy stood in the doorway, leaning his weight slightly against the doorjamb, looking like he owned the place. “Or I’ll have to–”
“Sure, Biggs,” Fixer agreed, smiling nervously. “Wormie knows we don’t mean nothing, do we, Wormie?”
Luke glared at him coldly. “Na,” he muttered. “Nothing.”
Fixer made a motion toward Deak, who obediently rushed up to the front of the shop to check Luke’s purchases. Luke continued about his business the best he could. Fixer was the top dog around here, and Luke had never seen anybody make him back down. Obviously this new guy was trouble, but that was Fixer’s problem.
Luke gave the group in the back room one more hard stare, silently daring them to say anything else before he took his bag and pushed out the door past the boy named Biggs. He was probably a year or two older than Luke and stood about a head taller than Luke did. Common sense told him that he didn’t need to make an enemy out of this stranger, but Luke was sick enough of being bullied and teased at the moment. He didn’t much care what came of it; he was going to stand his ground.
“Hey. You’re welcome.”
Luke turned toward the stranger, eyes blazing. “I can take care’a myself.”
Biggs grinned at his defiance. “I’m Biggs Darklighter. I haven’t seen you in school, have I?”
“I don’t live in town,” Luke answered.
“Moisture farm, huh?”
Luke’s eyes narrowed. “What of it?”
“Nothing,” Biggs said agreeably. “You got a real name or does everybody call you Wormie?”
Luke watched the dark-haired boy for a long moment before letting his defenses down a bit. “No,” he answered, “just Fixer and his gang. My name’s Luke. Luke Skywalker.”
“Skywalker, huh,” Biggs shook his hand and the two boys began walking down the street.
“Why’d you take up for me, anyway?”
Biggs shrugged. “Fixer and me had a go round first day of the term when I got here. He thought he’d welcome me with a crunching and I thought otherwise. Guess I don’t much like him. My dad says he’s just the big fish in a small pond.”
“Big what?” Luke asked, his face twisting in confusion.
Biggs grinned again. “Forget it. Means he thinks a lot of himself and maybe he needs someone to put him in his place.” They had almost reached Luke’s landspeeder and Biggs shrugged cautiously in that direction. “I saw you drive up a while ago. Your aunt teach you to pilot a speeder?”
Luke hesitated. It wasn’t exactly legal for an underage driver to pilot anything bigger than a light model speeder bike through a populated area. The locals didn’t really care about the age restrictions (they usually argued that nowhere on this rock qualified as a populated area) and the rules were generally left to be enforced within each family as they saw fit.... But this newcomer might cause trouble for him and his aunt.
“I don’t care,” Biggs quickly amended, “just – you think your aunt might teach me? My pop says he’ll let me have a T-16 for my next birthday if I can handle it, only he won’t let me practice on his speeder.”
Luke made a quick decision. “Sure.”
“Really?” Biggs beamed.
Luke nodded. “I don’t know why not. Let me ask her.”
Luke asked Aunt Beru, who agreed, and from that moment on Luke had a new best friend.
So Let it Be Written Publishing © 2004