Serenity had been walking along the marshes with her son when she felt her husband's anger. She patted her son's head, knowing that he would return to the rest of the group as she went in search of her husband. He wasn't hard to find.
She followed his yell, moving into the trees to watch him with Yoda.
Yoda stood with a frown on his face and up at Tal who was gathering the Force around him. Letting out a lash of anger, Force lightening erupted from his hands and toward Yoda.
Yoda dropped his cane and held out his hands, gathering the lightening as Tal began to push harder. Tal's teeth bared and his eyes began to glow a reddish yellow.
Just as he began to push harder, his eyes flicked up to see Serenity watching in horror. Surprise took him over and the lightening began to fade. As his attention was turned, Yoda pushed back with the Force and sent Tal flying through a few trees and into a pile of stones. Dust flew in the air as his feet lay kicking the air. He felt horrified and didn't move, even when he heard footsteps coming his way. He was frozen in fear.
To his surprise, Yoda stepped up on the stones and looked down at him, "Powerful you are Tal Mantalus. But uncontrolled Vader has made you. Come." He held out his hand to Tal and smiled slightly.
Tal took a while, but finally took his hand. He fell to his knees infront of Yoda and bowed his head as tears welled in his eyes. "Forgive me Master...."
Yoda smiled, "Nothing to forgive there is. Wanted you to see the danger I did. Understand now do you?"
Tal nodded and looked out over Yoda's shoulder to see Serenity standing there watching him. He was absolutely terrified to know what she was thinking. To see what Vader had done to him. She now knew why he given up on the Force. He was a well of absolute pain, suffering, and emotions. He drew it in from around him and used it. Vader had destroyed his ability to be a Jedi.
Serenity watched in absolute horror as Tal followed the same path as Anakin had so many years ago. Tears flowed down her cheeks. She knew he was so sorry for what he'd done, but there wasn't any going back. She didn't know what to do, and her knees gave out. She wrapped her arms around herself, heaving soft sobs coming from deep in her core. She wished she could have ran to him to offer him comfort, but was too consumed with the vivid reminder of why they were in hiding now.
Tal, at this moment, might as well have been Vader himself.
Yoda walked over to Serenity and put a hand on her shoulder, "Though the Dark Side he used, fallen to is he has not. Not my vision this was. But scarred he is in the Force. Blame him do not, fear him do not. Your strength he will need for your son, Darien."
Tal was shaking at the sheer terror of it all. Of what Serenity might be thinking of him and her reaction so far. He was surprised to see Yoda walking away, but realized he was going back to where he was. He sat down and began to meditate.
Serenity nodded to yoda, but needed a moment. She thought about the situation and came up with the only alternative she could think of. She stood, her face set with her most serene look. Her husband needed her, and she wouldn't let him down like padme had insisted she'd done years ago. Besides, after this, they might never see the other again. She moved to stand in front of him, waiting for him to acknowledge that she was there
Tal took a moment to gather himself and the looked up at her standing infront of him. "I'm sorry...forgive me Serenity." Was all he could manage and bowed his head to her. He prayed to the Force that she could forgive him for such an awful attack.
As much as she wanted to tell him no, she just couldn't do it. She simply nodded her head be opened her arms to him.
Tal fell into her arms like a child to its mother. He held her tightly and felt soothed again. His angers, fears, his pain was all gone when he held her. After a bit, his breathing returned to normal and he looked up to her, "I love you Serenity. I won't let you down again. I promise."
In the field, Yoda overheard what Tal said and sighed with sadness. He knew this promise wasn't going to be kept. He knew it would only be a matter of time unless Tal was completely stripped of the Force. It was something he needed to talk to Tal and Serenity about. This was a major decision.
Yoda stood and walked over to the two still embraced figures with a smile on his face. "Glad I am to see you doing better. But come a realization I have. Inside you, the Dark Side remains. To guarantee that you will not hurt another soul through the Force. Strip you of the Force we must..."
