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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. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb musings and wow! What a roiling tumble of emotions from Vader. I can understand how Kenobi feels responsible, but I cannot see how /when he could've stopped what occurred unless they realized the Sithly influence waaaay sooner than they did. [face_thinking]
     
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  2. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 11: Anybody Out There?

    As soon as the words had been said there was no way back, at least not for the thoughts. Could there really be any surviving Jedi out there? The clones had done a thorough job when turning to follow Order 66, but yet… They were good, but not invincible. It was actually possible that there could be some survivors.

    "What are you thinking? I know that look on your face." Qui-Gon watched his former padawan with some concern.

    "I…no, I don't…it's just… What if there really are survivors?" Obi-Wan's voice was hoarse and strained. "Can they survive on their own? Is it possible that some of them could even find each other? How many could there be, if there really are any? Master Yoda survived with help from the Wookiees. I survived thanks to Boga. There could actually be some. Mace, Kit and Saesee went to see Palpatine. As far as we know they never came back so he must have killed them, but there could definitely be others. Depa was on a mission in the outer rim with her Padawan Caleb Dume when all hell broke loose. They were both good fighters and strong in the Force. She may have survived. Plo was leading a campaign by Cato Neimoidia. I didn't hear anything about that, but there was so little time."

    He stopped talking and sighed audible.

    It was not likely there were many survivors, but yet… Would it be fair to abandon them without any attempt of searching? After all he had been a member of the High Council and didn't that give him certain obligations? But what could he do?

    I came here by my own free will, and I promised to stay and protect Luke until he's grown enough to learn the ways of the Force, but that lays far ahead in the future. I cannot feel any immediate danger related to him. I could go searching, just once, to see if I possibly could find any surviving Jedi. But if so, where can I hide them? Where can they be safe? I must not lead them here, that would certainly not be wise. Alderaan is out of speech as well. The attention must not be drawn to that planet either. It's bad enough with Bail Organa being a senator well known for his reluctant support to the Chancellor, well Emperor it is by now.

    Qui-Gon had stayed calm and silent in a corner of the room, but as Obi-Wan emerged from the obviously deep thoughts he spoke: "Well, your conclusion is…?"

    "There is no conclusion," Obi-Wan retorted, more sharply than he'd intended to,"more confusion, actually. But I do feel that there may be more survivors out there."

    "…and you want to go out there, rescuing them," Qui-Gon added.

    "Well, yes. Er…no. I don't know if I should, or even if I could. Force, I don't even know if anyone needs rescuing. I'm stuck here, How could I possibly go out there wherever 'there' is to look for them? I don't have a ship, and I really don't think it would be wise using public transport more than necessary. Whatever I do, I don't want Palpatine to know about my whereabouts, and more important I don't want to lead neither him nor his troopers in this direction. I don't even have money so I could buy a ship, even if I had the possibility. "

    Qui-Gon nodded thoughtfully.

    "No, transport would definitely be a problem," he agreed solemnly, "you don't get far with that eopie of yours."

    "Should I really go, Master?" the question and the nearly pleading voice made Qui-Gon almost smile. It reminded him way too much of the wide eyed, young boy who had become his apprentice so many years ago.

    He didn't catch the bait. Instead a twinkle occurred in the cobalt blue eyes.

    "You are, I believe, a full fledged Jedi Knight, a Master of the Jedi Order and also a member of the High Jedi Council. I should believe you were able to make your own decisions by now. But, since you're asking me…I think you should meditate upon the question, and continue your training here. I'm sure if the Force wills you to leave in a quest for fellow Jedi, a solution will present itself in due time."

    Obi-Wan bowed his head slightly: "Yes, Master."

    ………..

    The following weeks continued in the same way as the preceding, with some exceptions. Obi-Wan had finished working on his cabin. It had become an, under the circumstances, comfortable home. He had never been an early bird but he chose to get up in the morning before the heat of the day set in. Higher up in the mountain, not very far from the hut, he had found a rather wide plateau and in the early morning hours he practiced every kata he'd ever learned in the Temple. It wasn't exactly as good as a real sparring match, but it was the best he could do. Over the years he had changed his style from the rather agile and physical demanding style of Ataru to the more careful and defensive art of Soresu. In these self-imposed training sessions he decided to aim for honing his skills in the other styles as well. The training posed both as physical exercise, moving meditations and improving his abilities in combat. If the circumstances hadn't been so horrible, he could actually have enjoyed this lifestyle.

    When the heat became too intense to continue the physical exercises, he returned to the cave. It held an, if not perfect, comfortable temperature through the day, and after a light morning meal he spent hours in the deep meditation Qui-Gon had taught him.

    Some days he chose to roam the terrain surrounding his home. Knowing the landscape and the area well could some day come in handy. It was on one of these excursions he discovered the caves. He had chosen to explore the canyon from where the stairs to his cabin lead, and he soon discovered that a klick or so further in from the Dune Sea it widened into something that actually resembled a plain. But even more important, the surrounding mountain sides were perforated with great and small caves, probably formed in a distant past when a river had been flowing through the canyon. Some of the caves were actually big enough to be the home of a krayt dragon, even though no signs of such were to be seen. He spent some time exploring the caves and realized that even though most of them were rather shallow and not very interesting, there were also a few rather huge caves that opened up into large halls with fairly smooth walls and a curved, nearly domed, ceiling.

    From time to time he saw traces after other living beings, but it didn't seem like the Tuskens frequently came this far into the mountains. That was a relief. He didn't worry about the sand people per se, but he'd rather avoid any confrontations with them as long as possible. The visions about Anakin's slaughter of the Tusken village's inhabitants was still a raw, hurting spot in his mind.

    No, he most certainly wouldn't like to be engaged in a fight with the sand people. They had been harmed enough.

    The evenings were spent in company with Qui-Gon, often in amicable silence. It was, actually, quite weird to spend the evenings with his long ago deceased master, but it was also of great comfort. During all those years after Qui-Gon's death on Naboo, he had never stopped missing his Master, even though he had come to terms with the situation.

    "So much for 'attachments forbidden' " he thought. "I really don't live as I preached."

    The haunting dreams about Anakin appeared more seldom, and gradually he transformed from the heartbroken and nearly depressed being he had been when he established himself in the cabin. The sorrow and regret over things that had been and things he could have done differently still overwhelmed him once in a while, but slowly he began to resemble his old self, the calm and quiet Master Kenobi.

    He welcomed the transition, but with the increased self confidence the nagging thought of the possible other survivors from Order 66 increased in intensity as well.

    And one afternoon the predicted solution presented itself.
     
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent questions about survivors and reasonable ones too. Like the details about Kenobi's daily routine and gradual finding of serenity and...a solution.
     
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  4. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Thanks @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha . The desert definitely calls for contemplation for our poor hero, but from the following chapter there will be some more action. Watch out for my dreaded lightsaber duel! [face_nail_biting]It was a nightmare to write.

    back-to-back post coming up.
     
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  5. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 12: A Solution Will Present Itself

    A solution to Obi-Wan's problem appeared after one of his excursions in the close vicinity and it did so in a less than favorable manner. It came from the sky.

    He was on his way home from a day long hike in the mountains. He had found it wise to explore this area as well. He knew there were krayt dragons somewhere in the area, because he had heard their growls and screams throughout the nights, but he did not know where exactly they had their caves. He had decided it would be good to know, at least so he could avoid walking into the area without knowing.

    He had found their home, a rather wide valley higher up in the mountains. Obviously they were resting in their caves during daytime,but he had seen the tip of an enormous tail stick out of one cave and he assumed there had to be more than one inhabitant.

    "Better leave the neighbors in peace," he thought, and made a quiet retreat back the way he had come.

    The white blazing heat of the day had lost for a more golden evening glow when he approached his little home. He was on his way descending the last steep mountainside when he first saw it. At first it was only a glow, a small moon on the sky shining with a whiter light than evening glow from the suns. Then it increased in size.

    Obi-Wan jumped quickly down the rest of the mountain side, eager to find shelter in-between the rocks before the pilot of the spacecraft could see him sitting there, as clearly visible as a fly on the wall. A slightly force controlled landing later and he was hidden behind the rocks.

    "I definitely don't want to be seen here," he thought. "The 'someone' up there may start asking questions."

    Either 'someone' had actually seen him or the same 'someone' was in trouble. The sleek starship appeared to be a pursuit craft of the Lancer Class if he wasn't totally mistaken. A slight shiver ran through his body. "I have no idea what this means, but I have a bad feeling about this," he mused. "There aren't any reasons for a single ship of that class to come here. They usually operate in the mid-rim so what the blazes is it doing out here?"

    He decided to move down to the desert, if the mysterious someone actually landed and appeared in person he definitely didn't want them to find their way into the mountains. The ship swept gracefully over the desert landscape, turned 180 degrees and came back again. Then it slowly went in for landing.

    "Uh-oh, not good."

    As soon as the ship stood steadily on the ground the hatch opened and the conclusion 'not good' suddenly got a deeper meaning. Thought the swirling sands two slim legs appeared, followed by a similarly slim but muscular torso. Obi-Wan felt a chill run through his body. He could feel the ice-cold hatred emanating from the being within. This was definitely not good at all. His worries were confirmed as soon as the last part of the figure could be seen beneath the vessel's hull.

    High, elegant cheekbones, Ice-blue eyes slightly narrowed towards the sunlight. Bald head and dark tattoos decorating the lower part of the face, stretching from the angle of the mouth towards the chin.

    Asajj Ventress.

    Of all the persons he had not expected to see, she was on top of his list. He had been so certain that she was dead on Christophsis, but obviously the rumors had been false. She was very much alive, and he didn't like it a bit.

    What in all the blazes is she doing here? Is she looking for me, and if so, who else knows or suspects that I'm here? Is she alone? I cannot reveal myself to her, but in case she decides to explore the mountains I have no choice. I cannot let her find my cabin, she would know that it's me in a blink. We know each other too well. If it comes to that, I will have to kill her. If she recognizes me, she cannot be allowed to leave Tatooine. There's too much on stake for that.

