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Saga Shadows

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by CaraJinn, Apr 2, 2018.

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  1. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Author: CaraJinn
    Era: After ROTS
    Genre: Drama
    Characters: Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Bail,
    Summary: The Empire is throwing shadows over the galaxy after the fall of the Republic. Meanwhile Obi-Wan Kenobi is facing shadows of his own while exiled after Order 66.

    Author's notes: I've been evaluating whether I should post this story here or not, it's threatening to be a loooong one. Since I got the idea from the discussion about the potential Kenobi movie, I have found it fair to post here as well as on fanfiction.net. Since I'm more of a character writer (I think) than really action writer it may be too slow for some reader's likes. The first part of the story is trying to follow canon story fairly well, but as it proceeds it may turn up parts that are slightly AU in that respect that nothing of that is referred to in the known storyes. Yet I try to keep away from the impossible, and I'll try by best to keep the main plot aligned with the canon story. Please enjoy - and/or be patient.

    Chapter 1: The Travel

    The twin suns were rapidly sinking towards the horizon. In a couple of hours the heat of the day would dissipate and transform into the freezing nights in the desert.

    «Now I really understand why Anakin always cursed the sand,» Obi-Wan Kenobi muttered through clenched teeth, trying to avoid a mouthful of said substance.

    Oh, Anakin… The pain was still excruciating. Raw, intense, heartbreaking.

    Why did you do it? Why did I do it? You were my brother in everything except birth, and still it came to this. Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t I listen? No, don't go down that road, Kenobi, you can mourn later. Now you have to get Luke to his family safe and sound. Then you may allow yourself to feel again.

    A whimper from the infant in his arms made him startle. «Shhh, little one, we will soon be home where you will meet your uncle Owen and aunt Beru», he whispered softly, hoping it would be the truth.

    …………………

    It had indeed been a long journey even though it had lasted only 4 standard days. He’d never known that infants could be so…demanding. Of course he’d had his fair share of creche duty in the Temple, but those hours had been spent with the toddlers. Not with the infants. During the last days he’d had to be a quick learner.

    He had volunteered to bring the baby to Tatooine after Padme’s unexpected death. However, there hadn’t been any time for preparations, which he sorely regretted when he was on the first of 4 public transports that eventually would bring him there from Polis Massa. The baby had slept when he entered the ship, but two hours after the departure the boy woke up. He was definitely not happy. The wails coming from such a small person were absolutely disturbing.


    Great, Kenobi, just great. You wanted to go unnoticed and hide the child and the first thing you do is making the entire crowd of people in the compartment watching you… Well done, indeed.

    He desperately tried to calm the boy, but all efforts were in vain until an elderly human lady approached.


    «This little one seems to be hungry?»

    «Well, yes, he may be. We didn’t have much time before the transport left, so I really didn’t have time to buy any.»

    «Buy? He’s so small. He needs to be nursed. Where is his mother?» the woman looked suspiciously at Obi-Wan.

    «She…died in labor. I’m taking the boy to family.» Better not say anything about whose family he was going to see. If the woman noticed the lack of details, she didn't comment.

    «Oh, you poor man. Your wife has passed away so recently and you’re going to take care of this little one on a ship like this?»

    «We didn’t have any other possibilities, I’m afraid. It was the only transport we could get this week.»

    The woman nodded thoughtfully. «Wait a moment.» Obi-Wan could see her moving to a seat across and a couple of rows the aisle, talking to a younger woman who had her own child in her arms. Luke cried even louder, if that was at all possible. A little while later the woman came back.

    «The woman over there is my daughter in law. She’s still nursing her daughter and I asked if she possibly could help feeding your little boy. She said yes. Would you let me take him to her? I’m Rheena Glib, by the way. My daughter in law’s name is Caella.»

    «I’m…Ben and this is Luke,» Obi-Wan answered. He felt uncomfortable lying to Rheena, but using his own name did definitely not seem to be a good idea. After all his name had been mentioned quite frequently in the holo-news during the Clone Wars, and right now he had to take for granted that there would be clone troopers looking out for stray jedi all over the galaxy. Being recognized now would not be a good thing.

    Carefully he handed Luke over to Rheena who carried him over to the younger woman. The angry wailing soon calmed down. 15 minutes later Rheena came back with a contently sleeping Luke.

    «Thank you,» Obi-Wan said, «I’m truly thankful for this.»

    «Well, we couldn’t let him cry like that the entire journey,» Rheena answered, «when we reach Ankoth there is a market not very far from the spaceport. I’m sure you can find some white milk there and some kind of bottles too. Stay away from blue milk for such a small one.» «And,» she added cheerfully, «you will definitely need some diapers too.»

    Obi-Wan paled.

    …………………

    Two days and three flights later he'd learned some lessons not taught in the Jedi Temple. 1) changing diapers on a kicking little boy was considerably more difficult than lifting boulders with the force, 2) bottle feeding a child tended to create a mess, especially on his right hand shoulder, when he held the boy to make it easier for him to burp and 3) being able to give the child a mild sleep suggestion every now and then really came in handy. He assumed his fellow travelers were grateful for that too. Obviously the child did not care for hyperspace travels. Obi-Wan understood him well. He'd never liked the transition from moving in real space among stars and planets to being thrown out into the vast, cold emptiness of hyperspace.

    They arrived at Mos Eisley spaceport in the evening the third day after leaving Polis Massa and Obi-Wan quickly disembarked the ship, hiding Luke under his robe. He really didn't want to attract trouble and a single man carrying a child might very well attract some of the not-so-nice individuals passing through the space port. Luke appeared willing to cooperate and kept still until they were safe out of the spaceport area. "Thanks, my little friend. You're really becoming a good travel companion," Obi-Wan whispered.

    The next challenge was to find a land based transport. Anakin had been very quiet about his visit to the Lars' Homestead before the battle of Geonosis. However, he had mentioned that the homestead was situated out in an area called Jundland Wastes, near the Dune Sea. Somehow Obi-Wan suspected that it would be a large area to search unless someone actually could tell him where to find the Lars family. However, traveling during the night with a baby was a total no-go, so he decided to try find a shelter for the night. The first attempt failed. The porter did look dubious and so did the accommodations. The next place looked more promising. The chubby woman in the reception seemed to be in her mid-forties, with pink hair and a rather luminous orange tunic.

    "A room for the night? For you and the little one? Well, we're actually full booked but there is a small room in the attic, not much more than a closet but there is a couch you can sleep on, and I guess the child doesn't need a bed on it's own. It will be 200 credits, and you can use the fresher on the second floor. Just be careful with the use of water."

    Obi-Wan sighed quietly in relief. Remembering the trouble his old master Qui-Gon had had 12 years ago when he tried to buy a hyperdrive for a nubian ship with republic credits, Obi-Wan had partly expected that the small pile of credits Bail Organa had given him would be refused and thus of no value for him. Carrying the boy and the small satchel upstairs he really looked forward to cleaning up himself and the boy a bit - with some luck they would have a sonic cleaner so he could clean up both himself and the clothes. He would save the sparse amounts of water for the child.

    The following day he rose early. The couch had been lumpy and not very comfortable, but surprisingly clean. It might have had something to do with the size of the room. The bulky woman had been right when she'd compared it to a closet. He'd managed to squeeze in with the boy, and for possibly the first time in his life he'd been truly grateful that he'd been blessed with a rather modest height. Qui-Gon would never have fit in there.

    Some discreet investigations had revealed that there actually was a shuttle going from Mos Eisley to Anchorhead two days a week, and the departure would be one standard hour before mid day. The ticket cost him another 20 credits, but he managed to get a seat in the rickety old vehicle, something he was grateful for. The journey was uneventful and early in the afternoon he stood outside the shuttle station in Anchorhead. Anakin had mentioned that this was the nearest larger settlement to the homestead. What he'd not mentioned was which direction one should go in from there. Obi-Wan stroke his chin pensively while trying to protect Luke from the blazing suns by keeping him covered by his robe. He couldn't possibly walk out into the desert with the child, without even knowing the right direction. He really had to come up with a better idea than that.

    Two hours later, 100 credits poorer and one eopie richer he'd also learned that most of the moisture farms were situated west of the small town. Hopefully that would also be the case for the Lars' Homestead. The eopie seemed to be a fairly young and yet patient animal which obediently kneeled when he gave the command "nee chokaa". With the reins in his left hand, Luke safely tucked in between his torso and his right arm he set out to the west.








     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful start and very realistic as to the getting adjusted phase of having to care for an infant =D= Very much in character also was the way Kenobi was able to rein in his self-accusations and get down to what needed doing.

    Very happy Rheena was there to pitch in [face_laugh] and I KNOW Kenobi was also.
     
  3. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Thanks @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha , and yes, I imagined travelling as a "father" wouldn't be the easiest thing Obi had ever done. Poor man.[face_tee_hee] He will adapt quickly, though. And you're right, he was very happy for Rheena's intervention.
     
  4. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 2: Homecoming

    "Shhhhhhh….shhhhhhhh….shhhhhhhh"….

    The desert is a lonely place which holds it's own beauty. The beauty lies in the vast emptiness, the sand whispering over the plains and in small dust devils dancing in the breeze as day turns to night and the temperature is falling, creating temperature differences forcing the very air to move.

    Under other circumstances Obi-Wan would have appreciated the sight before him. The golden sands were stretching out towards a mountain ridge far in the west. Not a trace of living beings were seen but the dust seemed to live it's own life above the sand. But right now he'd actually prefer to see a house, a settlement…a something…that could break the emptiness, and even more important give shelter for the baby through the night. Somehow he felt that the Tatooinian desert definitely wasn't the right place for an overnight stay with an almost newborn child.

    Most of all he wanted to see the Lars' Homestead.

    Preferably before nightfall.

    He squinted towards the settling suns, trying to see more details in the landscape. There really should be a settlement here? He couldn't have come so far astray. Then he saw it. To the west, maybe two or three klicks, he could se two…no, 3…4….5 small domes hovering above the sand dunes. That had to be the moisture farms he'd been told about in Anchorhead. But which one would be the Lars' place?

    He halted the eopie: "Stay, girl, stay…" Luke was still sound asleep towards his chest. He stilled his mind and stretched out for the small distant spots. Laughter, tired after a long day's work, some vague loneliness. No, nothing that could be defined as his destination. His mind stretched further out. Quiet. Peace. A touch of sorrow…anger…darkness. Just the tiniest bit as if something had been anchored to the dry soil.

    Anakin! Anakin was there and it's the remainders of his feelings I can sense. I'm sure of it. That must be the right place. This must be the remainders of what he felt like when his mother died. The feelings must have been intense enough to be remaining even so long time afterwards.

    Obi-Wan returned to the moment and turned the eopie slightly southwards. It had to be one of the two small domes he could see to the south. It had to!

    ………………..

    Half an hour later the eopie stopped in front of the nearest dome. A couple of vaporators could be seen nearby. One tenth of a klick to the north he could see two tombstones, one visibly newer than the other. One of them was most likely Shmi Skywalker's tomb, but who was the other?

    "Nee chokaa!"

    The eopie knelt and he got down with Luke still well hidden under his robe. The silhouettes of two persons, a man and a women, could be seen on a dune not very far from the dome. Obi-Wan decided to meet them on foot. He would most likely seem less intimidating that way. He met them half way up the dune.

