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A long time ago...

Captain Pellion of the Imperial Navy briskly walked through the halls of the Tantive 4. The stormtroopers had taken the ship quickly, sweeping aside the pitiful defenses of the Rebel volunteers. Once the skirmish was finished, Pellion had searched the ships computer banks for any sign of the stolen Death Star plans. He found nothing. He cursed to himself as he walked the length of the ship, looking for Lord Vader.

He let the plans slip through his fingers on Scarif. It's his fault were chasing these Rebel rats. he cursed to himself. Worse still, Princess Kijani was nowhere to be found. An escape pod was jettisoned, but the gunnery officer in charge decided it was a waste of ammo. If the princess took the plans in that escape pod, then Vader is going to kill him.

Pellion found Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, in the engine room of the Tantive 4. The captain walked in just in time to see a Rebel officer fly against a bulkhead. Before Pellion could think on this further, the low, booming voice of Lord Vader filled the room.

"What have you found, Captain?" said the Dark Lord. Pellion didn't need to see the face underneath the Sith Lord's famous mask to know was very angry.

"We have discovered nothing on the Rebel computers regarding the plans, and the princess hasn't been found yet either." said Pellion. When Vader didn't answer, he chose to continue on.

"Gunnery Officer Velus noted that an escape pod was jettisoned before we made contact, but he chose not to fire on it. Apparently the lifeform reading on the pod came back negative." After receiving Pellion report, Vader finally did speak.

"Send a detachment down to recover the escape pod. Scuttle this ship and have Velus report to me for... discipline."
-------

"I'm telling you, Threepio, those two ships were just firing on each other!" said the young man as he looked up into the sky with his macro-binoculars.

"I'm sorry, Master Adam. This sand is interfering with my optics." replied the once shiny protocol droid. Adam Skywalker stood in front of the small hut, nestled between the rocks of the Junland Wastes. It was the only home he had ever known, though the man he called master wasn't there. Obi-Wan Kenobi often went out into the desert alone, leaving Adam alone with the protocol droid.

Suddenly a burst of light from the smaller of the orbiting ships. At first, Adam thought it was firing it's lasers again, but then he realized that whatever it shot was coming towards them. Adam felt the instinctive need to duck just as the escape pod passed overhead, past the small hut and into the Dune Sea. Though it was many miles away, the wastes were flat and clear enough for Adam to see it land.

It was late in the afternoon, and the twin suns of Tatooine were beginning to set. Soon it would be dark, and the night would drawn the Tuskans, or creature far worse.

Dropping his binoculars, Adam ran to his landspeeder. "Threepio, if Obi-Wan comes back, tell him I went out. If anyone is in that pod, they don't stand a chance in the wastes." Before the droid could protest, Adam started his speeder and bolted from the small hut, past the rocks and into the Dune Sea. As he drove, he felt the reassuring weight of his father's lightsaber against his hip.

"I hope I won't need this." Adam said, casually patting the durasteel grip.
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To say that Princess Kijani was distraught was an understatement.

After having to leave her Tantive 4 and her compatriots behind, her head was reeling with fear and anger. They had been close, so close to getting the plans to the Rebel base, and now what? Was it all for nothing? As they saw the Empire bearing down on them, they took one last risk. Princess Kijani held the plans herself, and they sent her off spiraling down to whatever planet was closest.

“They’re probably all dead, R-2.” She turned back to the lovely blue and white droid that had been her companion through it all. Due to some last second maneuvering by one of their engineers, it had been R-2’s signal that they had read “I have to carry this mission out, for them. For Rogue One, and everyone else that we’ve lost in this war.”

She unbuckled her belt and climbed out of the ship. Earlier scans had shown this to be Tattooine, a mostly desert planet full of farmers. However, just by going outside the ship she could have guessed that it was a desert planet.

She was absolutely surrounded by sand.

There was nothing around her visually, besides more and more of the hot golden dirt, and when she lifted her macrobinoculars and scanned around, nothing else appeared.

“This is… not good, R-2.”

R-2 gave a worried whir and beeped in reply.

“You’re right. I’ll just have to pick a direction and pray it’s the right one.” With that, she took up what little gear she had, including the precious plans, tied her white skirt off at the knee, and started walking.

