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Saga One Prick to Bleed - an AU beginning in AotC (Obi, Ani, Sabe, Yoda) - Mar. 1

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Amidolee, Jun 24, 2005.

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  1. Miana Kenobi

    Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 5, 2000
    Come on, Obi-Wan. The hampster wheels are turning, now just kick them into higher gear...

    Great job, hun!! :D
  2. tallie_tachi

    tallie_tachi Jedi Knight

    Jan 6, 2008
    Hello! I am new to this story but all caught up. I love your writing style. Honestly I wasn't sure how I felt about Sabe being almost like a Jedi and working for Yoda at first but this story just sucked me in. Now I really want to know how it ends. Please continue to work on it. [face_praying] Thanks for the writing so far!

    Loved it![face_dancing]
  3. PadawanKitara

    PadawanKitara Jedi Master star 5

    Dec 31, 2001
    Obi-Wan seems to realize there is something more to Sabe's situation, but to me yoda's command to stay away from the investigation is making him even more curious. The forbidden fruit thing...
  4. Obischick

    Obischick Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 25, 2001
    Excellent update!! I just want to shake Obi-Wan though!! Geez... put him on the short bus already, the neurons aren't firing anymore...

  5. bobilll

    bobilll Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 8, 2002
    Gah! It lives! Oh, seeing you again brings warm feelings to my heart! Man, I missed a lot.

    Let's see. I like the idea of Wastelands. It's so creepy, so... indirect. The perfect punishment from a woman who clearly doesn't really know what she's doing. The Sache/Sabe moment was pretty intense. I'm still a bit confused, though; did Sache accept or reject Sabe's apology? Must have been a real spectacle, in front of Kenobi and the random Knight too. Interesting how Amidala's friendship doesn't seem as deep as Sache's; though of course Sache wasn't the target.

    When you said there was going to be a Yoda/Kenobi post, I was almost positive Yoda was going to reveal his hand at last! But that would be too easy for poor Yoda. It'd be bad if it turns out that everything Yoda did just kind of backfired 100%, but knowing Yoda, there's just more to be seen.

    It'll be very interesting to see how the reunited trio deals with the Dooku problem. Hmm...
  6. Obischick

    Obischick Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 25, 2001
    Upping, just because I can. :)
  7. Amidolee

    Amidolee Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 8, 2000

    I blame DRL. I'll get back to this, I swear. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Life has been insane, which is a rotten, overused excuse, I know.
  8. Amidolee

    Amidolee Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 8, 2000
    Testing ... I think because of the move, this thread is no longer locked? AWESOME. Because I am back!
  9. Amidolee

    Amidolee Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 8, 2000
    Chapter Twenty
    The sunlight shone clearly … What a strange turn of phrase, Sabé mused idly as she stepped out onto the veranda. The words drifted through her mind, as if she’d heard them to describe other mornings like this. But it felt more like the sun washed her skin and the palace stones in golden warmth and kissed the dew drops lingering on the grass and leaves.

    The sky was clear yet the air seemed to shimmer. A not unpleasant shiver of déjà vu played across her mind. She had been here before, countless times, revisiting a memory brimming with different emotions. Her eyes drifted to the table laden with a familiar, enticing spread of fruit, breads, and cheeses. Breakfast. It had waited for the handmaidens to rise upon their idle will, a rare luxury in their service. The morning so long ago, weeks after the defeat of the Trade Federation, when the Queen had released her handmaidens for a day and escaped Theed to visit family.

    Sabé’s brow knitted as her gaze drifted beyond the food toward the rising mists from the great waterfalls. She should hear their roar, but the comforting, constant sound shied away to the edges of her hearing, as if they were kilometers away. The former handmaiden knew where her feet were taking her, but of course, she had walked this path before, and deep inside, her heart trembled. Would she find at the end of the path what she found there before?

    The grass blades should have tickled her feet – she remembered the delightful sensation – but they passed under her in a whisper of feeling. The wonders of the garden shimmered at the corners of her vision, the vibrancy of Naboo’s renowned cultivation fading in this strange sunlight. The time to reach her destination was immeasurable, in her strides or minutes past. Sabé only knew that she was here.

    A lone figure sat under a leaning blossom tree that looked as if it would at any moment spring into the air and dive gracefully into the white roar of the waterfalls of Solleu. Sabé drew in a sharp breath, felt a deep ache between her shoulders. She remembered finding her friend here before, but it had been different, somehow.

