Alida D'med leaned her head back against the bulkhead of the transport. Life had become much more interesting since she had felt the Force directing her to take her Padawan and leave their relatively well-hidden abode on Almas. Port Lansing was behind them now, thankfully. It had confirmed what her soul already knew: darkness still reigned over most of the galaxy. She was conscious of her Padawan in the seat next to her. The girl had done a lot of growing up lately. Alida had to remind herself that Kaliandra was a Jedi, not a child. Some part of her still wanted to protect the girl, but another, better-trained facet of her, reminded her that this was what Kali had been prepared for. Alida's Master and countless other Jedi had already perished at the hands of those who Darkness controlled. It was time for them to pick up where those who had gone on before them had left off. Alida closed her eyes. She wasn't even sure where they were going to next, but being on this transport felt like the right thing to do, the right place to be. And it was a lot more peaceful than where they'd just been... ***** She tried to keep from flinching as a cold blade was pressed against her throat. This was not what she'd anticipated her day would be like. She found consolation in the fact that she did not sense her Padawan's presence within the Empire's base. Kaliandra was shielding, but she was nowhere near here, thank the Force. The Jedi attempted to control her breathing as fear spiked through her. She tamped it down. There is no fear, she reminded herself as the officer grabbed her hand. The knife was removed from her neck to be placed alongside her finger. Alida sought her calm center, meeting the officer's glare as serenely as was possible. She would not show him fear. The Emperor approached and Alida's breath caught in her throat. The Dark Side swirled around him, almost suffocating in its thickness. Many things had changed since she was a young Knight, sent off by her Master, but the face of Darkness remained the same. Alida controlled the anger that threatened to well up inside her. This was the man who had ordered the death of every Jedi, right down to the babes-in-arms in the creche. The memory of the searing pain she'd felt when her Master had died remained with her to this day. There is no death. That maxim had been her only comfort during the long days of the Purge. She met the Emperor's eyes. If the Force willed that her time was over, she would accept it as she had been taught. Her only regret would be not being able to complete Kaliandra's training. Alida felt the brush of the Emperor's mind against hers as he judged whether or not she was telling the truth. A shudder ran through her at the touch of such evil. She was beginning to regret taking Kaliandra from Almas. The Emperor leaned in close to hiss something at her and she changed her mind. No, she was right to do this now, even if it meant her own death. The Emperor had to be stopped. She chuffed with amusement. She had none of the answers they wanted, how frustrating that had to be for them. She gave a mental shrug. There hadn't been time for her to learn anything that would have interested the Empire. Not what they thought they wanted to know, at least. ***** Alida sighed. What happened now would be as the Force wills, as it always had been. She just had to trust in the Force.
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