The first words that tumbled from her lips were "Well, that's certainly a new wrinkle in the situation."
In her Quadling Country palace, Glinda the Good read the letter forwarded to her from Princess Ozma. The moment Glinda opened the message and began reading, several words and phrases seemed to jump from the page. Who was the correspondent? Someone Glinda and Ozma knew from long ago, someone also well-known in the magical circles of Albus Dumbledore. The woman was also, from what Glinda concluded, known to one of the Force Masters now living in Oz, the very one who didn't want Madeline Tasou trained as a Jedi.
"Deke was very adamant against Maddie's training," Glinda said to Scarecrow, who, on Ozma's behest, delivered the letter. The fairy princess also felt that Scarecrow's uncanny insight, by way of his magnificent brain, could coincide the letter's contents with that of that treatise written by the Jedi Knight Bruno Dibon, rechristened the 19th Century composer Helmut Brück.
After reading the letter, Glinda got out the treasured composition Auf der Sternen where within held clues to the Dark One's past and her ultimate defeat. She immediately went to those pages in the back, the ones handwritten in the Naboo language. Thank goodness Nick Chopper delivered the translation just days before that letter to Ozma arrived. Who did the translation? That would be Neo Govin, a Force User who resided in Oz, his exact location within the fairy realm still unknown, the very one who witnessed the child apatosaurus Bren's kidnapping.
A puzzled look spread across her lovely face. Surely this is not the real reason Deke opposed Madeline's training, but then again...But this other item concerning the yet-to-occur coup's mastermind...And no one's heard from Luke as of now, and I wonder if whatever he's found corroborates what our letter writer alleges. If so, then it is true. The mastermind behind this coup is Parva Eugui, one of Emperor Palpatine's most staunch admirers and, later, loyal minions, and she's somehow related to Madeline and...Deke?
She scanned the letter again, this time paying careful attention to the last three pages. Oh yes, so this is the real secret, among others. Wonder why Charlie nor Lavinia revealed this to Madeline. Instantly, Glinda consulted her Great Book of Records where within is listed and detailed every person who ever lived and every deed ever committed on Earth, even on worlds beyond our star system.
Scarecrow, his brilliant brain quickly thinking over parts of a conversation between Sister Seven and Tony Watson, Maddie's pianist friend, mentioned snatches of a conversation between the two. They had just finished rehearsing selections to be performed following tomorrow's luncheon party hosted by Princess Ozma. Seven, a wise young woman when it comes to music, asked many questions about Madeline and that lady's musical background. While Maddie's friends studied under various instructors, Madeline trained under only one — that would be Yuri Ostrovsky — from age six into adulthood. Isn't that rather odd?, Seven asked. This same question Scarecrow now posed to Glinda.
"Yes that is odd," she replied. "Which is why I'm looking up Professor Ostrovsky, and one item in particular. If our correspondent is right..."
Glinda looked up from the book, her own mind reeling from the complex realities of
the space breach, more of a magical passage akin to the secret tunnels. Like those
tunnels to Oz, the passage was closed for eons. The former were opened by
King Pastoria; the latter by Count Dooku, and in each instance, these secret
passages were opened with sound.
So, a handful of Jedi and Force Users found that passage and made their respective ways to Earth, albeit in different time periods. That means other people, even non-humans, could have accessed that ultra-fast, supernatural passage to Earth. Surely what the letter writer alleges about Parva's paternity is, for all practical reasons, not all that plausible, unless one partner was was not very compliant — Yet!
Glinda thought it over and concluded powerful magic was employed, as someone may have doped the man, who gave Parva life, with potions. Her assumptions were not far from the truth. As of now, the woman's father most likely does not know his child exists. Oh what horrors! How can one lady be so cruel to persuade, via underhandedly executed spells and potions, an unsuspecting man to...And all because of a persistent, obsessive "love" she harbored for him! Oh, Eugenie, what vile deeds has your sister committed to cause such suffering to so many?
As for what the correspondent alleged about Madeline, how could she know? This woman landed on Earth more than four decades before Maddie's mother was born. So what gives? This particular situation called for several Book of Records consultations.
