Even the Alderaanian guards typically stationed within the structure had been relegated to posts outside. Though the windows looked out on courtyards of manicured grass and shrubs, gently flowing fountains, and elegant sculptures, Aryn nevertheless felt as if they were walking through a tomb. Something had died within the building.

Her thoughts churned. All of them seemed to be on the edge of saying something, yet no one said anything. Aryn finally gave voice to what she imagined all of them must be thinking.

We cannot let this aggression stand, Master.

Satele and Syo gave small nods of agreement. Darnala stared straight out a window at the Alderaanian countryside.

I fear we will have no choice. The Chancellor is dead

Dead? Aryn asked.

We saw it happen, Satele said, nodding, her voice tight. He said an Imperial fleet attacked Coruscant. It seems the attack focused on the Senate and the Jedi Temple.

I doubt they stopped there, Am-ris said.

There were Padawans in the Temple, Syo said.

Satele continued. We have no idea of the numbers of the Imperial forces or what other damage they may have wrought.

We cannot surrender Coruscant, Aryn said.

The statement appalled everyone into silence.

I agree, Darnala said at last. It should not come to that.

Should not? Syo asked.

Aryn could scarcely believe what she was hearing. The Jedi had been duped, had failed in their charge to protect the Republic. Master Zym should have foreseen the Sith plan. She stared out the windows as they walked, barely seeing the Alderaanian landscape, the nearby river.

She had fought Imperial forces on Alderaan, had beaten them into retreat. She wanted nothing more than to fight them again now.

Darnalas voice brought her back to

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