Vader's Fortress, page 1
Junior Jedi Knights
by Rebecca Moesta
OCR: Ãîëîäíûé Ýâîê Ãðûçëè
Drops of moisture sparkled on the short grass of the landing field in
front of the Jedi academy. The sunlight on Yavin 4 seemed especially bright
after the morning's rain. Smells of leaves and flowers drifted from the
The air felt comfortably damp and warm to Anakin Solo, who gazed
expectantly toward the sky. He brushed his fringe of straight brown bangs
away from his ice blue eyes and then shaded them with one hand so that he
could see better. The ship should arrive soon, he thought. Anakin's best
friend Tahiri stood beside him, barefoot on the grassy stubble. Her pale
yellow hair blew free in the breeze, and her sea green eyes also looked
skyward. Beside her waited Uldir, the strong teenage son of two cargo
pilots. Shaggy chestnut hair framed his proud face.
Uldir had stowed away and come to the Jedi academy in hopes of
becoming a Jedi. He had persuaded Anakin's uncle, Luke Skywalker, to accept
him as a Jedi trainee for a while, even though the teen had no real talent
with the Force. Although Uldir was several years older than Anakin, the two
youngest Jedi trainees had befriended the new student..
Both Tahiri and Uldir were unusually silent today, and Anakin felt
himself growing impatient.
"We've been waiting almost an hour," Anakin said.
"Do you think something's wrong?" Uldir shrugged.
Tahiri didn't respond. Anakin shifted his weight. So far, he had
managed to amuse himself by solving puzzles in his head, but he was getting
tired of standing. He wanted to sit down, but he knew the wet grass would
soak his comfortable flightsuit in no time. He wasn't sure that would feel
any better than just standing. Even though Tahiri was a couple of years
younger than he was, the long wait this morning didn't seem to bother her
Uldir whistled a tune under his breath and retied the belt of his new
brown Jedi robe. Anakin guessed it made Uldir feel more like a student to
have a robe like the ones Jedi Masters often wore. A Jedi needs to be
patient, Anakin reminded himself.
Taking a deep breath, he did one of his calming exercises using the
Force. He thought back on the quest that had recently taken them all to the
planet Dagobah. He, Tahiri, and Uldir had had many adventures there, guided
by the Jedi Master Ikrit. One at a time, the three junior Jedi had gone
into a special cave to find out about who they were inside themselves. In
the cave Anakin and Tahiri had learned that their parents and the people in
their past were a part of who each of them was today. But they also learned
that only their own choices could decide whom they would become now.
Uldir had seen nothing in the cave, though, and Anakin wondered if the
older boy had learned anything.
"I don't think so," Tahiri said suddenly. Just like that, with no
"Huh?" Anakin blinked at her. "What don't you think?"
"I don't think that there's anything wrong, of course. That is what
you asked, isn't it? You asked if I thought that anything was wrong. And I
don't. So I said-"
"Yes... yes, I heard you," Anakin said. "I only meant-"
Tahiri gave him an odd look.
"Really, Anakin! Sometimes I wonder how you manage to get so confused
even during a simple conversation. And anyway, I don't know why you'd think
that anything might be wrong. Master Skywalker wouldn't have sent us out
here to meet Tionne if he hadn't been sure she was going to arrive sooner
or later. So I'm positive that everything is fine. Relax and enjoy the
beautiful weather. She'll be here any time now."
"Well, I hope she hurries," Uldir said. His amber eyes searched the
sky. "I don't have much time before my next shift working in the kitchen. I
thought we were going to go into the jungle together so you could give me
some tips on using the Force to lift leaves."
"We'll have plenty of time to practice," Tahiri said confidently.
"I just wish there was an easier way to learn about the Force," Uldir
said. His voice had started low, but changed with a squeak i n midsentence.
"It always seems like such hard work."
"I guess I don't think about whether it's hard to study the Force and
practice, because I enjoy it so much," Anakin admitted.
Tahiri gave Uldir an encouraging smile.
"I have a feeling you're going to start catching on pretty soon now.
After all, when Tionne found me on Tatooine-"
"That's Uncle Luke's homeworld, you know," Anakin explained to Uldir.
"Right," Tahiri said. "Anyway; when Tionne found me out in the middle
of the desert living with the Sand People, I didn't know any more about
using the Force than you--but look how much I've learned already. Tionne is
a natural teacher, and I'm never bored when she's talking. That's why I
love to go along on her research trips, you know. I wish I could have gone
with her this time to Borgo Prime.... I always learn so much." Tahiri
looked pensive for a moment; then her face brightened. "Well, she did
promise to take me along on her next research trip. Traveling with her is
always an adventure. I hope-"
"That sounds fun," Anakin said. "I wonder if she'd mind if I came
along with you."
