To be honest, Galo-ban was amazed the battle was going so well. To be fair, it was probably his fear that lent skill to his saber.
Galo-ban was terrified. Rarely since the sacking of the Temple had he been involved in direct combat, and even then it was never with more than two or three combatants at a time. And this time, there were no scores of Jedi around to aid him.
This time, most of the troopers he was here to rescue were already down, and his green double-bladed lightsaber made him priority number one to the assaulting mercenaries.
Despite that, he was holding his own. Blaster shots were deflected back to their point of origin with deadly precision, small chunks of earth dislodged the mercenaries standing on them as they were raised to strike down other mercenaries, and tiny, jagged rocks tore through armor and flesh at speeds too fast for the eye to follow.
The few remaining troopers rallied behind him, and began to whittle down the mercenaries numbers, until at last, they broke. It was a disorderly retreat, one that could have easily been taken advantage of, but the troopers had sustained too many casualties.
Galo-ban stood on a large rock, watching the route. Adrenaline flowed through him, and he almost smiled. He was alive!
He turned to the troopers still standing; there were four of them. The unit’s commander, a tall man with what seemed to be a spine made of iron, took off his helmet and nodded his thanks to Galo-ban.
The old Jedi watched as the sergeant began issuing orders.
“Kat, get started on the wounded, Chuck, you’re on communi-“
The trooper was interrupted by a fierce surge of lightning, pinpointed on the chest of each remaining trooper, with Galo-ban at the center momentarily surround by a fence of electricity.
The lightning subsided and the four troopers slumped to the ground as Galo-ban whirled to face his attacker, his saber at the ready.
In front of him now stood a woman of average height with long copper curls and a sad disfiguration on the right side of her face. She was dressed in the simple clothes of a Jedi, complete with a lightsaber hooked to her belt, and held a single hand aloft, presumably the point of origin of the sudden attack.
The woman lowered her hand and spoke. “You must be Galo-ban.”
The elder Jedi raised an eyebrow. “Do I know you?” he asked.
Smiling warmly, she answered. “Not yet.”
Galo-ban narrowed his eyes, and began to raise another question, but the woman sprang at him, her lightsaber flying to her outstretched hand and igniting almost before the old Jedi realized what was happening.
She attacked with a fury that should have struck him down handily; indeed, he gave ground rapidly, both sides of his saber barely adequate against the flurry of her single blade. He realized suddenly that the only reason he still lived was that her attacks were not meant to score. She was testing him.
Just as suddenly, she paused her attack and stepped back. Galo-ban’s heart raced as she simply stared at him and cocked her head.
“Interesting,” she said.
His heart was still pounding when she abruptly looked to the south, as if something had caught her attention. He briefly entertained a thought of trying to get the jump on her while she was distracted, but before the thought could finish, her attention snapped back to Galo-ban.
The coy little smile on her face chilled him to the bone.
“Why, Galo-ban, how is your son doing? How long has it been since you and he parted ways?”
Galo-ban froze. How did she know that? And could he really be here?
Shaking his head, Galo-ban silently berated himself. He didn’t know where she had dug up that nugget of information, but he’d be damned if he let her throw him off with it. Gritting his teeth, he lifted his lightsaber back into a ready stance.
She placed hers on the ground. “He’s here, now, at this little battlefield.”
Again, Galo-ban’s resolve faltered.
“Extend your senses, feel him.”
He knew placing her weapon on the ground was a hollow gesture for a Force user, for many reasons, but he allowed his guard to waiver nevertheless. Tentatively, he reached out, fighting against the wails of the injured and dying, digging for one sensation in particular.
There it was! He found it! She wasn’t lying, his son was here! So many emotions roiled that he could not begin to describe it, all rudely interrupted by a jarring sting of pain.
He was hurt, his boy was hurt. He had to find him; he began to frantically scan the sea of bodies around him, desperate for the face of his son. That was when he noticed that the coy smile on the redhead’s face had extended to a grin of wicked delight.
Rage exploded inside him as he leapt toward her, his lightsaber an extension of his arm that pointed straight for her heart. Her own lightsaber hissed forward and into her hand, but this time, his speed paced hers, his fury rivaled hers, he was sure he could gain the advantage.
But the rage coming off him in waves seemed almost to invigorate her, and he soon began to tire as doubt once more crept into him. His strokes, at first swift and sure in their righteousness, tired.
And again, she halted the fight, leaping back, her eyes alight with child-like surprise and delight.
“He’s coming!” she exclaimed softly.
Galo-ban’s heart skipped a beat. “My boy?”
The woman almost seemed to snap back to reality, but the expression on her face glowed with excitement as she met Galo-ban’s eyes.
“No,” she said, still smiling. “My boy!”
Galo-ban saw a bright explosion of stars and then darkness.