-

Another hour in and Kijani was beginning to feel like she had made the incorrect choice. Walking had gotten her nothing but sand. Sand in her shoes, sand in her skirts, sand in her mouth, eyes and every known and unknown crevice. After a time, she’d gotten smart and wrapped her gold cape around her head and eyes. But that didn’t help the winds that would blow through, kicking up grit and making her even more disoriented and hot. Her skin was blazing, and she glared at the high twin suns with her golden eyes.

“I had to land on a desert planet.” She complained to R-2. “It could have been an ice planet, though I’d probably be in the same situation, just freezing. It could have been a nice waterworld, with beaches and fish and tourists and-” Was that a figure in the distance?

She rubbed her eyes and squinted, but the sand just made them watery. When she tried to clear them out with her cape, and look again, the figure was gone.

“Oh no. I’ve heard of this. Mirages. They say it’s a sign you’ve gone crazy in the heat. I’m not crazy. Am I, R-2?”

R-2 beeped back at her, dutifully whirring along in the sand behind her.

“Oh, not crazy today, thank you very much for that.”

-

The second hour was possibly worse. Her skin was bone dry, her emergency water had run out somewhere in the last click or so, and she was starting to become woozy with heat exhaustion. It was getting darker now, she was no nearer a destination, and now she was distinctly aware of figures following her. It could be more mirages, or it could actually be real danger.

“Please. R-2 – I can’t go on anymore. I can’t...” She reached into her bag with shaking hands, and pressed the plans onto the droid. “If I die here, find a way to get back to the Rebel Base. No matter what, R-2. No matter what.”

She slumped to her knees, and was unconscious before her body hit the ground.
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Adam raced along the dusty trails in his speeder, pushing the aging speeder as fast as it could go. The suns were almost totally set, and anyone in that pod wouldn't survive long in the cold, desert nights. If they weren't dead already, that is.

Making a hard turn around a rocky outcropping, he suddenly notice a flashing light not far ahead. At first, Adam thought it was the crashed pod, but he still had a ways to go before reaching it. Then he saw the small figure of a droid, and he put on the brakes on his speeder. As the young man leapt from the transport and onto the desert sand, he could see that the blue and silver astromech droid was standing near a person, laying prone in the sand. He could only took a single step forward before the droid produced a shock-arm from his chassis and pointed it threateningly.

"Easy, little guy. I'm not dangerous." he said, and the droid beeped a response. Adam knew enough about binary to know that the droid had a very obscene vocabulary. Raising his hands, he took another step forward.

"Look, however that is laying there needs help, and I'm the only person around. If you let me, I can take you both back to my place. Trust me when I say that you don't want to spend the night out here." The droid looked from Adam, then to his master, then back to Adam before trilling in acceptance. The young man quickly ran over to the body in the sand.

Much to Adam's surprise, he recognized the unconscious form that lay before him. Princess Kijani of Alderaan was a philanthropist, a celebrity and the object of affection for beings from here to the Core Worlds. And here she was, in need of help, and Adam was the only person around to help her.

Putting it from his mind, Adam scooped up the young woman in his arms and carried her back to his speeder. Seating her in the passenger's seat, Adam then lifted the droid as best as he could and put him in the back. With them secure, he got into the drivers seat and sped back to his home. Try to hold on, Princess. he thought, glancing over to her.
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Princess Kijani dreamed.

She was 6 and walking in the hydroponic gardens with her father, Senator Bail Organa. He was tall, and smart, and strong, everything a small child admires in her father. The people loved their Queen Breha and him as well, and were overjoyed at the birth of their daughter.

“Papa?” Kijani looked away from where she was examining the multitude of stars out the window.

“Yes, Kijani?” Bail smiled down warmly.

“How many stars are there?”

“Billions and billions, Kijani.”

Kijani stared upward, her wide golden eyes glittering. “Can we visit them all, Papa?”

Bail laughed. “No, my little Sun. I don’t think that is possible.”

“Awww...” The child pouted. “But I want to meet everyone, all the people on all the planets, and I want to be friends with them!”