    Obi-Wan ducked with a heartfelt hope that Ventress wouldn't sense him. The hope was, as he had suspected, in vain. She stood completely still, like a hunting predator. Then she resolutely began to walk towards the place he was hiding. "Blast it!" he thought.

    "Step forward," the voice was just as sharp and cold as he remembered. "Step forward. I know you're there."

    The thoughts flew through his mind in a moment, stay or step forward. Hide or fight? He wished for the first, but then he felt a trickle in the Force encouraging him to step forward. Slowly he stood up and took some steps to meet her on open ground.

    "Kenobi, my darling. If I had known earlier that you had settled in such a miserable place, I would have come sooner." Her voice was just as taunting as he remembered.

    "My dear," he answered calmly, "you have not been sorely missed."

    "Since we're now happily reunited I would be glad to once again invite you to be my guest in my -ah- particular guest suite in my castle."

    Obi-Wan bowed slightly, not moving the glance from her movements for a second.

    "Sadly, I have to decline your kind offer. As I remember all to well the hospitality was aligned with the comfort of your guest room, rather non-existing, actually. The menu was also less than favorable according to my taste."

    They both silenced for a moment.

    "I should have known that if there was one Jedi who had survived the Emperor's plan, it would have been you, Kenobi. I'm sorry to say that if you really decline my offer of…relocation, I have to convince you otherwise."

    Obi-Wan sighed: "As persistent as ever, I see. I'm sorry. You should never have come here, but since you already have, I have little choice. I prefer the calmness out here in the more rural areas and your so-called relocation is not an option. However, I do not trust your discretion in this matter so I cannot let you leave."

    Her eyes narrowed. "Are you threatening me? It is not very Jedi like."

    "Not threatening, merely informing," he retorted calmly, posing his body in the opening stance for the Soresu defense. He really didn't want to attack first, but on the other hand he were under no illusions that she wouldn't attack. He could already see the anger sparking in her eyes. It wouldn't be long now.

    "So be it, if you don't want to accept my invitation, I have to…encourage you to do so."

    A humming tune could be heard as one lightsaber ignited, then another. Two red rays of light shone bright in the evening sun. Obi-Wan unclipped his own saber from the utility belt, and it sparkled to life as he lifted it in the traditional Soresu salute before lifting his elbow to take the opening stance.

    Ventress 'sabers gleamed through the air, forming swift shapes of red lightening. The attack was aggressive, too aggressive for the usually elegant Makashi style, but potentially deadly. Ventress was not an opponent to be taken lightly upon. Obi-Wan blocked and stepped out of the way for the other saber. The duel had begun.

    Ventress was a skilled fighter, and he soon realized that she had developed even more honed skills since their last duel. Makashi was originally invented to be a defense form, to some extent as Soresu, but she had developed it into a more aggressive style, attacking rapidly with first one 'saber then the other one. Obi-Wan twisted and turned, fully occupied with either avoiding or blocking the strokes. Sparks flew as he retreated a step and blocked both Ventress' lightsabers with an upward arc shaped stroke. A lightening quick left hand stab made her lightsaber almost touch his ribs. Obi-Wan barely evaded the stab, stepping aside and sweeping it off with a quick movement towards it. Ventress span almost in a full circle, this time attacking towards his neck. Another block. Blue lightsaber sparked against deadly red.

    "You're weak Kenobi. Surrender and I will grant you an easy death." Her voice was dripping with malice.

    Obi-Wan retreated two more steps. Then he attacked. His lightsaber was a whirl of blue light and for a while Ventress had a hard time blocking and evading the blue fire. This time it was her turn to step back. Obi-Wan could feel her frustration growing.

    She advanced again, turning to a strategy where she swept towards his arms and neck with her right 'saber, then towards his waist with the left. Quick, short strokes in an incredible speed. Obi-Wan blocked again and spun out of reach from her left hand stroke. Again and again.

    "You must do better than that, my dear," he taunted. "Your style still lacks some finesse."

    A new series of attacks followed. Parry, retreat, block. Spin, block, duck. Then she stumbled. The loose sand made her lose her footings for a tiny moment and she almost fell, but again she regained her balance before he could strike her down. However, it gave him the time he needed for diving deeper into the force, where time ceased to exist and only the kaleidoscope of blue and red could be seen. His body felt light as a feather.

    Parry, block, strike.

    Her attacks became more intense and he realized that she was luring him into a trap, a trap created by the settling twin suns. A few more strokes and parries and he would be facing the suns. It would definitely give him a disadvantage. Well, so be it. The Force didn't give him any warnings so he followed her lead.

    Parry, block, evade.

    Two more sets of frantic attacks from Ventress' side and he was almost facing the suns. The deadly dance continued. Then he felt a nudge from the Force: "Now!" The suns were almost reaching the horizon, and he had slowly gotten used to the almost blinding light. Then he realized. He had slowly been forced into a position where he faced the suns while she had them in the back. But what if situation literally turned? She would be totally blinded for a moment. He just had to swap their positions. Quickly. So she couldn't adapt to the change of light.

    Ataru!

    The most acrobatic of the seven lightsaber combat forms had been his favorite in his youth, but with time he had perfected the more restrained form III, Soresu. In all his combats with Ventress, Soresu had been his preferred form. Now was the time to change that. For a brief moment he drew the Force to him, felt it whirl through him and fill his entire body with the well known strength. He leapt. He somersaulted easily over her head and as soon as his feet touched the ground he crouched and turned a full 180 degree turn. Ventress turned around and was momentarily blinded by the settling suns. It lasted only for a moment, but the moment was long enough. Obi-Wan's lightsaber found it's target. A quick stab and the 'saber slid under her right arm and pierced her chest, burning through rib and veins, grazed her heart and finally penetrated her lungs. For a moment she stood still. The shock was visible in her eyes. Her lightsabers fell from her hands and landed softly in the sand. Then her knees buckled and she collapsed.

    Obi-Wan shut down his lightsaber, and knelt beside her. She was still alive but it wouldn't last for long. A deep sadness for a life lost filled him, and he touched her cheek. Ice-blue eyes already dim by the approaching death met his.

    "You…won." Her voice was hardly audible.

    "I'm sorry," he said sincerely, "I didn't want it to end like this."

    Her eyes closed for a moment, then opened again:"If it had to be…this way….I'm glad it was you…"

    He swallowed hard.

    "Hold…me," her voice barely a whisper now.

    He bent down and gently put an arm behind her neck, lifted her torso, holding her towards his chest. The blue eyes met his one last time: "I'm…sorry."

    Then her head fell back and through the Force he could feel her spirit leaving her, leaving only crude matter behind.

    "I forgive you." He knew she couldn't hear him anymore, but he needed to tell her nonetheless.

    He laid the dead body down in the sand and rose slowly. What should he do now? A dead woman on the sand. Well, the desert itself would take care of that, but there was also the ship, the "Banshee". That would not be hidden so easily. And he couldn't by any means leave it behind in the desert either. It would be too visible, and surely attract unwanted guests.

    No, that was definitely not an option.

    Actually neither were.

    He couldn't leave her like this.

    She had been his enemy through so many years. She had nearly killed him in that damned cell on Rattatak and numerous times before that they had battled. Still, he had somehow admired her. Not for the cruelty and violence, but for her stubborn spirit and for her determination to not give in. Ever. No matter the circumstances. And she had said she was sorry. Finally. In that single moment he had not felt any darkness from her. She had died in the light, as a jedi should. No, he would bury her like a jedi. He just had to find a place where he could lit her funeral pyre without it being visible from the Claim.

    The valley with the caves. He was almost certain that the ship could be hidden in one of the largest caves. A bypassed would see it easily enough, but there weren't many of those in the mountains and a krayt would hardly mind. The most important thing was that it would be hidden from the air. Besides, the valley would provide enough vegetation to build a decent pyre.

    A few minutes later he entered the cockpit of the ship with Ventress' dead body lying on the floor in the cabin behind the cockpit area. The ship took of and headed into the mountains.

    He had been right. The largest cave was more than big enough for the sleek craft. He thought of flying it in but had his doubts whether he could stop quickly enough, so instead he put it down right in front of the cave and used the Force to move it. It took all he had and then some, but he managed. "Size matters!" he mumbled between clenched teeth.

    It took him even more time to gather enough branches and debris to build the pyre, but finally he had gathered a decent amount of branches and twigs. He arranged Ventress dead body on top of it with her hands neatly folded over her ribcage, one of her lightsabers in her hand. Pensively he looked at the other 'saber. It didn't feel right to put it there too. No, the Force urged him to leave it be so he laid it carefully on the ground. Then he lit the pyre with his own lightsaber.

    "You were born a child of the light, but you never got the chance to develop in that direction. Instead you suffered losses that no child should have to bear and the darkness almost consumed you. Still you never gave up fighting, and in the end you realized that there were still light in you. Be at peace, Asajj Ventress, and may you achieve the peace in the Force that you never found in your life."

    It took hours before the last embers of the pyre died and the plains were once more dark and quiet.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Intense battle of words and sabers =D= followed by a sweet and moving tribute. Very much in Kenobi's character @};-
     
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  7. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    @CaraJinn - I hereby present you with the Azure Angel Award for Making Us Actually Care About A Baddie.

    Legit almost crying when Ventress died. Like what even?
     
  8. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    I hope the battle of sabers were at least a bit intense... It was my first attempt on writing a duel and I really realized "I have no clue. How do other writers make it seem so easy??? ^:)^ "
    [face_tee_hee] Mission accomplished. That part almost wrote itself.

    And the entire thing began with: "How on earth (or rather Tatooine ) can Obi-Wan get some off-world transport? "[face_thinking]
     
  9. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 13: Decisions to be Made

    Obi-Wan climbed slowly up the stairs to the hut. It had been an eventful evening and night to say the least, and he felt drained. The appearance of Ventress, the fight and then the funeral was far more than he had expected when he left his home in the morning, and the events had shattered him in more than one way. Had she been hunting him and found him so easily, or was her presence a mere coincidence? If she really had been searching for him, how many others, and who, suspected he was still alive. The thought of whom that might be was not comforting.

