Published on April 1, 2013
Sitting cross-legged and stitching at her newest creation, night turned into day. Ahsoka took the tunic by the sleeves and held it up in the early dawn light. Inspecting her handiwork, she appraised the evenness of the stitches and lay of the pattern. Designing clothes helped her pass the time and not feel so alone. A small hint of approval brushed across the corner of her mouth, then disappeared when the insistent yap-yap of the anooba pierced the morning reverie.
Sighing, she draped the tunic over the mannequin in her small hut and shoved aside the heavy curtain that warded off the nightly chill. Shielding her eyes from the fiery glow of the morning sun, she stared down the lane of wooden fence-lines that separated the eastern pasture from the western one. The anooba bounded down the lane, yipping up toward the mount that loomed over the lush green valley.
“Dave!” she called after it. The anooba spun, noted her arrival, then returned to his energetic noisemaking in earnest. When he reached the far gate he focused his barking at that location, occasionally turning to check if she understood what he had been trying to tell her.
“Oh, no. One of the ponies must have gotten out.” Skimming the western pasture with her gaze, she started to tally the Wonderland ponies. Liam the handsome stallion, Ganner the stubborn gelding, Mia the happy-go-lucky mare, and Johnny the testy pony. The others were obscured by the rise of the hill. Heading toward the feed buckets that were evenly spaced down the fence line, Ahsoka loosed a whistle. Always eager for his next meal, Ganner whinnied and charged forward. Vette and Perry appeared atop of the hill, cantering in to join the others. Yoda, the lop-eared pony she had named for one of her Jedi mentors, trotted with his tail up and as fast as his short legs could manage.
Ahsoka’s brow furrowed in frustration. Minimus had escaped. Grabbing a halter and rope from its customary hook on the fence, she started down the lane toward Dave, who seemed satisfied to wait for her now that she recognized why he had sounded the alarm.
Generally ponies were content to wander their pastures, and she rotated them often between the eastern and western sides to give the grasses a chance to rejuvenate. But with ponies also came mischief. With each one introduced to the herd, she had discovered a new trick. Minimus was the latest arrival to Wonderland. Originally she had worried that his wings might prove troublesome, but with his portly frame and love for fresh grass, he hadn’t to date shown any signs that he might flap his wings and escape.
Halfway down the lane, a chittering and scamper of padded feet sounded behind her. Ahsoka tensed, because she never knew what to expect with Goreeg. Like Dave, she couldn’t quite pin down when the silver-furred Ewok had become part of Wonderland. It was as if he had always been there. When he toddled past at the best approximation of an Ewok run, shaking his chubby fist at the anooba, Ahsoka’s shoulders dropped in relief. Reaching the back gate first, Goreeg snatched it and shook it to emphasize he hadn’t left it open like he had in the past.
Ahsoka joined Dave and Goreeg at the end of the lane, where the pastures ended at the base of the mount. Dave circled her before ending in a protective stance between her and the Ewok. She patted the anooba’s head as she addressed Goreeg. “It’s not your fault. Minimus must have finally gotten the courage to fly.” She stared up into the shifting shadows of the mount, which morphed as if clouds passed overhead, yet there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. “Let’s hope he hasn’t gone too far off Wonderland.”
Over the years Ahsoka had created a safe haven for her band of unwanted ponies, but in this untamed land her protection only extended so far…
Before she puzzled out how to proceed, a shrill whinny caught her attention. Up in the indigo sky, a pair of stubby wings flapped furiously to keep their rotund owner airborne. Minimus dove over the ridgeline, losing altitude faster than he should. Ahsoka began to draw the Force into herself, preparing to channel it out toward the pegasus in a telekinetic push that would keep him from crashing. Suddenly, though, his wings stilled and Minimus managed an approximation of a smile as he caught an updraft from the winds that eddied around the mount.
Behind him a saucer-shaped starship glided over the ridgeline, and Minimus’ escape made more sense. This was the first time his rescuers had returned to Wonderland since they had delivered him here. Ahsoka had to admit she was as eager for the company as Minimus, who banked and pitched on his way down toward the eastern pasture.
By the time Ahsoka caught Minimus and returned him to the herd in the western pasture, the saucer was already resting on its landing struts and venting steam from its underside. Typically they brought a freighter to make their deliveries. Something unexpected was afoot. But the calm that washed over her, from the Force as much as her own serenity, told her there was no reason to worry.
