The silence was uncomfortable now, after Vader’s uncontrolled outburst Leia had shrunk back into the cushions. She had never before experienced anything similar - that icy blast of anger that was almost like a physical force, so great that she had cowered back both mentally and physically. Even during her time on the Deathstar she had never seen him like this. Obsession came to the mind. Vader had finally composed himself, the only sounds in the carriage the mechanised regular breathing of his mask.
“You cannot protect him Princess I will find him, and with you as bait he will come to me”. Vader unclenched his fists and studiously ignored her presence.
Leia closed her eyes in bitter despair, before turning her head to gaze out the pane, a lone tear trailing down her cheek.
The sound was deafening, the carriage rocked on its hydro air stabilisers then with a whoosh of air as it was compromised it toppled over and over. Leia tried to brace herself and hold on but with Vader it was impossible, as his enormous bulk flattened and bashed her. She found herself been thrown around like a rag doll, before with a ominous groan the carriage settled on its side.
Leia shook her head, trying to clear the mussiness away, she could feel a sharp pain in her leg and arm. But she ignored this as she crawled out of the heap that was Darth Vader. Reaching up she grabbed the door frame of the carriage and slowly started to lever herself out. This was her chance and she would take it and question the circumstances later.
She shrieked as her ankle was caught by a leather fist, with a cry both physically and mentally she kicked with her other foot and had the grim satisfaction of watching Vader’s head go crashing back. His fist loosened and taking the opportunity and using his shoulder as a springboard she jumped out the carriage. To meet mayhem. All around her was smoke and laser fire. Storm troopers taking cover behind the carriage as they held off a barrage of fire from gloopy round projectiles.
She turned to run, limping heavily, her goal a small alleyway only a short sprint away.
30 metres… breathing hard, silk clad feet barely protecting her feet as she pushed herself onwards, laser bolts flying over her head, shouts and orders filling the air, but she was totally focused on the alley, nothing else mattered…. 20 metres.
Then something crashing into her as with a ommfph she was brought down, a armour plated stormtrooper lying almost prone over her.
“STAY DOWN”, a hand pushing her head into the dirt.
She squirmed and wriggled using every technique she knew but it was no use with her arms hand cuffed in front of her she had no freedom. The storm trooper held her down firmly as levered himself up, an armoured knee holding her in place as he exchanged gunfire. With cool calm proficiency two storm troopers appeared on either side taking up covering fire, before she was dragged back.
Darth Vader appeared and after giving her a cool assessing glance, he turned and surveyed the area. “Guard the Princess I will deal with this”. Striding forwards he lit his lightsabre.
Leia had never seen anything like it, even Luke at Jabba’s Palace did not show that amount of pure power and ruthlessness. Vader strode down the street, almost casually blocking blasts with his lightsabre. Motioning with his hand blocks of masonry flew slamming into buildings and vehicles. Whirlwinds of dust and debris spun up, spinning into alcoves, throwing out men and strange creatures with gangly legs and ears. All too soon it was all over.
Vader stood over one of the creatures, then with a flick of the wrist, the body flipped over, Vader contemplated it for a few moments, his head tilted towards it, slowly his head turned, and even from the distance Leia knew he was focusing on her, an icy chill ran up her spine.
The stormtroopers slowly stood up, dragging her with them as they made their way to Vader. Leia automatically noted that now only 5 remained.
“Would you care to explain this your highness?” Vader nudged the body with his foot.
Leia glanced down, wincing inwardly at the look of agony on the creatures face – a native Nubian.
“It seems many are willing to sacrifice themselves for you, the question is why?” Vader gazed at her, she could almost feel him trying to prise into her mind.
“Get out of my mind Vader”, Leia hissed, mentally building up her mind defences, “ I have never seen him before, they could just be random hijackers it happens all the time”.
“I think not….his name was Jar Jar Binks, witless and stupid, but loyal to a fault and now his loyalty to you has killed him …..and the question remains … WHY?”
They looked at each other neither willing to turn away. A battle of wills.
“The force is strong in you, almost too strong, why have I not felt this before”, mused Vader, turning he strode away, cape billowing behind him “Bring her, we need to procure transport”.
All too soon, Leia was hustled into a shuttle, found lying abandoned by the roadside, probably its occupants fleeing when the fighting started.
The stormtroopers took position as Vader deftly checked the controls, firing up the rockets and smoothly lifting off.
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