Rana opened her eyes, always slow out of meditation and took his offered hand, “Yes Master?”
She winced suddenly and stumbled into him, her forehead striking the center of his chest. His arms went around her shoulders automatically as he did when she was younger, one narrow hand automatically bracing her head against his shoulder. Her entire body went ramrod straight as she gasped against his grease stained tunic.
“Rana we must hurry.”
“They are screaming Master, why did I not hear before?” she looked up at him then, looking so young, her eyes wide with shock. He took one of her hands in his and squeezes gently, he can never quite get used to the feel of human skin no matter how many human hands he shakes, or how many times he dragged a much younger, worn out Rana behind him.
“I was shutting it out before, now come.”
Her palm was wet and the moisture slides over the chill on his skin. He knows this was because she was a shaken up and because he was starting to feel the effects of blood loss.
She came obdeiently, he was grateful for that, reaching down and scooping up her robe and boots, her obi and light saber thankfully was still attached, before they moved silently through the halls. It was never this silent here, not even in monsoon season where the sheets of rain could break bones, there were always some of the native people coming in for something. Zan hoped the clones hadn’t slaughtered them. There were echoes of footsteps up ahead and Master Zan froze, had tightening on Rana’s. She waited obdiently, still reeling from the flashes of Force, like lights were being extinguished, until the footsteps fade and Zan pulled her on again.
He threw his braid over his shoulders to get it out of the way, it kept banging against his wound, and led his padawan back toward the little docking bay with his own little ship. If he can get them there then there’s a good chance he can get them into the ocean and then they can flee.
“You’re injured,” she said quickly, her voice tight.
She nodded and warmth, inexpertly given, swirled up his arm. Rana could never be a healer, she was far too heavy handed she was attuned with the Force in other ways, but he appreciated the effort.
A clone guard comes around the corner and Zan felt Rana tense behind him. Zan swept his hand quickly past the soldier’s face, “You see nothing here, this side of the compound is clear. Jedi Master Lee and his padawan are dead.” It hurt him to say it a little, but it was a necessary lie, his mind swirls around it as the clone soldier touched the side of his helmet and reported in. He has seen the guards do it many times before under the command of the Jedi. “The west side of the compound is clear sir, there’s nothing here. The Jedi and his padawan are dead.”
The soldier turned and left them, his boots sounded false and empty on the temple floor. Zan wove in place slightly.
Rana did not ask why the clone soldiers have turned on them, why he is running, why they are running. He can feel the questions bubbling inside of himself as well. Her free arm wrapped around his middle, bracing him as black curled into the edges of his vision. ‘I’m losing conciousness,’ he thought faintly. ‘that is my mind is wandering.’ Her arm kept him steady long enough for him to think of what they must do next, her head was warm against his neck and he leaned back relexively. She pulled away, released him, still holding his hand and he looked down, not as far down as he used to have to look, and checked her face for any sign of …what he does not know. But there was only worry and trust.
“Those were Master Ishale’s men,” she said softly.
“Yes Padawan,” he paused, but there was no reason to, she was nearly a knight now. She was hardly his wide-eyed twelve year old padawan. “Master Ishale was killed.”
“Rana. There is no death…”
“There is the Force,” she sighed. “The Force must be with us that we only bumped into one soldier, I’m not sure you could convince more than that in your present state.”
That was a joke, she was trying to make a nervous joke, but by the time he processed it, even a courtesy laugh would have been too late. His front was wet now, even through his make shift bandage and he felt very dazed, like he was fading. The only thing keeping him up now is the Force.
Something was happening at Coruscant. Something was happening here. Rana was in danger, he sagged suddenly and looked down at his middle, the stain was dark and hungry on his tunic. “Master,” Rana squeezed his fingers. “Should I carry you?”
The pressure on his hand sparked off a memory in him and he regained his footing, a memory of a young Rana at the end of her rope, and minus a boot, stuck in the mud. His hands catching the padawan, too tired and worn down to be embarrassed, under the arms and hefting her out of the mud patch he had probably warned her about. Letting out a long suffering sigh, but carrying her all the way back anyway, her padawan short curls tucked under his chin as she sucumbed to exaustion.
“Rana, if I die you must not worry over me, I will watch over you, you know this. The Force will be with you.” He wasn’t afraid (there is no fear, there is peace) of dying, but he was worried about getting Rana out alive.
There was a stacato silence, “Yes Master.”
“Come then Padawan.” They got to the ship, his fingers left five neat lines of blood as he hurried her in before him, finally releasing her hand to close the door and settle into the pilot’s seat. She sat next to him, the medikit held in her lap as she took deep breaths. As the pain flared his ability to sheild his padawan was fading, he could feel the pinpoint flashes of death crashing over him into her mind like waves. There were not as many as they once were, now punctuated by struggle and a flare of Force then extinguished. The knight in him knew this was because the weak ones had been killed off first, now the strong were being slaughtered. He pressed a hand to his forehead and noticed Rana’s knuckles were white against the medkit, a grieving sigh sloughed out of her mouth as if she had dropped a bolt of cloth down a well.
Zan moved his hand from his head to the controls setting the hyperdrive so that all Rana would have to do was push the button when the time came, he set it for far beyond the civilized worlds, far beyond the Outer Rim, far beyond whatever the Republic would now become. Gently Rana reached across, her skin almost pink looking against his pale skin and began to pull away his obi and tunic to get to his wound while he started the ship up, running it on silent. She was testing the corners of his mind, trying to see how he was really doing, he was afraid to put a wall between them, but he was also afraid of how she might react once she got a look. She put something on his wound and wrapped it tightly with her own obi, rebuckling her utillity belt around her middle.
He felt warmth and strength coming through whatever she had put on his wound. The ship lifted off its landing gear, running as silently as he had… fixed it to.
“Master Lee?” Rana said gently.
“Yes. I’m fine now. Strap in.”
After she did as she was told, he steered the ship carefully out the bay door and down toward the ocean that surrounded their smallish island.
“I never had to before,” she said, trying to get him to laugh again, but his face was cut into grim lines.
“I would have been able to stop you from breaking your neck before,” he said carefully lowering the ship down into the water. He had never been more thankful for the ocean in his life.
Tags: must be flying