Glinda the Good asked Scarecrow, "What does Ozma say about our correspondent's allegations? Surely, we must wait for Luke Skywalker's report before confirming what this lady alleges, but this other matter...How could she have known, unless someone here on Earth told her? And how can that be? My dear friend, I will confess I know this lady. She was with Deke, during the Clone Wars, and was with him still when he and other Jedi and Force Masters escaped the Great Purge. However, in the mad dash from Emperor Palpatine's minions, the lady and Deke became separated."
Thumbing through the Book of Records, at last finding the entry on Yuri Ostrovsky, she continued, "Of course, Deke and his companions landed on Earth via that passage, in the vicinity of ancient Greece, near Mount Olympus. Somehow they managed to find one of the tunnels that lead to Oz. Naturally, Deke, Rath, and Mariah remained here ever since. The lady? Oh, she managed to escape Dantooine but traveled with a Jedi. They landed on Earth, in London circa 1906."
Scarecrow, now quite intrigued, asked, "And who was the Jedi?"
"That would be Galen Stormchaser, whose own Jedi Master escaped the purge, and
the passage which sent him straight to Earth. As for Galen, he and my friend
their names, settled in, and made friends with the magical and non-magical peoples
of their new home. They even married."
Glinda grinned, adding, "Yes, just as the Jedi Knights Bruno Dibon and Talia Eldin rechristened themselves Helmut Brück and Fantine Larue. Only there were no children from that union. On the other hand, my friend and Galen have just the one son, not magical per se but gifted in ways of the Force. Just like his mother he is musical, a promising concert pianist, but he wishes to be a Jedi like his father."
Scarecrow was fascinated but perplexed all the same. He had to ask, "But what does your friend's history have to do with Madeline Tasou?"
The reply? "Because paths of all involved parties have, or will be, crossed. It will be up to Madeline to uncover the identity of Parva's father and mother, but now is not the time. We must stop Parva at all costs, in her tracks if necessary. Our correspondent has given us much evidence to help identify the woman on the spot."
Glinda paused to double check a specific entry in her book, then checked it against both correspondent's allegations and Helmut Brück's fifty-page treatise. Ah, yes, so Eugenie does know about Lavinia Henard and Yuri Ostrovsky. Even Helmut, née Bruno Dibon, foresaw the coming of both women, of Madeline and Parva. These ladies shall meet, and that encounter shall cause much suffering and unexpected outcomes for both, as it has been foretold for eons.
"Return to Emerald City and tell Ozma this: I am personally responding to Eugenie at once. However, from what information she provided, and from what happened in the tunnel this morning, I want all this kept in strictest confidence. My friend, we are dealing with a most devious sort. Already she has forced our Sirenna, and Kaliko, to perform forbidden spells at the expense of innocents. Ozma may want Dorothy on this as well since she'll be present at that luncheon party tomorrow. I take you will be there?"
"Of course, but what do you want us to do?"
Glinda didn't take too long to reply, a knowing smile spreading across her face. "Someone in Oz is not who he or she claims, and I'm sure Kaliko transformed Parva into one of our locals. If she's embodied into who I believe, then...Ah, perhaps Bungles may be of use here. So this is what I want you to do..."
She spelled out precisely how to trap a desperate Parva Eugui. It may not be easy at first, but from the damning evidence Eugenie Lightfoot, the correspondent, provided, unmasking the Evil One will be more easily identified. Keeping her under lock and key is more of a challenge. There is no "jail" in Oz as it is known in the Great Outside World, but the Royal Palace does have dungeons, and securing a desperate criminal like Parva could be quite daunting unless powerful magic was used. Transform her into an ornament if necessary. No, Glinda nixed that route, preferring another, more potent approach. That she would detail in the response to Eugenie but will also enlist the Jedi Galen Stormchaser and a yet-to-be named New Orleans contact.
But that other matter concerning Oz's newest resident and Jedi Knight...
To Scarecrow she said, "I have yet to digest all of Helmut's treatise and tie it in with Eugenie's allegations, along with what is in my Book of Records. Once Luke's report arrives we will have all we need to nail this woman before she unleashes that invasion. However, and..." She stopped momentarily to check an unusual entry.