Bail laughed again, but this time knelt to the girl’s level and looked to her carefully. “Kijani, there is an important lesson you must learn, and I think you’re about old enough to start learning it now.”

“Okay, Papa.”

He looked her in the eyes. “Kijani, not everyone is going to want to be friends with you, no matter how kind you are. And I know you are a very good and kind girl.”

“...why not?” The very thought seemed to hurt her feelings.

“Because, that is how some people are. You can be the prettiest blossom in the garden, but some people still won’t like flowers. But even to those who don’t like you, you must be kind, and keep your head up high. That’s called diplomacy, little Sun.”

“Oh. I get it.” Kijani wrinkled her nose. “I think.”

“We’ll work on it.”

-

In the present, Kijani stirred and opened her eyes. “Nngh. My head.” The sun was down, and the room was dark and unfamiliar. Her head spun as she tried to get up, but she forced herself to a sitting position. The cloth covering her was rough and looked handspun. “Hello?! Where am I?” What if whoever rescued her was allied with the Empire? She could be in real trouble here. And where was R-2?

Empire loyalists wouldn’t tuck her into bed, would they?

Wouldn’t they?

“Hello, is anyone there?”
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Obi-Wan Kenobi returned home not long after Adam brought the princess in, gave her a whole canteen of water, and got her comfortable. To his credit, the old Jedi wasn't mad or even all that surprised when Adam told him what happened.

"You have done well in bringing her here." said the Jedi Master. "I suspect that either the Tuskans or the Empire would have found her by now if you hadn't intervened."

The Galactic Empire. The bogey man that always seemed like someone else's problem. They never seemed to have any business on Tatooine, but if they were here looking for Kijani...

"How do you know she's a rebel?" asked Adam, now wondering how much danger he put himself and his master in.

Obi-Wan smirked. "Her father and I have been friends for many years, and he has never been shy about his political leanings."

Adam was about to ask his master what they were supposed to do know when he heard a voice coming from his bedroom. The astromech droid who designated himself as R2-D2 chirped loudly and went over to his master. "We're out here. Can I interest her majesty in some tea?"
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Kijani rose out of the bed slowly, feeling her head pounding with the effort. She stepped out of the bedroom, only to nearly be run down by a very excited R2. "R2, you're okay!" She leaned down and hugged her droid. "Thank goodness."

She picked her head up at the sound of someone offering her tea and calling her majesty. "Oh, I guess you're not Loyalists, then." A grateful smile lit her face. "Yes, I am Kijani Organa, but please keep that under wraps. The Empire has ears everywhere. And I could use more water, if you have it." Her skin still felt hot and she was definitely still a bit dizzy. Imagine her fortune, though, landing in some backwater desert planet and finding a safe place to stay? Though, she wasn't going to stay long. Her mission took precedent.

"Who do I have to thank for my timely rescue?" She looked between the two men and smiled warmly.
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Obi-wan rose from his seat and bowed. "Your highness. I am Obi-wan Kenobi, and I am a friend of your fathers." he said before gesturing to Adam, who was trying not to fumble the tea. "This is my Padawan, Adam." said Obi-wan as Adam set the tea tray down, along with an extra canteen of water.

"I saw your escape pod come down in the wastes. I loaded you and your droid into my landspeeder and brought you here." said Adam as he poured out cups of tea for everyone. "I'm sorry about your dress, but I think we have some spare clothing for you if you want." Obi-wan nodded and took the tea in both hands.

"Now tell me, young Kijani. What brings you out this far?" asked the Jedi Master. Adam also took a cup of tea as he sat in the chair next to his master. Honestly, he was also curious as to how an Alderaanian princess ended up on a dustball like Tatooine all by her self.
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Kijani curtsied politely, in her dusty and no-longer white dress. “Obi Wan Kenobi. Adam. It’s a pleasure to meet you both.” She did not know what a Padawan was, but was too polite to ask in the moment.