    The man appeared to be early in his thirties, dark hair, heavily built but definitely not fat, a round face slightly weather bitten by sun and wind. The women was slightly smaller, blond and with a friendly, open expression in her face.

    "Who are you and what do you want?" The man's voice was deep, not overly friendly. Most likely an environment like this didn't call for immediate friendship to strangers. One couldn't really expect anyone passing by this last outpost in the middle of nowhere to have good intentions.

    Obi-Wan drew his breath silently. This was the moment of truth.

    "I reckon you may be Owen Lars?" He bowed slightly to the couple. The child within his robe still blessedly calm after being lulled to sleep by the eopie's movements.

    "Who are you?" the man before him repeated.

    Stalemate. Obi-Wan didn't really want to give himself away in case this wasn't the Lars' couple. The man appeared to be a stubborn one, not willing to be the first to present himself. The silence lasted uncomfortably long.

    The woman finally broke the silence.

    "I am Beru Lars, and this is my husband, Owen," she informed, "please tell us who you are and what you want from us?"

    "I am…was…a friend of Anakin Skywalker's." At least he could say that without giving too much away.

    "Anakin?!" Beru gasped. "You know Anakin? Why isn't he with you? Has anything happened to him? Something is awfully wrong, I can feel it."

    "I'm sorry I have to tell you that Anakin is dead." Obi-Wan said. "He died a week ago."

    The woman drew her breath quickly, clearly shocked by the news. The man's face gave nothing away. If possible it became even more stony than it had been.

    "Who are you, and why have you come? I'm quite sure you didn't come all the way from Coruscant or wherever Anakin died just to tell us this." Owen asked for the third time, clearly expecting an answer.

    "I am…Ben Kenobi. And I have come to inform you about Anakin's death, but most of all to kindly ask you if you'd be willing to take care of Anakin's son."

    "Kenobi?!" Owen exclaimed, "I know about one Kenobi in Anakin's life and that was this star forsaken bastard of a master that raised him and made sure that his family's life became a hell. But his name was definitely not Ben. For the last time - tell me - are you Obi-Wan Kenobi?"

    "I am," Obi-Wan answered calmly, and bowed again, "or rather was. In some sense Obi-Wan Kenobi died at the same time as Anakin did. He'd better stay dead for all the galaxy to see." To his own surprise his voice came out with only a slight trembling.

    "Owen, calm down," Beru interjected,"let Ob…Ben tell was he has to say, and what is this about Anakin's son? Master Kenobi, wouldn't you please come inside and share evening meal with us while you're telling us what's going on here. I'm sure you have a good reason for coming this far. You can let your eopie stay in the courtyard. It should be safe there."

    Obi-Wan bowed gratefully to Beru. In that moment Luke decided to have a word in the matter as well. A quiet whimper came from within Obi-Wan's robe. Beru startled by the sound, and even Owen's furious face expression softened a bit.

    "Thank you. I would be glad to. But first I have to present Luke Skywalker to you." Obi-Wan pulled his robe aside, revealing the now wide awake infant resting in his arm. "His mother, Anakin's wife, died in labor when he was born 5 days ago."

    "Oh!" Beru gasped. Instinctively bringing her hand up covering her mouth, tears welling up in her eyes. "He's…why…You have travelled so far with him. You must have. Is he well?"

    "He is. But it would be good if at least he could come indoors. The desert is no place for a child at night."

    "Can I hold him? Please? I'm sure your arm must be cramped by now if you've held him that way all the way out here."

    Obi-Wan breathed out, handing the child carefully over to the young woman in front of him. His arms suddenly felt very empty. He quickly swallowed a lump that threatened to grow in his throat. Force, I didn't realize it would be so hard to give him away even though that was the plan all the time. Let him go, Kenobi, you know the code. No attachments, he admonished himself.

    The fury in Owen Lars' face had lessened a bit, and softened even more when he saw his wife with the baby in her arms. "Come in," he addressed Obi-Wan curtly, "there are obviously things that have to be said, but after that you must leave."

    Obi-Wan nodded and quietly followed suit down the stairs to the living quarters of the homestead.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb with Obi-Wan feeling a twinge at letting Luke go, at Owen's gruffness softening with Luke's vulnerability and Beru's reaction, and especially Beru's warm conciliatory manner and instant maternal nurturing. =D=
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  6. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha , yes I have always imagined that Beru would get an immediate connection with Luke. In ANH she seem to soften the rather brusque approach Owen has to his nephew. I tried to catch the moment at 2:50 in this clip from ROTS.

     
  7. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 3: Family Ties

    The Lars' homestead was built quite similar to the building custom's of the area. The dome formed the entrance, protecting towards the frequently appearing sand storms that swept over the desert when the wind called the stukapawa blew over the Great Chott salt flats before hitting the Pawataka Mountain Ridges in the west and creating powerful whirlwinds when ricocheting from the mountain walls back over the salt flats. From the dome one went two half story long stairs down until one came to the living quarters. The main room appeared to be a spacious combined kitchen and living room. Corridors stretched from this room to what supposedly were sleeping rooms and working areas.

    The underground kitchen felt wonderfully cool after the long afternoon in the blazing sunshine.

    "Please, take a seat" Beru gesticulated one handedly towards a bench placed by what presumably was the outer wall of the room. "I just…it seems like this little one needs to have his diapers changed. He's all wet. Do you…did you bring any with you? I don't…we…well we haven't any children on our own so…"

    Obi-Wan silently got up again and went outside to get the boy's meager belongings from the saddlebag on the eopie. He handed the small parcel to Beru who immediately disappeared into a corridor with Luke. The boy was surprisingly quiet.

    He returned to his seat and sat down again. Owen had placed himself on a chair by the end of the large kitchen table. The hostile feelings emanating from the other man were almost physically palpable, but not a word was uttered. Obi-Wan waited patiently for the other man to break the silence, rather stunned about the hostility. He could not fathom what the cause for these feelings could be. After all he'd never met the man before in his entire life. Blast it, he'd never even met Shmi, and even though his relationship with Anakin had been slightly strained before Geonosis, partly due to Anakin being struggling hormones and adolescence he couldn't figure out how Anakin even would have been able to ingrain such an amount of hard feelings in his stepbrother. It had to be something else.

    The solution will present itself in due time. He could almost hear his old master admonishing him. He won't let me wait for long, that's for certain. He will tell me eventually, and I have a feeling it will happen sooner than later. He's simply aching to get me out of here.

    The silence persisted.

    Beru came back, with a much more happy looking child in her arms. Small fists were waving in the air, but still no crying from the child. He seemed to stoically await his destiny.

    "He must be hungry. What have you given him to eat?" Beru's voice broke the silence at last.

    "White milk. I was told that such small ones could eat that, and besides, there wasn't much else to find in the transport ship we came in. But he does seem to like it, and he hasn't become ill from it."

    Beru nodded and dived into a cooling unit. A bottle of white milk appeared. She immediately started to heat the milk on the oven.

    "Owen, dear, please find a tube he can drink from - a clean one."

    Owen left the room obediently. Whatever was plaguing the man, he seemed to love his wife. Hopefully he would love the child too. Beru was obviously smitten by the little boy's charm already. She turned to Obi-Wan.

    "Did you two talk while I was away?"

    Obi-Wan shook his head. "No, he didn't say a word. Nor did I, for that matter."

    Beru sighed: "He'll have to tell you himself, he just need to overcome the shock. He's a good man."

    Obi-Wan nodded.

    Owen came back and handed a small tube over to his wife, then he sat down again.

    Obi-Wan drew his breath.

    "I'm sorry for coming here disturbing you. I have no other intentions than asking if you possibly could take care of little Luke. He's truly Anakin's son and as I said, his mother died in labor so he doesn't really have any family left. Could you please take him, and care for him? He's a good little one."

    "What about his mother's family," Owen interrupted, "can't they take him? I assume the mother is that woman, Padmé, who followed Anakin here the last time he came. Well, the only time he came to be precise. She seemed to be of good family. Why do you want the boy to be raised here in this star forsaken no man's land? Wouldn't he have a better life there, wherever 'there' may be?"

    "He wouldn't be safe," Obi-Wan explained. "He may be force sensitive and if so, this is the safest place for him to be in the entire galaxy right now, simply because it's so desolate. They won't look for him here. At least I hope so."

    "Force sensitive!!!?" Owen exploded. "I knew it could be blamed on that blasted Force of yours. Why in all the blazes don't you just lock him up in that Jedi Temple of yours with all the other children you Jedi scum steal from their birth families leaving them to grieve the rest of their lives for their lost children. Why didn't you just take him without letting us know?"

    Owen stood up abruptly and stomped out, not even noticing that his chair tilted and fell over as he got up.

    "Owen," Beru exclaimed, but the door was already shut behind her husband's broad back.

    "Now, that went really well," Obi-Wan muttered sarcastically between his clenched teeth.

    "I'm so sorry for disturbing you so much," he continued, looking up at Beru.

    "It is I that have to apologize. Owen is usually very levelheaded and he never behave like this, but he does resent the Jedi for taking children from their families," Beru explained. "He will probably tell you why when he's calmed down."

    Obi-Wan merely nodded, restraining himself from commenting on the 'taking children' part of the explanation.

    "Can you hold him while I make the meal ready?" Beru handed Luke over reluctantly.

    Somehow it felt good, familiar, to have the little bundle back in his arms again, and Obi-Wan sighed contently. He would really miss the little guy despite knowing that he could never have taken the child with him. Weird really, one week back in time he'd not even known him. The Temple had still been home and Anakin had still been…well…Anakin. Now everything was lost to him, and soon Luke would be too.

    Don't brood. The future will take care of itself. His master's voice rang loud and clear in his mind. He could almost hear the deep, soothing baritone from years ago.

    He sat up with a jerk. He'd actually almost fallen asleep for a moment. He realized that the last days' events had really taken it's toll on him. Beru put down a bowl of steaming soup in front of him. Some kind of soft flatbread followed.

    "Eat!" she said. "I'm sure Owen will be back soon."

    She took a bowl of soup for her self and sat down, holding her hands out for the child.

    "I can take him now."

    Obi-Wan regretfully let go of the child in the same moment they heard the sound of boots coming down the stairs. Owen took a bowl for himself and sat down at his former place by the table. After a couple of spoonfuls he looked up.

    "I apologize for leaving that way," he said. "I was rude towards a guest. That is not something I'm proud of even though the guest happens to be a jedi."

    "I do understand that you resent the Jedi," Obi-Wan commented quietly, "it is your right to do so, but I'm curious why?"

    The other man emptied his bowl and filled it half full again.

    "It's a long story, actually. I was 13 years old when Shmi Skywalker came into my life. My mother died when I was three and after that it was only my father and me living here. We had a good life together and he took me with him whenever he could. I can never remember I really missed my mother. I was so young when she died that I could hardly remember her at all. The year I turned twelve I noticed a change in my father. It started after a trip he'd had to Mos Espa to buy some spare parts for the vaporators which he couldn't find in Anchorhead. After that he became very eager to go in to Mos Espa for some reason. Later I learned that he'd met Shmi in a junk shop there and fallen head over heels in love with her.