    A low rumble rolled in the distance, overriding the strange near-silence of the waterfalls. Sabé’s eyes followed the river across the plains below, but she could not focus on the hazy darkness in the distance.

    “I knew you’d find me here,” Saché said, turning her head to look up at Sabé. The edges of her face had softened, as if merging the Saché of her memory and the woman she had seen moments before her—

    “Is this a memory?” whispered Sabé.

    Saché smiled and looked beyond Sabé. There was a depth in her brown eyes that had not been there before, a tranquility that belied the usual sharp glint of her gaze. “Partly,” she said, tilting her head. “Best not to dwell on it too much.”

    “Is this,” Sabé swallowed. Another tremor in her chest. “Is this the other side? Are we dead?”

    “I am,” Saché shrugged. “You are not. Not yet, anyway.”

    “Oh, Saché—”

    “It’s okay,” Saché said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “Well, no, it’s not, but there really isn’t anything we can do about it, is there?”

    Sabé said nothing. Without looking up, she could feel the darkness creeping over the valley toward them. Saché stood up, the silver blue of her robes falling gracefully around her, a waterfall of silken fabric. Sabé wanted to reach out and touch her friend, but she dared not. Instead, she sank to Saché’s feet, unable to feel the ground beneath her.

    “None of that now,” Saché clucked.

    “I’ve made a mess of things,” Sabé whispered.

    “Yes, that is true.”

    “If I could go back and change—”

    “You can’t. No one can,” said Saché. “Well, I don’t think anyone can. I’m new at this.” Her robes rustled against the grass as she reached up and plucked a pink-white bloom from the tree and cupped it in her hands. Then she blew it gently and smiled as it floated into the air, dancing on the breeze that had no sound. Sabé followed its flight over the mists before it disappeared into its folds.

    “This is all wrong,” said Sabé.

    Saché folded herself down beside Sabé, her edges seeming to shimmer. “Yes, it is.” She trailed her fingers through the grass between them. “And no, it’s not.” Resting a chin on her knees, she said, “Being dead doesn’t mean I understand everything. I don’t know if that will come with time.” She smirked, a joke playing across that otherwise mysterious softness of her face. This was Saché, Sabé thought, not just a memory of her. “It is not right, that is true. But it is not … incorrect. It is what it is.”

    Saché’s eyes fixated somewhere beyond Sabé, beyond the waterfall. “I was never good a philosophy, my friend. I think this sort of thing is best left to the professionals.”

    Another silence fell between them. Every apology she could think of pulsed through Sabé’s body, seemed to radiate in the iridescent space between them. Her chest ached, as if she could not find the air to say what needed to be said. Saché watched her calmly, expectantly.

    Finally, she found the words, but they were not the ones she wanted. Instead, they were leaden with strangled hope. “Are you here to impart wisdom or guide me?” she asked.

    Saché rose, and for a horrible moment, Sabé thought she would disappear. Instead, Saché looked down at her, her glowing skin wrapped in dark hair. “I wish I could tell you the little I know,” she said, though her lips did not move. “I wish I could tell you how to make it right.”

    A vision flashed across Saché’s face. A man’s blue eyes burning through gold light. Another man’s eyes burning red.

    “Obi-Wan,” she whispered, a new pain in her chest, pressing against the ache already there.

    A rumble in the distance. The sunlight bathing them retreated a little, still there but less certain of its place. She could feel the encroaching storm. It had not been here before, in her memory, when her friend had been alone and hurting, healing after her internment by the Neimiodians. Only she had seen the marks of those days on Saché …

    Saché knelt down again, the folds of her robes pooling around her, like water over rocks. “This is not about redemption, Sabé,” she said quietly.

    “I want to make it right.” It slipped from her lips, almost a sob. “Please, tell me—”

    Saché shook her head gently. “Not even I, here, know how to do that.”

    A wind was picking up. Sabé started to close her eyes, could feel the darkness sweeping in, but a shadow past Saché’s shoulder caught her attention. A hazy figure seemed to form from the mists, blue edged in gold, a person without distinction, yet a familiar tingle edged along her mind. Her lips moved, but no sound came. She felt her mind stretch out toward it, ethereal fingers reaching for the warmth she knew must be there, because she had felt it before in the agonizing dark.