Somehow the old man beat his companion down the boarding ramp. “Ahsoka,” he exclaimed, spreading his arms wide to greet her, “how is my favorite semi-reformed Jedi?”
“Still chasing all these mischievous ponies you bring me, Hondo,” she told him, putting a fist on her hip.
“Well, I think we might be able to do something –”
“I thought I was your favorite semi-reformed Jedi,” quipped the middle-aged Tholothian female striding down the ramp.
“You are my favorite always, my dear, but no Jedi.” Hondo clucked and shook his head. Some things even Hondo wouldn’t joke about. When he had saved Katooni from Order 66, Hondo had said there would be a price. He had made her denounce her ties to the Jedi Order; she had taken up a new life. Ever the optimist, Hondo recovered quickly, an impish smile forming. “Yes, I’ve come to take these troublesome four-legged grass burners off your hands.” His hands rubbed together. “And such profit it will be for me.”
“Now, now,” Katooni scolded. “We’re going to give the ponies to children who need them, not sell them. Remember?”
The old pirate scowled, then admitted, “In a moment of weakness, I may have agreed to that.”
Ahsoka met Katooni’s gaze. “How many ponies do you need?”
Her friend offered a wan smile. “All of them.”
Sadness rose in her heart, but Ahsoka knew only one thing would ever cause Katooni to make that request. After all these years, her days as a pony caretaker had come to an end.
“I suppose,” she said, “it was bound to happen eventually.”
Hondo chuckled, short and hard. “Oh, darling. You have no idea how miraculous it’s been that we’ve waited so long to come and get you.”
Ahsoka narrowed her eyes. “That certainly doesn’t sound promising.”
Katooni put a hand on Ahsoka’s shoulder. “Well, you will have some catching up to do, that’s true. But first, we brought a surprise for you.”
It couldn’t be a new pony, not this time. Ahsoka was stumped. “You did?”
“They did.” His voice came from the top of the ramp, and he walked quickly down to meet them. He grinned broadly at her. “Surprised?”
“Very,” she admitted. “And pleasantly.”
In his sixties now, Lux looked as handsome as ever. Gray streaked his hair, and his face had grown more rugged. But it was his bearing that she noticed most. He carried himself not like a rebel or a warrior, but a leader. To be honest, maybe he was even more handsome than before.
He took her hand. “The Jedi need you.”
She took a slow breath. “What about Anakin’s children?”
Lux winced. “They… are doing their best.”
Hondo barked out a “ha!” just in time for Katooni to slug him in the arm and whisper “be nice!” a little too loudly.
Looking to each of them, Ahsoka smiled. “I’m sure I’ll learn all about it soon enough. In the meantime, let me pack a few things.” She met Lux’s gaze. “Walk with me?”
“Of course,” he said, and gave her hand one more squeeze before letting it go as they ambled away from the ship.
The packing didn’t take long at all. She selected a few of her favorite robes, her two best combat suits, her boots, and three belts. Then she turned to the small table that rested beneath the window looking out over Wonderland’s pastures. She took a long, lingering glance across the tall grasses, then brought her eyes down to the items before her.
Her lightsaber she snatched up and clipped to her belt without a moment’s hesitation. She let her fingertips linger on the second hilt. It had been a gift from Asajj. Many years ago, one of the few times she’d left Wonderland since arriving here. Asajj had never quite come around to seeing things the Jedi way, but she had been a good person – and a good ally. Ahsoka still missed her. Flipping the hilt into her palm, she clipped it to her belt on her opposite hip.
Then she reached for the blaster pistol. Rex had been gone far longer, but his nobility and sacrifice stuck with her to this day. He had died as he had lived, and it was hard to see anything to mourn in that. The best way to remember him, to wield his weapon, was to fight for the causes he had valued so much. Tucking the pistol into the small of her back, she appraised the remaining items on the table.
The knee joint from one of his robotic legs was all that remained of the warrior who had called himself Darth Maul. She took no pride in killing anyone, even a Sith, but ending his menace to the galaxy had certainly brought her satisfaction. And the small statue of the heroes of Onderon, well, that had been her reminder of Lux. It would stay here now, too.
Turning toward the door, she saw the wide brown hat on its hook on the wall. She almost left it, but changed her mind as she stepped out into the sunlight. She snagged it from the wall and popped it on her head.
“Ready?” said Lux, shoving off from where he’d been leaning against the fence.
“Ready.” She started walking back toward the ship, and he fell into stride beside her. “I left the statue. I figure I won’t need it to remember you by anymore.”
