Fanfiction Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars and will not claim to own Star Wars. Many of these characters are found in the Star Wars canon, and I do not own them. Characters that I have created for plot purposes are not based on anyone nor are they intended to, with one exception (from whom I have obtained the go ahead for basing aforementioned character on them).
Author's Note: In order to follow along with this story, you must know that Order 66 failed in Episode III, resulting in this alternate storyline. Years are given BJV (Before Jedi Victory) and AJV (After Jedi Victory). It is currently 19 AJV. Much more background information regarding the Order's success shall be included as the story progresses.
Frosty air nipped at Soar Vis's nose as he silently walked up the steps to the entrance of the Jedi Temple. It had been nineteen long, peaceful years since the end of the Clone Wars, when the nefarious Sith plot to end the Jedi had been stopped. Though it broke their hearts to do so, the Jedi turned on their clones as well and reunited on Coruscant and taken on Darth Sidious and his apprentice together. Sidious was put on trial and executed for his crimes; Darth Vader was imprisoned by Masters Plo Koon and Kenobi.
Soar had only been a small youngling at the time, a mere six years old. Master Nu and Tyvokka had protected the younglings from the Clones while the other Jedi handled the Sith. He could remember the light of their blades deflected blaster fire and the sounds of battle all around him.
Soar bowed his head as he passed by the statues guarding the entrance of the Temple, closing his blue eyes in reverence. Two lightsabers hung at his waist, hidden beneath his Jedi robes. His pale blue skin appeared pale gray, almost white, beneath the dark sky above. At the top of the steps stood a lone figure, hooded and cloaked, garbed in green robes. Cream fur covered the Jedi's hands and two silver eyes peered out beyond the hood that covered her face.
"Master Ross!" Soar exclaimed. "You're a bit for your late night walk."
"And you are a bit late returning from the Senate," she challenged in reply, a fanged smile tinging her thin lips. The Zygerrian reached her hands up and lowered her hood. "I trust that you kept Organa and the others in line?"
"Of course, Master." Soar smirked at Ross as he withdrew a handheld holoprojector, though he didn't play whatever video was on it. "Though I wasn't able to see this myself, Chancellor Organa says that the Council, Ahsoka, you, and I will all want to see it. I thought it best to wait for everyone else."
"Hmm..." Ross stroked her chin thoughtfully, placing her free hand on her hip. "Well, we best get it inside, then, hadn't we?"
Soar nodded, moving past his old teacher. "Take all the time you need," he said. "Your walks are important to you."
As she turned around, Ross replied, "Not as important as I fear this may be." She grabbed his shoulder, grip firm. "Remember to hold onto your emotions. Don't be rash."
"Don't worry, Master," the former Padawan answered with a smile. "I'm working at it every day."
Eleven Jedi and two holograms were gathered into the council chambers. Grandmaster Plo Koon and Master Hesila Kes, a Kel Dor and Lasat respectively, were on Mandalore assisting Duchess Bo-Katan Kryze. Insurgents from Clan Vizsla had again attempted to kill the Mand'alor-- as the Mandalorians called their leader-- and killed many civilians in the process. They were using older equipment and lacked the color used in modern machines.
Soar gently gripped the holoprojector in his hand, waiting for the meeting to begin. Ahsoka Tano stood nearby, counting the Jedi in the room. "We're all here, Grandmaster Kenobi," the Togruta said as she nestled into her seat between the holographic Koon and Soar.
Obi-Wan Kenobi nodded to Ahsoka as he used the Force to move the holoprojector out of Soar's hand to the heart of the room. His blues eyes shone with a mix of confidence and unease as the tape began to play. Like many holograms these days, this one was also in color, with no lines indicating any sort of interference. A figure in a black hood with a blood red lightsaber stepped forward, metal clanking with each step.
"It cannot be," the wise old Jedi Master breathed.
The video continued playing as a second figure-- that of La Kai Malogaan, a Duros Jedi Knight-- appeared, wielding her lime green saber. "I have you now, Sith!" she hissed.
"Oh, no, Jedi, it is I that have you!" The cloaked man raised his free hand, using the Force to raise La Kai into the air. She dropped her saber, grasping at her throat. Keeping his focus, the man deactivated his saber and pulled the hood off of his face, revealing a Dathomirian Zabrak with black tattoos covering his body. The man took a deep breath as he released La Kai to the ground. She was alive-- barely.
"You... cannot win... Sith..."
