Serenity smiled, "I would trust you to pick a great girl. She's really nice. I think you two are good together. So don't worry about my approval. She already has it, from what I've seen."
Tal chuckled, "Thanks mom. That means a lot." He snapped something into place and put his hands on his already dirty knees, "There, done. Looks like we're ready to take on the Empire...figuratively of course." He said winking.
He looked over himself for a moment and chuckled again, "Looks like I need a shower. Let's put that new unit to the test shall we?"
Serenity smiled at him, "Let's give it a go." She said, giving him a great smile. Things were going to be okay. Even if it got hard, she knew her son would be there for her. "Good thing we added some quarters in the back when we were living out of this thing for months. Shower up, and I'll head up to the cockpit."
"Sound good!" After a while, Les came back to the cockpit to Jeanne and Serenity smiling about something and laughing.
"I'm almost afraid to ask..." He said cautiously.
Jeanne giggled, "Oh nothing. Your mom was telling me wonderful stories about your childhood. Do you remember the incident with the Rodian and-"
"The turbine. Yeah I remember. I remember the damned guy fell on his butt so quick because of that that he was too stunned to be angry." Les said and everyone laughed. Just then there was a beeping and a red flashing light on the counsel and Les sat in the pilot's chair. "We're dropping out of hyperspace."
Just then static and a voice erupted from the comm, "This is unauthorized space. Please state your intentions and origin."
"This is Tal Mantalus Jr. Jedi Knight of the Jedi Order with Master Jedi Serenity Mantalus. We are expected by Master Skywalker." Tal said looking hopeful.
There was a slight pause then static again, "It's a pleasure to finally have you Jedi Mantalus'. I am Luke Skywalker. I'm so glad to have found another Jedi from the Old Republic. Thank you for coming and I'll see you soon!"
Tal smiled, "The pleasure is all ours Master Skywalker. We'll see you soon."
After being given their landing vector, they landed at a small temple that was sitting on top of a hill. There was a precession of Jedi standing and waiting for them all dressed in their finest robes and eager to see the Jedi Master and new Jedi Knight. As the landing platform opened they were greeted with bows, "Welcome fellow Jedi to the Jedi Praxium."
Serenity had changed into one of her old jedi robes. She'd lost a few pounds since she'd worn them. Her old saber was attached to her hip, swinging softly at her side. She was nervous, but didn't play it off like she was. She smiled at the group, returning the bow. She couldn't believe how many Jedi they'd gather. It had been years since she'd felt this much energy in one place. "Thank you or the warm welcome."
Skywalker walked forward and helped Serenity down, "It is a true honor and pleasure to have such great Jedi in our presence. I am Luke Skywalker Jedi Master of this Academy." He pointed to the man behind him, "This is Jedi Master Kyle Katarn. He and Master Crafter are the other Master's of this temple. But I hope you will be the forth." He said with a pleasant smile.
Tal was behind Serenity as Luke caught notice of him, "And you must be the famous Tal Mantalus Jr.?"
Tal bowed his head with a smile, "Indeed I am Master Skywalker. I'm not sure what Master Crafter has told you though. I'm just a regular Jedi Knight."
"Regular or not, you are a part of this community of Jedi. You are most welcome Tal. And who might this be?" Luke asked looking at Jeanne.
Tal stepped back and brought her forward, "This is my girlfriend Jeanne. She wanted very much to meet you Master."
Skywalker bowed and extended his hand, "It is a pleasure to have you with us Jeanne."
Jeanne took his hand, "It is a great honor to meet you Master Skywalker! Thank you for taking me!"
(OOPS! I wasn't done yet! Sorry bout that!)
Skywalker looked back at Serenity, "Well there is much we need to discuss. I would very much like to hear your story so far Master Mantalus." He stepped to the side and opened his arm to the Temple, "Shall we?"
Serenity smiled at Luke. She had seen him only once before, by chance. He had been very young, and she didn't speak to him, but she knew who he was. "I'm very honored to be here. I knew your father very well, when he was still Anakin and an amazing Jedi." She said with a genuine smile. "We were very close." She said, remembering back to their padawan days.
Luke looked up at her with a smile and grinned, "Is that so? I would very much like to talk more about that later if that is alright with you?"
She smiled and nodded, "I would be honored to talk to you about it." She said, remember that she packed the book she'd made back when she was just a Padawan. She'd saved it for just an occasion like this. He would be pleased to see it. "I am curious about this Academy you've created. We've tried a dozen times to put one into place. I wish you better luck then we had."
"Yes Master Crafter told me of your lack of fortune with your previous temples. The difference is that this Temple is supported by the government and hidden well. We also have a large fighting force a system away on high alert in case we are attacked. The planning that was put into choosing the location for the Jedi Temple took many years, but we finally decided on Yavin 4 for many reasons. The Force is rich here, the life is abundant, and the training grounds are always changing because of the vegetation. In short, this is the ideal place for us to train the Jedi for the New Republic. I am curious Master Mantalus, where did you go after order 66 was given? Were you a Jedi Knight then?" Luke was very happy to share these things with a Jedi who could possibly help, even make the Praxium better.
She nodded, "I was a knight, but the Force put me at the Temple that day. Vader had broken off from the Stormtroopers, and he found me in a meditation room. And I couldn't fight him, we had been too good of friends. And before I knew it, he was Anakin again, and he told me to run. So I did. I'd known him since he was 9, and somehow he was able to focus on that and let me go. I ran, stole a cruiser and booked it out of there. I found Obi-wan a month later." She said with a shrug. "Vader searched me out almost every day since, but we were able to avoid him fairly easily. And I was close friends with Leia's father at the time, so he helped me out if I needed it."