"This is to go no further than this room. You may tell Ozma if you wish, but the fewer privy to this information the better for our dear Madeline's sake. Such news should come from her family, not us."
She stopped herself, wondering in a clearly audible whisper, "Does Parva even know about this?"
Scarecrow, now deeply concerned, asked, out of curiosity, "Know about what, Glinda?"
That lady answered with all point-blank honesty, "From my records on Lavinia Henard, Robert Newbury, and Yuri Ostrovsky, there are jarring discrepancies. Yuri met Lavinia in January 1966, in New Orleans, during Mardi Gras. They were still seeing each other when Lavinia met Robert about a year later. Yuri had already relocated to Bloomington but traveled frequently to New Orleans to visit Lavinia; the last of those occasions he invited her to come live with him in Indiana, but she refused. Anyway, she met Robert, visited his family in London February 1967, then she and Robert married shortly before Easter of that year."
Immediately realizing what Glinda meant by utmost secrecy, Scarecrow, upon figuring dates and such said, "I may be a man of straw, sewn and stuffed, but I know how long it takes for meat mothers to have babies. If she married this man in March then had Madeline in October..."
The Good Witch of the South nodded, flatly rejoining, "Maddie would have been born
premature, but the records on her show she was born a healthy full-term baby.
Scarecrow, and this I heard personally from the Force User Mariah, Lavinia may have
seemingly ended her relationship with Yuri Ostrovsky but it left its mark. Mariah
knew a young Lavinia Henard and why she married the likes of Robert Newbury
all while knowingly carrying another man's child. Whatever Lavinia's reasons, those
facts Madeline will learn on her own, in due time."
Then, "It isn't difficult to figure out reasons behind the final move to Bloomington, where Yuri now called home. Even Charlie admits Lavinia and Yuri resumed their relationship but kept it strictly clandestine. And he took sudden interest in teaching young Madeline. He was her only teacher."
She gauged Scarecrow's reaction, fairly and accurately guessing Madeline's response the moment such news will hit her. Naturally, such a reveal will need to be done delicately or else the poor woman could be sent into an emotional tailspin — a possible direct path to the dark side.
"You find it odd that Madeline, a music student, had, in her entire life and career, only one teacher when so many of her peers studied under several, more prominent performers. Think of it. One master, one apprentice. Yuri Ostrovsky is, in reality, Jedi Master Ethan Dornay of Alderaan, a distant cousin to Deke, Eugenie Lightfoot, and Parva Eugui. He is also Madeline's father."
Meanwhile, speeding through Coruscant's never-ending urban crush , a certain Jedi meditates on recently acquired information — both from the bowels of the urban planet and Oz — on the Evil One. Extremely revealing and distressingly disturbing...
How could she have escaped? Someone had to help her, but who? And did she really,
Ozma and Glinda contend, somehow settle in Oz of all places? Then if so, she's most
likely given the coordinates to that space breach to who knows how many nefarious
sorts from here to the Unknown Regions and beyond. Just what we need, a direct
onslaught from Imperial loyalists, old Separatist sympathizers, bounty hunters,
criminals, everyone breaking their necks to find that space breach. Human and non-
human alike, for purely selfish and lawless purposes, would find their way to
thus seeking access to Oz. They would surely wreck havoc all over, and from what I
gather, Earth is so far behind us, technologically wise. The planet would never be
able to stand up to Imperial stormtroopers.
However, Oz is different, well hidden from the Great Outside World. It is magical, mystical, its inhabitants quite resourceful, and from Major Spikeblade's last transmission, that droid army built by the Nome Kaliko and sorceress Sirenna may not be the major threat as feared. It is the commander, the person forcing the magical pair to do dastardly things against their will, who Oz's greatest threat to its very survival.
For what it's worth, Kaliko, a grasping, selfish sort whose own plans to take over Oz failed miserably, obviously has no trouble taking orders from his commander, as long as there is something in it for him. As for Sirenna, and Spikeblade's transmission grew shakily emotional as he recounted the very confession the girl recently made. Naturally the Major was quite upset describing Sirenna's forced relapse into bad habits, and two or three of her latest "projects" directly affected the newest Jedi Knight, Madeline Tasou.