    I didn't realize at first. I just noticed that he was more away, and even when at home he would sometimes become more thoughtful and distant than I'd been used to. I started to worry. He must have noticed because a couple of weeks later he sat down with me an evening and had a real man-to-man talk with me and told me about this wonderful warm, kind and beautiful woman he'd met. And he asked me if I would mind that he brought her home with him and married her.

    I was stunned. At first I wanted to say 'no' but of course I didn't. In my eyes our life was perfect, but I was old enough to understand that my father probably needed more from life. I accepted. It was then he told me she was a slave and he had to save money to be able to buy her free, before she could come here. And actually he hadn't dared to propose to her either. She was a beautiful woman and he couldn't really understand what she would see in an old moisture farmer like him. After that it became my task to actually encourage him.

    One year later we had enough money and he went to Mos Espa to propose to her, and hopefully set her free. At that point, I believe I was almost as nervous as he. Would she say yes? Was she really so kind, or had he seen her through eyes of love? They came back together. They had already married in Mos Espa and she was free.

    From that day on life never became the same again. In the beginning she treated me friendly, but a bit reserved. I was kind of shy too. After all I'd never had a woman in my life before. But as the weeks went by we gradually grew closer and in the evenings she could occasionally go for a walk in the courtyard and look up at the stars. When she came in again, there were always traces of tears in her eyes. Three months after her moving in with us I asked her if I could call her 'mom'. It somehow felt more natural than continuing addressing her as Shmi.

    I had hoped she'd say yes, and she did. What I didn't expect was the flow of tears that came the first time I used the word. That's when she told me about Anakin. She told me about the son she'd had for 9 wonderful years and who'd been taken away from her by the Jedi. She never said a bad word about them, and she was clear in saying it had been out of his best interest and that he'd been given the choice to leave. But I knew better. What do a nine year old know about leaving his mother for an exiting adventure? Nothing.

    At that time I had lived most of my life without a mother and I suddenly got one. I knew what it was like to have a mother in my life, and I knew Anakin had to know that too. He'd been old enough to know by the time he was taken away.

    Shmi became my mother in everything but birth and I loved her like I never got the chance of loving my own mother. I know she loved me back. Not as much as she loved Anakin, but enough to really make me feel lucky. From time to time I could see the sadness in her eyes. It paled through the years, but it never disappeared. I guess I should have felt envious or even jealous, but I didn't. She had love enough for both of us, and after all I was the lucky one who got to live with her for ten years."

    Owen ended his story, and the room was quiet once more.

    "I'm sorry," Obi-Wan said quietly. "Anakin never stopped missing her. Maybe my Master never should have taken him away from her, but at that time it seemed to be the best for both Anakin and the Jedi. And if it was best for Anakin, he also thought it would be the best for Shmi."

    "Which brings me back to the other matter," Owen continued. "Why are you bringing Luke here? If he is, what was it, force sensitive, why don't you take him to the oh so mighty Temple of yours instead, or even to his mother's family?"

    Obi-Wan swallowed hard. The lump in his throat was rising again and threatened to strangle him.

    "There is no Temple anymore. It was destroyed. So were the Jedi. For all I know I may be the sole survivor by now. The clone army turned against us and killed everyone. I fear that they will try to hunt down and kill every force sensitive child they can get hold of. That must not happen to Luke. I owe his father to keep him safe. And here, with you, seem to be the safest place he can be. His mother's family is too easily found. Nobody but myself and a good friend knows about his birth, but with his mother's family he would be too…visible." Somehow Obi-Wan managed to keep his best jedi calm during this summary of the last week's disaster.

    Beru wiped a stray tear from her cheek.

    "How can all the Jedi have been killed? I thought they were invincible."

    Obi-Wan almost had to smile over the naïveté in the question.

    "Invincible? Hardly. We were all living beings as everyone else. We just had the Force in addition. We were widespread as a result of the war and when the clones got the command and turned we were too few. The republic have been dissolved and we're left with an Empire. An Empire with a despotic Emperor, that is. That's why I don't want it to be known that Obi-Wan Kenobi is still alive. I was supposedly killed on Utapau and I'd better stay that way. Fortunately Kenobi is a common name, so from now on I will be simply Ben."

    Beru and Owen exchanged glances. Then Owen spoke again: "I see. We will take the child as our own. We have never been lucky enough to have a child, so he will be ours from this day on. We will claim that he's the child of a distant relative of Beru. We will take good care of him. You, however, can stay overnight. Then you must leave. If what you said is the truth, you must never come back here. It will be too dangerous for him, and us. We're peaceful moisture farmers, and that's how it's going to stay."

    Obi-Wan nodded, solemnly accepting the truth in the other man's words.

    "I will not come back here," he promised, "not unless I really have to. I will leave in the morning." He swallowed. The lump was back. Again. "Can I say goodbye to him now? He's been a great companion for the last few days."

    The couple nodded and Obi-Wan carried the half asleep child outdoors. The chill of the desert night had long ago taken over for the heat of the day and he shuddered.

    "Goodbye, my little friend," he whispered softly, "I will leave you here. You've been a great, tiny friend on this journey, and I will truly miss you. I'd hoped I could stay nearby and watch over you, but instead I have to do so from a distance. If you ever need me I will be there in a wink. And we will meet again. Someday. I know it. Goodbye little Luke. Your aunt and uncle will take good care of you. Now that I've met them I'm sure of that. I just wish you could have known your real parents as they were…"

    He was rewarded with a sleepy yawn from the infant. A tiny fist opened and grabbed his digit finger in a firm grip, as if to say "Don't leave me, uncle Ben."
     
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  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful disclosures and very understandable reactions. =D=
     
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  9. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 4: Voices from the Sand

    Obi-Wan left the homestead the following day shortly after sunrise. Owen had already left to take care of a vaporator which had begun to send error messages to the surveillance system. Beru was still there, following him out in the courtyard.

    "I'm sorry that you can't stay longer," she said.

    "So am I," Obi-Wan answered, "but Owen is right. These are dangerous times and if I were to stay I might bring danger upon you all. If anyone get the idea that I'm still alive I'm sure the Emperor would send troops to hunt me down. I will stay on planet for a while at least, but I will be out of sight for all of you. If something should happen, I will help if I can."

    Beru swallowed, clearly uncomfortable by the thought of "something happening".

    "But you cannot go out there empty handed, jedi or not, you will need provisions. And water. The Wastes is a dangerous place, not only because of the sarlaccs, the krayt dragons or even the sand people. It is dangerous in it's own right due to heat an cold and lack of water, and sudden sandstorms forming because of the mountains. I will give you some to start with. You can bring some flour and dried meat for a start. That is easy for your eopie to carry. If you dig into the sand, groundwater can be found some places, especially near the mountains. This drinking straw will purify the water and make it possible to drink."

    Beru had clearly planned this through the night because the provisions were neatly piled up inside the dome on top of the stairs.

    Obi-Wan dipped his head thankfully: "I'm most grateful for this. Thank you."

    Beru continued: "There's a small settlement near the foot of the mountains, about 5 klicks away from the mountain ridge. There is a small shop there, they sell almost everything. The settlement is called "Dannar's Claim". You can re-supply there."

    Obi-Wan nodded again.

    "You've been most helpful. May I return the favor by giving you some credits, for the upbringing of the child?"

    A glimpse of a smile flashed over his face.

    "Don't worry, it's not my own fundings. A jedi owns nothing except his clothes and lightsaber. I'm used to traveling light. I got them from a friend, to help ease the journey and keep the child comfortable. It's only fair that you get your fair share of it. I won't need much. And I don't take no for an answer."

    Beru reluctantly accepted the credits. "You would need them out there to have something to start with, keep at least a third for yourself."

    The provisions were safely tucked away on the eopie's back and Obi-Wan entered the animal's saddle and set out for the distant mountains.

    ………………..

    Another day in the grueling heat from the twin suns. Another day with the vaste desert stretching out in front of him. And the first day of true loneliness. The baby had at least been another living being, and it had been a link to his past. A past that in one terrible evening had been changed into an even more terrible now. He had felt lonely before. He'd felt lonely in the spice mines of Kadavo. He'd most certain felt lonely when he was imprisoned in Ventress' castle at Rattatak. But at that time he'd had a home. There had been friends, colleagues and family, at least from a certain point of view.

    He'd never felt this lonely before. The Temple had been transformed to a heap of stones. His family, his colleagues, his fellow jedi lay dead, either in the inner of the destroyed temple or scattered throughout the galaxy.

    Nobody left. Unless Yoda and himself, and the Grand Master was hopefully safe half a galaxy away. A single tear trickled down his cheek. Soon to be followed by more.

    But before he could totally give in to the grief and loneliness he was startled by a cry. It seemed to come from his left hand side. No words could be distinguished but from the sound of it someone was in terrible distress. Obi-Wan wiped the tears from his face and turned the eopie to the left to see what was going on.

    Nothing. More of nothing. The sand appearing in front of him was just as empty as it had been before he turned left. Some sloping dunes could be seen but not a living being as far has he could see in either direction. The screams intensified. The single cry he had heard at first had multiplied into several voices, words still indistinguishable but definitely screams of pain and sorrow. From…well…nowhere.

    Obi-Wan stroked his beard thoughtfully. It had to come from somewhere. He cleared his mind and stretched out for the rolling waves of the Force. If it wanted him to find what was happening, it would show him the way. It always did. Without any conscious thought he steered the eopie between two rather large dunes. He dismounted the animal to take a closer look on the ground.

    Still nothing. No, wait, half buried in the sand in front of him he could see a huge rib. He knelt down beside it. Dug into the sand. One more. A small circle of stones, most likely a campfire. The screams intensified.

    Pain. Terrible pain. Loneliness. No hope left and still…an eternal wish. I want to see my son one last time… Then release - no pain anymore. Just peace. A single cry in the night. Flickering shadows in the light of the campfires. A blue ray of light moving through the shadows. The darkness is increasing despite the flames. More screams. "Kterskt! Kterskt" Voices screaming warnings from all sides. Two men dead in the sand. The blue flame strikes again. Women are screaming, children wailing…terror…fear…despair. Flames everywhere, the huts are on fire, flames rising high towards the night. The blue is whirling and dancing a devilish dance, leaving dead bodies in it's wake. The darkness increases. Darker than the night. Darker than the deepest mines in the outer rim. Darker than anything he's seen before. Bodies are falling for the blue lightening as crop falls for the sickles. The screams are forming a crescendo in the night, before stillness takes over. The last voice heard is a young woman's, she's lying on the ground her arm stretching out for a small bundle: "Uli-ah…uli-ah." The lightening flickers one last time, and everything is quiet. Deadly quiet. The blue flame disappears. The darkness is complete.

    "No, no…Anakin, don't, please don't…". Obi-Wan found himself laying in the sand. The darkness had disappeared and the suns shone mercilessly down on his back. The screams from before had been replaced by heavy sobs. His own.

    He felt a gentle nudge in his shoulder. No, he didn't want to move. Couldn't. The atrocities he'd seen had left him limp and unable to move. Another nudge, still friendly but more determined now.

    "Eeeeemph!"

    He looked up and saw straight into the eopie's friendly eyes. "Hey, pal. Get up from the ground. You can't stay there all day," that look said. A last friendly nudge, and Obi-Wan finally got up on his knees. The world was spinning slightly. He didn't have a clue of how long he'd been lying on the ground. He drew a deep calming breath.