Luke smiled at the thought of Anakin letting Serenity go. Proof that he still did have good in him. "He was a great Jedi. He saved my life against the Emperor. There was still good in his heart, even if he chose to ignore it for all those years. He is one with the Force now."
They went on for many hours talking about the past as Luke showed her the temple and the different rooms and students that were running about. Luke always held a smile on his face as each child ran up to him and Serenity, bowed, politely, then ran off to continue their studies. There were a few Knights walking around as well and Luke introduced them to Serenity, each very polite.
Luke finally came to a long hallway with many doors, "This is the living quarters for the Knights and Masters. This will be your room." He pressed a button on the door next to them and it slide open to reveal an absolutely beautiful room with wide windows, an open deck that had a beautiful view of the lake near the Temple. "One of the best rooms in the Temple." Luke said smiling, "I hope it will be alright for you."
She smiled, finding the same sense of peace she had back in her little house on Naboo. "It's perfect. I wouldn't have thought you would have so many here. Your numbers are incredible. And that you're so well funded. I'm guessing Leia had a hand in that."
Luke chuckled, "A hand yes. But most of our equipment was given as a gift after the war and some of it was taken from the Remnant after a few different battles. We are a branch of the New Republic and we report to the Senate, but they can not interfere in our affairs. Leia has been very helpful in giving us this Temple and all that it has.
The students are found through the Force. Some are orphans or castaways because of their abilities. Rather then try to understand them, most people choose to be afraid of them. We take in those that have been outcast and turn them into Jedi Knights."
She smiled, having used the same techniques back when they were trying to rebuild the temple. "So what do you want my role to be here? I won't interfer with what you've built, but I'm curious as to why you need me here. It looks like you've got something good going here."
"Thank you. We have tried very hard to get here. We need another voice, another mind, another counsel member. Someone who can help make the decisions that need to be made for the good of the Jedi Order, the New Republic and the Force. You would help with the teachings of the students, with the major decisions to keep our Academy going and how we might help the galaxy back into a state of peace without war and turmoil." Luke placed his hands behind his back as Tal Jr. looked up at her with an open gaping mouth. He knew she would teach, but this? Holy crap...
She blinked in confusion. "I'm sorry, I don't think I heard you correctly. You want me to sit on the council? You hardly know me. I haven't really used the Force in almost 7 years. And you want me to teach these kids how to use it? To guide them in the Force?" She took a seat on the bed, trying to take it all in. It was a big opportunity, and she didn't know if she could handle that. She closed her eyes, searching for some guidance.
Luke pulled up a chair and sat down, "Serenity, a week ago I saw a vision through the Force. In this vision, you stood by me, Kyle, and Les as we made an important decision about the future of one of the Padawan's here. You also helped to decide on the fate of your son here at the Temple and you helped defend it. Although you may have given up on the Force, the Force has not given up on you. I can feel it's presence surrounding you, wanting very badly to be a part of you again." He pulled out a small holovid and it activated to show a figure standing infront of them. The man was smiling and held out his hands for something. The image repeated itself. It was Tal Senior.
"Les told me what happened to his old master, from what he could remember. He gave me this holovid knowing that you would be here someday to get it." Luke set it on the table infront of her, "I can't imagine what the loss of a husband might feel like. Why did the Force take him? Maybe you could have stopped him, could have done something different to change what happened. But all is as the Force wills it. I can help you move past this resentment Serenity, but only if you allow yourself to let go of your pain."
Tal stepped forward and kneeled down infront of his mother, putting a hand on her knee. "Come on mom...it's time you let this go..."
Serenity blinked, the image of her husband bringing tears to her eyes. She knew that she wouldn't be able to hold onto the resentment she felt. She wasn't able to keep it help in any longer. It was easier to forget about it, but when it was brought in front of her like this, so could no longer ignore it.
She needed to live for something more. This was what she needed. It was all here, in front of her. She could no longer deny her desire for something more. She let the sob out that had been stuck in her throat since Tal's death. She cried for her son, one one she never really knew, for her husband who didn't get to know either of them. She held onto her son, letting the tears fall freely as she let go of her past pain.
Tal sat next to her on the bed holding her in his strong arms. He let her cry out what she needed to cry, letting a few tears of happiness fall down his face. Luke left the holovid on the table as he smiled and stood outside the door.
Tal stroked his mom's hair as she cried trying to hush her quietly, "It's going to be alright mom. I'll be here with you the entire way. I promise."
Serenity only cried for a few moments, letting all the pain that was inside her escape out. She took a few seconds to catch her breath. But she looked up at her soon, and her face was hopeful. It was something he would have never seen on her face. "You don't have to stay here. I'll be okay. I'm finding peace. Slowly, one step at a time. You have your own life."
Tal cocked his head to the side and chuckled, "Mom, even if I tried, I couldn't stay away from you. If you're staying here, then I'll be seeing you all the time. I'll give you some time though. Master Skywalker wants to show me my room anyways. I'll be back to check on you later ok?"
As Tal opened the door, Luke stood outside with Kyle, talking about something and he turned with a smile. Luke stuck his head in the door, "I'll be in my chambers if you need me Serenity. Good to have you with us."