With a determined sigh, Luke Skywalker knew the Evil One, as the Ozites called Parva Eugui, had to be brought down with all deliberate speed. He'll let the Oz folks take the initial steps to do so as he was well aware of a certain letter making its way from 1905 London to 21st Century Oz, via magical messenger droids of course. He also knew that lady, upon learning her distant cousin nearly derailed Maddie's Jedi training, would have a thing or two to say to him. Luke learned of Deke Lightfoot from Master Artmo Hox days before the former searched for a missing Kirel Tasou, and after the boy fell to the dark side courtesy one Parva Eugui.
Damn Deke, can't you see past your pettiness and constant whining that a madwoman's
on the loose in Oz, that she's coercing a Force Master's daughter to perform
forbidden acts against her will, and that same woman will not rest until all Jedi
conquered. This she promised the Emperor the moment he made her one of his
loyal minions, one who used her feminine wiles to trap hapless men to do the
Emperor's bidding. Even now, even with the Dark Lord of the Sith dead as well as
precious Empire, Parva has kept that vow, this time spreading the evil to Earth —
Ultimately, and Luke felt this faint rumble in the Force the very moment Madeline Tasou initially broke that ice with the Great Valley dinosaurs, Parva is still calling the shots even while disguised as an Oz local. Already she's dispatched Kaliko to the Jurassic Period, believing one serious thorn can be more easily removed in Earth's distant past. Wreck Maddie's efforts to connect with, and eventually relocate to Oz, her dinosaurian family. After all, the Jedi has only three days to do this, and Day One is nearly over. If the mission is not successful then Maddie returns empty-handed and heartbroken; she'll also fail an important trial. Isn't that what Parva wants? For a fledgling Jedi to lose faith, be at her lowest, have that on and off depression come back with a vengeance, thus providing a clear path the dark side and, ultimately, self-destruction.
That will not happen, not as long as Madeline has too many near and dear to have her back. Besides, there is much good and love within, far more than she realizes. However, there is a weak spot, and Parva, if that weakness is uncovered, may use it in a way that could spell dire, if not fatal, consequences for Ms. Tasou. That is, if Parva's own inherent greed and total focus on herself doesn't get in the way.
Yeah, thought Luke upon landing at the Jedi Temple, that weakness was inherited from both mother and father. Mom was somewhat unbalanced and always seeking the easy path to her heart's desire. The dad? According to Eugenie's letter Parva's father was what the Earth people would call a "basket case." A man suffering from extreme delusions of grandeur coupled with an almost obscene need for power and control. However, for all his big talk and lofty manners, he was a coward and charlatan of the worse kind.
Luke, now inside the temple, with some amusement, said to R2D2 while inserting the recorded report to Ozma into a specially designed messenger droid, "If he was in Oz maybe the Wizard could give him some courage."
He activated the droid, programming the exact coordinates of the space breach. The droid sped off into the always crowded Coruscant sky, fading away to a tiny speck as it left the planet; and, Luke, still getting that strange foreboding, as if several paths will soon converge. One is already happening, in Earth's very distant past, yet an unwanted pest threatens an long overdue family reunion. Family? Oh yes, Luke felt that initial ice break the moment Madeline rescued Cera thus sealing a bond of friendship and belonging. They seem to accept her, however there is the delicate task of convincing the herds to relocate to Oz. Not to worry, for Ozma, in an earlier transmission, assured things will go right. "We have reinforcements ready, don't we? But it's still all Madeline's mission, and she'll have to make a convincing argument for relocation."
Reinforcements of what kind? Again, Luke did not worry of such and those prominent
Ozites seemed to have the first part of the greater operation in hand. The
dinosaurs Marbe and Kirel Tasou encountered are already there, as is Pat, a former
Great Valley denizen. It was one or two more things that bothered Luke, events that,
if they go the way he feels them, two or three key players in all this mess will be
directly or indirectly affected by the larger situation's ultimate outcomes. One
dead, another driven to the brink of madness. The other? An unsuspecting soul whose
now was one big romp of self-absorption at the expense of innocents. That person
should rethink her or his life choices or else an attempt to finally emerge from the
dark side could end up literally and figuratively gone with the wind.
Copyright©2007-2012 by PRP