    Warm fingers lifted her chin, pulling Sabé away from the flickering shadow. Dark eyes, eyes beyond this moment, bore down on her.

    “Sabé. Friend,” Saché said softly, her words like a song though she did not sing. “I have only this to say to you. Live. Forget duty. Forget servitude to a great cause. This is life. This is about you.”

    “I want to be dead,” Sabé whispered. The absent roar of the waterfalls rose in her ears, joining the wind as the sun retreated. The shadow evanesced, as if her words hurt it. No, come back …

    “You may make that choice,” Saché said, and the sadness could be heard through the wind and rumbling thunder. “But you would not be the Sabé I love.”

    Sabé closed her eyes, feeling tears spill down her cheeks, more real than anything else she had felt here. Her skin was growing cold in the wet wind and she opened her eyes, staring into the dark eyes that were no longer Saché’s but something far beyond, something eternal. Sabé reached out for the golden warmth flecked in blue she could sense nearby.

    “I’m scared,” she whispered to Saché. “I don’t want to go back, I want to stay here.”

    Saché smiled softly and trailed tingling fingers through Sabé’s hair.

    “It will hurt too much.” Sabé’s vision was blurring, she could feel the wind trying to lift her. Thunder rolled through her body. “For all of us.”

    Saché’s face was so close to hers, yet so unreachable. Sabé knew she would be gone soon, that this was the last moment she had with her friend. She gathered the dark, tangled ball of darkness in her, visualized it in her hands, and marveled at the golden strands flickering through it. She looked across Saché to the shadow, nearer than before but no more defined, its warmth battling with the darkness trying to wrap around her with each gust of wind.

    “You have to go,” Saché said, her voice in Sabé’s body and not the collapsing world.

    “I know.” Sabé was riveted to the shadow even as another gust pushed her toward the cliff’s edge. It felt as if the shadow and Saché’s fingertips at her chin were the only things keeping her from disappearing into the abyss.

    “I have to let you go,” said Saché.

    Sabé nodded. She cupped the energy in her hands against the gusts, eyes fastened to the warmth between her and the falls, if she fell right. And it would be falling. There was no question.

    “Choose,” Saché whispered. The kiss she left on Sabé’s lips sparked something deep within—and then she released her.

    Sabé thrust herself toward the shadow just as the wind gave another dark, mighty gust. Her feet lifted off the ground, her cloak catching in the wind and whipping her about. With all her strength she thrust her energy toward the glow, her arms stretched out. Tendrils seemed to reach for her and she thought, for a heartbeat, that her fingertips found the tingling warmth, felt as if they connected—

    Then she was falling, falling into the dark mists, the world dissolving into a black roar as she let out a scream.


    The screens flickered, barely noticeable, but the Count excelled at perception. He turned away from his current business to watch the prone form of his captive. He tapped the screen to observe her face, delicate features twisted in rewarding despair. She should be returning to consciousness soon.

    “She is fine,” Razak said from behind.

    Had he not been a more composed man, the Count would have winced at the grating voice. His annoyance at the disturbance barely flickered even in his own consciousness.

    “We will see. I need her operable.”

    The mercenary wanted his final payment. Dooku ignored him as he observed the twitches on the monitor in the comfort of his superbly crafted chair. Every inch of it was meticulously designed for his physical comfort in such a way that not one neuron in his brain would be distracted by tedious conflicts such as an elbow resting millimeters too high or low. He was not, however, comfortable with the quantity of potential conflicts in his plan. Too many variables, too many risks. A sign of the times, to be sure, but he did not want to be cavalier about it.

    The news from Coruscant was precarious and damning. Dooku had always been disdainful of the archaic phrase “every man for himself,” but the Sith had cultivated their own derivative philosophy that could be applied to his present predicament. Now was not a time for inaction but creative versatility …

    He thoughtfully turned to the brutishly ugly mercenary. Razak straightened up, eyes glittering, as if poised to challenge Dooku if what he said was not pleasing. Challenging the Sith would be foolish, of course, and Dooku knew there was just enough intelligence in the creature to contain the impulse. Probably. It would be a shame to have to kill Razak, if it came to that. He was useful. Though not as a dinner guest. Not that he had occasion for dinner guests on this Force-forsaken planet.