"Yeah, me too," Uldir said.
"Well, you can ask her yourself," Tahiri said, pointing upward. "That
must be her now. But where did she get that strange ship? I've never seen
A ship had indeed arrived and was floating down through the air toward
the landing field. The craft was very old and had a strange design, with a
plump reddish-orange body and broad solar sails that collected sunlight to
power the ship. The shimmering metallic sails spread out on each side like
wings, making the craft look something like a pudgy copper dragon. Tahiri
seemed to dance with excitement as they waited for the ship to land. When
the orange sails finally folded and the spacecraft touched down, Tahiri
could contain herself no longer. She ran forward, shouting a greeting as
her good friend and Jedi instructor Tionne stepped down from the odd little
Anakin wanted to give the two of them a chance to talk before he
joined them, so he hung back for a moment with Uldir. He could sense
through the Force that Tionne was just as giddy as the blonde-haired girl,
but he couldn't tell what the excitement was about. Watching the talkative
girl and the quiet Jedi instructor together always made Anakin smile. In
spite of their differences, the two shared a close bond.
They could almost be mother and daughter, Anakin mused. Since Tahiri's
mother had died when she was only three, he wondered if she did think of
the Jedi teacher that way. Beside Anakin, Uldir cleared his throat
impatiently and fidgeted with his robe.
"Okay," Anakin said, "I guess we can go help Tionne now." They started
"Welcome back," Anakin called.
"Hi," Uldir said. Tionne turned.
Her large mother-of-pearl eyes sparkled with delight at seeing them.
"It's good to be back," she said. "Even better because I have such
exciting news for Master Skywalker."
"So you found something?" Anakin asked.
Tionne smiled in an I've-got-a-secret kind of way.
"Quite a bit, actually. But first, what do you think of my new ship?"
Uldir snorted. "If that's a new model, then I'm the son of a nerf
The silvery-haired instructor gave a musical laugh.
"You're right, of course. The Lore Seeker - that's what I named my
ship-is really quite old. That's why I loved the design so much."
"Well, I think the ship is perfect for you," Tahiri said.
"It's just right. And so is the name." Anakin nodded.
He knew Tionne had called her craft the Lore Seeker because she loved
to look for stories and legends about Jedi who lived long ago. He closed
his eyes for a moment and reached into the ship with his mind then looked
up at Tionne with surprise.
"It's in excellent condition," he announced. "I'm glad to hear you say
that," the Jedi instructor said with a smile.
"I thought so, too. But because the ship was so old, I was able to buy
it from a Randoni trader for a song."
"How much did you really pay?" Uldir asked.
"Just a song. Really. While I was looking for Jedi legends, I came
across an ancient song that told about the very first Ran - doni merchants
and the vaults where they hid their wealth. The trader was so interested
that she offered me the Lore Seeker in exchange for the song. Now come help
me unload my cargo, and I'll show you some of my other treasures."
Anakin and Tahiri needed no more urging. They hurried to explore the
strange ship and help Tionne. Uldir grumbled something about never getting
the fun jobs, but lie went along with them anyway. Inside the Lore Seeker's
tiny hold, Tionne said,
"You may carry this Twi'lek story-chain, Tahiri-each link tells a
different part of a story. Please be very careful with it. Uldir, here is a
holodisk. It holds a recording of some very old Jedi songs. Anakin, would
you please carry this scroll? I'll take the tapestry."'
On the way back to the Jedi academy they each carried their packages
with extra care. As usual, Tahiri chattered gaily.
"I can't wait to see Master Skywalker's face when you show him
everything you found. He'll probably want to see the Lore Seeker right
away. Have you learned any of the old songs from that holodisk yet? Will
you sing them to us?"
"You sure seem to have had a successful trip," Anakin put in.
Tionne tossed back her silvery hair and chuckled.
"Oh, that's not all-I found something even more important. I learned
where to find an object that may have more meaning for Master Skywalker
than any of these treasures we're holding."
"Well, where is it then?" Tahiri said. "In an old fortress on a planet
called Vjun," Tionne said.
"Does anyone live in the fortress?" Anakin asked.
Tionne shook her head.
"Well, if it's really that important, don't you think you ought to go
find it?" Tahiri said. "And don't forget that you promised to take me with
you this time."
