Title: The Sprout of Dagobah Author: Lea-El Era: Before the Saga, 900 B.B.Y. Description: Birth to knight- What if Dagobah was Yoda's home planet and the swamp was a mind trick to scare off visitors. Disclaimer: Many standard years ago I entered the world of Master Lucas. I have never completely left it, though it does not belong to me. I am just glad that we are allowed to visit our friends there from time to time. Especially since that is usually where my daughter is to be found. Authors note: Parts of this story are missing I need to repair it. The Sprout of Dagobah Prologue "Yara, rest you must." Yav pleaded with his wife. "Much to do, ceremony soon." Yara said as she flittered around the food prep room. "Yamer, the color of wisdom you are, chide Yara. Rest she must, heavy with child she is." Yav begged the mother of all in the root. "Yara, right Yav is. Grow on move, sprouts will not. Now your time is here, rest you must. Coming soon, your sprouts will. Hands enough there are, work soon done." Yamer chided "Reluctant am I, energy abound, much to do. For sake of seed, obey I will." Yara conceded. "Follow me, my beloved one, to sit on arbor." Yav escorted the much pregnant Yara to the porch of the family home, to the basket swing made of cudzar vines. A parade of women started arriving to help prepare for the ceremony to come. Days of cooking were required, material had to be woven and sprout clothes made. The young men carved cradles and other furniture and toys for the new members of the extended family. The older men carved out the new rooms in the trees root system for the younglings. The time of birthing was soon to come. Spring was the time of birthing when the trees awoke from the winter; mild as the Dagobah winters were, it was still a reason to celebrate, especially for an arboreal society. Each fall harvests are collected, trees are pruned, new plants are planted and the Ceremony of Life where all Yendell children are conceived took place. Each spring the leaves were starting to bud out, small white flowers were popping out everywhere. The bees were producing the next crop of honey, and the selected Yendell women were getting heavy with child or as heavy as a two-foot tall woman could get. In the nearby meadows small mammals were starting to wake up and scamper about, looking for the delicacies of spring. Dagobah was covered with huge ancient trees towering hundreds of feet into the air. Roots from the trees rose out of the shallow lakes that were filled with silver, gold and copper colored fish. The roots were like huge cypress knees into which the Yendell homes were carved, each knee lived a family, each tree lived an extended family. Delicate bridges connected the trees, all communities were interconnected, so all the people of Dagobah were one large family. Each spring the Ceremony of Lights when billions of lightening bugs hatched and turned the whole planet into a light show unequaled in the universe, a select few delivered the fruit of the womb. The young and old alike celebrated the new arrivals with dancing, playing flute-like instruments and feasting. Two small pale yellow infants, one male and one female were born to each mother. Each infant was six inches long, covered with infant fur, which they lost most of as they grew, until at advanced age only wisps on top of their head remained. As the Yendell grew they changed colors from pale yellow at birth to pale green at about five, to moss green at adulthood and finally to a grayish green at advance age. Each extended family took great pride in the new arrival, helping in their care. Each age group had a different responsibility as the child grew, ending with the oldest men training them in the arts of what some call the Force. Every child on Dagobah is Force sensitive and go from amusing themselves as infants, Force batting rattles safely suspended over their cribs, to moving large vines to make the suspension bridges at adulthood. `~` Chapter One Yoda stood out under the arbor watching the night-lights. This was the first time he had been allowed to look at them since the pruning day when he had 'accidentally' pruned the wrong branch and opened up a view of the lights from the arbor. Everyone was starting to be concerned about his fascination with the lights. Yaren, the Father of the Root had warned Yav, "lose him to the lights you will, if careful you are not," before he returned to the soil. Everything Dagobah seemed mundane to him. All of the interesting things were in the future or in the sky. He loved the children but twenty-five wasn't old enough to marry and have his own, the responsibilities of cousins were too few. He loved building bridges but was too young to work on the really interesting ones. As he looked up at his beloved lights he saw an unusual blue streak cross the night-sky towards the Damar Meadow. 'Wow, see that I must.' he thought. "Back in little time, check on something I must." He called to his family in the company room. As he ran toward the meadow faster than the bridge would allow. 