    Bone tired he sat down on his self constructed sleep couch an pulled off his boots. He had been able to collect some of the water that trickled down behind his desk and decided to spend some of it to clean up. Somehow he felt dirty. As much as he had loathed Ventress he had also pitied her, and being the one to kill her had taken it's toll on him.

    Sweat and sand were washed off and he went to bed, but sleep wouldn't find him easily. He had a ship now and if needed be he could leave the planet. And hopefully return too. The memory of the holonews was constantly pulling and prodding on his mind. There might be other out there that had survived the purge. How could he sit here, relatively safe, if some of his own could use his help out there? He surely hadn't planned to leave Tatooine for some foolhardy self-imposed mission but… could he really stay and do nothing? And even more important, would he?

    It didn't feel good. Not at all.

    Eventually he fell into a restless sleep.

    Morning came and he felt almost as tired as he would have if he hadn't slept at all, which was uncomfortably close to the truth. He got up and went outdoor to perform his morning meditation.

    The Force swirled around him in the well known eddies. Pure, calm, quiet, flowing through him and soothing his mind. He sank deeper into it's currents. He felt like he was hovering above himself, united with the rocky landscape around him, stretching out feeling the inhabitants of the Claim waking to life. Further out a child was laughing. Luke. He was safe, at least for the moment. The currents carried him out. He felt the pain of other sentient beings, calmness, still forests on remote planets. Then something nudged his mind. Someone stretching out from across the galaxy. A familiar presence of something he had felt his entire life, the presence of another, no more jedi. Alone, wary, on the run. Yes, someone was still alive out there.

    He broke the mediation and blinked towards the suns. They were rising fast on the sky.

    The simple breakfast was quickly consumed and he poured himself another mug of tea and went outdoors again. The flat boulder he used to sit on was still in shadow. Pensively he sipped it. A blue flicker in the door appeared and Qui-Gon's form materialized slowly. He was somewhat more difficult to see out in open daylight, but it was still possible.

    "You look tired, padawan?"

    "I am." Obi-Wan retold last evening's events quickly.

    "Hmm, I see your point. There may be more Jedi alive out there. It's fully possible that some escaped the clones and if Vader is hunting them down they may need help."

    Obi-Wan nodded.

    "If I choose to go, where should I go?" he sighed. "The galaxy is vaste and we were widely spread. I have no idea where potential survivors may be."

    Qui-Gon stroke his bearded chin. "Where would be the most reasonable place to go for anyone being nearly killed by the clone troopers?"

    The question was apparently rhetoric because the answer was obvious: "The Temple, of course. I set up a warning, but if someone were on their way before I changed the message, they may very well have been in hyperspace and not noticing the change of the recording. But that wouldn't help much. The Temple is a pile of ruins, right now. Parts of it were still standing when I was there but, I assume the Emperor have had it demolished even more."

    "Assume nothing, my friend," came Qui-Gon's answer.

    "So, you think I should go to the Temple."

    "I didn't say that. There may be other places that turn out to be more effective places to search," was Qui-Gon's cryptic reply.

    Obi-Wan pondered the comment.

    "You are right. The Temple itself may be too dangerous, but there are other places. I wonder if Dex has managed to keep his place open. His relationship with the jedi was well known, but on the other hand they may have let him continue the business hoping that ignorant survivors would turn up there. Coming there could be a trap as good as any."

    "You always were an excellent bait, Obi-Wan." Qui-Gin's eyes shone with amusement.

    "That I was, but back then I always had backup, either you or later Anakin. I'm not sure if I like the idea of walking into a trap without someone holding my back."

    They both silenced for a while.

    "But there are someone out there. I just know it. And I believe I need to find them, or at least some of them. I promised to stay here and follow your teachings, Master, but it feels important that I should go. And I believe Luke and his family is safe, at least for the time being."

    "You can still come back to my teachings," Qui-Gon answered drily. "It's not like I'm going to die until you're back… And I believe you are right. It's imperative that you go seeking for the 'someone' or 'someones' out there. I can feel it too. Under the circumstances I believe even Master Yoda would accept the change of plans."

    Obi-Wan agreed. "I'll stay for a couple of days more to see if something else is happening here. If Ventress wasn't alone someone should turn up rather soon. If everything stays quiet, I'll take Ventress' ship to Coruscant and see if I can find Dex."

    "Are you sure? Wouldn't the ship be too easily recognized there?"

    "Good point. I guess it would. She may have been there more than once, and I must admit I cannot pass as her. I refuse to shave my head to try to be a Ventress' lookalike."

    Qui-Gon snorted: "It wouldn't help anyway. I presume that this Ventress person didn't have a beard."



    Chapter 14: Always on the Move

    The following days were busy with meditation, lightsaber exercises and thinking. For some reason the Force urged Obi-Wan to go to the Temple but how could he get there without being caught by the troopers? Or Vader? It was almost 100% certain that the Temple, or rather Temple ruins now, was under strong surveillance by the empire and so were the spaceports. He assumed that flying 'Banshee' there would be equivalent to marching straight into the krayt's den. Not an option.

    He could probably go to Alderaan, but again, his ship might possibly draw the attention to the planet which would not be good under the circumstances. Keeping Leia safe was as important as keeping Luke safe, and a Jedi flying the ship of a well known Sith apprentice there wouldn't be a good thing.

    Eventually Nar Shaddaa became his choice. His arrival on the smugglers' moon would probably go quite unnoticed as long as they didn't recognize him as jedi. Money would be the problem, but if he could use his meagre reserves as a deposit for having the ship there he could take a public transport to Coruscant and as soon as he had managed to break into the Temple he could possibly access some of the values from the Temple vault so he could pay the full fee when he needed the ship again. If he came back. The thought was disturbing in many ways but he couldn't think of a better solution so he stuck with that.

    However, public transport to Coruscant would be a problem. He could easily be recognized there, but he could use Alderaan as an intermediate stop. He assumed he could get in touch with the Organa family and hide in one of their transports to Coruscant. Yes, that was definitely a possibility.

    The next morning he set off. The 'Banshee' was still safely hidden in the cave where he had left it and when he started the engines the response was immediate. Ventress had kept her ship in excellent condition. Soon he was on his way into orbit and coordinates were set for Nar Shaddaa via a zig-zag route sending him in various directions through hyperspace before his final destination was entered. Better safe than sorry in case someone saw the departure.

    The travel was unexpectedly uneventful. He arrived Nar Shaddaa without any encounters with the empire. Before landing he made an improvised disguise. The tabards and utility belt had to go, and were safely tucked away in a satchel. A bandana he found was tied around his brow and he had already let his beard grow for the last week. It wouldn't hold any close inspection but at least it didn't scream 'Jedi' all over the place. Still his pulse was a bit higher than normal when he left the ship.

    The spaceport officer was a grumpy Toydarian. It took a while convincing him that leaving the ship for a couple of weeks would actually be beneficial for him when Obi-Wan returned, but after long discussions and a payment that took almost all Obi-Wan's remaining fundings he grumpily agreed to keep the ship in a corner of the docking area.

    "If I haven't returned within one full moon, it will be all yours," Obi-Wan promised. "Then I will most likely not need it anyway."

    ….

    It took him almost a day finding a cargo ship that would fit his needs. He needed one with a cargo that would have a minimum of heating, and some air circulation too. Freezing or suffocating to death in space was not a part of his plan. Secondly he needed a pilot that was not resistant to mind tricks, just in case. Luck was with him again. He finally found a Corellian freighter heading for Alderaan, and the craft even had a Nikto pilot.

    "As good as it gets," he concluded.

    The ship was almost full loaded when he snuck out of his hiding, grabbed a box and began to shove it towards the ship. The pilot looked at him, suspiciously.

    "Who are you? You're not one of the ordinary dockers, and definitely not one of the ground crew either," he demanded to know.

    "I'm one of the special crew for this cargo. You will let me pass," Obi-Wan instructed, letting the force enhanced command flow towards the pilot. He could see the pilots eyes turning into a more distant look.

    "You are allowed to pass," he agreed.

    Obi-Wan shoved the crate up the loading ramp and into the cargo hold, put it neatly aside before he opened a corner and pulled out his satchel. Then he quickly disappeared behind a huge crate in the inner corner of the room.

    …..

    Alderaan was a peaceful planet and as such disembarking the ship went quickly. The control of arriving passengers was brief and Obi-Wan blended in with a group coming from a large passenger ship almost simultaneously as the craft he had lent arrived. He knew that the Organa family owned a castle just outside the capital, Aldera. He just hoped that Queen Breha would be there and not residing in any of the family's other properties. He decided to walk there by foot. He really needed some exercise and fresh air after too many hours spent in space. Once again he was lucky. The old castle resided on a hill just outside the city and from a distance he could see the Organa family's banner flutter over the castle roof. At least someone from the royal family had to be home.

    He hadn't made any plans of how to access the castle. It was clear to him that he couldn't just walk in the door and ask for audience. He was certain that the Organas wouldn't betray him, but there could be others. He'd better be careful from now on.

    The castle was surrounded by a high wall and even though the gates were open at this time of day two guards were posing outside the gate. No entrance there, obviously. He wouldn't risk attempting a mind trick on those. He had a feeling that none who were serving Bail Organa and his family would be simpleminded beings. No, he had to try other and more straight forward methods. He went briskly by the castle gates and as soon he was out of sight he leapt into the forest surrounding the castle. He'd better check if there were any places where the wall actually could be climbed.

    The problem was the surveillance. There had to be some, and he didn't know the tiniest bit about how it worked. He had to assume there would be security cameras all over the place, but what else? The wall seemed to be solid enough but could there be some shield on top of it? Or power cables?

    Carefully he continued around the castle's walls searching for anything that possibly could help him inside without being detected. Most likely there would be surveillance cameras and detectors outside the walls as well.