"I'd like to go along, too," Anakin added.
"Yeah, it sounds like fun," Uldir said.
"I'm not sure Master Skywalker will approve. It could be a bit
dangerous. The news about this special thing had just reached Borgo Prime,
but there might be other people who learned about where it is-other people
who might want to find it too."
"Then it sounds important enough that we ought to go after it," Tahiri
insisted. "As soon as possible."
"Why would someone else want it?" Anakin asked, his ice blue eyes
alive with curiosity. "What kind of special object is this?"
Tionne's face lit with a wondering smile, and she gave a happy sigh.
"It's Obi-Wan Kenobi's lightsaber!"
Luke Skywalker, dressed in a comfortable black flightsuit, sat on the
stone floor in the room where he meditated and did his office work. At the
moment, though, Luke was not meditating. Before him in the center of the
room stood his barrel-shaped blue and white droid, Artoo-Detoo. It was time
for Artoo's routine cleaning. Anakin's older sister Jaina often helped Luke
with this chore, but the Jedi Master didn't mind doing it himself. He
actually found it relaxing. With his tools neatly laid out on the floor and
fresh packets of lubricant beside him, Master Skywalker opened Artoo-
Detoo's front panels and got to work.
After checking the droid's numerous electrical connections, Luke added
a few gadgets and upgrades Jaina had scrounged up for Artoo: a retractable
mirror attachment, a power booster for the comm unit, and a new focusing
lens for the hologram projector.
A white-furred creature with floppy ears watched from his favorite
perch on top of ArtooDetoo 's domed head. Most people at the Jedi academy
thought the quiet, friendly creature was Anakin's pet, but Ikrit was really
a Jedi Master himself. Luke had just begun to drain dirty, oily grunge from
the droid's wheel axles when he heard a knock on the heavy wooden door.
"Would you get that, please?" Luke asked Ikrit.
The fluffy-furred Jedi Master sprang down from the top of Artoo's head
and bounded toward the arched doorway. Then he reached up, unhooked the
latch, and opened the door. Luke looked up from the packet of slippery
lubricant he held in his hand, then smiled when he saw who his visitors
"Come in," he said, "all of you."
His words seemed to open an invisible dam, because people and noises
instantly flooded into his quiet room. Luke laughed as everyone tried to
talk to him at once.
"Master Skywalker, I have wonderful news," Tionne said. "You'll never
guess in a million years," Tahiri added.
"Can I go with them?" Anakin asked.
"Yeah, me too!" Uldir said.
"I don't want to get left behind." Luke put down the lubricant and
"All right, I'm ready to hear your news," he said as Artoo-Detoo
warbled enthusiastically. "Let's start with Tionne."
Luke was amazed.
He thought back to the last time he had seen Obi-Wan Kenobi's
Luke's first Jedi instructor, had fought Darth Vader on the first
Death Star. The old man had sacrificed himself so that Luke, the Wookiee
Chewbacca, and Anakin's parents Han and Leia could escape in the Millennium
"Let me get this straight," Luke said. "Someone on Borgo Prime-an
information broker - told you that Obi-Wan Kenobi's lightsaber was taken
away from the Death Star before it blew up!"
said that the lightsaber was taken to the planet Vjun and hidden in some
sort of fortress or castle. But it's all right-no one lives there anymore."
"Darth Vader...," Luke said.
It surprised him that Darth Vader would want to keep the lightsaber of
his former teacher, but it wasn't impossible. Vader could have sent it away
from the Death Star just after he defeated Kenobi. Or he might even have
taken it with him when he escaped the destruction of the Death Star.
"What about Darth Vader?" Tionne asked in confusion.
"That fortress," Luke answered. He pulled some wires from a panel
inside Artoo-Detoo, cleaned the contacts, and reattached the wires. "I've
been there. It's called Bast Castle, and it belonged to my father when he
was known as Darth Vader."
Luke heard Anakin draw in a sharp breath. Tahiri gasped and looked at
Anakin. Uldir gave a low whistle.
"Maybe that explains why the broker on Borgo Prime said that only `the
family' had a right to claim the lightsaber," Tionne said..
Welcome to BookFrom.Net Archieve
The free online library containing 500000+ books
Read books for free from anywhere and from any device
Use search by Author, Title or Series to find more
Listen to books in audio format instead of reading
Quick bookmark is available by clicking on the plus icon (+)
Bookmark loading occurs by clicking on the arrow icon (<-)