    The Count raised his still-dark eyebrows at the Balzantar. “Would you like something to do?”

    Razak’s nod clearly said, If it involves payment. As he gave the hunter instructions, the Count took note of his employee’s remarkably free schedule. Courtesy demanded that Dooku never inquire about the nature of Razak’s other employments, but practicality also demanded that deadlines be defined and previous obligations respected. Razak had turned Dooku’s requests down before. With the Republic reeling from Geonosis and clone troopers spilling across space, one would think the galaxy’s more enterprising folk would be at Razak’s feet. War’s blood fed opportunity.

    Did Razak see greater opportunity by lingering with Dooku and not fielding outside offers? The creature had been stuck on Kutag for days since delivering his assignment and only now showed signs of restlessness. Peculiar. Or not … Despite the lack of society, this was not a bad place to wait out the first storm front. However, Dooku thought as he surveyed those glittering eyes, Razak was likely gathering intelligence on the Republic’s Public Enemy Number One to use as leverage later.

    That, of course, was just the usual risk of doing business.

    “Any questions?”

    Razak gave a curt shake of the head.

    “Your ship is already provisioned,” said the Count, turning away, “with a token of my appreciation and trust.”

    The last word hovered in the air as Razak’s purposely soft footsteps faded from the chamber.


    The Count allowed a sardonic grin to play across his weathered face. Trust built empires and toppled them. It surpassed time like nothing else. Trust in an idea could survive millennia, but it could be destroyed in a second. Trust created and destroyed. It was neither good nor evil, but like the Force, could be wielded for light or dark. Early in his life, he had trusted too much in an idea preached by false prophets. It only led to lies and death. Now he knew more truths than before, though he did not trust them. He was not fool enough to believe he knew the Great Truth, but he could seek, question, and analyze the truths he discovered along the way. He could create his own truth, the next truth.

    It was not a smooth journey. No journey worth taking was, as his faulty Jedi training had taught him. Yes, there were even truths in that disingenuous Order. Count Dooku had much to thank the Jedi for, however much it pained him. He had much to thank his latest teacher for as well, even if the currents said Sidious was setting him up for failure.

    Dooku was not a fool. He knew the Sith Master was developing Skywalker to succeed the Count. Had this been part of the Grand Plan all along, or had Dooku not shown himself worthy? There had been slips, intentional and otherwise, but overall, the war was on schedule, the Chancellor was swimming in new power (political and otherwise), and esteemed pacifists like Senator Amidala were losing a ringside reputation battle. The Trade Federation, though very displeased with the results on Geonosis, were delighted to learn their “greatest adversary” had been reduced to a scandal usually reserved for holovid celebrities and small system politicians.

    It had been delightfully easy to extract surveillance video from Skywalker and Amidala’s imprisonment and release it across the HoloNet. Obtaining a record of their marriage was proving more difficult, but one only needed to plant the seed of the rumor and fertilize it with the senator’s noted absence from Senate proceedings for it to blossom into unquestionable authenticity. This downfall of Padmé Amidala had come sooner than anticipated, but it only made it easier to move a few pieces on the board. Lord Sidious had been receptive to Dooku’s proposal but cautious of meddling too much, as some fires feed themselves better naturally. The Count suspected the caution had more to do with his Master’s plans for Skywalker than Amidala.

    The light from the monitors highlighted the consternation on the Count’s lined face. Sidious had his plans, which corresponded favorably with the former Jedi’s own. But they were approaching an impasse, he could feel it, and he had no delusions that Sidious felt particularly loyal to his apprentices. Apprentices – whether Jedi or Sith – were a means to a greater end. Both orders reproached its members for forming attachments, though it certainly happened in the Jedi Order. The Count knew this far too well, and he would never forget it.

    Although he resented that his intended replacement was nothing more than a flashy, immature bundle of power, Dooku could not consider this a true betrayal. It was the Sith way and how the order had survived. It was not even corrupt. How could it be corrupt when every Sith was taught it and the mathematics involved were toddler simple? At some point, the apprentice destroys the master and becomes the master, or as the case with the imbecile Darth Maul, the apprentice is eliminated and a new one is chosen. Simple, clean, upfront.

