In the fairyland of Ix, the sorceress Sirenna, safely tucked away in the red mountain compound, watched the concert via the magical televiewer. A still beautiful woman who appeared aged seventeen but far older, Sirenna, her natural dark hair dyed in streaks of red, gasped at the images on the televiewer. That guest conductor surely gave her pause for she recognized him at once, and she remembered the true connection between him, the dinosaurs, and one Dark Jedi.
Her first thought was, "Why is he doing this?" Then again, he had to come out
of that cabin sometime, although he took great measures not to pique a particular
lady's curiosity or, worse, her animosity.
"No, she doesn't recognize him despite the fact he's been watching her from afar. Even so, the Force is strong with her, and she'll arrive at the truth soon enough."
Her partner in crime, the Nome Kaliko, was not present this evening, much to
Sirenna's relief. He had gone, so he said, to visit his old boss, the Nome King
Ruggedo. Perhaps Kaliko is, at this moment, revealing all to the troublesome ex-
king, further complicating matters.
Oh why did she even agree to this crazy scheme? Why did she take on Kaliko as co-conspirator? She didn't want it to go this far, but that shadowy person appeared to her again this morning, urging the sorceress to complete the army and prepare for invasion on a day to be decided later.
Still no word on the exact day other than an attack at dawn, on the green fields surrounding Emerald City. Perhaps the timing had to be perfect, but what else is that person waiting on? Surely, with the army nearly assembled, Oz can be taken out now. Why wait?
That's when it came to Sirenna, who knew her master's – make that mistress' – identity and why this evil one kept to herself, never to show her face. Sirenna knew all about her.
"She's the one, Varan," she said to her pet bear, "She's the one who led the Jedi Kirel Tasou astray, and his plight won't be fully known until weeks – months – after Maddie completes training and the dinosaurs are firmly settled in Oz. It's all about revenge, Varan. She seeks to vanquish the remaining Jedi on Earth via a takeover of Oz. Then there's that nagging need to take out her rage on Luke Skywalker. He's the one who turned Kirel back to the light side of the Force, after the latter suffered so much."
The great black bear said nothing, preferring to enjoy the concert. How
wonderful the orchestra sounds this evening, and such ingenious choices for the
program. All High Romantic Era music with a wisp of the incomparable Beethoven. It
was as if Varan could conjure the spirits of those composers; in fact, he could
sense their very presence in Pastoria Centre.
Why not? It's happened before, their spirits, or Force Ghosts if truth be known. Yes, the Force runs strong in so many, and one or two were acquainted with one particular Jedi Knight. It's that acquaintance, that deep bond of friendship with the Jedi Bruno Dibon of the Naboo which triggered all these visions and memories. Without that bond, Dibon would have never composed Auf der Sternen (Out of the Stars), thus setting the stage for the most extraordinary events Oz hadn't experienced in so many years, not since Dorothy's initial arrival which resulted in the deaths of the Wicked Witches of the West and East.
Varan concentrated deep in the Force, nodding at the realization one of Aladar's Herd had already been in contact with a musical friend of the Jedi. Now, this very evening, one of the Great Valley children will have a far more profound vision, via a sleep story, and it will seem to so real, so lifelike, that the little one will ask the Jedi, "Why did you choose me?" Naturally, this particular visitation is necessary for it's in preparation for the Great Migration for both herds. Aladar's Herd will be transported through the secret tunnel, with help from Dorothy and Ojo. The Great Valley dinosaurs will arrive in rather different fashion only known to Ozma.
"That is what Jedi Master Adi Gallia told me during her last visit," said Varan, looking squarely in Sirenna's eyes. Hers were as blue as Varan's were brown.
The sorceress was outdone. When did Varan have the ability to come in contact with the Jedi? "You," she asked, "actually saw and spoke to a Jedi Master? When did this happen?"
Varan smiled, replying, "Oh, it's been fairly recent, while you were in Ev. Many a Jedi have visited me, encouraging me to have faith and believe the enchantment will break. It will be broken, Sirenna, but only after the dinosaurs settle in Oz and the Dark One defeated."
Now Sirenna, upon listening to Varan's recount of those Jedi visits, and the
strange connection between one Jedi Knight and long-dead composers, and a
particular composition which was stolen then saved, pieced it all together.
Throwing a black cloak over her short red dress, Sirenna said, "I'm going out. If Kaliko returns and asks where I've gone, say I went to the Kingdom of the Gargoyles. Yeah, that'll get his juices going. Let him think we'll have Gargoyles join that droid army. No match for anything Ozma can dish up, not even General Jinjur can stand up to forces like that. Let Kaliko have his invasion. Let him think he and our 'boss' have the upper hand. Know what? I'm tired of running and hiding."
Varan understood, commenting, "So, there will be an invasion of Oz, but it will fail only after a solid battle."
"And," said Sirenna with a twinge of triumph, "long overdue justice for all those Jedi who escaped to Earth only to change their names and how they made a living. Even my father had to alter his name and hide the fact he was a Force User, and that my mother and sisters were magical. It stops now, and I'm off to make things right. I just want to put my family back together, and for our lands to live in peace."
Meanwhile, in the Great Valley, disturbances in the Force abound for one little one...
She'd never had trouble falling to sleep before. Maybe it was all those weird
things happening all over the valley. That's what's bothering her, hearing her
father sing like that a few nights ago. And he did it again today! Just climbed
upon that bluff and sang his heart out. Strange language, too, just like before.