    As ever so often before the solution presented itself, this time in the shape of a cliff. It was a part of a steep hill behind the castle and it was definitely so far away from the wall that a normal being wouldn't dare to jump. But in that respect a jedi master couldn't be considered as 'normal'. It would require all the force enhancement he could put into the jump, but he could manage it. He would manage it. Resolutely he climbed the cliff to get a better overview.

    There, just to the right of the most favorable place to jump was a metallic device which he assumed was some kind of a holo-recorder.

    "Good," he muttered to himself when he saw a small bird landing on the top of the wall without any alarm sounding, "no energy fields that prevent living beings to pass, unless there is a size limit for what will be allowed to move. But that recorder will be a problem though."

    Pensively he watched the recorder. He could of course give it a force push and send it to the ground, but that would give away too much. There was no way that it wasn't bolted to the wall. There had to be another solution. Quietly he sat down on the solid rock and stretched his mind out towards the recorder.

    Metal. Cold, hard metal, no solution there. Then there is the glass covering the lens. No. Not there either. Wires? Yes, of course there have to be wires. If I can force pull out one or more wires the transmission will cease.

    A tiny little wire in the holo-recorder was pulled out by an invisible hand and the recorder died. Obi-Wan rose and in one swift motion he propelled through the air, over the wall and landed with a steady stance on the grass below.

    "That was easy enough," he concluded, before jogging away from the site. But before leaving he tried to hide two unusually deep imprints of boots in the ground. It wouldn't stand a close examination, but hopefully it wouldn't catch anyone's immediate interest either.

    Soon he could hear voices approaching. His little exercise with the recorder had been noticed. Good. At least the Organa family had guards that didn't sleep on duty. And furthermore, two guards less to worry about in the castle. Quietly he snuck through the gardens surrounding the castle, trying to keep himself in the shadows of the bushes as much as possible. He managed to get over the lighted area outside the building and hunched up by the stairs leading to the veranda outside the building. Carefully he peeked up. No guards so far. Good thing.

    He waited patiently for some minutes and then peeked up once more. Still nobody to see and the garden lay quiet and peaceful behind him. Silently he tiptoed up the stairs. The curtains were covering the glass door, but there was a tiny opening between them where he could see light seeping out from the room within. The tableau inside was so peaceful that he almost felt a lump forming in his throat. A brown haired woman was sitting in a chair, bottle feeding a dark haired baby. The smile on the woman's face was soft and tender. It had to be Queen Organa and little Leia. He clipped the lightsaber to his belt and pulled his robe aside, hoping that the woman inside would recognize him as a jedi. It was a chance to take but he was almost certain that she would accept his presence once she knew who the intruder was.

    Calmly he opened the door and entered the room.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
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  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful! Looking forward to the encounter with Breha.
     
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  11. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 15: A Rebellion is Born

    The woman in the chair startled as he entered, but she didn't scream. He quickly knelt down on one knee, trying to look as little intimidating as possible.

    "Do not fear, I have no intentions of harming neither you nor the child," he said quietly, "but yet I would appreciate if you don't call your guards."

    Breha Organa was no coward so when she realized there was no immediate anger she calmed down again.

    "Who are you?" she asked.

    Uh-oh, that's a tricky one. I'd rather not say that yet, but since she's asking such a direct question I cannot lie to her. Bail is an honorable man, and hopefully his wife follows the same code of honor. I will have to trust her.

    "I am Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, Your Highness, and I'm afraid I must ask for a favor."

    "Kenobi? You're alive? My husband has told me so much about you. Oh, please come and sit down, and pull the curtains so they cover the window. My guards are trustworthy, but I assume it's better if you're not seen by anyone?"

    He bowed his head slightly: "Thank you, Your Highness. I appreciate that. I'd rather be…incognito for the moment being, It seems wiser that way."

    She nodded in agreement. "Yes, being Jedi is not a favorable situation for the moment. What is it you want from me?"

    "I would appreciate some kind of transport to Coruscant. As discreet as possible, I think. I will of course disappear immediately after arrival. The last thing I want to do is putting you in danger, but public transports to Coruscant may be thoroughly inspected upon arrival and I'd rather not be discovered by the authorities."

    "That can be arranged, I think. Bail is returning tomorrow and his ship has at least a minimum of diplomatic immunity. If you are able to sneak away as soon as it is on ground, I think that may be the best solution."

    Obi-Wan gaped: "Is Bail here? Now?"

    Breha nodded again: "He is. If you trust me, Master Jedi, I will comm him and ask him to come here. I'm sure he would be glad to meet you again."

    "Please do that," Obi-Wan agreed.

    She grabbed the comm link that was laying on the table beside her and a moment later she'd got the connection: "Bail, could you please come down to the green room for a moment? No, everything is fine, there's just something I would like to show you."

    She closed the comm and looked up at Obi-Wan, with a sparkle of humor in her brown eyes: "I'm sorry for referring to you as a 'something', Master Kenobi, but under the circumstances I thought that mentioning your name on a comm wouldn't be the best idea."

    He smiled gratefully at her and sat down.

    "No, I think I prefer being mentioned as 'something' right now. It may be healthier in the long run."

    The door opened and Bail Organa entered the room. For a moment he froze in shock when he recognized his old friend, then he closed the door quickly behind him and bowed.

    "Obi-Wan, by all Mutanda's moons, what are you doing here?" he exclaimed.

    "I'm…in transfer, so to speak," Obi-Wan explained, "I would have avoided coming here, but I need to get to Coruscant, and I assume the public transports are less than friendly towards my kind right now, so I wanted to ask for your assistance on the last leg of my journey. If that cannot be done without too much risk for you, I will seek other ways of transportation, of course."

    "My ship still has some diplomatic immunity so it will not be examined thoroughly upon arrival. However, you will have to find a way to sneak out by yourself. We're only allowed to disembark by foot and since it's a cruiser I don't carry boxes in which you can hide."

    "I believe I can get out unnoticed," Obi-Wan confirmed.

    "You are welcome to stay overnight and have dinner with us tonight," Breha interjected, "and don't worry about the staff. I will ask them to make a guest room ready for you and then leave it undisturbed. They understand that there sometimes is a need for discretion. And, by the way, the same rules go for dinner. There will be no other but us there."

    "It is very kind of you, Your Highness. I appreciate your hospitality and will gladly accept the invitation."
    ….

    The Queen had kept her word. When Obi-Wan came to dinner there were none but his two hosts present. Candles were lit and soft shadows danced over the dining table. While awaiting dinner he had literally been soaked in luxury, or more precise a bath. After months in the Tatooinian desert he hadn't been able to resist the bath tub in his private bath.

    The conversation flew easily between the three during the first part of the dinner, but when they came to the dessert the topic was changed.

    "Do not feel obliged to answer, Obi-Wan, but I cannot help wonder about the business you have on Coruscant. I would think that that would be a place most jedi would stay away from right now? Much have changed in the months since we said goodbye, and I'm sorry to say it hasn't changed for the better."

    "I would've guessed that much," Obi-Wan answered dryly.

    Bail continued: "The Emperor is still gathering even more power than he did before…well, before. He is gathering an even larger army. Now it's not only clones. They are also enrolling normal people, and with that I mean humans. It's worrying, to say the least. Additionally he has this 'Lord Vader' figure who nobody knows where comes from, and now Vader is gathering a corps that is called the Inquisitors, who has a mandate to hunt down every surviving jedi in the Empire."

    Obi-Wan merely nodded and steepled his fingers in a way that would have been worthy of Mace Windu. "I heard about it in the holonews. How does people react?"

    "They are terrified and tries to stay out of trouble. I don't think anyone would like to get in the way of the Emperor's stormtroopers. It's not much better in the Senate, I'm afraid. The Senators worry about themselves and their homeworlds, probably with good reason. There are a few of us, mostly the remaining from the former 'Delegation of 2000' who try to talk reason into the others but. you know the Senate. It's even worse now for single voices to be heard."

    Obi-Wan gazed at his friend, his eyes filled with a mixture of sorrow and empathy. "How did it come to this? How did we let it happen? Why didn't we realize what was about to be?"

    "The jedi should have sensed the Sith, that's correct, but we failed too. The Senate is consisting of more than two thousand representatives, and we should in the name of democracy have been able to avoid this disaster, but we didn't."

    The two men quietened for a while, then Breha looked encouraging at her husband. "Tell him. You can trust him. I feel it."

    "Tell what?" Obi-Wan straightened in his chair.

    Bail wrinkled his brow. He seemed to be in deep thoughts.

    "There may be…another solution." He became quiet again.

    Obi-Wan said nothing, just sat waiting. Whatever the other man intended to say, it was difficult for him.

    "There are…a few of us…we think that maybe the only way to restore the republic would be to fight the Empire."

    A new silence followed. Obi-Wan felt a sharp punch as if the Force itself had kicked his leg. This had to be it. This had to be the reason why he had felt the urge to leave Tatooine, and he didn't like it a bit.

    "You mean war?" He shook his head violently. "No, you cannot mean that. Don't you remember the clone wars? It's less than year ago. We were all a part of it and we all just longed for peace. This galaxy cannot live through another war like that. How can you even think of that?"

    Bail looked up, surprised. He had hardly ever seen his friend in such a state of mind before.

    "I don't want war more than you do, Obi-Wan, it's just that…this time I truly don't think the galaxy can become normal again through mere negotiations. During the clone wars it was at least a theoretical possibility, but not this time. Think about it, the Emperor is a despot, and he will not negotiate anything that makes him lose power. I saw you on Zigoola, Obi-Wan, I have seen what some sith artifacts can do, I have no illusion that a real sith will lead the galaxy into a period of peace and prosperity. I fear that the suffering will only increase, for all."

    "I know. I know you're probably right," Obi-Wan whispered.

    "So what we're trying to do," Bail continued,"is gathering an group of people who will be willing to fight the stormtroopers if or when that day comes that it is necessary to do so. I will not tell you who 'we' are, but you would be more than welcome should you choose to join us. Your talent for tactical dispositions would be of tremendous value to us."

