@Jade_eyes Thanks for the beta @earlybird-obi-wan I love the whole concept of the Wookiee home planet. Only Mykkaylakkwen is mine. Kai Justiss is cannon. Chapter 17Mindwalking Myykalakkwen carefully observed her old friend as he spoke to the young padawan. She had always been gifted with seeing how those around her were connected through the Force. It had been an observation of hers that Qui-Gon had always been one to embrace those ties even as he upheld the Jedi way of no attachments. It was a fine line, and he walked it nimbly. She saw the bond between him and Anakin was very strong, more like father and son than that of master and padawan. Good, it is what you have always longed for, my friend, she thought. What surprised her was there seemed to be another presence within that link, ethereal and indistinct. Seeing nothing of the darkness in the unknown spirit, the Healer took a deep breath and slowly let it out before getting to the task at hand. <<”Focus on the Force,”>> Myykalakkwen addressed both Jedi, <<”and when the time is right you will lend strength to Master Dooku and calm him when needed while I concentrate on the healing process.”>> When the two nodded their understanding, she closed her eyes and held her large furry hands over her patient’s head and slipped into a trance. As she went deeper into the Force, she let go of her self and entered what she called the spirit walk. Each breath she took was a step forward from the forest of her mind into the realm of her patient’s subconscious, which was represented as a dark cave. Walking into the narrow opening, she spoke. “Master Dooku, we’ve come to help you.” Since in the mind, thoughts and words were not bound by language, she knew there was no need of a translator for the other man to understand her speech. The healer saw two lights floating beside her, and she knew them as her friend, Qui-Gon and his young padawan, Anakin. Though they stayed on the edge of her awareness, she ignored them as the image of a distinguished elderly gentleman emerged from the darkness. “Come no further,” he instructed, “I will not allow others to become lost in his web.” As he spoke, his body suddenly appeared to be wrapped by a sickly looking string and stuck in a giant web that took up the entire cave. An impossibly large, black spider with venomous red eyes was glaring at the Wookiee even as it bit the side of the Jedi Master’s neck. A wave of pain rushed over Myykalakkwen, but she stood her ground, calm within the tidal wave of her patient’s anguish. She stayed where she was, however, not wanting to force herself into his mind, even if her intent was to heal not harm. “Do you remember me, Master Dooku,” she asked the elderly Jedi in a conversational tone. Dooku frowned as he looked at the Wookiee, and she could sense him struggling to recall past acquaintances. She could tell the effort helped to lessen his mental distress. “Myyka... you were one of Qui-Gon’s friends.” His brow furrowed more as he spoke further, “You went into the Medical Corps. when Healer Faldren died because there were no Healers who were free to take you on as their Padawan. Such a waste of your potential, that was. If only the council would allow more experienced Masters to take on more than one student.” As he spoke, her spirit leisurely drifted closer to him. The mental spider shrank and took on a gossamer cast as she answered, “I never considered my time in the Corps. as a waste. I learned much in the twenty years I was there, and am grateful for the opportunities it afforded me.” Master Dooku tilted his head as he spoke, “I seem to recall Qui-Gon mentioning you left the Corps.” “Yes, there was a line of research here on Kashyyyk I felt compelled to explore which conflicted with my Jedi duties.” She was now beside her patient, and the spider had dissipated into the void, though he was still wrapped in the cocoon. She slowly reached out and touched the web as the Jedi Master shook his head, “So you have given up your growth in the Force?” This elicited a gentle bubbling of mirth from the Wookie. The web dissipated as did the wrapping around her patient, and she deftly caught him in her arms. “Do you believe that only the Jedi can learn and grow in the Force, Master,” she asked in a tender tone as one furry hand caressed his forehead. “No,” he answered in a quavering voice, then began to weep as his spirit relaxed into her gentle embrace. ~~~ Master Dooku thought he would never experience peace again after the harrowing torture he'd experienced at the hands of the Sith Lord. Yet here he was, cradled like a child in the arms of a Healer, her gentle spirit soothing the turmoil that had not ceased since that fateful day, almost two years before, when he'd refused to serve that evil spawn of darkness. He could sense the presence of his old Padawan as well as the young prodigy hovering on the edge of his consciousness, lending him strength. As the calm took over, however, he realized how undignified a profile he was showing. He remedied that situation by pulling away and sitting up straight in front of the Wookiee Healer. “Thank you, Myykalakkwen.” The surroundings had changed sometime while he’d been weeping... like an infant, he thought with abhorrence... from the dark, dank cave to the room he’d once occupied at the Jedi Temple, and he realized he wasn’t awake, and that the Healer was a new specter within his mind. Granted, her presence was more reassuring than that of the tormenter. “So, we are on Kashyyyk,” he guessed. “Yes. Qui-Gon brought you here when you said you couldn’t go to Coruscant.” Just the thought of going to that planet, and more specifically to the Jedi Temple filled the Master with dread. The panic and excruciating pain that had seized him whenever he tried to defy the wishes of the Sith Lord was no longer there. The Healer had somehow circumvented the hold his tormenter had upon him. No longer did he feel the dark cold fingers strangling his consciousness. “It’s time for you to wake now,” Myykalakkwen said softly as she stood and slowly backed away from him. Panic filled him then. Even though he had longed to have the dark spectre out of his mind for so long, the thought of being alone scared him even more. “Please, don’t leave me alone!” He was instantly ashamed of his weakness and chided himself, fool, you are a Jedi, and will act with the proper decorum. Still, the unreasoning fear gripped his chest and he held out his hands toward the Wookiee in desperate supplication. “You’re never alone.” It wasn’t the Healer who was suddenly kneeling in front of him and taking his hands in hers, but the woman he recognized as young Anakin’s mother. “H-how are you here?” Even as he asked it, he could see that somehow she was here in spirit because of Qui-Gon who was standing behind her with his hands upon her shoulder. They are bound together! He was always one to need companionship. It isn’t the Jedi way. We must be able to stand alone. Yet the thought of being isolated filled him with such dread that having the dark spectre back within his mind was preferable. “Master,” Qui-Gon said as he knelt beside Mrs. Skywalker, “we are brothers. I’m here for you.” Dooku had always prided himself on his independence. It wasn’t only the Jedi way, but that of the culture of Counts on Serenno. The Dooku’s were always looked to for aid, not the other way around. It was also his way. He was a teenager when he told Yoda that in the end, everyone was alone. He had even seen Qui-Gon’s need to be close to others as a weakness and told him so when he concluded their Master/Padawan relationship. His words for his former apprentice had become true when Xanatos betrayed him. Yet, when Qui-Gon called him brother, a greater truth resonated within him. A man can survive in isolation, but where is the meaning in that? A brother taking aid from a brother. There is no shame in that, for a brother gives as well as takes. Even as he was contemplating thus, the forms of Mrs. Skywalker and Qui-Gon became one until it was only the latter kneeling before him, holding his hands. Lest his dignity suffer any more, he forced himself to slowly withdraw his fingers from the other Jedi’s grasp. “Brothers are one thing, but I prefer to hold the lady’s hand.” Qui-Gon’s eyes took on a mirthful spark as he replied, “Just so you know, I saw her first.” When Dooku chuckled, the younger man clapped him on the shoulder. “Come, time to wake up.” This time, Dooku’s spirit rose to consciousness without hesitation.