"I will always win!" he cackled in reply. "Always! I have unlimited power, Jedi, and it shall not be defeated!"
The recording abruptly ended, most of the Jedi quietly muttering to one another. Soar gently reached over and tapped Ahsoka's hand. "Who was that?" he whispered.
"That, Adaana Vis," Kenobi interrupted, "is Darth Maul... a former apprentice to Sidious." He started the recording again, though muted, watching the Zabrak's every move. Pointing to the Sith's feet, Kenobi began to speak again. "Take note of the metal tapping and the way that he seems to be abnormally tall. I dissected him during the Battle of Naboo, when my own master was killed... We assumed that he had perished when Ahsoka crashed the Tribunal. It seems that our hopes have been dashed..."
"It wasn't your fault, Master, nor my own," Ahsoka countered. "It was nigh on impossible to find many bodies at all; it's no surprise that Maul was able to escape using deception."
"You're right, Ahsoka," Kenobi agreed quietly, turning towards Plo Koon. "What do you think, old friend?"
The Kel Dor clasped his hands together, unsure of how to respond. "Perhaps... perhaps it would be wise to remember Master Yoda's final warning," Koon suggested.
"Warning?" Jocasta Nu, the aged Jedi librarian, had been the next to speak. "I know of no warning that Master Yoda issued before his demise."
"That's because we did not think the time was right to share it, especially following the demise of Darth Sidious and the fall of Darth Vader," Kenobi replied. "Luminara, Plo, and I were the only ones present when Master Yoda became one with the Force. He told us that he sensed a new disturbance in the Force and foretold the coming of the new Sith."
"The Sith," Soar breathed, turning his face towards his lap, hand instinctively balling up into a fist. "We cannot allow the Sith to resurface again. After what Sidious did in the Senate... it would be far too risky to allow Maul to get away without trying to track down him and Master Malogaan."
"As much as I agree with your sentiment, Master Vis, it is unwise to rush into this without examining all of the facts of this particular case." Master Unduli shook her head, hands folded carefully in her lap. " La Kai Malogaan was sent to investigate several disappearances, by consent of the Council. While this video partially explains why she has not reported back to us sooner, it also poses many important questions."
"First and foremost, is Maul behind these disappearances?" Ahsoka asked.
"It's plausible," Unduli admitted, "but I think that it is more likely that Maul has nothing to do with the attacks and is instead orchestrating something different. Based on La Kai's last report to us, the local rancor population had grown drastically. It may be that she found Maul by coincidence.
"We could send a mission to Dathomir to find out for certain," Soar reasoned. "I volunteer to go, so long as the council wills it."
Kenobi pulled at his chin, deep in thought. "Maul's return means nothing good-- that much is certain. I will allow the mission to take place so long as you do not go alone. There are always at least two, a Master and an Apprentice. If Maul is indeed claiming to be the Lord of the Sith, then I suspect he has already found at least one Apprentice to train."
Soar nodded, gently bouncing his knee out of habit. "Thank you, Grandmaster." He turned towards Ahsoka. "You've fought Maul in the past. Would you join me?"
Shaking her head, Ahsoka released a sigh. "If I went, Luke would want to go with me. I will not put my Padawan in that kind of danger."
"I understand," he answered, part of him disappointed. He liked Ahsoka; in Soar's opinion, they worked well together and produced results. Instead, he faced his old Master. "And you?"
The Zygerrian took a deep breath and then nodded, clasping her hands together. "I will go to Dathomir with you, as long as the council permits it."
Soar turned back to Kenobi. "Is there anything else that needs to be discussed or debated before the council votes on it, Grandmaster?" he asked.
Kenobi shook his head. "All in favor, please say aye. All opposed, please say no."
Of the thirteen present Jedi, only ten were allowed to vote. Esther, Ahsoka, and Soar were only present by consent of the Council, and even then mostly at the request of Chancellor Organa. Both of the Grandmasters, Masters Depa Billaba, Nu, Sinube, Tiplee, and Kes voted in favor of the mission. Masters Unduli, Allie, and Cordova were against it.
"It is decided, then," Grandmaster Koon announced after the vote, hologram fizzing for a moment as he shifted in his seat. "You have the council's blessing, young Adaana, and your old Master will go with you. May the Force be with you both, always." Soar bowed his head in reverence as the Kel Dor finished speaking.
"This meeting of the council is over," Kenobi said quietly, straightening his robes. "You are all dismissed."