    I cannot do this, not again. I cannot live through all the suffering a war will lead to. There are no winners, only losers, and the innocents will be the biggest losers of all. And yet, how can I not? Bringing Luke and Leia out of the Emperors sight will only help that much. They are children. They need time to grow and get strong, but even when that time comes they can only do so much. They simply cannot defeat the entire Empire alone, force sensitive or not. They will need to have allies, strong allies.

    He closed his eyes for a moment. Stretching out to the Force, feeling it. It felt reluctant somehow, and still urging him not to withdraw. Not totally. Somehow he got a limited encouragement. He opened his eyes again.

    "I know you're right, Bail, as much as I hate to admit it. If there is a way I can help without revealing my existence, I will do so. I cannot again become a full time general in the front lines of a rebellion, you know I have other obligations now as well."

    Bail nodded thoughtfully.

    "You're right. We cannot fight a full scale war, and we don't have troops that you could lead anyway. At least not for the moment being, but if you could offer your strategical insight it would be valuable. There must be a way that you can communicate with us from your hiding without being detected by the Empire. Let me check it out with my co-workers. Maybe they can figure out something. I will let you know when, or if,we find something. I will leave a message in Dex' Diner for you within a week or so, if we find some communication that would do the trick."

    "Dex?" Obi-Wan's eyes widened,"is he still in business?"

    Bail couldn't bare himself from laughing a mirthless laughter. "Oh, very much so. The old scoundrel claims that he's not into politics. He's into food. So far nobody suspects him of anything else. There are so much people frequenting his place that it would be hard to know where to start looking for the Emperors people. They don't volunteer to go to those parts of the city."

    Obi-Wan smiled. It felt good that his old friend at least for the moment was safe and still going strong. He knew now that there had been a reason for his travel to Coruscant. There were still people who needed him. There was still a duty to perform. Not entirely the same duty he had foreseen when he left for Tatooine those months ago, but a duty nonetheless.

    There would be a rebellion, and he would somehow be a part of it. He could feel it, just as certain as he felt the Force's quiet accept of what he was going to be a part of. But this was not all. He would still have to go to Coruscant. The Force seemed to be very persistent in it's demand of it.
     
  12. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 16: Out and Away

    Coruscant, the capital of the galaxy. A city planet where no wasteland is to be found, no green forests or blue lakes as far as the eye can see. Just sparkling lights, tall constructions and in it's own way a both breathtaking and slightly scary sight. A memorial over mankind's destruction of nature and still vibrant and full of life.

    To Obi-Wan it had been home for most of his 38 standard years of living. Now…it wasn't. The slightly depressive thought struck him as soon as Bail Organa's small cruiser entered orbit. There was no Temple anymore, but even worse - the republic he had vowed to protect wasn't anymore. Where he previously had sensed the feeling of homecoming as something almost physical, he now felt a void. An almost unbearable emptiness filled him as he thought of his friends, lost in a meaningless attack to the Temple and all over the galaxy.

    But so be it. For the moment he had other problems to face, one of the most important was how to get off the cruiser without being noticed. During the travel in hyperspace he had interrogated Bail about the security functions and routines in Coruscant Spaceport and alas, it had not lessened since the republic's days. There would be imperial stormtroopers guarding every level of the spaceport and especially the exits were heavily guarded. Arriving the planet would be easy, leaving the ship not so much. Bail had suggested that he should simply act as if he belonged to the senator's crew. Obi-Wan pondered the suggestion and turned it down. It would be too dangerous for his friend. There had to be another way.

    In older days he would simply have fought his way out if needed be, but for the moment the use of a lightsaber would not be the most discreet action he could choose. Thus fighting was not a part of the plan unless he really, really had to. Except, of course, that there wasn't really any plan.Then there were the ventilation shafts. But again, he had to find one that was big enough. He'd had his fair share of climbing ventilation shafts and tubes as a padawan, but he had grown and he didn't really fancy the thought of being caught stuck in a tube. That would simply be embarrassing. The final solution was the most frequently used one in his career, imprinted in him by Qui-Gon through many long years of apprenticeship: "A solution will present itself."

    The landing procedure went swiftly, as could be expected when the ship belonged to one of the Empire's Senators, and soon it was placed safely on the docking platform.

    "Are you absolutely certain you won't try to get out as a part of my crew," Bail asked for the third time during the journey. Obi-Wan shook his head.

    "No, I don't want to endanger you, and it's important that nobody is suspecting a connection between us. I will hide in the ship and sneak out when I get an opportunity. Don't worry, I'll figure out something."

    "If you say so," Bail sighed. "May the Force be with you, my friend."

    The cabin became dark and quiet when Organa and his people disembarked. Obi-Wan could see them pass through the platform exit and then only the guards by the exit was left, meticulously staying out of sight for the guards and any deliberate bypassers. There had to be a change of guards some time, maybe that would give him a chance.

    It didn't. Instead the number of troopers doubled for a while during the change. Not good. If only he could create a diversionary, but that seemed too complicated to perform from within the ship. There had to be another way. Hours passed and the troopers were steadily on their post, mostly facing out towards the landing platform. The daylight began to fade and dusk was setting in. Obi-Wan waited patiently. As the evening gradually became darker a plan began to form in his head. There was actually something he could do, it would be risky but the possibility of success was there unless he killed himself in the attempt. He turned his attention outwards towards the Coruscanti skyline. Small red and white lights were passing by in a variety of speeds. There was a life outside the spaceport and that included various kinds of speeders passing by several levels below. The chance was good that he would hit one of those if he simply jumped off the platform and let himself fall. The plan had some drawbacks though. The most severe one was of course that there might be a lack of speeders below him in the crucial moment. He had survived jumping out from a window in 500 Republica and then clinging to a surveillance droid until he fell off, and then he landed safely in the speeder Anakin had "borrowed". Right now he did not have any surveillance droids to trust in, and Anakin coming to rescue was definitely out of question.

    "If Anakin saw me do that now, he would probably take an evasive maneuver," he thought dryly.

    Another problem was that the speeders weren't allowed to come too close to the spaceport so there were many, far too many, levels without traffic below this landing pad and even though the Force would protect him somewhat in the landing, it could only help so much. If he, Force forbid, fell down to the lower levels where traffic was more dense it was doubtful if he could slow the speed so much that he wasn't instantly killed when landing in a speeder. And then there was the possibility that a bypassing speeder would hit him, before he could land in one.

    The plan obviously had potential for improvement.

    The improvement came as a, literally spoken, sparking idea. As the darkness fell Obi-Wan had figured out his diversion. He knelt down by the ships exit hatch and stretched out into the Force. The spaceport was an intricate construction of landing pads, waiting areas, docks and gates and, as in any other public installation it was filled with security equipment. Fire alarms included. Once again he stretched out with the force, seeking, feeling, following the flow, trying to see the unseen. Then he felt it, two levels down - an old fashioned button in a hallway away from the public areas. Again he felt it's wiring, felt the metalloid plate that would connect the two wires if the button was pushed and the plate was pushed down.

    Alarms, blinking lights all over the place.

    "Evacuate level, evacuate level"

    The metallic voice from the loudspeaker rang through the air even higher than the alarms themselves and the guards by the entrance turned towards the public area inside the building. Quick as a lightening Obi-Wan opened the exit hatch, jumped out and closed it again. The first part of the plan had worked well. He crouched and ran over to the edge of the landing platform hiding behind a small ship that was parked near the abyss.

    And there they came. Rescue crew vehicles piled up outside the landing pad two levels down. Obi-Wan gathered the Force around him and jumped, landing with a soft 'thud' on the roof of one vehicle.

    "Good," he muttered to himself.

    Quickly he crawled down the sidewall of the rescue speeder so that he couldn't be seen from the platform and entered the empty vehicle. The next part would be the more dangerous one. He released the machine from the dock and let it drop without starting the engine. Hopefully any prying eyes would believe that something had failed in the docking and that the empty vehicle simply fell. Which it actually did for the moment.

    Down. Down. Down. Then he felt the traffic around him increasing and speeders took frantic evasive maneuvers to avoid being hit by the falling ship. Obi-Wan started the engine. For a moment it seemed like it wouldn't ignite but after a few attempts he succeeded. He grabbed the controls and zig-zag'ed through the increasing traffic following a slightly sloped curve further down.

    He switched off the engine again immediately before his planned end station was reached. If the ship crashed it could be suspected that someone had been piloting it, but it would certainly be more difficult to prove. Then he opened the hatch and jumped out. As the vehicle crashed into the wall of one of the remaining buildings in The Works, he rapidly disappeared into the shadows. Now was the time to leave as much distance between himself and the crash site as possible. Someone would definitely be interested in what had happened, and he felt no urge to meet that 'someone' face to face.

    The Works was a long time abandoned industrial area not far from the Senate District. Most of it's industry and workshops had been closed down for centuries, and yet the area wasn't totally empty. The empty buildings had to some extent been taken over by the living beings that inhabited the Coruscanti underworld. Smugglers, thieves, squatters and others that found it best to avoid the more civilized inhabitants of the upper levels of the city planet.

    "Just like me," Obi-Wan thought sarcastically as he moved stealthily through the somber area. He might even find a hideout here if he needed one. But first he had a visit to make.

    It took him a while to find his way to Dex's Diner. Not because he didn't know where to go, but every once in a while he had to merge into the shadows when some stormtroopers passed by. Obviously the Empire wasn't only stretching out, but downwards too. When the republic existed the law enforcement in this area had been quite modest, and guards hadn't been seen very frequently. However, there still weren't too many patrols out so he could walk decent distances without having to hide. It was past midnight when he finally came to Dex's. The place was closed for the night and the windows that used to be brightly illuminated in the opening hours were dark. Well, that was to be expected. Not even Dex worked day and night. Obi-Wan climbed easily over the fence encircling the diner's backyard and dropped himself quietly down to the ground, carefully avoiding the trash dumpsters which were lined up along the fence.

    He was pondering whether he should try some good old facade climbing to get to Dex's apartment above the diner, or if he should actually knock on the door and hope to be let in in an ordinary way when he saw a tiny strip of light coming from below the back door. From previous experience he knew that the door led to the diner's storage area where all kinds of groceries were stored. Someone was working late, that much was clear.
     