    Center, Obi-Wan. Center. Find your calm center. You've seen worse than this before. Oh, I have, but still nothing like this. Anakin. Anakin did this. I realized he changed after Geonosis, but I couldn't figure out why. I thought it was his mother's death and his relationship with Padmé which affected him so deeply, and it was. It truly was. But this… I never imagined he could do something like this. He killed them all, with cold blood. The darkness was so total, so all consuming. How could he do something like this? Haven't I trained him better than this? Could it have been in him from his childhood, or force forbid, was this…anger…something I ingrained in him without knowing? I may have taught him anger, even if it were unintentional, but pure hate? Never. And, still, what I felt there for a moment was pure hate. No wonder he was so easily snared in by the Sith Lord.

    As the force flowed around him and through him in cool calming waves he could feel the tears dry and his heartbeat slowed down to his normal pace again. He'd always been prone to the unifying force rather than the living force, and visions were not unfamiliar to him, but this one was more harrowing and somehow more real than any other vision he'd ever had.

    Probably because it actually was real, from a certain point of view. Or, it had been. He realized that he'd gotten a glimpse into his former padawan's past. A glimpse he'd given anything to not have seen. But he had. And he had to live with the knowledge of his friend's cruelties.

    Slowly he rose and mounted the eopie again.

    "Come on, my furry friend. Let's continue towards the mountains," he said quietly to the animal.

    A stray thought, as if spoken with a well known deep baritone voice flew through his mind.

    Good, my padawan, good. Let your focus determine your reality. Focus on the here and now.
     
  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent advice and practical help from Beru @};- ... Intense lingering echoes of what Anakin's past deeds were in the desert.

    I can well imagine that Kenobi would feel lonely in such a literal vast desert. [face_thinking] Then add to that the fact his way of life has been totally lost. :(
     
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  11. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Nice. Reading that last line I wonder if that's really just what Obi-Wan is thinking, or if Qui-Gon is actually trying to talk to him from Force Ghost World.
     
  12. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Great to have Owen open up a bit. Loved what you did there!

    As for Obi-Wan, sometimes great catastrophes in life bring necessary changes with it.

    (And he could always work in our kindergarten because we need colleagues desperately.)
     
  13. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 5: The First Day in the Desert

    The here and now was clearly overestimated, Obi-Wan concluded. The suns were once again on their way down and he realized that he would never reach the mountains before the night, far less find a suitable camp there so he decided to continue as long as there was daylight and then stay overnight in the desert. Not that he had much of a choice anyway.

    The experiences from the destroyed Tusken camp had made him more than a bit shaky and he felt the need for meditating on what had happened. Anakin had changed after Geonosis, but at that time he'd supposed that it was just the aftermath after nearly being killed in the arena, plus the growing feelings for Padmé. It hadn't lasted long. With the outbreak of the war Anakin had to grow up rather quickly and the tendency he'd shown over the last years to oppose his master in small and great questions soon vanished, and a more mature Anakin emerged. It had surely been a blessing. The small skirmishes had taken it's toll on Obi-Wan as well.

    Their master-padawan relationship had been strained from the start, as Anakin had been insecure in his new role as a padawan and also struggled with the quite rigid temple life. Missing Qui-Gon hadn't really helped. It was clear from the first day that the boy had wanted the older jedi to be his mentor but Qui-Gon's sudden death put a very abrupt end to that wish.

    Obi-Wan had felt insecure too. From being a padawan one day, he suddenly became a knight and also a master the next. While mourning his own dead master he was supposed to take care of a child, and it wasn't even a regular initiate being promoted to padawan by his own choice. The choice had been taken from him the moment Qui-Gon asked him to train the boy. How could he have denied his master that last wish? He simply couldn't. Moreover, the boy was supposed to be the "Chosen One" from the old prophecy… It truly was a rough start.

    As the months passed they had gone from a forced relationship to more neutral terms, and then proceeded to something that resembled brothers. And finally they learned to appreciate each other. Anakin learned to trust his master and came to terms with his master's more rigid and rule obeying personality. Obi-Wan learned to love the kind hearted and more impulsive boy that had come to be his apprentice.

    So, after all, he'd considered the boy's periodically bad temper a normal teenage rebellion, since Anakin never quite learned the strict discipline that normal initiates were taught from very young age in the creche.

    ………..

    The shadows gradually became longer as the suns threatened to sink below the dunes, and Obi-Wan decided to settle down before it was totally dark. Spending the night in the desert didn't worry him the least. Over the years he'd slept under far worse conditions. Still he hoped that nobody, and in particular the sand people, would find him. He knew enough about them to find it likely that if some should discover him, they would also attack and after reliving Anakin's attack on the tusken camp he really wouldn't like to have to defend himself against them.

    He managed to find a sheltered place between two adjacent sand dunes and concluded that this place was as good as any. He removed the saddle and the bags from the eopie hoping that the animal wouldn't wander off in the middle of the night in search for food. It didn't seem to be among it's most immediate plans, as it lay down in the sand as soon as the packing was taken off.

    "Good girl," he muttered, "stay here please. I really wouldn't like to go searching for you in the morning."

    The bag Beru had given him revealed several small treasures, water being the most important treat. The dried meat she'd promised was there as well and some firecubes and a blanket too. He took one of the cubes and lit as small fire. It would provide some warmth, but even more important - it would keep stray predators on a distance. At least he hoped so, assuming that no bipedal predators would be near enough to be attracted by it.

    After a sparse evening meal consisting of some dried meat, one protein cube and some water he wrapped the blanket around himself and fell asleep with the eopie's saddle serving as a pillow, a not very well perfumed one to be honest. Exhaustion from the last weeks harrowing experiences took over and In the last seconds before drifting into sleep he almost believed he saw a soft shimmer of something and a familiar voice uttering the familiar words: "Sleep well, my padawan."

    The morning came. Obi-Wan woke just before sunrise. His body felt more sore and stiff than it had in a very long time and his mind likewise. He knew that the last weeks events would sooner or later catch up with him, and even the presumed jedi stoicism wouldn't hold if or when the dam broke. He knew as a jedi he should release the pain, the guilt, the sorrow, into the force. Should being the major word here.

    He knew he couldn't. Not this time. Not over this. There would come a reaction eventually. The adolescent Anakin had so often blamed him to be without any human feelings. Not true. The feelings had been there, always, though the excess feelings had been released into the force as any good jedi would do.

    This time it wasn't a matter of excess. It was simply a matter of humanity.

    Even jedi are human beings, well maybe not human, but at least sentient beings. We breathe, we love, we mourn as everyone else. We just…don't let it overpower us. But this time… There are no jedi anymore, no code, no rules. There is nothing left. Everything, everyone is gone. How can I even live with this? I saw his eyes there at Mustafar. They were yellow, almost red like the lava surrounding us. It was pure, flaming hate. The fire I saw there was simply…inhuman. Whatever I saw there had consumed the kind, loving boy he used to be. The holos from the Temple proved it. The blood from the younglings proved it.

    Obi-Wan drew a deep breath.

    I can't go down that path. Not now. If I give in to my true feelings I will go ravingly insane. This is not the time or place to do so. I must wait.

    Another calming breath. Some light stretching exercises. He could feel the soothing waves of the force, once more surrounding him, flowing through him. Calming him. For the moment. He knew fully well that it wouldn't last, but it had to be enough for the moment.

    He quickly packed his things and soon he was on his way towards the Pawataka Mountains again.

    The day passed without any events. Every now and then he could se a small animal, some kind of a desert rodent he supposed, flee in panic when the eopie moved forwards. Else there was nothing to be seen. As evening drew closer he was sure that he would reach the mountain ridge before sunset. To the north he could see buildings, they appeared hardly bigger than pebbles from this distance. It had to be the settlement Beru had mentioned. He turned slightly south leaving as much distance between himself and the buildings as possible. He knew he would have to go there, eventually. His provisions wouldn't last forever. That would have to come later.

    The mountains seemed both more impressive and more alive than they'd done from a distance. They formed a slight curve towards south-east, as if they were to embrace the vast areas of the Jundland Wastes. From the golden sands of the desert the landscape was sloping gradually into some kind of reddish stone, probably sandstone or siltstone, he guessed. The slope increased into a more dramatic looking belt of large boulders that some ancient god seemed to have tossed deliberately around before ending in a geological mixture of said sandstone gradually giving way to large spears of basalt and olivine once thrown up from the planet's core.

    It certainly was a dramatic, but still somehow beautiful landscape.

    As he moved closer to the sandstone area he noticed that the complete emptiness of the desert gradually was giving in to an admittedly sparsely distributed vegetation. Still, there were some bushes of a species unbeknownst to him and there even were some pale green, well…greenish, straws appearing here and there.

    Good. If there's vegetation, there has to be water somewhere. I just hope it's enough for survival, preferably mine - and the eopie's. It would not be much of a hiding place if the first thing I have to do is building a vaporator.

    As he'd done the night before he decided to settle down before the night fell. After some reconnaissance he decided to make his camp between a collection of large boulders and a cliff wall. With some luck the boulders would make it possible for him to lit a campfire which could not be seen from the settlement and there was actually enough vegetation there to make an admittedly sparse evening meal for the eopie.

    "Seems like it's going to be you and me for a very long time, girl. I have to give you a name. I really can't go on calling you 'girl' like that," he murmured while he removed the saddle from the animal's back.

    "Eeeemph," the eopie answered politely.

    "OK, blame yourself. I take that as a presentation. Emphie it is. You just have to deal with it."

    The eopie looked at him with large black eyes. Long eyelashes blinked slowly. Somehow it seemed quite content about being considered a part of the family.

    Once again the night fell over the desert and it's inhabitants. A man and his eopie fell asleep.
     
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  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent and realistic reflections of past and present choices and sense of isolation. [face_thinking] @};-
     
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  15. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    The desert seems to have many insights for our lonely wanderer in stock.
     
  16. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Since chapter six is a bit boring, for once I'll post two chapters in one post.


    .............


    Chapter 6: A New Home


    Obi-Wan had never been a natural early bird, but he woke at sunrise. Something was amiss, or rater missing. He sat up and realized he was all alone, well - more alone than the preceding days. The eopie was gone.

    "Blast it," he cursed silently, "why here, when she stayed put out in the dunes?"

    One thing was for sure, he couldn't carry the saddle and the provision on his own back so either he had to settle down right where he was, or he had to find Emphie. He chose to go for the latter. The bags were quickly hidden beneath a boulder. The hiding wouldn't stand a close check from a bypassing tusken, but hopefully they weren't nearby. To improve the hiding he showeled some sand over the packing and climbed on top of one of the rocks to get an overview.

    The desert was just as empty as it had been the day before. Literally no trace of the animal was to be seen. Well, then. It might as well have moved further into the mountains. He'd better try the passage between the boulders. The ground was rather firm beneath his boots. The loose sand had been replaced by solid rock most places and he could move quite easily between the cliffs. Actually it could have been a path there once, it almost seemed like the track was placed between the rocks on purpose. The sloping hills soon became steeper around him and the passageway narrowed.

    "Oh no, not a dead end," he sighed, but then the valley widened before him again and he saw the eopie. The animal was fully occupied with it's breakfast, grazing peacefully between the steep cliffs. It was nothing like the green pastures of Naboo or Alderaaan, but it was grass. Shrubs covered the sides of the valley where the mountains formed cool shadows over the land. Actually it was the most fertile spot of ground he'd seen since he arrived on Tatooine.