“And thank you, Adam, because you have undoubtedly saved my life. I wish I had something I could reward you with.” She smiled, one of those thousand watt smiles that graced holomagazines all over. “But alas, I’m a far way from medals. You see-”

She launched into the tale then. The Empire building a planet killer. Rogue One and their spies pulling off daring and dangerous maneuvering to bring them much needed information. Darth Vader breathing down their collective necks – and then her eventual escape and crash landing. To her credit, she did not cry. Possibly because she was still dehydrated, but she told herself it was due to composure.

She sipped at her tea while she told the tale, finally setting the cup down near the end. “I hate to ask such a favor when you have already been so kind. But I will take you up on the offer of clothing, and perhaps a ride to the nearest ship outpost? I need to get back to Base One, whatever it takes.”
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When Kijani smiled at Adam, he could feel himself smile back. She was just as pretty as the holo-net made her look to be. Maybe even more so. He was about to say that no medal was required when she went into her story. While Adam leaned forward in his seat, enraptured by every word, Obi-wan simply sat and listened.

When she finished her story and asked for more assistance, Obi-wan nodded. "I suppose we have waited long enough, Adam. Prepare our bags, for I do not think we will be returning for sometime."

Taking the hint, Adam got up from his seat and went to his room, packing a few bags full of clothes and other necessities. As Adam worked, Obi-Wan finished his tea.

"Princess, what do you know of the Jedi Order? Not what the Empire has told you, but the Jedi as they really were." he asked Kijani.
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Kijani thought about Obi-Wan’s question, taking a careful sip to prolong the moment. “Well, I remember the stories my father told me as a child. Jedi Knights were warriors, and diplomats, sworn to protect the good of the galaxy. They had...” She tried not to laugh. “Magical powers, and powerful blades called lightsabers. Now, my father swore up and down that they existed, but when I got older I always thought that it was just a story he made up to entertain me.”

She took another sip of the tea and stared Obi-Wan directly in the eyes. “I’m guessing you want to expand on that story, do you?” There was something uncanny about Kijani’s eyes, both beautiful and slightly unsettling. Plenty of humans had brown eyes, but the shade of gold – nearly pure yellow – of her eyes was very rare. Under a direct stare, many people seemed to spill out information that they may not have otherwise. Kijani knew this to some degree, and used it when she needed it.

“The Empire says that they are nothing but children’s tales, and while I hate to agree with anything of the Empire, I have found no proof of existence of said Jedi. So.” She spread her hands.

“What can you tell me?”
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"Your father speaks the truth, though it goes much deeper than that." said Obi-wan, returning the girl's gaze. "The Jedi Knights were once the guardians of peace and justice. For over a thousand generations, we served the republic and protected it's people. Then came the Empire."

Obi-wan put his tea cup back down on the table, and suddenly showing his age. "When the Clone Wars ended, the Emperor ordered that the Jedi be wiped out. With the help of a former Jedi, he almost succeeded. But thanks to the Force, we endure. Adam and myself have been on this planet since he was an infant, and we have been safe so far."

Adam tried not to eavesdrop, but he quietly stopped packing and listened to his master. The old man rarely spoke about the past, and Adam was always eager to learn. If his master knew Adam was being nosy, then he did nothing to stop him.

"Adam's father was a Jedi Knight, too. Perhaps the greatest of us all." Obi-wan continued, leaning back. He did not try to hide the sadness on his face as he spoke of his old friend. "When he died, I brought his son into exile with me and train him as a Jedi."

With that, Obi-wan rose from his seat, the sorrow gone and back to business. "There is much more than that, but you need more rest. You will have the chance to learn more from us once we leave tomorrow morning."

The young Padawan came out into the living with three packed bags. "Your welcome to use my bed. I have no problems sleeping on these sofas. I even left you some clothes on my bed. Sorry if it's not high fashion."
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Kijani listened to Obi-Wan’s story with undivided attention, poised and polite as any princess should be. Inside she was reeling. So the Jedi were not just some story, they were real? And Obi-Wan and Adam were part of this group? It was almost too much to take in. If all those things were true about Jedi, and yet the Emperor still decimated them, then what hope did the Rebels have?

No, no, no. She couldn’t think like that. A leader should never show anything but courage in the face of despair. Both of her parents had impressed that upon her from a young age. Kijani nodded as Owi-Wan suggested that she rest some more.