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Enjoyed the meeting with the Organas and Kenobi's stealthy approach to Dex's. =D= Will be nice to see how he reunites with an old friend and gets involved in covert Rebellion [face_shhh]
     
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  14. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Thanks so much, for still following his adventures. I'm trying to get the pace up every now and then, but I'm probably more of a character writer than an adventure writer. More adventures are about to come though.
    _______________________


    Chapter 17: Old Friends

    Obi-Wan walked quietly towards the door while he tried to sense the being inside if there were any. He was almost just outside the door when it opened. Quickly he hid behind a dumpster. A person came out. Alone.

    Dexter Jettster had always been a large man, even for one of his species, particularly around his circumference. He had not diminished one single bit through the last couple of years. He stopped right outside the door and practically sniffed in the air, as if to smell if someone was lurking in the shadows. Obi-Wan stood up and stepped forward.

    "Good evening, old friend," he said quietly.

    "What? But…whatareyoudoinghere?" The besalisk spoke so fast that one word could hardly be distinguished from the next.

    "You're alive," he added, quite superfluously.

    The next Obi-Wan noticed was that he was pulled into a very fierce, four armed hug which almost squeezed the breath out of him. Fortunately Dex ended the hug before he fell to the ground.

    "Apparently so," he remarked, "it's good to see you again Dex."

    "Hurry, follow me inside. I have a feeling that it wouldn't be good for you if you were spotted here," the Besalisk urged. "Besides, it wouldn't be good for me either."

    Obi-Wan grinned. He had really missed Dex's straightforward communication. Actually, he had missed communication.

    The door closed behind them and as Obi-Wan had already figured out the room was a storeroom for all kinds of ingredients for the Basilisk's diner. However, something was clearly amiss because his friend seemed to be packing things in boxes and sacks instead of packing out, which was to be expected in a room like this. Obi-Wan stroked his beard pensively.

    "Aren't you doing this the wrong way?" he asked.

    "What? What do you mean?"

    "I would have expected you to unpack the boxes, not pack them…"

    Dex just looked at him, but didn't answer. He just pointed to the door. "The stairs up to my apartment is out that door."

    Obi-Wan decided not to pursue the box question. After all, these were troubled times and there might be many reasons for the besalisk's whereabouts. Instead he mounted the stairs to the apartment.

    The place was as untidy as ever. But it was fairly clean. It seemed like the forced cleanliness in the diner had worn off to Dex's private rooms as well. Well, according to what he remembered from earlier day's visits it was much needed.

    "Find somewhere to sit," Dex ordered. "I'll find you some food and tea."

    The huge being stomped down the stairs again with much huffing and puffing, returning some minutes later with a fully loaded plate. He sat it down in front of Obi-Wan and continued into the kitchen.

    "Dig in, you haven't been in for my bantha burger for years," he shouted. Obi-Wan could hear him rummaging in shelves and drawers and then he heard the sizzling of a boiling water kettle. As soon as his friend was well cared for, Dex settled in a huge armchair.

    "Now, again, what are you doing here? I reckon you are aware that jedi aren't the most popular beings in our glorious new Empire," Dex asked, with more than a little hint of sarcasm.

    "I have noticed," Obi-Wan retorted dryly. "Believe it or not."

    Then he told his old friend the entire story of what had happened to him throughout the last months. The only thing he left out was the part about Padme giving birth and the exact location of his own hideout. He knew that the besalisk would understand the latter and there really was no need to tell him about the twins. The less people who knew about that, the better.

    When Obi-Wan finished his story Dex seemed to be in deep thoughts. Finally he looked up.

    "I see. But I still don't understand why you have come back here? You're always welcome, my friend, but it would be safer for you to stay off planet. The Emperor and his acolytes are very energetic in their hunt for surviving Jedi. The Emperor has got himself a next in command in that matter, -a large black humanoid called Vader. He is amidst forming a corps of jedi hunters which they for some reason call 'The Inquisitors. Rumor says that these are former Jedi."

    Obi-Wan nodded. "I know, and frankly I have no other explanation than the old one - the Force urged me to come back. On my way here I met an old friend and he advised me to go to your place, ensuring me that you still know pretty much of what's going on in the galaxy."

    The room silenced for a while.

    "May I guess who your friend is?"

    "You may. But I won't necessarily answer directly," Obi-Wan retorted, "but he said he would leave a message for me here within some days."

    "Ah, that friend…"

    "Does that mean that more of my friends are frequent visitors here?" Obi-Wan asked. He sensed that something lay behind Dex's answer, indicating that there could be more than one old acquaintance appearing every once in a while. He wondered who the other - or others- might be.

    "Could be," the besalisk answered reluctantly. "There may be someone who would like to know you're here, alive and well. I will have to check that out with some of my contacts, though. You're welcome to stay here over night, and a couple of days more, if you like, but I think it would be a good idea if you kept out of sight for prying eyes. And, if there comes a razzia, the best exit is through the window and up on the roof. It's quite easy to get over to the neighboring buildings from up there. "

    "I appreciate your concern. However, if one of these 'friends of mine' should happen to be Anakin, I'd rather stay incognito for the moment," Obi-Wan said.

    "Anakin? That little apprentice of yours? Nah, haven't seen him here for ages," Dex stated with a slight undertone of disdain in his voice. "Now, if you want to get some sleep, feel free to use the couch. You find blankets in the closet over there. I will have to communicate with some of my acquaintances and I'd rather avoid you listening in, if you know what I mean."

    Obi-Wan nodded. Caution was a virtue these days and he appreciated his friend's discretion. That would go in both directions so his own presence wouldn't be revealed easily either. Soon after he was wrapped in a blanket and sound asleep on the couch.

    The next morning he woke to the smell of newly brewed caf coming from the apartment's kitchen. He got up and peeked into the room. It wasn't very big so it was nearly filled by the besalisk's rather voluminous body as he was preparing breakfast. Four arms certainly could come in handy sometimes, Obi-Wan mused.

    "Good morning, my friend. You slept well, I think?" The greeting was more of a statement than a question.

    "Thank you. Yes I did indeed."

    While they were consuming the actually very tasteful breakfast consisting of omelette and bread, Dex spoke again.

    "I had a little chat with some friends of yours last evening and they are eager to meet you. However, they prefer not appearing in daylight so you will have to wait here until the evening. They intend to send a courier to meet you here, and he will take you to them."

    "Who are 'they'?" Obi-Wan asked, feeling more than a little curious. Both as a padawan and as a knight he hadn't really had time to get many friends outside the Temple. Astri and Didi Oddo were two of them, but as far as he knew they had been off planet for years, and would not likely have come back now. He had already met Bail, Padme was dead and Dex was sitting right in front of him on the opposite side of the table. As far as he knew he hadn't had any other friends besides his own colleagues.

    He simply didn't have a clue who this, or these, friends might be.

    Dex just looked at him, and then burst into laugher.

    "You think I will tell you, old friend? No, I won't. They will tell you when you meet them, but it's not up to me to tell. It is not my business to reveal them to you, or you to them for that matter."

    Obi-Wan nodded solemnly. Discretion was a virtue and a necessity nowadays. He would just have to wait. But there was one thing he possibly could ask…

    "How will the courier know I'm me, if you won't tell anything?"

    "Oh, he will know," the besalisk answered. "And so will you."

    Obi-Wan stretched out on the couch again. It there was one thing he had learned during the clone wars, it was to rest when he had a chance, and the night to come would most certainly be interesting.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
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  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful welcome from Dex: warm but discreet for everyone's safety. Eager to see/find out who these friends are :)
     
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  16. Darth_Drachonus

    Darth_Drachonus Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2005
    I'm hooked. Looking forward to a LOT more!
     
  17. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    There might be a couple of surprises - or not.

    [:D]Thanks sooooo much, there will be at least some more.
     
  18. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 18: Netherworld

    It was late evening when the courier arrived. Obi-Wan was still resting in Dex's apartment, listening to the noise from the busy diner downstairs. Occasionally he could hear swearing in various languages and then Dex's booming voice before the noise settled again. There were very few people who wanted to get into an argument with the besalisk, so when he spoke they usually calmed down again.

    After hours of waiting he could hear Dex walking up the stairs. The door opened and Dex peeked inside.

    "Now is the time. The courier who will take you to your friends has arrived. You will find him in the backyard. He will know it is you when you go out the door you came in last night. This time Obi-Wan knew better than asking questions.

    "Thank you my friend."

    "It was a pleasure, as always," the besalisk retorted. "I will let you know when the message from your …eh… other friend arrives. But go now. We will meet again."

    "May the Force be with you," Obi-Wan greeted. Then he gathered the robe around him and pulled the cowl over his head, before he stealthily climbed down the croaking staircase. The darkness in in the yard was almost impenetrable to human eyes and Obi-Wan wondered if the clever besalisk had done that on purpose. But where was the courier? The backyard seemed totally empty. Slowly his eyes adapted to the darkness, but still the square space seemed totally still. Weird? Had the courier disappeared for some reason, and if so, why? He couldn't sense any immediate danger but maybe his mysterious friend had.

    Then a small figure emerged from behind one of the containers which were lined up by the fence. He, or she, or whatever it was seemed to be humanoid with two legs and presumably two arms as well, but it was hard to see really, as the being was wrapped in a dark cloak, suspiciously similar to a Jedi robe.

    "Master, please come with me. Quickly."

    The being was impeccable polite and Obi-Wan even believed he saw him giving a slight bow. But, 'Master'? He didn't recognize the small being at all, but somehow he (or she?) must have recognized him. Quickly he followed the being behind the container. Two planks were lifted up and they squeezed themselves through the fence. Obi-Wan with some more difficulty compared to his smaller companion.

    The alley behind Dex's Diner was almost empty. A few deathstick addicts were passing by, rather groggy, but nobody really took notice of the two. Then the courier turned right and went towards an abandoned building, an empty one by the look of it. Obi-Wan followed suit.