'Have to fix tomorrow.' He thought. When he arrived he found a wedge shaped, silver metallic craft larger than three roots put together. Lights came out a huge opening in the side and a large blonde furry creature was inspecting it. The fur reminded Yoda of an infant Yendell's but if this was an infant he didn't want to see the parent. The creature's actions were more like an adult, much to his relief. "Bray" I hate swamps. Just then the creature noticed him and brayed a loud horn-like call at him and pointed to the ship. He seemed to understand. "Broken it is." Yoda said looking at the ship. They seemed to understand each other even though they didn't speak each other's language. "Fix it, I know not how but welcome to stay you are." Yoda said as he peaked around the opening in to the mysterious ship. The creature brayed again and Yoda knew it was ok to go in as long as he didn't touch any buttons. 'What are buttons?' Yoda thought. The ramp was long and steep for a two foot tall Yendell but was probably a few steps for the creature. The rooms were large and dark with a musty smell as if the creature had been locked up in it for a long time. The seats of the chairs were over Yoda's head and the bed was as big as Yoda's whole bedroom. The arbor would fit under the table. Everything was made or the same metal as the outside only a few seats were covered in leather and the bed was covered in a woven material the color Yoda had never seen before. There was a strong smell coming from a pot on the cooker in the corner. It smelled like the time Yamer had spilled her joint oil in the mushroom bin and forgot to clean it out for about two weeks. They had to leave home for two days to let the house air out. 'Is that food or something to fix the ship?' Yoda got his answer when the Wookie came back in stirred the pot, tasted it, added more stinky stuff to it, banged the spoon on the side and recovered it. 'Answers that question,' Yoda thought relieved to see the lid go back on. Unlike the Yendell the creatures wore no robes only a utility belt over one shoulder. Yoda wondered how he kept all that fur from matting. The creature picked up a large brush, brushed a few strokes, and showed it to Yoda. 'Apparently he can understand my thoughts maybe I careful I should be.' The creature brayed again and Yoda understood, he only squished people his own size. He had been on his way home from a trading run when his ship had broken down. He had the parts but needed a place to land to work on it. Bray: "Names Tarbocca." "Yoda, my name, to my home welcome." Outside the ship a sheepish crowd was beginning to gather. Imagine their surprise when they saw Yoda come walking out followed by the eight-foot tall Wookie. "Yoda!" Came their exclamation in unison. "Sprout, doing with that creature, what are you, in that strange thing." Came Yav's indignant parental concern. "Know better than to approach off-worlders you should." "Eat you, he could." Yara pleaded. "Come quick." "Bray" Yoda grinned. "Meat enough, not have on bones, he says." "Funny not, Yoda." Yav scolded. "Father, understand him I do. Ship broken, need place to repair." Yoda pleaded. "Repairs being made. Only need time." "Yoda, come now, stay away from creature you must." Yav commanded. Yoda followed obediently yet sullen. Tarbocca brayed a farewell. "Here till tomorrow, come back if you can." Yoda didn't look back; he felt he had lost the stars. There had been rumors of visitors from far away lands, lands in the night-lights, strange creatures with strange words. Most listened to these stories and quaked in fear, Yoda had always leaned forward in his seat, heart pounding wondering if it was really so. Sleep didn't come easy for Yoda that night; the sights and smells, good and bad. This was the only way to the stars he so wanted to see. He knew his responsibilities to the tree and the family. These were far off and simple compared to the exciting prospects or the stars. How many more chances would he have to get to the lights? oOo "Yara, What wrong?" Yav asked as he came into the prep room and saw Yara staring at a piece of paper. "Gone he is, sorry to worry us. See us again he will, gone to the lights." Yara said with a sigh. oOo Yoda arrived at the ship, found it closed and making a sputtering noise. He tapped on the hull with a stick. "Wait, wait!" He pleaded. The sputtering stopped and the ramp popped and came down. Yoda bounded up the ramp with an energy he had never had before. He was so excited he was spring green instead of his usual pale moss. Bray: "Knew you would come." Brayed Tarbocca. "Knew more than Yoda. Help do you need?" Yoda asked. "Wish you were bigger or Jedi, could use some help." Tarbocca brayed. "Jedi, never heard of. What help needed?" Yoda chimed. Bray: "I need two things done at same time. I can't do both. You are too small." Tarbocca sighed. "Show me." Yoda challenged. Tarbocca picked up a long silver piston looking thing. "One has to go in here while the other has to go in the other side at the same time. I tried getting around replacing them but it didn't work and you're to small." Tarbocca brayed. Yoda closed his eyes, held out his hand, the part lifted much to Tarbocca's surprise. He strode quickly to the other side inserted the other part as Yoda did. Clicked the supports closed, Yoda followed his example closing the other side. Tarbocca closed the panels, went to the seats in the front, flipped several switches and buttons. The ship sputtered, clanged then took hold and purred. Tarbocca pulled back on a stick and the ship lifted and started across the sky. Yoda climbed up the knotted rope tied to the back of the seat placed there for him. 