She plunged ahead and asked, “How are the grandchildren?”
“They’re well. Now you’ll finally get to meet them. They take after their grandmother more than me, or at least that’s what everyone says. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
“I imagine it’s not.”
He paused his forward momentum. “I’m glad you were happy here.”
She had known he would stop, so she ended beside him. “I’m glad you were happy out there.”
“I have been, and I am.” He gazed out over the pasture. “When we were kids, I really did have feelings for you. But I had the war and you had the Jedi. And everyone always said not to get too attached to you, since you were committed to the Jedi.”
“Funny, how that worked out.”
“Sometimes I wonder if in some alternate universe, with no Jedi Purge, no Empire, things might have ended differently for us.”
“Maybe, maybe not.”
“That’s very wise of you.”
“After all this time here, I’d better be.”
“Point.” He chuckled. “Besides, even if I weren’t a married man, it’s a little late for us now. You look almost young enough to be my granddaughter.”
“Almost?” She gave him a sly grin. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“No, I just meant –”
They were nearly back to Hondo’s flying saucer when a small figure came bounding madly through the grass toward them.
Lux squinted. “Is that an Ewok?”
“That’s Goreeg. Sometimes I used to think I’d catch him glaring at me, giving me the evil eye like he planned to kill me someday. Fortunately Dave was always around to stand guard over me.”
“That’s… disturbing. But you kept him around?”
“Oh, he’s alright.”
The Ewok charged up to them and wrapped his stubby arms around Ahsoka’s shins. Chittering wildly, he looked up at her.
She reached down and smoothed the silver fur on his head. “Yes, it’s true. I’m leaving.” The Ewok chittered and squeaked some more. “You’ll be fine. Dave will stay here with you.”
Seemingly mollified, George gave her legs one last squeeze before charging off through the grass back the way he had come.
Lux looked at her. “This is a very strange place.”
She smiled. “You have no idea.”
Katooni was loading the last of the ponies into the cargo lift when they arrived at the ship. Lux strode over to help her, and Ahsoka met Hondo at the base of the boarding ramp.
“That’s quite a fashion statement,” he noted.
“What is?” she asked, giving him an innocent expression.
“Why?” She ran her finger along its brim. “It’s a good hat.”
“Because… well…” He shook his head. “Just remember, I’ve always been on your side.”
“You mean I’ve been on the side of you making a profit.”
He flipped his hand dismissively. “Maybe once or twice. But there has been a time or two when …” Hondo continued his list of less-than-profitable ventures all the way up inside the ship, talking to himself since neither she nor Lux followed.
Ahsoka heard the barking of the anooba. She knelt down when he arrived, and scratched Dave one last time behind his ears. “I’ll miss you too, big guy. But we had a really good run.”
The anooba nudged her twice with his nose, then bounded off into the grass.
Lux came up behind her. “It’s time to go.”
“I know.” She rose up and faced him. “I’m ready.”
Squaring her shoulders, she walked up the boarding ramp. Cargo stalls lined the hold, and from each one a familiar pony face nickered at her. Ahsoka patted each muzzle in turn, fishing out their favorite treats she had stuffed in her pockets. As she passed each container she noted the destination label in Katooni’s handwriting. S. Antilles, Corellia. J. Horn, New Naboo. And many more. New homes with special loved ones to care for each pony individually. Ahsoka couldn’t really have asked for a happier ending for her ponies, now that the time had come for her to complete the will of the Force after all these years.
It was an adventure she had prepared for her whole life. While she would miss the home she had made at Wonderland, she was eager to embark on the next step in her journey.
Ahsoka joined Hondo and Lux on the saucer’s bridge. Seated at the helm controls, Katooni glanced back over her shoulder and winked; years ago, Ahsoka had taught Katooni how to navigate the arrival and departure to her shrouded homebase. Despite the merriment in the younger woman’s expression, Ahsoka recognized the serenity that came with trusting in the Force.
Effortlessly the saucer passed from the atmosphere into the star-speckled blackness of space. Ahsoka sent Katooni a burst of approval through the Force, and as the gigantic monolith of Mortis disappeared behind them, Katooni offered Ahsoka the comfort of knowing she was not alone in the journey ahead.
The End is Only The Beginning…
Written by Tricia and Lex for April Fool’s 2013. This story is for entertainment only and is not part of any official storyline. Star Wars, The Clone Wars, Sofia the First and their respective characters and other intellectual properties belong to The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm. Neither the authors nor the blog receive financial benefit from the creation or publication of this story.