    "We need to get down some levels, and this is the quicker route," the guide explained.

    The building still had a working turbolift so they were able to swiftly descend several levels before they exited the building again. They came out on one of the more shady levels, literally spoken. Deep down in Coruscant the villains of this multifaceted society were living. The thieves, the robbers, the murderers, and those were the most pleasant of the inhabitants. The good thing was that hardly any stormtroopers were frequenting this area and if they occurred they were there just for short raids and in larger, not widely scattered groups. Good thing. Obi-Wan could very well live without meeting any of those for the moment. The two continued several blocks straight ahead before they turned sharply to the right again. Even though Obi-Wan was not unfamiliar with Coruscant's netherworld, this was an area he hadn't been to before. It seemed more grey, more dull, more…worn than the more populated areas of this level. Somehow it seemed almost like the inhabitants avoided it for some reason. And yet, some of the buildings seemed to have a life on their own. Still working droids were buzzing and rattling back and forth and in some of the buildings elevators were still working so they could easily ascend and descent between the city's levels.

    He did some quick calculations of the distances they had gone and the levels they had been moving on. If his navigations skills hadn't totally deteriorated, they were heading towards the area where the Jedi Temple once had been standing.

    Are we really going to the Temple? No, it cannot be. I saw it from Bail's ship and I saw it when Yoda and I walked the halls to find the security holo and reverse the transmission ordering all Jedi to return to the Temple. There isn't a temple anymore. All those months ago it still was possible to enter, but from what I could see when we were approaching Coruscant Spaceport it's nearly just a pile of stones now. A ruin. Two of the spires have fallen and the third one seemed to be almost totally demolished. The only part that still seemed to be quite solid was actually the main tower where the Council had it's chamber. Apart from that I could see large holes in the roof and some of the walls had given in as a result of the bombing the clones performed. So weird. It's only a year since it was full of breathing living beings. Well, maybe not full of - we were so few by then, as many had been killed in the clone wars, but still - it was alive, it was home. And now there's nothing left. Just a heap of stones. That's the only thing that's left after a thousand years or so. So sad, so incredibly sad. We should have known, but we didn't see it coming.

    He woke from his reveries when he realized that the ground below his feet actually was sloping a bit. What? The walkways of Coruscant hardly ever did that. There were turbolifts and some places even stairs, but never sloped ground except when entering a building or a platform. This was neither. As far as he could judge he was actually setting his feet on the ground. The ground as in soil, the planet's surface. He stopped abruptly in pure astonishment. This was impossible. He'd never even heard about anyone who had actually set their foot on Coruscanti ground. Nevertheless, that was what he was doing in this very moment.

    His guide had obviously realized that he was about to lose his companion so he stopped abruptly as well.

    "Master, please come with me."

    Again the same phrase as he had used in Dex's backyard. Obi-Wan nodded, but didn't move.

    "I will, but I guess it's time for a presentation. Who are you, and where are you taking me? And how did you know who i was? When we left it was neither time nor place for questions, but right now nobody is nearby so I think it's about time you tell me a little bit of where we're heading and who we're going to meet."

    The small figure stood still, obviously pondering his question and whether it could be answered or not. Then he bowed politely.

    "Yes, Master Kenobi, I guess you can be trusted with that now. Dex is an honorable man, so I assume he hasn't been mistaken when assuming that you won't betray us."

    The being turned around and let the cowl fall and revealed two distinct cranial horns, a pointed chin and a straight nose. Obviously it was a young Iktotchi.

    "I am Ramen Siin," the youngling presented himself, "you probably don't know me, but I was an initiate when the Temple was attacked. I had hoped to be accepted as a padawan before the year had come to an end. Now it's too late, and I'm serving as a scout and courier."

    "Serving who, and for what?" Obi-Wan asked incredulously, "Are there more survivors? Who? How many? And how did you survive? I saw the safety recordings myself. Hardly anyone could have survived that attack."

    "There are survivors," Ramen confirmed, "and I'm taking you to them. They will, however, present themselves. It's not up to me to tell. They are very interested in meeting you and I'm sure they will tell you all about what happened, but for now, I am merely your guide to our…new home."

    Obi-Wan nodded in acceptance. The boy was right, it was not up to him to reveal the identity of whoever the survivors may be. They would probably introduce themselves in due time.

    "Very well, Initiate Siin, lead the way to our final destination, then."

    Ramen lead them up the slightly sloped ground until they came to a slab laying on the ground. Then the boy stopped. For a moment he stood still and Obi-Wan could feel the Force gathering around the youngling. The slab rose from the ground.

    "There is a ladder going down the wall of the shaft. Please follow that down to the bottom and wait for me there."

    Obi-Wan did as he was told. The boy had a remarkable talent for wielding the Force in the way of telekinesis. Holding the slab still while he was climbing down the upper part of the ladder was really impressive when performed by such a young one. As soon as the boy was below ground level, the slab was carefully lowered back in place. The shaft turned pitch black. The climb wasn't very long and soon Obi-Wan could feel solid rock under his boots again. He stepped aside to make space for Ramen. The Iktotchi were a rather solid built species so he could very well live without the boy landing on his head.

    A pale light lit up in the boy's hand. A glow stick.

    "I'm quite familiar with this route," Ramen explained, "but still it's easier with a glow stick."

    Obi-Wan nodded. The glow stick itself told him that they were now out of immediate danger of being detected. Obviously no enemies were expected down here. They continued to walk along a nearly horizontal shaft. Ever now and then it sloped, either upwards or downwards for a smaller distance but then it became horizontal again. The floor was even and the boy kept up a good pace. The first part of the shaft had smooth walls which obviously had been created and smoothed by nature itself in a distant past, but after a while he could see the walls changed character, now being formed by living beings. Huge almost square stones were forming the ceiling and walls.

    "What is this place?" Obi-Wan said quietly. Somehow this place called for a muted voice. He couldn't sense any danger per se, it was more like it was… sacred.

    "You may call it an emergency exit," Ramen answered."It was probably built thousands of years ago as an escape route and it has been long time forgotten when we discovered it by coincidence. Now, it's one of several entrances."

    Obi-Wan didn't even bother to ask 'whereto'. The boy seemed to have a strong sense of what to tell, or not tell. He'd better be patient.

    Suddenly they came to a full stop. Large rocks were piled up in front of them. It seemed like stones had fallen from the ceiling and blocked the corridor completely. Actually the stones seemed to have somehow penetrated the ceiling. Of course, they were below the Jedi Temple. The debris in front of them had to be piles of the solid walls that once surrounded the Temple, or maybe more like it, it would be debris from one of the falling towers. If he were to guess, it would be the remainders of the south spire that lay before them now.

    The boy had become totally still and Obi-Wan watched him with astonishment. This was no place for meditation, indeed. Then he understood. The boy wasn't meditating - he was communicating with someone on the other side of the heap of stones. Yes, of course. The Iktotchi were well known for their telepathic skills. Clever, absolutely clever. There was no way that such a young boy could move the huge stones by himself but if there were more Force sensitive beings inside they could most certainly do it. How very convenient. He could bet that the one, or at least one of them, on the other side was an Iktotchi too.

    A huge slab slowly levitated from the floor and his suspicions were confirmed. The boy slid under the slab and Obi-Wan followed him quickly. The stones dropped to the floor again. Very quietly, very controlled. Two beings stood in front of them. As he had guessed one of them was an older Iktotchi, the other was a Devaronian.

    "Welcome, Master Kenobi," the Iktotchi greeted him,"it's a pleasure to see you here, alive and well."

    "Master Jaa," Obi-Wan exclaimed, "it's good to see you again. And you as well. "

    He bowed politely to the two jedi, even though he couldn't remember the name of the Devaronian.

    "Please follow us," the Devaronian requested. "The gate is closed so there's no need for us here right now. Nobody else will go out tonight, we only asked Ramen here to go out to find you when we got the message that you had appeared in Dex's Diner."

    Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow sardonically. 'Gate', huh? Well, since the huge pile of stones actually was possible to enter through, it could be called a gate, he guessed.

    "Are there more Jedi in this facility, and while we're at it - where is 'here'?" he asked curiously.

    "Don't you know?" the Iktotchi asked, "Didn't you recognize the debris out there?"

    "I guessed it must have been the remainders of the south spire, so from that we should be in the Temple somewhere, but I had never expected to find Jedi here and besides, we're so deep that we actually must be below the Temple. Out there I was actually treading on soil for a while, and that is not something which is easily done on Coruscant."

    The Iktotchi nodded. "Good observation, Master Kenobi, but I would have expected no less from you. We're actually below the Temple we knew, but yet still in the Temple. Can't you feel the Force is strong here?"

    "It certainly is, and I assume that's a reason why so few of the inhabitants of this level could be seen nearby? They find it rather…uncomfortable?"

    The corridor opened up into a larger space and Obi-Wan could see other corridors leading out from the large room. The chamber seemed to be some kind of a hub in the construction. If he weren't totally mistaken they would now be far below the Grand Hall of the Jedi Temple. It seemed somehow like the Temple he'd known was mirroring this basement in construction, and yet, this was no ordinary basement. The floor was covered with tiles in an intricate mosaic pattern, and suddenly he understood.

    "The Bendu Temple," he gasped, "we are in the Bendu Temple? I thought it was only a myth that there were remainders of that below our Temple, but here it actually is? Right?"

    "Very well done," the Devaronian praised,"you're absolutely right. This is the old Temple of the Bendu. It was not very well known by any living jedi that it was real, and that it was hidden below the Temple's basement, but here it is. We have, literally spoken, returned to our roots. But now, Master Kenobi, I must ask you to wait here. There is an old friend who have been awaiting you with anticipation, we just weren't sure of when you would arrive, so I'll go find him. Master Jaa has other duties to tend to. You are of course allowed to move freely down here, but it would be appreciated if you could stay in this room for a while. We realized very quickly that there are so many rooms and corridors down here, that it might take some time to find you again if you wandered off."

    Obi-Wan bowed. "I will stay put."
     
