The Jedi Warrior Bond by Gina *repost* AU

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction Stories--Classic JC Board (Reply-Only)' started by Arctic_Wolf, Feb 20, 2001.

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  1. Arctic_Wolf Jedi Knight

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    Aug 19, 2000
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    I'm going to keep on posting even if people ain't reading. Sorry I posting the breaks so quickly one after another. I am short on comp. time.
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    LIVE AND DIE THE WARRIOR CREED
    Being a true Jedi Knight in every sense of the definition, Master Qui-Gon Jinn considered himself a quintessential example of his breed. As every good Knight should be, Jinn was truthful, brave, loyal and filled with innate integrity. These sterling qualities extended to his treatment and relationships with others as well as judgement of himself. While never considering himself a paragon, he would classify his nature as including most of the best traits of an archetypal Jedi.
    At times somewhat rebellious attributes surfaced in his personality and accentuated his occasionally maverick nature. In counterpoint to those errant traits, respect for older, wiser Jedi was ingrained into Jinn's very soul, with Master Yoda holding the highest position of acclaim and admiration. At the moment, however, Qui-Gon was experiencing rare notions of incredulity at Yoda's mandates and doubt of the old one's wisdom.
    'Be truthful,' he chided himself caustically.
    'You think Yoda has completely taken leave of his senses!' the much younger and seditious Master opinioned uncharitably -- silently.
    Aloud he uncharacteristically spoke in terms ridiculously obvious. Putting it down to his shock, he blurted out his dismay. "Master Yoda, you can't be serious!"
    The little green alien in the holo-projection bent his ears in disapproval. His mouth curled under in stern rebuke. "Serious I am! Deny this request you will not Master Jinn!"
    Anger sizzling just under the skin, Jinn controlled his temper. Maybe nothing would work to turn Yoda's opinion, but only controlled reason and calm had a chance of changing the inflexible little . . . . Irritation and rebellion would not help.
    "Tiran is a lying deceitful youth! He puts his own desires before the safety of others!"
    "No Darkness I sense from him. Artan birthplace of civilization. Help we must if requested. Jedi creed it is."
    Jinn was in no mood to be reminded about his duties as a Jedi or the noble possibilities of the Warrior creed. "Tiran hates my apprentice and me. He tried to kill Obi-Wan! To ask us to return to Artan while he has influence is courting danger if not murder! To consider him a ruler of a planet -- of Artan -- is despicable!"
    Yoda pressed his lips together and emitted a sound that was suspiciously like a growl. "Second guess me you do, Master Jinn?"
    "Yes I do!" Qui-Gon decided instantly, unable -- unwilling -- to curb his insubordination. "Tiran is a threat. If we go there I am certain there will be disaster."
    "Read his feelings I did." Yoda was firm -- stern. "Do you question my ability to define emotions of others?"
    As livid as Jinn was, he would certainly not respond to that loaded question with the rude answer dancing on his tongue. Not about to fall into the trap of trading insults with the highest Jedi Master, Jinn backed off and struggled for mental control and verbal tact. "I believe Tiran's Force acuity is strong enough to -- distract you, Master Yoda. To shield his true intentions." His jaw was tight with defiance. "For myself this request is danger, I accept that. For Obi-Wan to return to Artan could be a death sentence. In the best interest of my apprentice I must respectfully decline this assignment."
    Glowering as only the little green creature could, Yoda stared down the intractable Human. In his odd language he described the singular and unstable political situation of Artan. The verdant planet was the seat of civilization for the Republic and had been ruled by a royal family for eons. The young and recently enthroned ruler Grayton had just unexpectedly perished from an accident on the slopes of Artan's famous mountain peaks. The rule would now go to one of the remaining siblings -- Tiran or his sister Gaarlon. A panel of three Jedi would decide the selection. Two would be Jinn and his apprentice.
    The problem that Jinn had w
  2. Arctic_Wolf Jedi Knight