'Did know Yoda coming.' He thought. Looking out the window the day soon turned to night and the lights shined. Soon he could see the Dagobah sun and his home world green and blue growing smaller by the minute. He sat back in surprise as it disappeared in to the blackness. Now he really was in the night. How long before he got to land again, he did not know. "It's space sickness." Tarbocca brayed. "Don't spew on my equipment." "No, not sick, just bad felling, leaving home." Yoda answered. "Why, you not tell me you are Jedi?" Tarbocca brayed. "Heard of Force or Jedi, I have not." Yoda replayed. Bray: "How did you move the part only a Jedi can do that?" "From where I come, move things everyone can." Yoda bragged. Bray: "I met someone you should meet if we get back that way. Now let me show you how this ship works." Tarbocca was surprised at how fast Yoda caught on to the ships operations. Bray: "Follow me." Yoda slid out of the seat and followed the lumbering Wookie in to the prep room. He showed Yoda where there were baskets of Dagobah foods beans, roots and fruit in the cookery as he called it. "You're on your own in cooking them." He brayed. He then showed him a small room about the size of a storage bin or Yoda's room at home. It had a small bed, with a blanket and a shelf with a hole in it. Bray: "This is where you do your business. Then you pull this cord." Yoda was puzzled about what business but didn't want to ask. He figured it out later that night or at least he hoped it was the right business otherwise he would have some explaining to do. Tarbocca didn't tell Yoda that he had setup the room for his pet monz, a monkey-like creature that he had tried to take with him to keep him company. He had been forced to take his back home because it had gotten space sick. It had taken forever to clean up his mess and he could still smell it when the air cleaner filters needed cleaning, like now. As Yoda looked around his new room familiarizing himself he thought. 'Knew I was coming, he did. Wonder what blanket is made of.' He sniffed it. 'Wookie fur, what I thought.' 'Need to call Kashyyyk.' Tarbocca thought. 'I didn't want to call when visitor was up here. Naish is going to be mad. I promised to get back before the cub is born and I may not make it. There is nothing in the galaxy worse than a pregnant Wookie heavy with cub.' "Naish, my love, I had trouble with the ship and had to land for repairs." Brayed a Wookie in trouble. "Yes Dear, I'm coming straight home and I am bringing you a new friend. No it's not female or at least I don't think it is. Yes, you are as beautiful as the day I first met you in the meadow... I mean when I saw you in the meadow, I didn't meet you till the next day. I have to go now ship in danger. Bye." Tarbocca sighed in relief; he had survived the call, barely. He reached up to turn on the fan. 'It's hot in here. Maybe I should warn him about Naish before we get home. I wonder do his women get mean before the deliver.' He thought. oOo On arriving at Kashyyyk, Yoda thought he had returned to Dagobah on seeing the planet from the air. It to was covered with giant trees and blue water. The pattern of land and water was different though and the trees too were different he saw as they got closer. The faint wave of homesickness was quickly over shadowed by excitement at the new sights. Tarbocca was saved; he had arrived home in time to see his cub born. The people didn't know what to think of the visitor. Naish thanked Tarbocca but told him you had better take it with you when you travel. I will be to busy with the new cub to take care of it, much to Yoda's relief. Wookie deliveries took longer and were noisier than Yendell deliveries. Yoda had to stay a good distance away or the hollering hurt his ears. Finally, an exhausted Tarbocca came out and brayed it was born. Shortly an older female Wookie came out carrying a large bundle and bray: "It's a boy." Everyone came over and patted Tarbocca on the back for surviving the delivery, many a Wookie men didn't. For the next five years Yoda and Tarbocca traveled around the galaxy trading spices from one planet to another. Tarbocca found it beneficial to have a Force sensitive Yendell around. (He chose not to use the name Yendell to the outsiders or tell anyone where he was from so as not to attract visitors to Dagobah.) Often planetary officials were not pleased to have spice traders visit their planet and Yoda had a way of 'causing' them to not see the cargo. He also managed to 'acquire' their payment from a dishonest slug on Tatooine. Yoda and Tarbocca made a strange pair, people marveled