    He smoothed his beard pensively.

    So much vegetation in one spot has to mean that there is water somewhere nearby. Even here plants cannot grow without any water at all. Beru mentioned ground water. Could it possibly be that there is some underground river or spring? It has to be something here.

    "Plop"

    He looked up.

    "Plop"

    The sound was apparently coming from the cliff to his left hand side, somewhere between the scrubs that grew willingly close to the red sandstone. He pushed the scrubs aside and moped. Water? Real water? Here on Tatooine? Impossible. But it was there. A small but steady stream of transparent droplets seemed to trickle from a deep crack in the mountain wall. Probingly he gathered a drop on his finger and tasted it. Definitely water, and it actually tasted good. The droplets gathered in a natural basin in the cliff. Carefully he dipped his hand and drank. Could it somehow be poisonous? Hopefully not. The eopie had probably smelled it and found it's way to what might seem like green pastures for the animal. Most likely it had drunk from the basin before he came there.

    Well, he was definitely willing to share. Water was a true treasure in this barren landscape. How come that nobody had discovered it earlier? Or maybe some had…

    He had been too focused on the water to notice the surroundings but it actually looked like it was possible to ascend the sandstone somewhat further into the valley. A closer look revealed the truth in this assumption. A narrow path seemed to wind it's way upwards between rough cliffs. He decided to follow it. The path soon changed and something that seemed to be a natural staircase leading to a plateau in the cliff.

    Stairs? Were they natural or man made? It was hard to say for sure. They could have been either. He continued. The stairs disappeared behind a rock, then made almost an u-turn and continued further up until a plateau opened before him. The view was magnificent. If the mountain ridge hadn't curved he would possibly have been able to see the settlement. As it was the mountain formed an effective barrier towards prying glances from what he supposed had to be Dannar's Cove.

    But what caught his attention even more was what he saw near the mountainside in the rear of the plateau. A cabin. Well, to be honest it was more of a shack but it had four walls admittedly sorely in need for repair, but nonetheless four walls of something that resembled duracrete. And a roof as well. The big question was: who were the inhabitants, or maybe it was more a question of what? Cautiously Obi-Wan clipped the lightsaber from his belt. Better safe than sorry, even though he couldn't really sense any life forms in the near vicinity. Well, nothing except the eopie. He moved slowly toward the shack. From the look of it it's inhabitants had left years ago. The duracrete was weather bitten and cracked. The door was missing if there had ever been one. Fine sand piled up in the entrance. Two narrow slits in the walls probably served as windows.

    "Hello, is anybody in there?"

    Nothing but silence was to be heard so he cautiously moved closer. No signs of lifeforms, what so ever. Two more steps and he stood outside the doorway. He peeked in. Nothing.

    The walls seemed actually solid enough. They were worn and cracked but the cracks didn't seem to penetrate them. Actually the walls seemed thick enough to be a part of a fortress, but most likely they were a fortress towards the heat and the sandstorms rather than intruders.

    He ignited his lightsaber.

    "I'd better lighten up the situation a bit," he said wryly to himself. The blue ray of light revealed a curved ceiling with a rather intricate pattern of bearing beams under it. It seemed to be a sector of a geodesic dome covering the duracrete outer walls and ending in the rock wall that posed the back of the shack. But wait, something was definitely amiss here. From the outside the shed had seemed to be very modest in size, from the inside it was definitely larger.

    "This was unexpected," he muttered, "it's not exactly Jabba the Hut's palace, but it seems to be larger inside than it appeared from outside."

    The explanation was easy to find. Whoever had constructed the shed had taken advantage of a cave in the rock wall, so the back wall and most of the two sidewalls were actually formed from the mountain itself. The duracrete was simply a prolonged part of the natural walls. To his right side the cavern deepened, forming a natural niche in the main cave. To his left someone had obviously made a bench. The flat rock forming the upper plate was smooth and almost polished. The main "room" would easily give room for a bench to sit on and a table. It was nearly as big as his and Anakin's apartment in the Temple had been, save for one extra bedroom. Well, he could live without that, it wasn't like he would have to share these housings with a padawan.

    Everything seemed totally deserted. Considering the thick dust, well sand, layer on the bench nobody had been inside this place for at least a decade, probably more.

    "Well, that saves me the trouble of paying the rent," he murmured, "I do not expect to get the landlord knocking on my door soon."

    Which was good, since said door didn't exist.

    A brief examination of the interior revealed another surprise. The bench in the part that Obi-Wan already was thinking of as a kitchenette was stretching backwards in the cave and in the innermost part of it he could se the same tiny droplets of water as he'd seen outside trickle down the wall and disappear through a narrow crack in the "bench". Probably the same crack that appeared at the foot of the mountain. The niche on the other side of the cave would be perfect for a sleeping couch, or as per now - a sleeping mat.

    This is really weird. The water must somehow condensate when the mountains cool down at night and then it's collected in some pool or cavity further up in in the mountains, and this is the outlet from that cavity. This would be a perfect place to stay. I can make a couch and a table, and with some luck I can even find something that can serve as a mattress in the local shop in Dannar's Claim. Sooner or later I have to take the risk and go there. The cave and the shed seems solid enough and it's not easily spotted from the ground. There were no footprints to be seen. Obviously people doesn't come this way often. And even if they do, the path is difficult to see. It's a perfect hideout, or will be when I've done some minor repairs and made some furniture and a door. It will help keeping me from the heat of the day when needed be and I will have shelter from the sandstorms. The only threat will be the sand people if they ever come here, or the krayt dragons.

    Two hours later he'd returned to his camp from the evening before and carried his belongings up to the cave. The eopie's saddle was hidden on a lower level, tucked away from prying eyes but easy to find when he needed it.

    Obi-Wan had found himself a new home.

    .......



    Chapter 7: Dreams

    The following days Obi-Wan busied himself by making the hut as comfortable as possible. It didn't take him long to realize that he was better with the lightsaber than with the hammer, especially when he didn't have one. He definitely wasn't a natural born carpenter. Still, he was nothing but persistent and slowly the hut resembled a place meant for living more than a tool shack.

    He tried to keep himself busy through the day and aimed for near consciousness of pure exhaustion when he went to sleep in the evenings. He didn't succeed very well. The nights were filled with dreams, and they were not the pleasant kind.

    Screams. Yelling. Persons running. Confusion, a lot of confusion, traces of fear and anguish.

    "They're coming. Why are they gathering in front of the Temple - armed? Close the doors. Close them now."

    "What is going on? Why are they shooting at us? "

    Explosions. Flickering lights substituted by darkness. Blue and green lightsabers ignited towards the intruders. "Keep the defense line. Get the initiates away from the fighting!" Blaster bolts fired and ricocheted from 'sabers flying high in the air. A dance of death in blue, green and red sparkling light. More running. More screams.

    But first and foremost, in front of the clone troopers as so many times before, leading them in battle: Anakin. Anakin swinging a deadly blue arc of light with an efficiency learned through battles and countless hours in the dojo, spreading death in it's wake. This time his fellow jedi were his victims.

    Obi-Wan woke, his cheeks wet from tears. He had seen the evidence in the security recordings in the Temple. He knew he should do as any good jedi - let the feelings flow through him and release them into the Force, but he couldn't.

    "Breathe Obi-Wan, don't cling to the emotions. Let them pass." The familiar comforting voice seemed to come from out of thin air. He took a rasping breath and opened his senses to feel if anyone actually had come in while he was sleeping. The room was just as empty as it had been four hours ago, when he went to sleep.

    The tears kept on coming.

    I'm sorry, master, I'm so sorry. I failed you. I never should have taken upon me to train him. I was too young, too inexperienced.

    There had been so many times in the past where he'd pondered the same thing. Was he to young when he became a Master? Shouldn't a true Master have more life experience? The thoughts were there from the moment he promised Anakin to take him as his padawan learner, and over the years they increased in intensity even though they were less often coming to the surface. Still he kept them at bay, until Geonosis. After Geonosis it had become a different matter. If he had worried about his abilities before, his worries multiplied after that. If he hadn't followed Jango Fett to Kamino, if he hadn't accepted the mission to Geonosis, maybe the Galaxy would have been different now? If he hadn't been so incredibly stupid, no imbecile, to get caught there, there had been no need for the Jedi to come rescue him. Death could have been avoided for so many of his friends and fellow jedi. Maybe…even the clone wars would never have begun? Well, he would never know. Nor would the galaxy. But Anakin had been his responsibility from the day Qui-Gon Jinn died. His responsibility, and as it turned out, his failure.

    "You did well, my padawan. Under the circumstances." The voice could be heard again

    "You didn't fail. You did the best you could. Anakin had his free will - and he used it." The Voice continued. "You taught him. You became his friend. You showed him the path to knighthood. He was the one who chose to change the path that was laid before him. Not you."

    "Qui-Gon?" Obi-Wan whispered. "Master?"

    A low chuckle sounded in his ears.

    "Yes, my oh so former padawan, it's me." The voice was filled with the calm humor that was so typical for Qui-Gon.

    Obi-Wan swallowed hard. He knew he had problems with releasing all the feelings, but he really didn't think that he was in such bad state. Hallucinating didn't become a jedi, and the fact that he heard his former master speaking to him must mean that he was delusional.

    "No. It's not possible. Get out of my head."

    "You must accept this, Obi-Wan. It really is me."

    Obi-Wan frowned. "No. It cannot be. I saw you die on Naboo. You died in my arms. There is no way you actually can be here."

    "I have been with you always, Obi-Wan, you just cannot see me."

    The room turned silent once more.

    I must be dreaming. There's simply no way that I heard Qui-Gon's voice. He's been gone for almost 13 years now. It cannot be. Still, it would have been good if it really were him.

    Obi-Wan took some deep calming breaths, trying to find his calm center which had been sorely missed the last weeks. "I'm a jedi master. I should do better than this and not behave like a scared crecheling," he silently admonished himself. Sleep didn't come easily, but after tossing and turning for a while he drifted into a disturbed sleep once more.

    Darkness again. A wheezing sound, almost like a rebreather. Cold, so cold… Burning, but still cold. It's so hard to breathe, like the lungs doesn't work any more. An emptiness more all consuming than the Tatooinian desert. Alone, oh so alone, everyone gone but him. A chuckle from a being not seen: "Good, good, you are my finest creation until now." Everything is heavy and yet not. Where once there were soft skin and flexible muscles, there is now cold hard metal and plastoid. The darkness is replaced by light. A cold, sterile light. The walls seem slightly distorted an out of focus for a while. The wheezing sound intensifies. Something black is moving, or rather trying to move. A.. something. Whatever it is, it's tall, impressing - created to instill fear. It is not a droid, because there is a soul there. A dark and twisted soul, admittedly, but a soul nonetheless. Not a man, not a machine, still both exists and converge into this dark creature.

    Obi-Wan startled and woke. "What in all the blazes was that?" he muttered. This time sleep wouldn't find him again.

    Another day filled with work. Another evening waiting for the night to come and the nightmares with it. He was about to go to bed when he heard the soundless voice again: "You are troubled, my friend. You need to find your inner strength again. Seemingly it has left you, and it's still needed."

    "Who are you? What are you? You have my master's voice, but there is no chance you can be him. Why are you here? What do you want from me?" Obi-Wan spoke almost breathlessly.