    The Jedi Order would have benefited from such honesty. Instead they hid behind their precious Galactic Senate, their platitudes ringing false as they skulked in the shadows. He felt certain evidence of their corruption lay right before him.

    The form on the monitor shifted again as the drugs in her system gradually dissipated, releasing her body. She was a new, valuable piece of his plan, but she was also a wildcard – and the Count detested relying on those. Mabriee could be a trove of information, if she was not too broken by recent events. She could also be a useful and active resource, whether by her own will or not. Here he had to tread carefully and not be too blinded by potential, as his cloaked tutor seemed to be.
  10. Amidolee

    Amidolee Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 8, 2000
    Obi-Wan woke.

    This disturbed him, because he had not intended to sleep. But here he was, suddenly awake on the meditation pad in his Temple apartment. Sweating and heart thumping, he noted. Echoes of the dream—vision?—danced around him even as his meticulously trained mind sorted and archived it.

    Obi-Wan stared into the darkness, the illumination banks set to their lowest glow. His ears still rang with her scream, her pain still writhing in his chest as if she had thrust it there. In a way, she has, he mused.

    The Jedi breathed deeply, letting the essence of what had transpired soak into his mind and skin. Analyzing too quickly can cloud the mind, mold the vision into something it was not. This is how prophecies and visions are misinterpreted, though of course one is not aware of the error until it is too late. Obi-Wan closed his eyes and let his mind drift into the lingering current. It was shaky, tenuous, a dying connection. How he came about it, he could not imagine. He had been meditating on the disturbing connections his mind had been making, the incredible, illogical way it wove the events of the past couple weeks. He had been fighting the urge to create a safe wall around these thoughts when his mind had drifted, perhaps in defense, to more pleasant memories.

    He had found comforting but painful sanctuary in the Naboo victory ball. Even such a happy memory for others was clouded by his loss of Qui-Gon and anxiety for taking on Anakin. But he, too, had found moments of delight. They all had. How different they had become from that night. Anakin had been roiling with the loss of Qui-Gon and his mother, basking in the admiration of the Naboo, and exulting in being accepted as a Jedi Padawan. Sabé had been young, an adult by duty and Naboo law, but her youth had shown through that night in her smiles and laughter, her nervousness about dancing with men. Yet she had taken care of him and Anakin. Her warmth, the touch of her hand on his arm, the way she had teased him … How could such a promising young woman become such a tool of destruction?

    He had searched every memory of her, sifted through small details for clues. The Jedi Council had seen no darkness around her then, had even admired her strong adherence to duty even as they saw a girl blushing with pleasure on the dance floor. He remembered, as the Jedi departed Naboo the next morning, regretting that he declined her offer to dance, batting it away as if it were trivial. He’d regretted it the moment she had left his side to dance with whatever-his-name-was, leaving him vulnerable to the attentions of the curious Naboo and the well-meaning but stressful conversations with the Council.

    Obi-Wan lingered over the look on her face when she touched his arm. “Don’t worry, Obi-Wan, I haven’t forgotten you.” Then she had disappeared into the throng of dancers.

    He found no clue in her smiles, though with some twisting, he could feel the conviction that ran through her then as it did now. Duty, she had said. It was duty then and duty now. It was duty that plagued them. Duty that agonized her.

    Somewhere in his memories, in his thoughts, he must have fallen asleep and drifted into a vision … or something.

    Obi-Wan stood up. The illumination banks lifted with a flick of his hands. The light shone on the emptiness of the apartment. The tunic he’d shed to meditate was the only one draped over the couch. Anakin had always been careless with where he shed his clothes. Obi-Wan used to jokingly scold him by saying their apartment was a place a Jedi should be able to let his guard down, not be on full alert for the lurking danger of dropped clothes.

    He was unsettled. The chrono on the wall said it was in the middle of the night. Good. The obstacle gymnasium would be empty or nearly so at this time.

    In minutes, Obi-Wan was pulling himself up a rope wall, sinking his thoughts into the action of his muscles. Only one other Knight was in the cavernous, multi-layered chamber, working in silent solitude through his thoughts or honing his physical skills as they were suddenly very necessary for a Jedi.