Not only Topsy, but all the grown-ups in the valley started hearing odd yet beautiful music in their heads; a few, like Topsy and Mr. Thicknose, just up and sang. Okay, what gives? None of Cera's friends could figure out what was going on, but Littlefoot mentioned something yesterday that piqued the young threehorn's interest. Apparently, Bron told Littlefoot much about his sister Bren who mysteriously disappeared long ago, when she was about the same age as Cera. Littlefoot said his dad still misses Bren so much, and he even wished she'd come home soon.
"Like that will ever happen," huffed Cera, tossing and turning in efforts to sleep. "Bren disappeared a long time ago. Maybe a Sharptooth got her or she was found by another herd. No way she'll ever set foot in our valley."
A few feet away, Topsy and Tria slept soundly, the former snoring loudly, tossing and kicking about. Maybe, thought Cera with an amused smirk, he's having a sleep story about singing. On the other hand, Tria, usually very quiet – no snoring for her – mumbled a bit in her sleep. Cera tried not to giggle, but she imagined her stepmother having a sleep story about telling Tops to shut up and quit singing. Not that her dad had a wonderful voice, a talent only recently discovered if not appreciated very well.
"But it's just too weird," muttered Cera as she finally drifted off to sleep.
"Cera...Cera. This way, little one."
All right, who dares to wake me up, just when I finally got to sleep. Ooh, if it's Ducky or Petrie, I'll be so mad...And they know just how mad I can get!
She woke up only to find none of her friends standing over her. She glanced over at the nest. No Daddy or Tria, not even her sisters. In fact, there wasn't even a Great Valley but a place that looked so foreign to Cera.
"Where am I?," she asked out loud.
Cera could only conclude that she was having a sleep story, but that is impossible. No one who ever has a sleep story is ever conscious of the fact, aren't they?
She walked down what looked like a long corridor but unlike anything she'd seen before. Everywhere there was music, the most beautiful sounds she'd ever heard. Cera came to an ornate, winding staircase. At the top was someone Cera swore she'd seen before: the Jedi Knight Ricar Tasou.
"Come, Cera," he beckoned. "Come upstairs. The concert has begun, and your box is ready. There are others waiting to meet you."
What's a box? What is a concert? And what did the Jedi mean by others waiting to meet her?
"Okay," she muttered, "I'll just go up this thing and maybe I'll see Littlefoot or even Daddy. After all, Littlefoot says he sometimes sees us in his sleep stories..."
As she ascended the stairs, she noticed how grand
this place looked.
There was much plush carpet of a vivid emerald green, and huge crystal
chandeliers suspended from the ceiling. That ceiling, and the walls, had
pictures on them. Cera paused a bit to study the pictures, actually
hand-painted images of famous Oz places, moments, and people. One image
caught her eye, a portrait of four friends so unlike anything Cera had
seen. There was a young girl, a man made of straw, another man made of
tin, and a lion. Of course, in Cera's Jurassic world, such things as
humans and lions didn't exist, and those other two guys, far beyond
Cera's comprehension, aren't flesh and bone. Who are these guys, and why
are they so special?
With a shrug, she resumed her climb to the top of the stairs. Another man was waiting for her and ushered her to that box. Not questioning, Cera went through the green velvet curtained entry, marvelling at the sight before her. There, in that space were several comfortable chairs and people sitting in them. She saw Ricar Tasou with more people who Cera assumed were some of his Jedi friends.
One turned to her and said, "Good evening, Cera. Come, sit, and listen to this marvelous music."
He then indicated a special place in the balcony for Cera to sit. There was also a big silver bowl filled with succulent fruit and many green leaves; another bowl contained fresh cool water.
"We thought you could use some refreshment," said Ricar Tasou. Then he left, leaving Cera with Ricar's Jedi friend and other people.
Nodding and saying nothing, Cera settled in a spot
where she could see
the stage and orchestra. This was all so strange for her, so she asked
the Jedi gentleman, "What is this place? It's really beautiful."
The Jedi replied, "Oh, it's a place to hear the music of the grand masters. See? All those on stage are the musicians." He went on to explain to Cera what an orchestra and conductor was, and what was on the evening's program.
"And I," he said proudly, "knew the very men who composed these lovely pieces. Why, look over to the right, in that box next to ours. There they sit, several of those men who became my great friends and inspired me to compose what would be my masterpiece."
Then this very handsome Jedi, his long wavy dark hair just sweeping the collar, his sparkling black eyes sparkling as he began his tale, told Cera everything. His former life as a Jedi Knight, the Clone Wars, his escape from the Emperor's Order 66. and how he found his way to Earth.
"When I arrived," he said, "I didn't know what to expect. Everything had changed so much, and I began to despair at the realization I'd never be able to return home. So I settled in, meditated deep in the Force, and forged my newfound path on Earth. That's when I heard it."
"Heard what?," asked a very curious Cera.
The Jedi replied, "The music. Such wonderful melodies I had never experienced. I met the man who composed it, although our friendship was not for long as he had less than a year to live. But I forged more friendships with other composers, learned their ways. When I married Fantine, who was really another displaced Jedi, I finally found my true calling: To record, through an intricate suite, the history of Jedi on Earth, and the fate of the Dark One who still walks among us. You, little one, will soon meet a Jedi in your own world, however..."
Then, as if on cue, another dinosaur child entered the box. She was a little longneck not much older than Littlefoot. At first, Cera thought this was Ali, but that was not the case."Hi, Cera," the young longneck said as she helped herself to green food.
Cera peered into the child's eyes, tentatively asking, "Who are you?"
The child laughed and replied, "I'm Bren, Bron's baby sister and Littlefoot's auntie. You have to help me, Cera. Help me to return to my family."
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