    "You still don't believe that I'm me, do you? You were the most stubborn of my padawans, but you always saw the truth when you'd had time to think things over. I should have thought you had reached that point now." The well known baritone sounded in the empty room, apparently from nowhere, and sounding more than a little amused.

    "I must be delusional," Obi-Wan muttered. "Dead people don't pop up from nowhere years after their death. I must have got a sunstroke earlier today."

    The low chuckle was there again. The same sound his master had made when presenting an especially intriguing riddle to him during his days as padawan.

    "Why should I believe that you are the man you're claiming to be? I saw him die and I lit the pyre when his body returned to the Force. People, be it jedi or not, tends to stay dead," Obi-Wan retorted dryly. "Why should you be an exception?"

    "Maybe because I always were even more stubborn than you, and even back then there were truths I found hard to accept. Didn't Master Yoda tell you that I would have lectures for you here?"

    Obi-Wan swallowed. He remembered Yoda's words about the training his master would have for him, but at that time he hadn't contemplated upon it. There had been more pressing things to concentrate on and take care of. Little Luke as to start with. The present riddle was how this stranger, well, actually no-stranger could know it. It had been only Yoda and himself in the room when the words were spoken.

    "You keep saying you are Master Qui-Gon, but do you really expect me to accept that?"

    "It would be a good start, my dear apprentice," the voice answered dryly. "It will be hard to teach you anything if you keep insisting on denying my existence."

    "Show yourself. Maybe it will be easier to believe you if I don't have to talk to thin air?" Obi-Wan suggested.

    "Very well." the air itself seemed to breathe. A bluish flicker of light appeared in the middle of the small room. The light spread out into a column of pale light slowly taking the shape of a human form. Then the light changed and colors were slowly appearing. Tall stature, a dark brown robe over a sand colored tunic and brown leggings. Long hair neatly tied back to keep it from the appearance's eyes. A bearded chin, high cheekbones and friendly but sharp eyes, sparkling with mirth.

    The figure bowed sardonically.

    "Your wish has been granted, my friend. Do you believe me now?"

    Obi-Wan felt like he had been punched in the gut with a battering ram. His breath left him with a wheezing sound, the room was spinning more efficiently than one of Anakin's rolls with the speeder and he felt slightly dizzy. He could feel cold sweat breaking out from his forehead.

    "But…but… Master… You are dead, I mean…were…are…" He realized that his ability of precise articulation had deteriorated severely through the last couple of minutes, so he gave up. He just gazed incredulously at the appearance.

    Silence ruled for something which felt like an eternity.

    "Well," the apparition retorted, "are you willing to consider that I am me now? You can see me now, I believe."

    "Yes, but…how… I mean, you passed into the force, didn't you?" He clearly wasn't more able to speak coherent sentences than he had been for the last 10 minutes or so.

    "I think you should sit down, Obi-Wan. You do look a bit pale." The bluish figure was clearly enjoying the moment.

    Obi-Wan sat.

    "We will come back to the "how" later. Right now you must try to accept that I'm really here, from a certain point of view." Qui-Gon spoke in the same tone as he had used years ago when starting to instruct a new kata, or a principle of negotiations. "I may not be here in a physical sense, but I do exist in the force and I'm still me and I am real, you just can't touch me."

    Obi-Wan felt a single tear rolling down his cheek. How many times had there been when he wished he could speak to his master again, to get his advice and in some occasions, comfort? Now he was here, and he felt totally empty..

    "Why now? If you had been able to do this all the time, why didn't you come all those years ago? I needed you master, I needed you so much at that time, and I would have given my left arm to be able to talk to you again. Why do you come before me now?"

    Qui-Gon actually looked a bit ashamed: "I'm sorry, padawan, I'm truly sorry that I couldn't be there for you, but you had to find your own path after all that happened. It was not up to me to interfere with your relationship with Anakin. You was, are, strong and I knew you would manage somehow."

    Obi-Wan nodded slowly, accepting the truth in his master's words.

    "Besides," Qui-Gon continued,"I couldn't have done it. At least not appeared like you see me now. It took a while to get to know my new existence, and I was not able to appear physically. When I died, and I do not recommend being penetrated by a lightsaber, I felt all the pain cease and I existed in an empty space. It was as if I were transformed into being a part of the Force and still I was me. I recognized my own feelings, my own self, but I couldn't feel my body anymore. I could see myself lying on the floor and I wanted so much to reach out for you and tell you how proud I was of you in that moment. But I couldn't. My voice had gone and there was no way I could reach you."

    "Thank you," Obi-Wan whispered, "I was so afraid I had disappointed you."

    "No, never, my young friend. I stayed 'floating' in the Force for a long period of time. There were periods when I really felt that the Force was all that existed, and there were periods when I actually could collect the 'me' I had become and see what was going on. I saw how you struggled to come to terms with my death, an how hard it was for you to accept your new role as a Master, but still I couldn't reach you. As more time passed, I became more adept to gathering the new 'me' and I could gather myself more at will. And I saw how well your relationship with Anakin improved. I was really, really proud of you. You must not doubt that for a moment. But yet I couldn't and wouldn't reach you. I sometimes longed to do it, but you were doing so well on your own. In the years to come I followed you closely, but I didn't interfere. At that time I could possibly have reached you, but still time wasn't right. You had become a full-fledged Master of the Order and you didn't have the need for me anymore."

    "Not true," Obi-Wan muttered, "I never ceased to need your advice."

    "Which was more than you realized as a Padawan," Qui-Gon chuckled, remembering the headstrong boy that had been his apprentice so many years ago.

    Obi-Wan flushed slightly, knowing that there was some truth in his master's words.

    "However, I kept following you. Not everywhere and certainly not all the time, but I was there when you were in trouble. I was there through your captivity at Geonosis, but you stood strong against Dooku so there was no need for me to interfere. And there were other incidents as well, but I restrained myself from letting you sense my presence. The only time I did so was during the time Ventress held you captured at Rattatak." The ghost's voice turned hoarse by the memory. "I could not reach you physically. If I'd been able to, I would have freed you in a moment. But there is no way I can interfere physically in my present condition. That is for the living. But I did talk to you, encouraging you to never give up hope, never let her win."

    "I heard you then," Obi-Wan whispered, "I thought I was delusional due to the pain and the lack of food and water, but it was really you? Sometimes I even thought I could feel your hand on my shoulder or a slight stroke on my cheek…"

    "It was me," the ghost confirmed."I tried to let you know that someone was there for you even though you couldn't see me, and I tried to give you strength to withstand the torture and to try to find a solution to get away from that hellhole."

    "But why have you come here now?" Obi-Wan asked.

    "As Master Yoda said, I have lectures for you to learn. Your time is far from up yet. There is still much for you to do and accomplish in this life, but when your time comes, whenever it comes, you may serve the Force well in the same way as I do now. If you want to. The decision is yours to make, but I'm quite certain there will be need for your presence also after your physical death. However, you may choose not to accept these lessons, and if that is your choice you will become one with the Force when your time as a physical being is up."

    Obi-Wan swallowed hard: "Do I have to make the decision now?"

    Qui-Gon shook his head. "No, of course not. You may take some time to think it over. Going into the Force as a normal living being will give you the peace you've longed for so many times, but you will lose your 'self' so to speak, and you will definitely not be able to reach for the living. If you choose to learn the lectures I have for you, you may still serve the Force also when your physical 'I' has ceased to exist."

    Oh, how can I make this decision? There has been so many times when I really wanted to feel the peace in the Force. And who would need me anyway? Why should I be needed, when so many just…go? My Master is, was, a special man so it feels right that he still exists, but me…why me? Why would I be necessary - to anyone? On the other hand, I became a Jedi to serve the galaxy and all it's living beings, and if I could do so even after my death, wouldn't that be to fulfill the oath I gave when I was knighted? If there is a way to serve also when my time has come, how can I refuse?

    Obi-Wan drew his breath. The force was flowing around him, through him. Gentle waves were washing over him, encouraging him, assuring him. He would be needed. It didn't tell him how or when but it would come a time when his spirit would be needed even if it had left his body.

    Silently he rose and knelt on one knee before his former master, bowing his head slightly, both hands resting on his other knee: "Master Qui-Gon, I have come to serve. If it is the will of the Force and you accept me as your apprentice in this matter, I shall learn the ways of the Force also after my physical death."
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
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  17. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    The last update had a fairy tale like quality to it - a cave in the desert, "healing and life giving water", a bodiless voice full of good advice. It is understandable that Obi-Wan thinks he has been under the influence of Tatooine´s twin suns too long. Instead of accepting the wonders that come in the wake of the Force. Especially after a time of hardship and unbalance.

    Wonderful story!
     
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    You have blended Kenobi's incredulity with Qui-Gon's wry humor and genuine affection. =D=
     
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  19. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 8: Ancient Mysteries, New Truths

    "I came across the old scripts about the Whills even before you became my padawan, but it wasn't until you came close to your knighthood I really found the time to study them. In that period you were occasionally sent on solo missions and while I stayed in the Temple I found my way back to the Temple archives. After all I needed to keep myself busy to keep from worrying about you." Qui-Gon Jinn's voice was slightly ironic when he remembered his anxiety when his padawan had been sent on his first missions on his own.

    "I decided it was time to learn more about the Whills. It took a rather long time. I learned about their origins and their history, but it wasn't until I found the Shaman of the Whill's protocol I learned about their quest for eternal consciousness.

    At first it caught my interest simply because it was so obscure. Why should one want to let one's spirit stay behind after one's death? It didn't make sense to me. After all, we were all longing to be one with the Force, and that would happen only when our physical self ceased to exist. I didn't understand, so I dug deeper.

    As I continued my studies of the Shaman's journal I began to understand. The way of the Shaman was merely an extension of what we considered being one with the Force would mean. Keeping one's ethereal spirit would make it possible to continue serving others also in the afterlife. The problem was basically to be able to do so, without falling in the trap of being selfish. Most sentient beings try to avoid death as far as possible and when they finally succumb to death it is mostly from selfish reasons. They want peace, loss of pain, of illness - whatever is going on in their lives at that time. And with those selfish wishes, one simply closed off the path of the Whills.

    i was no exception. I was about as far from being a saint as one could be, ever considered the roguish Jedi, disobeying the more rigid rules and occasionally opposing the council. I couldn't see how I could achieve the pure unselfishness needed to bring my spiritual self into eternity unharmed."

    "But somehow you obviously managed to overcome that obstacle," Obi-Wan shot in.

    "So I did," Qui-Gon agreed with a twinkle in his eyes, "but in the end I got help."

    "Who was the one to help you?" Obi-Wans curiosity got the better of him and he simply had to ask. "Were there others in the Temple who also were studying the scripts from the Whills? I never even heard anyone mention them on a regular base."

    "You did."

    "I did what? " Obi-Wan was dumbfounded for a moment."How could I ever have done that? I hardly knew about the Whills, far less did I know anything about their journals and scripts. There is no way I could have done such."

    "And yet you did," the amusement in Qui-Gon's voice came clearly through now.

    Obi-Wan felt slightly dizzy again. Admittedly he had been a frequent visitor of the Temple archives and he had loved reading about the Order's history, but he had not shared his master's fascination for the more obscure contents of the archives, such as the prophecies and myths. He definitely considered the scripts from the Whills among the latter.