    The vision had been different from any he had before. It was almost as if he had wandered in on someone else’s dream, but she had been there, ethereal and clouded, as if coming through a bad frequency. She was wrapped in darkness and intense pain yet fighting desperately to get through to him, as if she had a message or a warning or something. It might have been a vestige of his attempt to heal her after Anakin’s assault, but she had reached out in a way that was intentional and focused. How could that be possible? They were not bonded in the Force. Not in any sense he was aware of, and they certainly weren’t close friends and did not share deep intimacies that could build such a bond.

    But we are bonded.

    Obi-Wan felt his stomach drop as he swung deftly across an artificial chasm, landing on the other side without missing a beat. The width always changed, but he crossed it without thought.

    They were not bonded as master and apprentice bonded, or even two Jedi Masters who forged a deep friendship over decades. They were bonded by those moments of understanding on Tatooine and Naboo and his inclination to heal her after Anakin nearly destroyed her. Something of him was inside of her now, and—he paused at the base of the rock wall—something of her was in him.

    Obi-Wan could not deny it.

    For better or worse, the Force had bonded them. She tugged at him, differently than Anakin or Qui-Gon had. To be honest, he had felt a gentle tug long ago, but he had written it off as nudges from the Force regarding her true identity; they probably were, but now he had to wonder. Was the Force, even back then, trying to tell him something now? How many times had it nudged him about Anakin and he had batted it away?

    On the platform, Obi-Wan shook his head and began climbing, relishing the strain of his hands finding holds along the wall. He visualized his path, looking for the efficient route up. Sweat trickled down his temples. The physical and mental act of finding his way was not a lost analogy on the Jedi. Obi-Wan had learned long ago that the gymnasium wasn’t just for physical training. He remembered Anakin’s last words to him, about his Jedi training taking him to this turn in his path.

    "Good-bye, Obi-Wan. Perhaps our paths will cross again, perhaps not.”

    The Force, for all its tugging and nudging, was silent when he thought of Anakin. It played coy in regards to Sabé.

    Obi-Wan’s fingers slipped a moment and he readjusted almost absentmindedly as he neared the top of the wall. His imagination was overtaking his logic at this point, but he had a sudden nauseating feeling that something was blocking his connection to Anakin. Logically, he should acknowledge that the Master-Padawan bond was severed, that Anakin was lost to him forever. His muscles strained as he paused at the wall, breathing hard. Perhaps that was not the case. Perhaps the Force was giving him another connection, another path to Anakin. Or something else, a voice whispered.

    What else? His grip was slipping dangerously now.

    Obi-Wan heaved himself up, his hands slippery with sweat, his mind unfocused as the problem seemed to realign itself into an equation with an elusive answer. He didn’t like the idea of an “else,” but he knew bringing Anakin back to the Jedi was no longer an option. And it did not feel right, either. Anakin and the Order had rejected one another so completely that no act of contrition could absolve them. But he could not let it go.

    He nearly missed the last hold. The wall had not given him such trouble since he was a young, awkward Padawan battling his body as much as the obstacles before him. Obi-Wan gathered the Force around him and leaped straight up the last few meters of smooth wall to the ledge. He did not land as gracefully as he liked and allowed himself to collapse against the padded, untransformed platform.

    The gymnasium dropped below him, stories of climbing, swinging, dropping, and weaving shadowed by the nocturnal lighting. It fell away from him as he saw Anakin Skywalker, powerful and surrounded by the darkness of Coruscant’s lower levels, and Sabé Mabriee, shattered and lost in the folds of the Temple.

    If I told you, it would hurt you.

    The whisper sent a chill down his spine. Obi-Wan shook it off and stood up, relishing the protest in his muscles. He would be sore tomorrow. Good.

    Obi-Wan stepped over to the platform’s lip and hesitated, staring down at the narrow, slick curve that would whisk him down to the gymnasium floor. It wasn’t that he was scared of the drop, the rush of twisting and turning through a dark tunnel. As a Padawan, he loved it. They all did. It was a blast. But as a Jedi Knight, he always felt a little foolish as he put his feet down and tucked his arms in for efficiency. It was the fitness master’s little joke, Obi-Wan was sure, and he had failed to suppress a chortle the first time he saw Qui-Gon fold himself onto the slide. It was a reward for the hard work getting to the top, but also a lesson in the silliness of pride.