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    Taking the lead from Jinn, the apprentice chose an unusual place to start his track. Not in the castle with medical and climbing experts, but in the streets of the central city. Passing through the narrow, but pleasant streets of Artan Central, Kenobi found just what he was looking for. Not far from the castle, off the tourist path enough to be favored by locals, he slipped into a neighborhood pub.
    The crowd was comfortable and not too heavy. He stood next to an Artan that towered over him, the thin arms stretching up to easily retrieve a glass of purple liquid from the bar. Kenobi, much shorter, leaned against the chest-level bar with his hands. The Artan and the barkeeper were already in a conversation about the mountain climbing events of the last year. Perfect.
    "Nothing like a tragedy to bring out the tourists."
    "Business is on the upswing then," Obi-Wan concluded.
    "We wish. Tiran -- out of respect for his brother -- has banned climbers from the sun-face side of the mountain."
    The tidbit immediately struck a chord of suspicion in Kenobi. Was it the Force hinting at malfeasance, or was it his own prejudice against Tiran? The homage seemed uncharacteristic for the self-centered royal youth. So like any good investigator he tucked away the information for further perusal.
    Kenobi interjected a few opinions of his own. When they asked if he had taken on the mountain he was a little arrogant when congratulated on successfully climbing the highest peak. The revelation led to several rounds of the favored local drink -- Deym-ale, derived from the incredible fruit that was a tasty meal as well as a libation, as well as an ancient Jedi magical elixir.
    From there he easily led the conversation to the dangers of the mountain and asked if there had been any recent accidents. That led quickly to the notorious case of Grayton's fall and a number of opinions on what happened and why. The only disturbing aspect came when Obi-Wan tried to focus the Force on the Artans to get them to reveal all he wanted. Even this simple exercise in mind control was elusive. What was happening? Embarrassed, he realized the marvelously sweet Deym-ale was not only versatile, but also potent. Kenobi left the pub filled with information and a little too much Deym-ale. By the time he dizzily navigated his way back to the castle he went right to bed.
    Artan Central was a pleasant city and Jinn enjoyed his leisurely perambulations through the main marketplace. Observing people and establishments Jinn allowed the Force to finally guide him to a bookstall owned by an elderly, grey-haired Human. The quirky man felt the need to gossip with customers perusing the books. None of the Artans or tourists seemed to mind and Jinn made himself at home. The Force helped instill a sense of compatibility to the bookseller and he garrulously chatted to Jinn about sports, politics and the royal family.
    The man claimed that Tiran was driving tourists away. He had closed part of the mountain and discouraged tourism. Most of the Artans in the shop murmured in agreement at the assessment. It told Jinn two things: One, public sentiment seemed against Tiran and his policies. Two, Artans were not shy about letting everyone know their opinions. Docketing the information Jinn returned to the castle.

    To say he was drunk would be an overstatement. Foggy was a better term Kenobi decided. His balance and cognitive processes were slow and a little muddled. Making it back to the castle was an extended ordeal and it was dark by the time Obi-Wan found the right path to the very obvious and large, lighted palace on the hill.
    Fortunately Master Jinn was no where to be seen in their suite and Kenobi gratefully plopped his fully clothed body onto the bed. In his dreams Tiran came again -- a dark, foreboding shadow of evil that chanted in his mind and threatened him with veiled emotions of Dark horror. Around the edges of his mind he felt the presence of his Master but could not speak or hear any communiqués from his mentor. When Kenobi blearily opened his eyes again sunlig
  3. Arctic_Wolf Jedi Knight

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    "Too bad you don't have some magical legend like the bond to save you apprentice." He smiled at Jinn. "You have your Master here and we are all hoping he will do what he must to save your miserable life."
    Keeping his expression and voice neutral Qui-Gon demanded, "Explain yourself."
    "You have some commitment, even affection for this boy, Master Jinn. I hold his life in my hands with the Deymaax. If he does not receive regular doses of the drug he will die. A very painful death. You can save him."
    Jinn's throat was dry. "How?"
    "First, tomorrow you will vote for me as ruler of Artan. After the coronation I will reinstate Jedi advisors and even a Jedi training center here on Artan." Jinn was about to object but Tiran motioned him to silence. "Let me finish, Master, please. You will stay on here as my trainer and advisor." The royal stroked his apprentice braid. He glared at Kenobi, then at the elder Jedi. "If you do not the apprentice receives no more Deymaax and he dies."
    Jinn stepped forward, swung the lightsabre and stepped back all in an instant, in a fluid moment of poetry in movement and light. The silver strand of braided hair fell from Tiran's head and wafted to the floor. The green lightsabre sizzled in the stunned silence of the three beings. They hardly breathed. No one moved. Kenobi stared up at his Master. Tiran gazed at Jinn. With aching movements Obi-Wan slowly crossed to stand by his mentor.
    "How dare you presume to wear that badge of honor!" Jinn condemned viciously. "You murderous monster!" He swung the singing blade down and stopped just short of Tiran's heart. "You can never be a Jedi! You are owned by Darkness! Your only power is evil! The Jedi will have nothing to do with you."
    "Then your apprentice dies!" he screamed back. "From this moment on you accept me as your apprentice! You agree to my terms and you become my personal Master!" Pale eyes dared glittering blue eyes. "Or strike me down and kill me now. But that will only free you, Master Jinn. It will condemn your -- former --" he smiled, "apprentice with agonizing death. Only I know the mixture and potency to be used on him. Without the right amount of Deymaax and other ingredients Kenobi will suffer. Terribly. You might not find the right combination before he dies. Is that what you want?"
    Trembling, Jinn stood frozen with indecision. By every right of the Jedi creed he should eliminate this beast, destroy the evil before it wrecked havoc on the Republics oldest world, then on to the Jedi Order. Before this cretin destroyed any more lives he should be killed. Before he could save Obi-Wan?
    The lightsabre dropped.
    How could he make an alliance with Darkness? It would violate the Jedi creed in spirit and letter. Such a bargain would be little more than imprisonment for both the Jedi Master and Padawan. The pact would finish them as true Jedi. It would mean a half-life of suffering and humiliation for Kenobi. All Jinn could think of was his recent fright that he would lose Obi-Wan when the youth was poisoned on Pahuu. Addiction would be nearly unbearable for both of them. It would also mean life.
    "I accept."
    "No Master!"
    "We will not argue --"
    "I will not let you throw your life away, Master!"
    Qui-Gon looked only at his apprentice. "You will leave us now, Tiran."
    It was an order that demanded obedience. Still shocked by Jinn's incredible prowess with the sword, the royal backed away to the secret panel. It opened silently to reveal a dark corridor behind him.
    "I will see you both at the inquiry tomorrow." Shakily, he sighed. "I will bring a dose of Deymaax with me. If you make me ruler Kenobi renews his life with a new dose. If you betray me he starts a path of pain and destruction."
    When the panel closed Jinn moved to his apprentice and held the young man in his trembling arms. Kenobi winced at the touch on his arm and Jinn looked at the unhealed burns under the tunic.
    "We must treat those," he crisply demanded and fetched a medical kit. "Your Force is not strong enough to hold a healing trance. We should take
  4. Arctic_Wolf Jedi Knight