Serenity stared at Yoda, shaking her head. "Can't we try something else first? Do we have to try it now?" She pulled away, seeing the stress on her husband's face. "I would rather hold off until the morning, give him a chance to cope with it."
Yoda looked up at her and thought for a moment, then nodded, "Until the morning we will wait. But careful you must be Tal Mantalus. Watch him you will, Serenity Mantalus." His look was a very serious one. Yoda knew what was going to happen and there was no way he would be able to stop Tal from doing what he was going to do. "May the Force be with you Tal Mantalus..." Yoda walked away as if watching the future happen before his eyes and he sighed.
She nodded, a small breath of relief escaping her lips. "Thank you master. May the Force be with you." She placed a hand on Tal's face, giving him a small smile. "Come, let's go to bed."
Tal nodded, in guilt mostly, and moved with her to her ship. Crawling up inside, he heard his son rummaging around and decided to put a smile on his face, even if it was forced. He didn't want him to worry.
"Hey Tal. How are things on board?" Tal asked trying to distract from his feelings.
Tal Jr. smiled, "Oh fine. Had a bit of a spike in the EQ meter, but I leveled it out. Oh and mom, there was a message from Jason, just so you know. Said something about he was on his way, but he was attacked by a Sith. He was going to try and lose them at Nar Shadda.%Pr
Serenity nodded, knowing that jason could handle sith attack. She took her husband's hand, her eyes letting her son know they weren't to be disturbed.
Tal sighed deeply and moved to the back of the ship. There was a room that he could have guessed only belonged to his wife and moved in. He sat down on the end of the bed and put his face in his hands.
"I don't get it...I haven't been able to use the Force right ever since Vader. Why would he do something like that and let me live?" Tal had been so confused and had had high hopes that Yoda could 'cure him' of this problem. "What's my problem Serenity...%Pr
She sighed, "i wish i knew exactly why he did it. Maybe he knew you'd try and recover our son. He's using darien against us, knowing we'll do what it takes to get him back". She moved and sat down next to him, putting a hand on his knee.
"He's right..." Tal said starring off into the distance. "Maybe that is the problem. But I can't just let my son be taken over by the Dark Side without me stepping in somehow. I have to do something...%Pr
She nodded. Her own plan was well under way as she said, "i know we need him back, but you are in no shape to run off and face vader. Not until you face your personal demons. And that starts with me, tal. You can pretend that you don't resent me." she lifted his chin, forcing him to look at her.
"What do you mean?" He was more thinking about the idea of him facing Vader and saving his son. He shook his head to clear his mind for a moment then sighed again, "I'm sorry sweetheart. I'm....just......tired."
She smiled, "I mean, the anger you have with me leaving you with our son all those years ago. You might not want to admit it now, but some day, you'll have to let out that anger, figure out what you should do with it. Holding it in isn't safe. You'll only walk father down your path if you don't come to terms with it." She stood, moving to the small window in the back of her room. She wrapped her arms around herself, knowing that by morning, she would just repeat the past.
Tal's hands still shaking, he stood and rubbed his hair, "The truth is Serenity, I've already let that anger go. I'm not angry with any of you anymore. You don't know what it's like being alone with the Dark Side constantly crying out to you. It uses your feelings, your emotions, your past, your memories and makes trivial things huge. In retrospect, I shouldn't have acted the way I did, but I wasn't myself. Being around everyone again has given me control. Something I haven't had in many years."
She nodded her head, still looking out the window. He felt like he'd come to terms with it, but she knew that Vader would try to use that anger against him, no matter how sure he was of his control on it. "I love you Tal. No matter what happens, I will always love you."
Tal walked up behind her and spun her around to face him. He put his hands on her cheeks and looked into her eyes finding the strength he knew he needed, "I love you too Serenity. That will never change..."
Her arms wrapped around his waist, leaning her forehead against his. "This is worth it. I've never doubted it. With or without those boys, this has been worth it. I wouldn't trade our time together for anything."
Tal smiled, "Neither would I." He kissed her gently and let out a long breathe, "So what are we going to do about Yoda's 'proposal'."