    Obi-Wan rolled his eyes as he sat down on the lip, legs relaxed by tucked together. The drop was nearly straight down before twisting and careening through the gymnasium’s levels. The first bend was occluded by the tunnel’s darkness, but he had no reservations. He searched the complex for the other Jedi and saw the figure disappearing toward the lockers. Satisfied, Obi-Wan let go.
  11. Amidolee

    Amidolee Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 8, 2000
    The exercise and shower had been good for him, Obi-Wan decided as he toweled off. Seeds of a plan were sprouting into little shoots of green in his mind as he intensively trimmed his beard, the task and plan assuaging the helplessness that had pervaded him since returning to the Temple. He would have to work carefully, of course, but Obi-Wan had always been the cautious one on missions. So lost was he in his thoughts that the reddish bristles on his chin were nearly gone before he noticed.

    Obi-Wan stared into the mirror. Another man stared back at him, a strange mixture of youth and age. The lines could not be erased from his brow, and the smooth contours of his cheeks were grooved with lines around his mouth and eyes, evidence that he had lived a life older than his physical age. This wasn’t another man, Obi-Wan realized after a long moment. He touched the remaining patch of beard along his right jawline.

    He remembered the day he had decided to grow a beard. It was two months after taking Anakin as his Padawan and he had been desperate not to look like the blind leading the blind. How long would it have taken him to grow a beard if he had not been Anakin’s master?

    Now a Jedi Knight, you can be.

    Obi-Wan blinked. Being overzealous with shaving meant nothing. He was not sure what the future held for him and Anakin, did not even know what he wished for in that regard. Wishing was futile, and he knew he had not fully come to terms with what had transpired.

    Staring at himself in the refresher was unbecoming for a Jedi, anyway. Obi-Wan set his mouth in a grim line and finished the accidental job he’d begun. He would not overanalyze it. Besides, facial hair grew back.

    As he stepped into the unit’s living area, Obi-Wan saw the comm blinking blue for outside communications. He paused, his heart pressing against his chest in a most un-Jed-like manner. “Anakin,” he whispered, the name hoarse in his throat. Could it be?

    The Jedi breathed deeply, forcing his heart to resume its steady beat. He must be calm. Calm. When he felt he was ready, Obi-Wan tapped the comm screen.

    Padmé Naberrie’s pensive face flickered before him. Even in the holo, her makeup failed to conceal the dark circles around her eyes. She looked older than when Obi-Wan had last seen her days ago, yet there was an essence of girl peeking around her edges. A frightened girl.
    “Jedi Kenobi,” she said in her deep, formal voice. “I must speak with you immediately.”
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  12. Amidolee

    Amidolee Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 8, 2000
    She should have been screaming. The roaring blackness faded into quiet heaviness, as if she were merely coming out of a disturbing dream. But she couldn’t move, could barely think a slow, heavy thought. Air entered her lungs. Stony air, like the caves of Naboo. Her eyes were rocks, pushing into her thick skull. She could feel the brush and weight of a fine blanket over her body, but she could not move her limbs, could barely think to move her limbs.

    She wanted to scream. To wail. To kick and cry and swear and curse. To bury her face in a pillow and sob until she was numb.

    Saché was dead.

    And Sabé had killed her.

    Something stung behind the dark curtain of her sealed eyelids and she felt something hot pooling there. Distantly, she felt metallic fingers on her arm and a flicker of pain. Muffled clinks drifted past her ears, as if travelling through a dense fog. Then the stinging around her eyes trailed down her temples and she gasped, a cold punch of air scraping her throat. The heaviness of her limbs diminished, replaced by trembling. She gasped again, the sound sharp in the quiet, and then folded into herself.

    She must have slipped into unconsciousness, because she could not remember when she stopped sobbing or when she became aware of her surroundings. But she could feel she was on a bed, and an external light barely illuminated her closed eyelids. Her throat was parched, her lips cracked, and the heaviness in her body told her she was weak, had not moved for days, if not weeks. A barely perceptible hum of electricity conflicted with the earthy, stone scent tickling her nose. Although heavy and sore, her body was comfortably curled in a bed – a real bed – with fabric of fine quality. She was not in an infirmary.

    With a tight pang in her chest, Sabé replayed her last conscious memory. The trap, Saché collapsing … If she was alive, that meant their assailant had meant to capture her, so why wasn’t she shackled to something?

    Sabé took a deep breath, gathered whatever strength she imagined she had, and forced her eyes open.

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