    Qui-Gon continued:

    "It wasn't until the battle with the sith I understood how selfish I had acted on certain occasions. Well, actually, during the battle I was too preoccupied to even ponder about it, but after my death I got a lot of time for that.

    I had let you down in so many ways and I didn't realize it until I died and it was too late to tell you."

    "Master, you didn't…." Obi-Wan's interjection was cut short again.

    "Oh, but I did. So many times. My first and almost worst mistake was resisting taking you as my padawan. I left you at Melida-Daan despite your young age. When Tahl died I withdrew without realizing that you had to come to terms with your own sorrow. But my last failure was my remark that I would train Anakin. I never meant to repudiate you, I truly meant that you were ready for your trials, but I quickly realized that it had been misunderstood and even if we came to terms with each other again, I felt that the relationship we had had been shattered.

    So, in the moment I died - and whatever you do, I don't recommend being pierced by a lightsaber, it hurt- i felt this terrible remorse. I couldn't leave you to deal with Anakin and all the mess I had created on your own. For once, I didn't think of my own wishes. I just wanted to be there with you and help clearing the mess, and I really wanted to tell you how proud I was of you in that moment. I assume that was the thing that saved me from a more ordinary death."

    "But…how? You said you couldn't reach me?" Obi-Wan was still puzzled.

    "I couldn't. I don't know how it should have been, but I believe I hadn't learned enough. The moment of unselfishness was enough to prevent me from becoming one with the Force, but I wasn't skilled enough to…well…gather myself either. I could see what was happening. I saw you…crying. I saw the guards coming to carry my body out. But I was not able to communicate with you or touch you or anything like that. I just was. "

    "That sounds much like attachment, Master?"

    "In a way it was, I guess, but it was also compassion and love. You see, I didn't stay because I couldn't bear the thought of leaving you, though it was much of that as well. My main concern in that single moment was not to leave you alone, not this time."

    Obi-Wan stroke his chin pensively.

    "i don't want to disrespect your studies or abilities, Master, but this sounds quite random to me. You stayed behind because in that moment you should have died because of a sudden spark of compassion in exactly the right time. Is that what you're trying to say?"

    "Pretty much that," Qui-Gon admitted.

    "It took me a while to begin to understand. I was merely floating around in the Force. I had my own consciousness, but as I said I couldn't communicate. After a while I realized that I shouldn't either. I was always somewhat thickheaded when I had got an idea. After a while I realized that I shouldn't communicate with you. Not then. You were doing perfectly fine on your own, and any attempt of doing so would just tear down what you had built up. Your relationship with Anakin improved, you became more certain of yourself and you continued to excel in whatever missions you were given. That was when I realized that I actually could be able to communicate with the living."

    Qui-Gon chuckled mischievously. "I do believe I managed to startle Master Yoda the first time I spoke to him. It may have been the greatest shock he'd had in some hundred years."

    Obi-Wan couldn't keep himself from laughing. It felt good. After the last weeks sorrow and misery the thought of a startled, wide eyed Yoda, simply was too much for him to handle."

    "I'm sorry Master…it was just the thought of Master Yoda startling," he managed to get out. "I didn't even think it was possible."

    "Believe me, it was," Qui-Gon sobered again. "That was when I also realized that I had truly let go of my selfish wish to speak to you just once more. From that time on I stayed nearby from time to time, but I never interfered. Not until Geonosis."

    "But why do you want to teach me this…uh…transition?" Obi-Wan asked incredulously,"And how can it even be done? It seems to me like you spent quite some time to figure this out."

    "Because the Force wills it," Qui-Gon answered calmly. "I don't know why, but it is important that this knowledge is given to you. And preferably in this life."

    Obi-Wan suddenly felt the Force flowing through him. It was a warm glow of acceptance, caressing his very soul, assuring him that this would be the path he had to follow. There was no knowledge of why or where he would need this new trait, nor how long he would have to practice before he could master it, but it would be needed in the future."

    "I heed your words, Master," the ancient formal acknowledgment floated over his lips as if he himself had nothing to say in the matter. He had accepted the training to come and he would willingly give his all to the demands of the Force, as he had always done. "I know this is the right thing to do, though I don't know why. But tell me, how do one train on passing into the force? It's not as I could test it and obviously you learned the way in your afterlife existence."

    "Hopefully that won't be necessary," Qui-Gon commented dryly. "My experience in that matter will have to do. I believe much can be achieved by extended meditations, and besides, you have a better starting point than I had. Being unselfish has always been natural for you."

    Obi-Wan blushed.

    "Master, I have not…"

    "Oh, but you have, and you were. You've always put others in front of yourself and you've never spared yourself on the cost of others, as I sometimes did. However, I believe you should take first things first, and finish your work here. It's not as if I'm going anywhere soon, and I believe it would be wise if you made this place somewhat more…inhabitable. A jedi craves nothing but a sleeping mat, a chair and a table wouldn't be excessive luxury, I think."
     
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  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful disclosures -- warm and insightful. =D=
     
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  21. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 9: The Empire's Shadow

    Dannar's Claim was a hole. During his many missions as a jedi knight and before that as padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi had seen all kinds of places. He had seen green, lush forests, he had seen dungeons and crowded cities. The ice caves on Illum was not unfamiliar to him and the lower levels of Coruscant was almost as familiar to him as his own lightsaber hilt. But this place was sheer nothingness. A few buildings made from something that resembled a mixture of duracrete and clay or sandstone made up most of the little settlement. On the contrary to the Lars' Homestead the houses of Dannar's Claim were built mostly on top of the dry soil, which somehow gave it a more town'ish look. Still there was nothing that resembled streets or a market place or anything else that could possibly be related to a society mostly inhabited by humans.

    Actually, there weren't many people to see either. Obi-Wan didn't like it a bit. Trying to keep a low profile was definitely less easy when you were the only man in the street, well non-street actually. He was far to visible for his own taste. Hopefully he looked less like General Kenobi and more like a desert rat coming in after a long journey through the Jundland Wastes, but still he was a bit concerned.

    Before leaving his cabin he had done his best to appear less jedi-like. The tabards were neatly tucked away inside the cave, he had removed his utility belt and the outer tunic was kept together only by a rope. The lightsaber was well hidden, but still within reach, in his right saddle bag. "Don't focus on your anxieties," he decided,"you've done all you can."

    The settlement's shop was constructed by two of the area's dome shaped buildings with an oblong midsection. The entrance proudly bore a sign with "Dannar's Claim". It was easy to see what have happened. Someone, probably one named Dannar, had once in a time decided that the Pika Oasis was a good place to start business, and then buildings had grown up around the shop until the place itself inherited the name. "Dannar must be proud of his work," Obi-Wan thought.

    "Nee chokaa," he ordered and Emphie knelt down obediently. "You stay here, girl," he warned her, "and prepare yourself for a heavy load on our way back home."

    Then he straightened his robe and entered the shop.

    The inside definitely looked better than the outside. A desk went in the longitudinal direction of the room, clearly serving as a counter for the sales area if one should judge from the contents in the shelves immediately behind the counter. It also had the honor of serving as a bar counter. A woman, apparently in her mid-thirties, stood behind the counter busying herself with cleaning the desk. Despite being old an worn the desk and the rest of the room seemed clean and tidy. She was obviously doing a good job with it.

    She looked up as he entered: "Good day."

    Obi-Wan nodded politely and answered the greeting. First obstacle had been overcome, he had not bowed as a jedi would.

    "How can I help you?" the woman asked.

    "Oh, I need to buy quite a lot of stuff," he answered. "I was hoping I could get some supplies here so I don't have to go all the way to Anchorhead."

    "Do you have a list of what you need? Then I'll see what we can do." The woman's answer was straightforward but not unfriendly.

    Obi-Wan handed her the small pad he had carried in his shoulder bag. "I think all of it should be there."

    The woman's eyes widened. "Oh, it looks as you're going to settle down in the neighborhood. This was some wish list."

    "I'm sorry," she added hastily, "it's none of my business, but can you carry all this stuff with you?"

    Obi-Wan nodded. "No, I can't," he stated while a shadow of a smile crossed his face, "but I have an eopie outside and I have good hopes that she will manage."

    A new surprised glance.

    "An eopie? We don't have many of those in the town. True enough, we are in the middle of nowhere out here, but we do have land speeders."

    "I prefer a living being. They need food and water, but at least I don't have to buy fuel for it. Besides, I have no need for moving fast. It's enough for me to be able to move more than a walking distance every once in a while."

    The woman nodded again. "Sounds like you're living in the outskirts. Well, let me see what I can find for you. A sleeping mat should be possible to find. Dried meat and vegetables as well. And tea? I'm not too sure about that, but I'll have a look in the warehouse."

    The woman disappeared into a room behind the counter, and Obi-Wan could hear her rummaging in shelves and drawers inside. Obviously she was doing a thorough job. For a moment he thought about following her and ask if he could help, but he rejected the idea. Better not to get involved in too much talking. She seemed to be prone to asking questions. Definitely not good. The lesser questions asked, the lesser answers to be made.

    A sound from the end of the counter caught his interest, and he took a couple of steps in that direction. The area was arranged as a small cafeteria. Eight tables with four chairs around each were placed haphazardly on the floor. In a corner stood a small holoscreen. "The entertainment is in place in this establishment," he thought dryly.

    The screen was showing a newscast. He could recognize the interior of the Senate building, but he didn't quite catch what the news was all about. Then the scene changed and the the Main Hall of the Senate came into view. The camera focused on the Chancellor's -no Emperor's- stand and the Emperor himself came into the view. Obi-Wan could feel his inner self freeze by the sight of that star forsaken traitor and he lost the first words of the Emperor's speech. Then his mind cleared and he was able to focus again: "…and thus I have assigned Lord Vader to the task of revealing the hidings of any remaining Jedi in the galaxy and put them into custody so they cannot pose any threat to our beloved Empire anymore. Lord Vader will have extended authorization to perform his task and he will also be responsible for the founding of a new guard, the Inquisitors, who will be of assistance to him in his formidable task."

    Obi-Wan shuddered by the words "extended authorization" being all to well able to fathom what those words would mean to a sith. It was not a pleasant thought. But… Lord Vader? Anakin? Anakin was dead, he had to be. No one could survive injuries like the ones he'd suffered at Mustafar. Could they? Could "The Chosen One"?

    Then the image on the holoscreen changed. The recordings of the Emperor disappeared and a projection of a dark figure came into view. It, whatever it was, was almost a head taller than a regular clone and totally dressed in black. The outfit seemed to be a mixture between a metallic and plastoid armor with a row of lights across the chest. It was definitely humanoid with two arms and two legs, but there the resemblance of a human being stopped. The face, it's face, whatever … was metallic, and seemed to be either a full covering mask or the being's face itself. The eyes were dark impenetrable prisms and it's snout seemed to be some kind of a breather mask. It's head was covered by a helmet covering the head and forehead, and prolonged in the back. A heavy black robe fell from it's shoulders, nearly touching the floor. And, which was even more disturbing than the apparition itself was the metal cylinder dangling from it's right hip. A lightsaber. Either the being was trained in the ways of the Sith, or it was force sensitive - most likely both. He could almost feel the darkness oozing from the figure on the screen. The Force itself seem to swivel in worry and concern. Yes, the being was most certainly force sensitive.