at them. Some wondered if Yoda was the Wookie's pet, others if the Wookie was Yoda's. Most just kept their distance. Tarbocca's son was about Yoda's size at birth and he quickly outgrew him. They became great friends. In a couple of years Chabocca could toss Yoda up on his shoulder and go running. Chabocca loved to go on 'expeditions', trips around to countryside of Kashyyyk meeting other Wookies and seeing many sights. Naish soon learned to trust her son to the strange friend of her husband. He always brought them both home safely. Yoda spent a lot of his time learning star charts and loved meeting new people especially the children. Tarbocca thought it was because they were closer to his size. Occasionally the word Jedi came up in conversation. The story was always the same, a hero saving someone, with the use of a strange Force, from some villain or natural disaster. When and the kind of species the Jedi was changed, one time it was tall with a long neck, another it had tentacles on its head instead of fur and occasionally it was a human. Yoda hadn't met one of these humans yet. On one run to a secluded planet well off the trade route Tarbocca stopped to pick up a spice little known to most but well liked by some of his usual customers. Not only was it nutty sweet flavor delicious in sweet breads but also it was reported to help with a number of ailments common to the elderly, a few common to the young. It also gave you a spicy sweet smell that attracted the opposite sex, which made it popular with young and old alike. The problem was the ruler of the planet had died without leaving an heir, which left the planet in chaos. The various distant relatives were fighting over who would be king; both sides prized the spice too much to damage the crops. Tarbocca had delayed his next visit to the Tropical planet hoping the conflict would work its self out instead it had only escalated. Warring marauders had been sent by the Heir Presumptors to prevent the Heir Contender, whose claim was stronger but less popular, from getting to the Court to claim his birthright. As they left the spaceport a man and young girl were settling a dispute near a courtyard cafe. Yoda saw the flashes of blue and purple and realized it was at last members of the mysterious group he had heard so much about; they were also humans from the description he had picked up. The man's hair was light brown about shoulder length, his eyes dark brown, he wore robes of cream and brown and there were hooded cloaks in the grass behind them. The girl had short blonde hair, with a stray braid on one side, and green eyes that flashed when she fought; her robes were lighter than his. Tarbocca had placed Yoda on his shoulder; a place of safety and it expedited matters in case they had to leave abruptly. Yoda especially liked it because he could see further than his two-foot frame would allow. The acrobatic moves that the two Jedi preformed fascinated him, and the burring of the lightsabers as they spun through the air. Yoda's heart pounded like it hadn't since he first traveled into the night sky and his planet vanished into the blackness. The two did surprisingly little or no bodily injury to the marauders mostly weapons, equipment and a few belts leaving the combatants fleeing trousers around their ankles. "Master, I wish you wouldn't do that! That's more than I want to know about my opponents." Exclaimed the girl. "Sorry, I forget I'm training a girl now and I don't think Jedi are supposed to blush." Chuckled the Master. "Well this one does." She replied indignantly deactivating her lightsaber. Just then Tarbocca came out from under the arbor and brayed a greeting only to find a lightsaber burring past his head as a surprised Jedi Master misunderstood the gesture. The major surprise came when he realized that the little green elfish creature sitting on the Wookies shoulders had deflected the strike. "Whoa! Mean he looks, friendly he is. Spice traders we are, not part of your fight." Came a crackly voice not used to Galactic Basic. "Sorry, I'm not used to seeing Wookies this far out and they do have the reputation for having a temper." Came the flustered Master. "Tame this one is, samples his own product he does. Admiring your fighting style I was, till almost beheaded my friend you did." Piped the creature. "How did you do that?" Asked the Jedi Master unaccustomed to being critiqued by a two-foot tall elf or deflected by one. "Liked that move did you? From where I come child's play it is." "Where would that be?" Asked the master recovering his composure. "Planet far, far away. Name unknown to outsiders." Chimed the elf as he slid down from the Wookies shoulders and landed gingerly on the ground in front of the Jedi Master. "Looking for you I have been. Trained as Jedi I will be." "Cocky little thing, aren't you? Well we have a height requirement in the Jedi, no one shorter than four feet is allowed. Come back when you are grown." Dismissed the Master. "Grown I am. High enough to stop you I was." Answered the indignant elf. "Are you going to ride around on a Wookie the rest of your