‹ Prequel: The Hidden Truth
Sequel: A Last Good Bye

Reaching Through Darkness

The Wrath of a Woman


The ride downward to the lower levels of the enormous city was non eventful, if not a bit depressive, at least to me who had seen more than my taste of all cities poorest levels. Through our Force bond, I sensed the excitement and wonder radiating from my apprentice. There was no way to disregard the soft words of bewilderment or feeling her movements as she twisted around to look behind us. I shook my head and wondered for the forth time if this was a good idea. Karen, tough as she was, knew nothing about crime or the criminal underworld and I worried her reaction to where I was taking her. I vowed silently to myself to keep her close to me once we landed.

I was thankful that Nea stopped the car in a dark corner by a falling down building with a sign that had four letters missing, one letter out, and the rest of the letter flickered giving little, untrustworthy light. The smell of the street was enough to inform me that I did not want to see what had died near by. Karen gagged loudly, startling me. I turned grabbed her wrist and pulled her close. In a stern, no nonsense tone told her to keep by my side at all times and if anything does happen, let me make the decisions and take the lead. She was to follow me and do whatever I said, no matter what. And above all, keep quiet. Being unheard could mean being unseen, something that was much wanted here. Nea locked up the car and tucked the small remote key deep within his clothing.

“Well buddy, I say we get ourselves moving and not stand here being prey for Rat birds if you know what I mean. My lady, allow me the honors of escorting you through the less pleasant parts of this area.”

In the dim, uncertain light, I saw Nea take Karen’s arm under his and nodded to myself. Nea was a smart guy in making sure Karen could not wonder or being wondered off. Our pace was slow and careful. Each street was examined, searched for unwanted eyes, and if secure, passed in a hurried pace. The streets were the same, narrow, dark, stunk of rot and death with flickering lights over head. The uneasy silence was broken with the sharp loud sound of a cry or glass breaking. I actually jumped in front of Karen and Nea with my hand on my lightsaber when I heard the unmistakable screech of a blaster ripping through air and the final cry of the victim. We all held our breath, eyes rapidly scanning the area and when my hand left my right side, did we proceed onward. After that incident there was an anonymous agreement to get out of the area. We head up a level, to a noisier, crowded area, with air that stunk less, more light to see the dirt by, and more buildings were intact. I felt the small group relax with a deep breath of relief, yet I still remained tense. Karen stopped, pulling Nea back, starting at the markets. A frown formed on my face as I walked back to her, grabbing the back of her leather shirt to jerk her from her stance. In that moment we were knocked with considerable by someone who forced his way through our touch. Not a second went by before I regained focus and found the man racing through the thick crowd. My hand went to my lightsaber, but something felt wrong. I pulled my long shirt up to reveal Karen’s lightsaber still there. Karen shouted after him once and then took off in his direction before I could say anything to stop her. I cursed her in several different languages and looked at Nea. He shrugged.

“Kids. What can you do? Go after her. Comm me when you get your lightsaber back and we will meet up.”

I took off after Karen, weaving through the crowd, gathering the Force around me and throwing the energy back out at people near were gently pushed aside with a suggestion of the accident never happened. It was not long before I caught up with Karen. She was in arm’s length of our desperate running man. Her ragged breathes told me she would not run for much longer and did not. She jumped forward, reaching for the man’s right arm and twisted him backwards so he was facing me. The movement cost Karen her balance and both fell on their backs. The man was quicker to react than she and started moving again. I put a firm hand on his upper arm and squeezed. The man yelped and stopped moving. Karen had gotten up and pulled back his dark blue jacket and quickly found the lightsaber.

“You fool! You stupid, dump, low cut fool. What in the sith were you thinking?”

Karen’s angry voice was followed with a hard smack of the lightsaber smashing into the man’s jaw. I winced for the poor fellow, but did not lessen my grip. I commanded my apprentice to stop. The man went limp and seemed to want to shrink in the wrath of my apprentice. I did not blame him.

“Now missee, I didn’t mean no harm. I wa’ just trin’ to get through ya see an’ me hand just grabbed something, I dunno wha’ and next thing I knew you was on me and we were on the ground. Now be fair missee. That aint no reason faer hittin me like that with tha’ pretty lightsaber of yours.”

Karen would have attacked him again if I did not hold her still with the Force and a more powerful glare.

“For your information this is not my lightsaber, nor yours for that matter. You knew exactly what you were grabbing and you knew you shouldn’t grabbed it, you-“

I silenced her with one look. Her display of petty anger would do us no good. I released the man who rubbed his arm, but did not move. I questioned him on who he was and how did he know I was carrying a lightsaber.

“Ah, my sir, ya see you didn’t look like ya belonged here and ya seemed to be armed so I had me a guess and I got more than wha I guess, you understand sir.”

I breathed in relief. The man knew nothing of who we were up until now. If I was lucky I could still hold our cover. I told the man I had come into possession of a lightsaber and wanted to sell it to buy my daughter a nice dress. I was on my way to find a buyer when he bumped into us so to speak. I politely asked him if he knew of a buyer, one that would not ask too many question and give us a decent price. Karen opened her mouth once and then closed it. I hoped she had caught on to my idea.

“Funny. I wa’ on me way to a buyer too and I’ll take ya and yor missee there if ya want. That’s if ya keep her off o’ me.”

I told him that condition would be based on his behavior and safe guiding to our location. The man turned around and led us through the crowd. I pulled the comm out of my belt and activated it. I told Nea where we were headed and to my surprise, Nea told us that was our original location. Our thief was a good guide who knew the basic law of street walking: safety comes first. We followed his darting example and Karen had learned her lesson about keeping close to me at all times. We descended two levels to the bowels of the city, truly the rancid waste of crime and barely alive beings. Our man stopped at the grate of a sewer and I groaned. For what ever reason, criminals no matter where I traveled picked their hideout in sewers. Karen gagged again, staring death into both me and the man. The thief shrugged, pulled the man size grate out and had us climb in. Karen was fortunate enough so she could walk up straight, but I had to trot in filth with my shoulders and head bent over, bringing my nose that much closer to the putrid smell.

At last we reached our destination. The tunnel had opened up into a small room with the openings of other tunnels blocked off with grates. The room contained a ragged group of men and Nea standing among them, grinning like there was something funny about our appearance. Nea stepped forward with his arms out to represent the group behind him.

“Mirmo, welcome back to the good old days. You do not seem to recognize any of my friends, but these men are what left of the Dawners.”