As Valar’s crimson blade began to descend towards princess Katerina’s neck from his raised arm position, Oollana did three things at once. As if in slow motion she began to, first, run towards Valar. She had only been a few steps away from him since they were walking past him when he lit his saber. The second thing was she called to her lightsaber. It responded instantly and began to fly to her from its place in the toolbox. The third was a deep, gut-wrenching yell that came from her that was as much a release of desperation as it was supposed to draw Valar’s attention. She had been expecting Valar to act and her reaction had been quick and decisive but it became clear in a blink of an eye that it would not be enough. She would not get there in time to stop the blade from wreaking it’s destruction upon the princess. This angered Oollana and she could feel the anger welling up. She tried to control it but failed utterly as she watched another event unfold.
Julius had watched the princess from the very moment they entered the room. She was scared, she was angry, and she was terrified. His heart went out to her and he couldn’t help but be reminded of his own daughter who had died many years ago in a transport accident. She would have been about the same age as the princess now. He couldn’t help but notice how cold the king had been in his exchange with lord Valar but he knew that he had been trained to be that way. He was a king first and a father second although his presence here now challenged that notion. But whatever anguish the king could not show over the condition of his daughter Julius felt enough for the both of them. He knew that Oollana was in danger but his paternal instincts did not include her this time. She was young, yes, but she was a jedi padawan and a very capable one as he had seen himself. He worried about her as any parent would but understood the difference between the two young women in that room at that moment. Neither of them may survive this hour but only one of them had made a choice to be here. So when Valar’s blade ignited he did not hesitate. The thought of death did not cross his mind as he slammed into one guard pushing him off balance as he propelled himself towards Valar. If he could only delay the dark man a few moments then it might give Oollana and the king a chance to save the princess. This was his last thought as he slammed into lord Valar knocking him down and away from the princess.
“Nooooooooo!” The scream seemed to come from somewhere else and it took a second to realize that it was coming from Oollana’s own mouth. She watched in horror as Julius had gotten ahead of her and pushed Valar away from the princess. The crimson light had swung down in that instant and it missed the princess, cutting some of her hair as it grazed her neck, but it did not miss Julius. Oollana watched as the blade cut into Julius’ side and slide into his body effortlessly and stop halfway through the body only to be yanked out through the chest as Valar fell backward.
In that same moment Oollana’s yellow blade snapped on as it reached her hand from across the room. The anger and rage that now permeated her body was palpable and she flung herself at Valar. Julius fell to the floor in a heap.
Master Bernare sat in the garden in his favorite meditation spot. A dozen rocks of varying sizes floated about him and spun lazily. He let the force bathe over him as he soaked in the peace and tranquility of the moment. He stretched out with his feelings and could feel the others nearby. But then his concentration was shattered. The rocks came crashing to the ground as a wave of someone else’s anger and fear washed over him. It was intense and uncontrolled. It was Oollana’s. Something had gone terribly wrong. In her fear and anger he could feel her desperation at what she was facing. He had likely sent her to her death. They were probably all dead.
He got up and began to walk to the council chambers.
“What’s this?” Valar exclaimed with a big toothy grin. “It appears my father was not so stupid after all.”
Oollana’s fury was growing. She had locked sabers with Valar but had been force slammed away allowing Valar to get up. They now faced each other with their sabers. Valar had signaled to the guards to leave Oollana alone, apparently he wanted to handle this personally so they withdrew around the king along with the two acolytes. Oollana seethed, “You will pay for what you have done, Valar. I swear it on my life.”
Valar looked at her, appraising this new challenge. “You did well, young one, to hide yourself from me. I will be more mindful of that the next time but you reveal yourself now to be no different than me. Your anger feeds your rage and your rage feeds your power but you must realize by now that you are no match for me.” As if to emphasize this he threw a lightning arc from his free hand towards Oollana and it enveloped her in pain. She fought the pain but the only relief came when she fed on her anger. This man had to die, he must die, the galaxy was not safe with him in it. She convinced herself of this truth as the crackle of static died down around her body.