life?" Said the Master backing up to sit in a nearby café chair to see more closely eye to eye to the elf. At the last minute the chair slid back two-feet leaving the Master sitting on his bum on the ground. A cackle came from the Padawan standing arms folded behind her in the background. "Wasn't me Master. Got you he did." She said mimicking the stranger. "So you like playing jokes little one. Let's see how you like this." He said reaching for the elf only to catch thin air. "Slippery little fellow, aren't you?" He said grabbing for him again only to get a hand full of the cactus that jumped into his path. "Ouch! Ouch!" Fumed the Master as he plucked prickles from his hand. "So you think a few parlor tricks can get you into the Jedi Order." "Not know parlor tricks. Just know, want to be Jedi. Help people." Yoda boldly told the Master. "That's a fine goal coming from a spice trader." Scowled the Master. "Problem with spices? People love spices. You, no love spices?" Asked a puzzled Yoda. "No! I don't like spices, at least not your kind of spices." The indignant Master pronounced. "Tarbocca, What wrong with spices?" Asked a shocked Yoda. "Bray." "What you mean illegal? You said help people. People love spices." Asked an indignant Yoda. "Bray." "So embarrassing. So embarrassing. Not know law against selling to people, but only to refineries. Yoda never sell illegal spices again. Shame on Yoda. Shame on Tarbocca." "Bray." Exclaimed an indignant Wookie. "Bray" Said Tarbocca as he walked off toward his ship. "Bray." Came a call over his shoulder as he threw Yoda's things out of the ship. "Insulted he is. Left me he has. Alone far, far from home, I am. Abandoning me too, are you?" Yoda dropped his head in a solemn lost puppy gesture that never quite worked on Yaren. "I cannot train you I already have a Padawan, only one is allowed at a time, and the council would have to approve you before you can be trained. You can travel with us, when we get back to Coruscant, you may go to the Temple and petition the Council for training. Maybe they will allow you to be in a Corp. Now let's get back to the rendezvous place before the marauders come back with reinforcements and better belts." The master instructed. "Come with me. My shoulders aren't as big as your Wookie's were but you can ride on my back." Said the Padawan, boosting Yoda onto her back. The strange threesome left headed back towards the rendezvous place. They arrived just as the rightful heir to the throne was coming out of the Spaceport. He had acquired the documentation to prove his right of succession. The skirmish that morning had been a diversion to give him time to slip back in the spaceport. Now with the help of the Jedi he hoped to be able to present them to the court at the ceremony of coronation when it was asked if any one had a greater claim to the throne and all contestants had to be answered. The problem was getting in the court in one piece. "Picked up a stray I see?" Said the Contender to the Throne to the Jedi Master. "Who's your little friend? Here boy." He said as the Padawan lowered Yoda to the ground. "Not a pet, am I. To be a Jedi, I will be trained. Great Jedi Master, I will be. Yoda, I am." Boasted the little one. "Cocky isn't he. If his abilities are as great as his ego he may make it." Answered the surprised Contender. "For now he's just traveling with us." The Master explained, then to Yoda. "You must stay out of the way. I can't protect you and the Contender. You're on your own." The group mounted up on equine like animals for the trip. Yoda bounced up behind the Padawan. "Hey! Watch where you put your hand." She scolded. "Sorry, to hold belt, am I allowed." Yoda apologized. 'Looked like a good hand hold to me.' He thought. "Name's Nyla Rian." She called over her shoulder. "Yoda." He answered. "He's Master Kotn Moth." She pointed to the Master. "Missed a lock." Yoda said moving the lock of braided hair that kept hitting him in the face. "Wasn't my idea. Used to humble Jedi apprentices. Use as a leash sometimes." Nyla said having to use shorthand to be understood as they rode. "Problem will be, not enough hair do I have." Yoda called. "Fortunate you are." She mimicked. oOo When they arrived at the Coronation Ceremony people dressed in their finest were filing into the Hall. Guards were carefully checking to make sure the Contender wasn't allowed in. They slipped on elaborate robes over their basic outfits and Nyla covered her head to conceal her Padawan hairstyle. "We need a diversion to get into the Hall. Anyone have any ideas? And Lightsabers won't do Nyla, we want to get in undetected not start a war." Master Moth asked. Just then Nyla felt Yoda slip off her animal. She looked back to see his robe neatly folded behind her. 'Oh! No.' She thought. "Master…" She said holding up the robe. Just then they heard women screaming, men hollering, "Get it!" All of the occupants of the Hall were going wild. The Master and Contender smiled at each other as they dismounted and the whole group slipped in the Hall, during the commotion, undetected. oOo A/N: And they called him the streak.