Sorry for not updating this for so long. My Muse refused to give me meaningful inspiration and some of my own doubts where the story was concerned plagued me. I know that it is shorter than I usually post but I decided that it was time to update this even if the chapter is less than 1,000 words.
Luke hadn't sure how to react when he discovered that his nephew had stowed away in a cargo hold. He wished that the boy was lightyears away at the Bairners with the other children; safe from the Emperor.
The boy hadn't given a satisfactory answer why he had stowed away. He said something about a living shadow trying to destroy everyone. It had disturbed him a lot and he could tell that it had disturbed Leia and Han more than they had allowed to show.
For a few moments Luke's thoughts had turned to the Emperor and wondered if the mysterious man was the 'living shadow'.
They would just have to deal with his presence here whether they liked it or not.
It had taken only a few minutes to wrap a spare camouflage cape around young Anakin before they abandoned the shuttle.
At the moment they were slowly moving through the trees of one of Endor's moons; pausing every so often to listen for any scout activity. So far though the forest was only filled with the sound of the native wildlife. It didn't mean though that there weren't scouts on the other side of a clump of trees or in a dip or along a distant ridge. As far as they knew there could be motion detection gear placed high in the trees or placed among some brambles or the twisted roots of a downed, giant tree.
He might be being a little too paranoid but he noted that everyone in the team seemed to be wary of tight groups of trees, brambles and the blackened remains of trees.
Perhaps his unease was the knowledge that his father and the Emperor were in orbit. The thought of Emperor reminded Luke of the advice that Yoda had given him; not to underestimate the powers of the Emperor.
What if this was all a very elaborate trap to destroy the Rebellion or at least deliver it a crippling blow to it? Little Anakin had seen a living shadow that wanted to destroy everyone? Could it be the Emperor who stayed in the shadows?
"Luke, is everything alright?" Leia asked.
Luke blinked and realized that he had stopped walking; staying rooted to the spot where the thought this whole thing being a trap had occurred to him. Everyone was looking at him with different levels of concern and all waiting for his answer. Silently he weighed whether or not he should voice his suspicions out loud; on one hand if it was a trap they would be forewarned but it could cause panic if it wasn't a trap then the extra caution could rob them of precious time they couldn't afford to lose. If the Emperor had managed to get a Jedi Knight to underestimate his powers then perhaps he should voice his concerns to help insure that things went smoothly.
"The Emperor rarely leaves Coruscant, correct?" he asked the gathered Rebels. Everyone slowly nodded. "Why would he seemingly out of the blue decide to leave the safety of Coruscant to oversee the final stages of construction of the new Death Star? If the construction is behind schedule why not send Darth Vader or someone of the same weight to make sure it gets back on schedule?"
The group of Rebels exchanged looks and Luke could Feel in the Force that he hadn't convinced them of the dangerous implications of the Emperor being there.
"The guy is under the influence of Vader or someone like Vader and would back down if he was freed from their control. As far as we know Vader or another Sith have been pulling his strings since before the Clone Wars." Someone stated.
Luke shook his head.
"Obi-Wan Kenobi revealed to me shortly before his death that Vader used to be a Jedi before he joined the Sith and from what I have since pieced together Vader was in his early-to-mid-twenties when the Clone Wars ended. So unless he was studying to become a Sith while he still a Jedi Apprentice there is no way that Vader could have been moving pieces around for a galactic takeover of this scale. Most beings that I have talked to agree that Vader isn't exactly known for his subtlety or his prowess in the political field and that for years he had no clear job or position in the Empire until recently. So if Vader wasn't using Palpatine as a piece on a Dejarik Board then who was if anyone?" He asked the group.
A deep silence fell as the adults started looking at each other while little Anakin grabbed his mother's hand and shivered in fear.
"There was a rumor during the Clone Wars that Count Negaeru Dooku became a Sith Lord sometime after he left the Jedi Order but he was killed by a Jedi on Palpatine's orders during the Battle above Coruscant. So the rumor is unconfirmed since the Jedi never revealed anything they might have known about Dooku being a Sith Lord." Han stated.
"He has a point," someone else started, "Vader isn't exactly known for his tact and why would a dangerous Sith Lord serve Palpatine?"
"Exactly! Why would someone of Vader's strength, caliber and personality serve a mere mortal like Palpatine? If it's because of his health or something of the like all he would have to do is kill Palpatine or let him be killed to unbar the way to getting his medical needs tended to. Everyone admits that Vader answers to Palpatine; who he shows an awful lot of respect to and reportedly kneels before and -"
"Force! Palpatine's a Sith Lord!" Someone blurted out in horror; cutting Luke off.
That might have been a bit of a logic jump but the Rebellion has to have plenty of intelligent people lying around that when someone takes them on a thought thread they could not only follow but reach the correct conclusion.