The word of a dark lord
Leaves softly crunched under her silk slippers contrasting starkly with the stormtroopers boots as they hustled her along. There was a Stormtrooper holding each of her arms firmly, keeping her upright when she would have stumbled over the uneven ground and her long billowy Nubian skirt.
Already her mind had recovered from the sudden shock of her capture, instead she was puzzling out the situation and the best way to put it to her advantage with the ultimate goal of escape. Han would now be worrying over the lack of contact, and possibly knowing him was already making plans to come and get her but to all extent and purposes he would be far too late. But more importantly in one standard imperial day, Mon Motha would be informed of the lack of contact would presume she had been compromised and the fleet would be moved and precautionary measures taken. She just had to last one imperial day. She had done it before, she could and would withstand it again.
Unconsciously she recollected her time on the Deathstar with Vader, she shuddered and would have fallen if the stormtroopers had not automatically tightened their grip. Vader turned to look at her, his helmet tilted as he assessed her as if he could feel her apprehension and fear. Leia lifted her chin and glared at him. For a split second she could have sworn she felt a flash of amusement from him before cape swirling he resumed marching through the glade. But this time the pace seemed slightly slower.
Which begged another question why on Sith were they walking so far. She expected transport to be beside the crypt or for Vader to call up a trooper carrier. This wasn’t standard imperial procedure and neither now she thought of it was letting Ruwee go. She had tried to deflect suspicion so she could claim she had just met Ruwee. But Vader not only had no interest in a possible rebel sympathiser but ironically had almost gone out of his way to get Ruwee to leave without a scene. Usually suspects would be arrested as a matter of course until they could be interrogated, or dealt with at the point of a stormtroopers butt. Or the final solution a laser blast at close range. But these stormtroopers were restrained and Vader who she thought had no self control was almost comically respectful and polite. And the questions about Luke? and how had he found her so quickly? and what exactly did Vader mean by ward of the empire? – another name for hostage? The questions whirled, her mind trying to puzzle out the meanings and futilely blocking out the knowledge of what she would soon be facing.
They stopped and Vader seemed to be in some sort of consultation with the lead Stormtrooper, they seemed to be displeased about something. Leia craned her head trying to peer around the wall of white armour on front of her at whatever they were discussing. Her eyes widened almost comically “We are going in that!”
Vader glanced at her, before holding out his hand “I would be honoured if you would join me your Highness”.
Darth Vader sat uncomfortably on the plush peach damper cushions, it had been a long time since he had felt this squirm of embarrassment. But really who would have thought that his secret pilgrimage to Padme’s resting place would result in apprehending the Princess. He had hoped to keep the visit to Padme’s grave secret so had arranged Nubian transport a gauzy affair but one that provided privacy. People would talk about the stormtroopers riding pillion but it was nothing compared to the gossip that would be caused if it was known that a Dark Lord of Sith was roaming the countryside.
But still the ways of the force were strange indeed as Obwan used to say. His irritation at finding the crypt already occupied were only matched by the shock of exactly who was at his wife’s final resting place. He had left them in peace while a perimeter was set up and he tried to figure out the correct etiquette of arresting a rebel leader without leaving harm on his mother in law.
It seemed Luke had somehow involved Leia in the search for his Mother and kin. A surprising and quite unexpected step. But he got no indication from the force that she was aware of the identity of Luke’s father. Which was perhaps at this stage for the best.
Leia sat opposite him, uncomfortably close, he could guess that this carriage was meant for couples, perhaps lovers intent on illicit affair. Certainly not as means of conveyance of an imperial prisoner. But perhaps he could use this opportunity whilst she was still somewhat recovering from her shock of her capture and perhaps forgetful of her rebel training.
“I would be interested to learn how you managed to escape Leia…. we had grave concerns for your safety ”, He dropped the usual honorific as he leant closer to her.
Leia snorted inelegantly and then shrugged “Yeah I bet… it was just a local spliff gang, hardly a challenge for me”. A lie mused Vader and wondered what she was hiding.
“And it seems a strange place for you to be located”.
Leia shrugged again, closing her eyes. Tired it seemed from the shock of her capture.
“Which begs the question Princess, what is a rebel leader doing on this planet?”
Leia’s eyes opened and she suddenly stiffened perhaps realising what a precarious position she had put this planet in. “No, its nothing to do with the rebellion, I swear”, she briefly clutched at his arm before coming to her senses and releasing it “I had heard that some alderian refugees had been allowed to stay and I wanted to check on their situation”.
“Ahhh ever the Ambassador”, commented Vader dryly, “perhaps you would care to share their location so we can check the veracity of your story”.
Leia paled even further “Not likely considering the empire destroyed their planet”,
“Interesting”, mused Vader “that you refer to it as their planet, was it not yours also?”
Leia took a deep breath and schooled her face into a familiar mask, her training coming to the forefront. He would gain nothing further from her on this line of questioning it would seem. But still she was hiding something and her feelings were wildly in disarray.
Interesting, very interesting.
“Perhaps you would save my men the trouble and disclosing the location of the droids?”
Leia shrugged “They got frazzled and smashed by the splice gang, last I saw they were in a million pieces”. Another lie thought Vader
“What is your obsession with Luke, want to take his other hand”, jeered Leia “ He’s a long long way from here”.
“YOU LIE”, thundered Vader “ I HAVE FELT HIM HE IS HERE”
Leia shrank back both physically and mentally from him. She had never felt so close to death as she did now.