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  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fascinating hiding place and encounters with those he never thought to meet again and nice indeed that Ramen survived @};-
     
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  20. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    You truly take us to interesting places & to equally interesting persons, dear @CaraJinn. Forget about being a good character writer... ONLY. You can tell adventure stories, too! No false modesty! ^:)^[:D][face_dancing]=D=
     
  21. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Thanks. The Bendu Temple isn't totally my invention. I remember reading about it in some fanfic story, but right now I cannot remember who the writer was or which story. But I realized that it would have some potential for hiding escapees from Order 66.
    [:D] Thanks so much. You have no idea how much I actually appreciate that comment. I was fully aware that the beginning of this story was a bit slow, but after all the traumas Obi-Wan encountered in the last few days of the republic he would need some time to come to terms with what had happened, and recover. Even in this story I assume I let him recover too quickly if one look to the timeline here, but I had to pull him out to some adventures to avoid the readers being bored to death. :redsaber: Hopefully I manage to portray a slow recovering after traumatic experiences.
     
  22. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Chapter 19: Dead Man Walking

    The two jedi disappeared down one of the numerous corridors and Obi-Wan was left alone. "Who would have thought that there existed an ancient temple right beneath our feet?" he wondered. The room, no, hall, he was waiting in was impressive. The ceiling was supported by numerous tall columns, and way up there he could see that even the ceiling had an intricate mosaic pattern. The hall was too dark so he couldn't see the details but he guessed as much that it must have been impressive when this temple actually was up in open air, before the numerous layers of buildings had been erected upon it. The pattern in the walls was easier to see. It was made up of stylized trees and flowers. One field of the wall was showing a tranquil lake landscape, others showed rolling hills and even a rugged mountain landscape could be seen near one corner. The Bendu had obviously had a close relationship to the nature. The pattern on the floor which first had caught his interest was totally non-figurative and showed a geometric pattern which was symmetric around a center axis. Adding some imagination made it resemble a sun with it's rays stretching out to numerous individuals gathering in a circle around the sun.

    "The Force that binds all things together," Obi-Wan thought. "Yes, this may indeed be a symbol for the whole universe's unity."

    He was disturbed in his reveries by the sound of boots clicking towards the tiled floor in the corridor where the two jedi had disappeared. Obviously they had found his mysterious 'old friend'. A figure came into view and Obi-Wan almost froze in astonishment. No, it couldn't be. Could it?

    Yes, it could, The visitor was dressed in the same beige tunic he'd used for years, brown leggings and a white undertunic could be seen in the opening of the tunic. Dark brown boots were completing the attire. And above all this two stern brown eyes in a face that way too often seemed stony and humorless, but yet the person inside had a fine sense of humor.

    "Mace?!" Obi-Wan exclaimed.

    "Obi-Wan, it's good to see you again," Mace Windu greeted, his face as imperturbable as always, but Obi-Wan could hear genuine pleasure behind the comment.

    "How…I mean…I thought…you're alive," Obi-Wan stated that his rhetorical skills had left him, at least temporarily. Then he drew a deep breath: "I thought you were killed in the purge?"

    "Evidently not," Mace retorted dryly, "but it was a close call. I almost counted myself among the dead for a moment."

    "What happened?" Obi-Wan knew curiosity was never suitable for a Jedi, but under the circumstances it might be excusable. He did't meet dead men too often. Or, well, if he counted in Qui-Gon, maybe it was becoming an habit.

    "It's a long story," Mace began, "but I guess we have time enough for the moment being. There are some other people I'd like you to meet, but they are sleeping or busy right now, so we will have to wait until later."

    "How many of you survived?" Obi-Wan asked.

    "In here, as per today, 54 initiates and 11 adults, mostly very senior Masters", Mace explained. "The few who were able to defend the Temple were trying to do just that. But the clone troopers were overwhelming in numbers, so the defenders were defeated at last."

    The two men silenced for a moment, contemplating the huge loss of lives the Sith take over had caused, both during the clone wars and the succeeding jedi purge. Almost the entire order was extinct, and then there were innocent civilians throughout the galaxy as well.

    "What happened?" Obi-Wan asked quietly. "I saw the recordings from the Temple entrance but I don't know all of what happened. Master Yoda and I came to the Temple and managed to change the signal which was calling all Jedi back to the Temple. After that we set off to try to stop Anakin and Palpatine. Obviously we failed spectacularly."

    Mace nodded. "Yoda is alive too? That's really good news."

    "He is," Obi-Wan confirmed, "but he is in hiding, as I was supposed to be. But then the Force bade meg to go back to the Temple and here I am. I didn't have any idea why I should go here, though, but now I can see that there might have been a reason. However, I should have noticed that there were other force sensitive beings nearby when Yoda and I came to the Temple. How come we didn't?"

    "The cells," Mace Windu explained. "Do you remember the cells for force sensitive prisoners that were in the basement of the Temple? We're below them and the force dampers are still functioning. Fortunately they also shield us from the upper world, and besides, only Vader, Palpatine or these newly appearing inquisitors would be able to sense us anyway. The clones can't. But we do maintain a proper shielding ourselves when we're outside the area that is protected by the cells."

    "I see," Obi-Wan stroke his beard pensively. "How did you escape the purge?"

    A shadow swept over Mace Windu's dark face.

    "For myself, I had luck. For the others, well, you have to ask them yourself later on. When Anakin told us that Palpatine was the Sith Lord, Agen Kolar, Kit Fisto, Saesee Tin and I went to his office to arrest him. As you can imagine he resisted, quite adamantly so. We tried to arrest him peacefully, but he drew his lightsaber towards us. Agen was the first who fell to his blade, Saesee and Kit were killed mere seconds later. Kit managed to hold him off for a little while but not for long."

    The Korun Master swallowed hard. Obi-Wan could see his eyes glittering suspiciously by unshed tears for a moment when he recalled how his friends and colleagues had died. Then he continued: "I managed to hold him off for a while, and I had him disarmed when Anakin entered the office. Of course I believed that Anakin would support me, but when I declared that I had to finish off the Sith, Anakin turned against me. In one moment he just stood there and claimed that Palpatine had to be brought for the Court, the next he slashed off my 'saber arm. From that moment on what happened is quite blurry to me.

    The pain was terrible enough, but as if the saber cut through my arm wasn't bad enough the Sith used force lightening towards me before he force pushed me out of the transparisteel window that had been shattered earlier in the duel. In that moment I considered myself a dead man. I more or less was. The 'saber cut cauterized the arm immediately, so I didn't bleed to death, but in my semi-conscious state I was sure that the fall would kill me. It would have, of course, if I had fallen far enough. But I didn't. I'm not sure what happened, but I believe that in his triumphant mood the Sith Lord exaggerated the force push. Anyway, I was thrown so far out that I actually flew outside the traffic blocked zone that is kept around the Senate building's office wing and I fell right into an open speeder. I almost scared the poor driver to death. There he was, happily criss-crossing the traffic lanes and suddenly a half-dead jedi is dropped in the backseat of his speeder from somewhere high above. It was a miracle that we didn't crash into someone else. I was in a terrible state so for a while I was unable to answer his rather frantic questions, and we were on our way to the Temple when I came to again. I realized that going back was the last thing I should do. The Temple was in lockdown and in my present state I would be not only useless but I would demoralize the rest if there was to be an attack on the Temple. Little did I know…"

    Now Obi-Wan could clearly see tears forming in his friend's eyes.

    "I suppressed the pain according to my best abilities, and asked the driver to put me down somewhere else. I guess I wasn't the brightest person to be found in the galaxy in that moment, or maybe I was because it turned out quite well. I asked him to leave me in the alley behind your friend Dex's place. I remembered that Qui-Gon had mentioned him many years ago and I hoped that he would be able to help me. The moment I put my feet on the plaza I was hardly able to drag myself into the alley before I fainted. I don't know who found me. Dex told me later that 'it was just one of his friends'. He's a discreet being, your friend. The next thing I remember is that I woke up on a couch in an incredible messy room, which I later learned was his living room, and Dex nursed me back to health as if he were a giant mother hen.

    It took me a couple of days of intense self-healing before I was able to think quite coherently again, and even more days before I was able to get up and around. All that time Dex took care of me. Only twice did there come a raid of clone troopers, but Dex was informed in advance and hid me. I tell you, Obi-Wan, those garbage containers in his backyard are not a pleasant hideout."

    If the background for the story hadn't been so tragic, Obi-Wan would have laughed. The thought of the dignified and reserved Master Windu hiding in a garbage container was almost too much. But apart from that there was little fun in the situation, so he restrained himself. He didn't fully succeed and his mouth twitched slightly. Mace Windu cast him a suspicious glance, but said nothing.

    "After some days I was considered strong enough to know the truth, and Dex told me that there had been an attack to the Temple. He didn't know how many casualties there were, but he knew it was bad because the clones had burned the corpses in an improvised funeral pyre in front of the Temple. It had lasted for two days.

    I don't think I've ever felt so miserable in my entire life as I did when he told me that. I was a councillor, for Force's sake. I was the Master of the Order I should have been there with them, not laying as a useless piece of junk on Dex's couch. I don't know if I would have made a difference. I will never know… But I decided that as soon as I was strong enough I would go there and see the disaster with my own eyes. At that time I didn't know if there were any survivors anywhere. Little did I know that in the moment I returned, I would have the most unexpected company."

    Obi-Wan looked up at him.

    "Company? Are you telling me that there were even more stray jedi roaming the streets?"

    "You could say it that way," Mace agreed, "though it's not entirely correct."

    "I wasn't roaming anything," a familiar voice uttered, "I came to pick you up. Dex had informed me that you were alive."
     
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  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fascinating and eventful conversation
     
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  24. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    As soon as I read the chapter title, "Dead Man Walking", my brain went, "Mace Windu". And I was right! :D
     
  25. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Thanks to both of you

    Poor Mace is one of the few Jedi who actually could have survived Order 66 since he wasn't killed instantaneously but thrown out the window, so I decided to give him a new life. ;) I had fun trying to make him survive the fall, though.