“Thank you for the information.” She said as judiciously as possible. “I’ll need some time to… truly digest everything you’ve told me.”

To Adam, she smiled. “Thank you for your hospitality. I don’t need high fashion. I’ve worn a uniform like any other soldier. In fact, I think clothes common to your home territory will help me blend in.” A disguise of some sort was going to be necessary here, lest she be spotted and reported. “That was excellent thinking on your part.” She looked between Obi-Wan and Adam.

“I can’t thank you both enough for what you’re doing for me, and for the Rebellion. I promise, once this is all over you will be rewarded.”
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Before Adam could say anything, Obi-wan spoke up. "I assure you, princess, that we are not interested in a reward. We have spent to long in the shadows, and your arrival means that we can wait no longer..." Obi-wan stopped in the middle of his sentence and glanced outside. Adam sensed it too, and without his master's orders, he reached out with the force to turn off the lights.

Once the room was shrouded in darkness and the two Jedi went perfectly still, the sounds of footsteps shuffled right outside the door of the hut. Adam quickly ran over to the princess and pulled a blaster pistol from his holster and put it in Kijani's hands.

"I'm sure you know how to use one of these." he whispered. He almost didn't finish before the front door of the hut vanished in a cloud of fire and smoke. The deafening roar of the explosion shook the room and nearly brought the whole hut down.

Obi-wan and Adam ignited their lightsabers in unison, their blue blades standing out against the smoke. Adam took a position that covered Kijani as well, attempting to deflect any blaster fire that came their way.

The figures that came through the now ruined door were not the typical white Stormtroopers. These men and women were the color of obsidian, and entered the room like ghosts, weapons raised and belching plasma.
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Kijani’s eyes widened as the hut went dark, not daring to speak as footsteps crunched in the sand outside. There was a rebellious part of her that wanted to scream. Had they found her so quickly? How? If they had known that there was life on the escape pod she’d left on, she would have been shot down immediately. Maybe they had seen her fall to Tattooine.

The pistol was heavensent. She felt much better with a weapon in her hands. Her father had been sure to train her in multiple types of combat, despite the three of them having bodyguards on Alderaan. There was a slender short blade with her name on it back home, one that she was sorely missing. The blaster was an older model, but it would do fine.

As the door exploded, she twisted around Adam’s back and took a pair of neat shots.

“I’ve never seen Stormtroopers like these before!”

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Obi-wan, thanks to years of experience, could tell that these troopers were well trained and steady under fire. Still, he was a Soresu master, and most of the blaster bolts fired at him were batted away. One shot sent his way was deflected back into the chest of the lead trooper.

Adam, for his part, tried to pick up the spare shots left that his master missed. Covering himself was relatively easy, but protecting the princess as she returned fire. The Padawan was impressed at Kijani, who appeared steady under fire. When one of her bolts struck the next trooper in the stomach, bringing him to his knees, Obi-wan advanced. His blue lightsaber cut down troopers with quick and simple efficiency.

The west wall of the hut blew next, and more black troopers walked in with heavy blaster rifles blazing. Not wanting his master to get outflanked, Adam rushed in. He felt a sharp, burning pain in his arm, but he ignored it as the first trooper fell to his blade. The next one raised his rifle to strike Adam, but the young Jedi simply brought his saber down, cutting both weapon and armor.

The last remaining troopers were finished off quickly, and when the smoke settled, Obi-wan deactivated his weapon. "We can't stay here tonight. Get the speeder ready, Adam."

"Right." was all Adam said before shutting off his own saber and grabbed the bags. "Are you allright, Princess?"
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Kijani breathed out a shuddering breath, watching both Obi-Wan and Adam at combat. Now she believed. Watching those beautiful sabers do their work, carving blasters and troopers apart. The scent of ozone filled the air and she somehow felt a little woozy with the knowledge.

“...you really are… Jedi.” She wiped a layer of sweat from her forehead as politely as possible. Then she took a few deep breaths to steady herself. “I am fine. I have dozens of questions, but they will have to wait. Please allow me time to change, then we will leave as quickly as we can. I’m sure more troopers will come when these don’t come back."

