Heir to the Empire

Chapter 25

The Story So Far

Leia Organa Solo and Luke Skywalker are on the run as a mysterious race of aliens are trying to kidnap them. Unbeknownst to them, they are a task force under the control of a new, clandestine leader — Grand Admiral Thrawn: a leader with machinations to overthrow the burgeoning New Republic and re-establish the Galactic Empire.

Han Solo and Lando Calrissian have met with smuggling lord Talon Karrde, offering stable contracts fulfilling the logistical needs of the New Republic. Karrde however wishes to remain independent, but caught by his own ideals and the burden of entertaining both sides, he is caught in the act and forced to divulge information that may lead Han and Lando to the identification of the mysterious Imperial Commander, as well as to admit to being complicit in the capture of Luke Skywalker.

Only moments before the revelation, Luke managed to escape but crashes both his own ship and that of his pursuer. Tethered to each other for survival, Karrde's maverick lieutenant, Mara Jade, marches the recaptured Rebel Hero through the Mrkyr wilderness, a species of which has been used to suppress Luke's connection to the Force and leave him vulnerable. 

On Kashyyyk, Leia and Chewbacca have gone into hiding, under the protection of Chewbacca’s childhood friend Salporin and Ralracheen. Almost immediately after their arrival, Leia spots one of their kidnappers. Despite their quick response, the wookiees find no evidence of having been watched.

Chapter 25

Leia awakens before dawn with a vague sense of having overstayed her period of safety. She is indeed correct as the grey-skinned aliens appear out of the gloom. She smites one of her would-be kidnappers and another — after mysteriously faltering — is knocked unconscious by Chewbacca.  

Together with Ralracheen, they descend the Great Tree. The assailants want Leia alive, and so  pursue at a distance, which Leia uses to her advantage to lay a trap to disable the remaining kidnappers. 

With one assailant in custody, Leia proceeds with an interrogation. The kidnapper, Khabarakh, identifies Leia as the Mal'ary'ush — the daughter and heir to Lord Darth Vader. Khabarakh divulges the identity and motivations of the noghri people through their debt of gratitude to Vader and — by extension — the Empire. Leia manoeuvres negotiations to extend a parlay between the noghri and Leia herself. 

Khabarakh is sent offworld to convey Leia's offer of a parlay to the noghri, as begins a period of mourning for Chewbacca's lifelong friend Salporin, who was killed in the attack. 


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