She shrugged, "It's your decision. It could be the only way you can finally deal with what happened. You might never get control of the Force."
He gave her a look of somewhat shock and let go of her, "Said so matter of factly...Come on Serenity. I know it's my decision, but I want to know what you think. This is my use of the Force we are talking about. This is serious..."
She smiled softly, "So I'm blunt in my old age. But do you really feel like if you kept the Force you could conquer it? That you could face Vader again? Tal, you don't realize how dangerous the Force is to you right now. You've seen what you can do with the Dark Side. Do you really feel like you could overcome the anger you feel? I would love to tell you that I have complete faith that you could see the Force and use it to your advantage, but I've seen what you can do. And if that's what you do to a trusted master, I can't help but think what might happen if you were to be face by one of us." She stepped back, shrugging her shoulder. "I know you, Tal. You would use the Dark Side and stay with Vader if you knew you could be with your son." She stepped back further, squaring her shoulders. "So do I think you should give up the Force? If keeping it means losing you, then I will selfishly say yes, give it up. You've got a son who is just getting to know you. Are you telling me that one son means more then the other?" She brushed the tears that had fallen from her cheeks, "Don't you think that I don't care about Darien. I've been searching the galaxy for him for years. Hoping that I could get him when he wouldn't be so resistant. This is Vader's revenge. I won't lose you like I've lost Anakin, Darien, or Qui-gon."
Tal couldn't believe his ears, or his eyes. To see her back away from him and say those things, hurt him deeply. He stood there for a moment, opened mouthed and dumbfounded, not sure what to say. Instead of saying anything, he nodded silently and opened the door. Walking out, he made his way out of the ship and into the swamp.
He remembered the days when they all were struggling to survive, to exist. Now that struggle was even more and Tal had lost a son in the process. Tal walked deeper and deeper into the swamp until the sounds of humanity were gone. He kept walking until all he could see, hear and feel was the life around him.
Tal caught a glimpse down a river of a large creature stalking a smaller one and pouncing on it. The creature bit down on it and started thrashing it around like a rag doll. The shear carnage of it was actually making his heart pump harder and he realized the hairs on the back of his neck were on end. He could feel the Force again and it surged through him like 500,000 jolts of electricity. It wasn't painful, but powerful. He felt the power and liked it.
His eyes opened to find rocks, trees, even lizards floating in the air and he relaxed letting them fall to the ground. Life around him went silent and he sighed. This was no longer a mission for the rest of the group. He had to go and get his son....alone.
Serenity knew she only had a few minutes to put her plan into action. She moved quickly about the room, grabbing the things she'd need. She moved them into the emergency vehicle they'd built into the ship a few years ago. When she finally looked up, she noticed Tal looking at her.
She nodded, moving over to wrap him in a hug. "I have to. Your father thinks he can save Darien, but he will just end up becoming what he hates. I can't let that happen. I can't lose one more person like that. I've got to be the one who saves him, Tal." She said, brushing the tears away from his eyes. The boy nodded, his head on top of his mother's. "I'm going to do whatever I can to come back to you. I wanted you to do this with me, but that won't happen now." She smiled and kissed him.
He threw his arms around her, "What will I do without you?"
She smiled, "You'll be with some of the best Jedi there are. These men would not let you live alone. And if I can, I'll be back for you. Hopefully with your brother. We've prepared for this. We knew this would happen soon. I just need you to be strong." She pulled him into her room, sitting him on the bed. She moved to the closet, pulling out a small box. She set it on his lap, letting him opening it.
"It's your father's light saber. I've been saving it for you, but I think you're ready to use it now. If you need it, you'll know what to do. I love you son. You've made me so proud. May the Force be with you." She said, giving him one more hug before she went back into the emergency craft. Tal moved up into the cockpit, setting the nessisary controls that would allow the ship to silently move into the atmosphere.
And it did just that. By the time anyone would have noticed the dark ship, she had already kicked the machine into light speed. She brushed her tears away, already far enough away that it would take them hours to catch up with her. And hopefully by that time, she'd tracked down her son and sent him back to his father.