    "What in all the galaxy is that?" he muttered to himself.

    "Oh, there you are," a voice chimed in behind him, "…and to answer your last question: that is the Emperor's new little pet, Lord Vader. I reckon you've not been following the newscasts recently."

    Obi-Wan shook his head. "No, I have been traveling. The receiving conditions out there aren't very good." He waved his hand vaguely towards the desert.

    "What is that …thing? It seems more like a droid than a man from the front panel on it's chest and the face covering, but it was presented as a living being."

    The woman nodded: "Nobody seems to know. It, or he, was presented some weeks ago as Lord Vader, the new acolyte of the Emperor and the Emperor's right hand in matters that concern the safety of the Empire. Nobody seems to know where he's coming from or what he really is but it may just be a secret, not revealed in the news yet."

    Obi-Wan nodded in acceptance. "What was all that stuff about the Jedi?" he asked.

    "You must really have been out of reach for a period of time," the woman said incredulously. "The Jedi Order was terminated some weeks ago. It was revealed that they had planned to take over the government and that several of their leaders tried to kill the Chancellor in his own office. The rebellion was averted in the last moment and the Order dissolved. Some of the jedi seems to have taken refugee in the mid- and outer rim and the Emperor wants them brought in for justice to avoid attempts on another take over. In the battle trying to fight down the rebels, their Temple on Coruscant was destroyed."

    Obi-Wan clenched his jaw, desperately not commenting on the highly falsified recitation of the events. If there were any living jedi left somewhere out there, they would be in big trouble. That much was certain."

    "But what about this Vader guy?" he tried again.

    The woman shook her head. "As I said, nobody knows what he is or where he's coming from. He surely seems scary enough, but except the news informing about his existence and his mandate, there hasn't been much information released about him. For all I know he could be a well constructed droid."

    "And what about these…inquisitors?" Obi-Wan probed.

    "I don't have a clue," the woman shrugged. "I've never heard a word about them until now. If there are any jedi out there that needs to be captured, this Vader guy will obviously have trouble catching them on his own, so I guess he needs help to do that."

    "I'm sure he does," Obi-Wan said neutrally.

    "Well, I think I found most of the things on your list," the woman continued."It will be a heavy load for your eopie, but it should be manageable. Would you like to check it over, before you pay?"

    Obi-Wan nodded, and turned his back to the holoscreen.

    The woman had kept her promise. Most of the things he needed was there and the trade was closed.

    Soon he was on his way back home again. He really had much to ponder about.
     
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  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    The shop owner is an xcellent source of information and necessities :) Friendly too. @};-
     
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  23. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Vader feels like a poisonous thorn in his flesh already, even though Obi-Wan gives his best to play it down.
     
  24. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Thanks for commenting both of you [:D]
    She's friendly, but this will be her only contribution to the story (I think). I just needed some place for Obi-Wan to be able to see the news. Not much holonews in Jundland Wastes
    Vader is poisonous, but will he become worse? *moahhahahahah*

    *and then some back-to-back posting to get the next chapter out *
     
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  25. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 10: Transformation

    The journey back to his cave was took astonishingly much more time than it had done in the opposite direction. The eopie was quite heavily loaded with provisions and Obi-Wan found it best to walk beside the animal. It didn't help the matter that he went in deep thoughts.

    The dark figure from the holonews had clearly been called Lord Vader. So had Anakin in the last terrible recording from the Temple entrance. But Anakin was dead, wasn't he? Could anyone have survived losing three limbs and severe burns? What would they look like? What would they be? Could Anakin be the same being as the mysterious Lord Vader?

    Obviously a living being could survive terrible injuries with the right medical attention afterwards. General Grievous had been such. Before being transformed into the droid general he had been a living, breathing being too. Yes, it was definitely possible. After Rattatak he had been more dead than alive himself, and he had survived. With the right help, swiftly enough it could be done. He was sure of that.

    I felt the approach of the Chancellor just before we left Mustafar. He could have been close enough get to Anakin in time. No, not Anakin. Never Anakin. The boy I trained is gone. Yoda was right when he stated that. But where is he now? Has he joined the Force or has he been turned into this…abomination? The Vader presented in the news was taller than Anakin. Anakin was tall but not that much taller than the clones. But if the Chancellor, no…Emperor…blast it, the Sith Lord were able to rescue him, and he might have done just that, then he may have rebuilt him this way to look more intimidating. The legs could easily have been prolonged a bit. Yes, it could have been Anakin. And yet, I should have felt him. We were so close. I should have felt him if he still were alive. But I didn't feel him die either. I really should have felt that, no matter the distance. And the figure on the holonews was just an image, not the real person. Would the Sith have given another apprentice the name Vader if Anakin had died? No. He wouldn't. After Maul he took Dooku as his apprentice. After Dooku came Vader. There have always been new names. Force forbid, this figure must be Vader.

    A sudden queasiness flooded him as a wave, and he felt almost dizzy when thinking about the consequences of such.

    If the mysterious figure actually was what was left of his former padawan, what would happen next? Anakin, no Vader for stars' sake, Vader would certainly know by now that Padmé was gone. What would be his next move? Would he suspect that she had given birth before she died? Would anyone have told it? After all Polis Massa was no deserted outpost. Someone might have seen them arrive and heard about the birth. If so, would Ana…no, Vader, know that two children had been born that day. And even more important, would he go searching for them and if so, where?

    Anakin really despised this place, not only because of his childhood but also because of his mother's death. Would he come to look for the Lars' just in case? If so, would he believe that Luke was their son? Probably not. He would feel the boy''s force signature and realize the truth. Will I have the strength to kill him if he appears. Will I have the ability? I defeated him at Mustafar, but I'm not sure if I can do that once more. He simply must not come here. And what about Leia? Bail and Breha Organa are much more public persons than the Lars' . Anakin wasn't overly interested in Bail after our visit to Zigoola, so he may not know that they cannot have children on their own. Bail told me, but for sure, I never told Anakin afterwards. That wouldn't have been…ethical. But did Padmé know? And if so, did she tell him? Much is dependent of this, but there is no way I can learn the truth about that. I simply just have to wait and see.

    It was late in the evening when Obi-Wan finally reached his home. The eopie was relieved of its burdens and Obi-Wan begun the grueling exercise of carrying the goods up the stairs to the cabin. When letting the first load fall to the ground inside he saw a bluish flicker in the corner of the room, and for a terrifying moment he thought: "Vader". "So much for watching too much holonews," he admonished himself as the blue light transformed into the well known figure of Qui-Gon Jinn.

    "Your shopping adventure was successful, I see," came the sardonic comment from his Master. "You never did this much shopping at Coruscant."

    "I never had to," Obi-Wan answered dryly, "besides, I have two more loads to carry up the stairs. Too bad you can't help me in your current state, Master."

    An elegant brow was lifted over Qui-Gon's clear blue eyes: "A bit grumpy, today, Padawan? Are we not?"

    "Not grumpy," Obi-Wan retorted."More like shellshocked. I'll tell you about it when I have got all the goods up here."

    Qui-Gon nodded silently.

    2/3 eopie loads of goods later Obi-Wan sat down on his recently acquired sleeping mat and told Qui-Gon all about his musings after seeing the holonews.

    "Do you believe that machine-man really is…was…Anakin?" he asked his former master.

    "How could I tell? You know him better than me. Couldn't you feel anything in the Force? "

    Obi-Wan shook his head. "No, nothing there, but what I saw in the news was only an image. I'm not sure I would have felt anything in the Force because of that."

    "By now I have taught you some extended meditation techniques," Qui-Gon said pensively, "you could possibly try to stretch out through the Force and try to reach this Vader. If he is your former apprentice you should be able to recognize him."

    "But he knows me, just as well as I know him," Obi-Wan interjected. "Don't you think there is a danger that he could recognize me as well, and come after me. I'm not worried on behalf of myself, but we cannot risk him finding Luke. Or Leia."

    "There is always a danger," Qui-Gon agreed,"but if he is searching for either of you, knowing about it would give you an advantage, and if not it would give you some peace of mind. At least for the moment being."

    "I'll give it a try," said Obi-Wan, and added: "I know, I know. There is no try. Do or do not. I'll do it."

    He sat down and sunk gradually into the deep meditative state he had been taught through the last weeks.

    The Force feels like water, sometimes it's calm and quiet, other times it is like a stormy ocean and sometimes again it flows in soft and sharpened eddies like a wide river or a small stream. But it is always in motion. Floating, floating from the still surface, deeper, always deeper to the layers where the undercurrents flow. See what cannot be seen with human eyes. Feel the depth of emotions and sense the life around you. Focus, yet let go. Let go of everything, fear, happiness, despair, let it all go and follow the currents.

    The flow is calming, caring away. Far away. Emptiness, more emptiness and then a focal point. Another mind long forgotten and lost, and yet only a few standard days ago. Or so it feels. What is a few weeks in the calendar of eternity? In a companionship lasting for more than a decade?

    The focal point is glimmering, not with the brightness of the Force, but with an all consuming darkness, and yet the darkness is glimmering like an invert shadow of what used to be a bright mind, unsullied by the darkness.

    Deeper, go deeper. Reach for it, and let it go - all in the same time.

    Pain, incredible pain. Not the physical pain coming with extended injuries but mental pain, loss, anger, sorrow. The loss of missing a loved one, like the sun has suddenly been extinguished. Nothing left, nothing. Nothing to live for, yet a feeling of …not being able to let go. Anger. Why did she leave me? She should have followed me… I failed her. I failed them! No, not me. She, they, left me. All that is left is this existence that I have now. If it weren't for the Chancellor I would have nothing left. I don't even have me left. Kill them, kill them all. The Jedi kept me down, they kept me from my wife for all those years. At least we could have had each other for a longer time if it hadn't been for them. As long as there is a chance that there may be anyone left alive in the galaxy, I will hunt them down and get rid of them once and for all. And most of all him. My Master. The one that betrayed me in the end. The one that let my wife die. He's out there somewhere. He must be, and I shall find him.

    Obi-Wan withdrew abruptly from the deep meditative trance. Cold sweat was dripping off of his brow and mixed with the tears rolling down his cheeks and his mouth felt dry as if he had been screaming. He knew he hadn't. A scream like that would have woke up any sleeping krayt in a radius of three klicks. He was panting as if he had been forced to run, escaping from said krayt dragons. Yet he was still sitting on his sleeping mat.

    Qui-Gon's apparition watched him with more than a little concern in his eyes.

    "It was him. Anakin. Or what's left of him inside that terrible Vader figure. I felt him. He's so sad, so full of despair and rage. All the things I taught him to release, and then some more. He's missing her, missing Padmé so much. And he hates me even more for taking her away from him. Because that's how the truth appears in his twisted mind."

    "I'm glad you realize that it has nothing to do with you," Qui-Gon said quietly.

    "Hasn't it now?" Obi-Wan's voice was on the edge of pure sarcasm,"I'd say it has everything to do with me. If I had been there for him when he needed me, needed someone, it might not have come to this. But so be it. It's too late for me to make amends for that now. The important thing is, he doesn't know about the children. He's so focused on hatred and loss that he doesn't even think about his children. He must believe they died with her."

    "However, from the holonews and from what I could sense through the meditation, there still must be some Jedi alive in the galaxy."
     
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