She fought back by grabbing one of the acolytes with the force and throwing him at Valar. The acolyte crumpled to the ground but it had missed Valar who just stood there laughing at her. He then threw his lightsaber at Oollana who rolled away only to be grazed by the singing force of the blade. She thrust at Valar but missed again as he jumped over her head with ease. She then felt the force of an unseen hand gripping her throat. She couldn’t breathe. She desperately threw her own lightsaber at Valar only to have it clatter on the floor uselessly behind him. She grasped at her throat. She started to panic. Valar had been right, he was too much for her, she would die along with Julius and the king and princess would soon join them. She could see the spots form in her vision. She continued to struggle but was now on her hands and knees.
Valar goaded her, “Oh how I will enjoy ending you. The jedi have long hunted my kind and this will be almost as sweet as when my father feels my wrath.”
Oollana looked up and could see the princess, still bound to the chair but alive and next to her lay Julius’ body. He stared at her with cold dead eyes. She fought to maintain consciousness but knew she was loosing the battle. She looked at Julius again and this time felt something else take the place of her anger. It was love. She had loved Julius as a father and in that moment saw him lying on the floor dead but looked beyond that to see the sacrifice he had made. He had done what he had even though he knew he would die. He had not been afraid of death. He had not been afraid of Valar. She made a choice.
She struggled to her feet and faced Valar. She called upon the force and used it to force her throat open opposing the force that Valar was using to close it. Finally, Valar relented and let go with the force. She took deep breaths and called her saber back to her hands. Valar laughed.
“You are beaten child. You lie at death’s door and yet you still oppose me. Give up now and I may spare you to become my apprentice.”
Oollana relaxed. The pain of the saber injury to her leg and the crushing injuries of being slammed into the wall and having her throat crushed were severe but she gave up the pain. She called upon the force and felt it enter her and fortify her as it always had when she called it. But she kept calling on it. As it fed her body she came to understand something, something that all of her training could not prepare her for. Something that her master had always tried to teach her but she could not understand until this moment. Up until now she had always used the force as a tool, as a way to accomplish her goals and objectives but she had had it all wrong. It was the other way around. She hadn’t been training to wield the force efficiently, she had been training so that the force could wield her efficiently. As she tugged at the force more and more she also felt a dam break inside her. The force flooded her as she opened up her mind and body to it. She gave up everything to the force. Oollana held her lightsaber in front of her as she faced Valar, tears streamed down her face. “No,” she said. “I cannot join you, the force will not permit it”. She then closed her eyes.
Valar grew impatient. “I grow tired of this. If you will not join me then you must die.” He arced another flash of lightning at Oollana but she stretched a hand out and absorbed the energy as if catching a thrown ball. The energy of it crackled loudly about her body but did no harm. Then with speed enhanced by the force she was behind Valar. As if saying a prayer, Oollana began to recite something she had heard from Bernare long ago.
“The force is a light that illuminates dark places.”
She parried a thrust from Valar and whirled around with eyes still closed to lock sabers with Valar.
“It brings hope to those who have none.”
Valar began to feed his own rage. This young jedi apprentice dared to face him and with her eyes closed. He would rip her heart out. He sent a force wave out to fling her backwards but she absorbed it again as she had done the lightning but then redirected it at him and everyone else in the room as if amplifying it 100-fold knocking him and everyone else in the room, except for the king and the princess, backwards and causing them to fall. Oollana’s lightsaber began to move in her hand quickly as she approached Valar who was getting up. The blade began to move faster.
“It strengthens those who are weak.”
The blade was a blur now as Valar tried to fight her off.
“It protects those who are unsafe.”
Valar was calling upon all his skill and all his fury but he wasn’t able to block everything. She was moving so fast now both her feet and her saber. She was jumping over him and using the walls to push off of to avoid his every strike. He became afraid.
“I am an instrument of the force and its will.”
Valar began to yell as fear overcame him. He struck wildly at a target that was too elusive too fast. The force waves coming from her were too overwhelming. How had she tapped into such power?
“I will trust in the force.”
Valar swung wildly one more time hoping to finish off this girl who, a few moments ago, was on death’s doorstep. She flipped up into the air over Valar avoiding his strike and while above him struck with precision. She landed behind Valar and force slammed him away to the opposite end of the room his body and severed arm going in two different directions. She opened her eyes.
“And the force will trust in me.”
Then darkness overtook her vision and she collapsed.
”Posted on Curtis’s behalf”