She stepped into Adam’s room and shut the door, quickly stripping and redressing. The clothes were simple. Tan pants, white shirt, and a tan hood to go over it. She tied back her thick dreadlocks with a strip of cloth from her dress, then stuffed it away under the bed. Maybe if they were still looking for a princess, it would offer her more cover.

Stepping back out, she pulled the hood over her head. “I think this will suffice. But where will we go?” Kijani wanted to get off this planet as soon as she could, but was not in the position to make demands. For now, she would follow their lead.
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"Mos Eisley spaceport is a few hours from here. If we leave now, we can make it just before sunrise." said Adam before went through the burned out whole where the front door used to be. He quickly loaded up his landspeeder with both bags and droids. Glancing up at the now ruined hut, he swore to himself that he would come back here one day. If only to salvage whatever the jawas don't steal. Once they were loaded up, Obi-wan got in the back seat with the droids. Adam nodded to the Princess as she got in the passenger's seat.

Adam got the landspeeder under way and the trio sped off into the night. It was only about ten minutes into the drive when Adam realized his arm was still hurting him. After a quick inspection, he found that a blaster bolt had grazed him, and the flesh was a little burned.

"Great. This was my favorite shirt." he said while still driving. Hopefully they could make it to Mos Eisley before the pain started to really bug him.
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Kijani turned toward him as Adam muttered something about his favorite shirt. "Oh no, you're hurt..." It didn't look too bad, but he'd still gotten that injury in defense of her. That was not a way to start a friendship. "Hopefully when we get to the spaceport, we can stop and have that cleaned and wrapped for you."

For now, there wasn't much she could do but ask questions. It would be impolite to sleep and leave the driver all alone. "Adam, what is it like, being a Jedi? That was an impressive display. I'm not sure that I could handle such a powerful weapon." There was a sweet curiosity to her voice as she pressed him for information. "But I'm sure it's not all about fancy swords. What else are you capable of?"
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"I hope so too. I have some bacta in my bag that we can slap on my arm when we get there." said Adam as he drove the landspeeder through the desert. When Kijani asked what it was like to be a Jedi, he couldn't help but smile.

"A Jedi Knight is not defined by his weapon." replied Adam, doing a fair impersonation of his master. Thankfully, Obi-wan was fast asleep in the back seat. "Well, the first thing I can tell you is that the Force isn't magic. The Force... it's something that's not easy to describe, so I'll do my best to explain it."

What is the Force? There were a million answers to this question, and Adam didn't know where to start. Taking a deep breath, he just said what came to his mind.

"The Force is everything, and everyone. It's you, me, your family, your friends, what have you. The Force is essentially life itself, and some of us are born able to manipulate it, command it, or in some cases, abuse it." he said. "The light side of the Force is what compels people to use it for good. The ones who would use it for selfish reasons fall to the dark side."

"Many different things can cause one to fall to the dark side. Anger, Jealousy, Fear, that kind of thing. The old text that Obi-wan has even say that Love can cause one to fall to the dark, but I've never really believed that myself, you know?"
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Kijani listened with rapt attention as Adam described the Force. Part of her wondered why she’d never heard of it before, with all her tutors and learning. Then he said that Love could cause darkness, and she frowned slightly.

“I’ve never known love to be anything more than a positive thing. Now if you want to talk darkness – obsession would be the other side of that coin. Loving someone who does not love you back, to the point of desperation. That, I think, would be corruptive.” She looked up at the sky, as she always did when she was thinking. She had a stalker once, a strange noble who sent her messages and videos, and at one point showed up at an event she’d been at to kneel at her feet and propose marriage. She had been about 16, and he had been near twice that. The guards had put a stop to him quite handily, but the experience would likely stay with her for the rest of her life. “But then, obsession is not love, it’s more like passion. Passion is a neutral, I think, and it depends on how one uses it.”

She finally turned to him and nodded, curiosity still in her eyes. “I understand a bit better, now, of this Force. But I still have more questions. How does one learn to harness it? Can anyone learn? Could I?” That would be something, her leading the Rebellion with a gleaming saber in hand. Kijani was at the point where she would take all advantages, and she was never too high-class to learn something new.

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