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    Aug 19, 2000
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    BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER

    When Obi-Wan Kenobi snapped his eyes open he met the level, knowing stare of his Master across the narrow aisle of the bunk quarters on the transport ship. The vessel rumbled in the final stages of landing.
    "Danger."
    Turning over on his cot, Kenobi nodded in agreement with his elder. "Yes, I feel it too, Master." Groaning, he stretched his back, staring up at the ceiling. "Have we landed in the middle of a war? Again?"
    Already dressing, Qui-Gon Jinn shouldered into his outer tunic and leaned over to peer in the eyes of his apprentice. "I think not, Padawan. I believe we are at the beginning this time."
    Jinn turned to gather his utility belt and lightsabre, revealing only a glimpse of his wry expression. Obi-Wan shook his head. What was it Master Yoda had told them so many years ago when they first became Master and Padawan? That the student would learn from the Master, and the Master would learn from the apprentice? Somehow he thought his contribution to the partnership would be a little more important than teaching Qui-Gon a sarcastic sense of humor.
    "And before breakfast! Again! Typical."
    Dressing quickly, Kenobi joined his Master in the corridor of the small, old transport ship. Other beings were gathering to disembark, most of them Chagrians. Very tall, muscular, beings with a light blue tint to their skins, their greatest distinction being the intimidating twin horns tall above their heads, matched by double horns growing down from protrusions from their head. Not in a very good mood this morning (it was hard when one awoke to instant impressions of doom and gloom!), Kenobi noted sourly that most of the known galaxy seemed to be tall and bulky, tall and muscular, tall and -- well, much taller than him!
    Chagria was a powerful and well known planet in the Republic. One of the ruling Royal family, Mas Amedda, was the first assistant to the newly appointed Supreme Chancellor Valorum in the Senate. The designation of Amedda to such an exalted position solidified the Mas family standing on Chagria. Unfortunately, Amedda was already stained with some rumors of political corruption which blotted the appointment. And that was why they were here.
    A Chagrian jostled into Kenobi, pushing a sharp horn into the young Jedi's shoulder. Biting back a yelp, which would have done more harm than good politically, he dropped back, waiting for the anxious blue beings to pass. Jinn drifted ahead and a moment later when Obi-Wan reached the open doors of the transport, Jinn was no where to be found.
    Closing off the external distractions, Kenobi stood in the corridor, sensing with his Warrior Bond, easily centering on his Master's Force. Qui-Gon was still aboard the ship. Backtracking, Kenobi walked toward the crew quarters, finally pinpointing the right cabin. There was no sense of trouble, and when he covertly questioned Jinn, the Master sent him a welcoming thought. Almost instantly the door opened and the large Jedi Master grabbed his apprentice by the robe and pulled him into the cabin, quickly closing the door behind him.
    In the room was a Chagrian Kenobi had seen during the flight -- the second officer of the ship. Introduced as Mas Sim, a representative to Mas Araban, he all but ignored the younger Jedi. So what was new? Most beings had little time for apprentices. The stately, noble bearing of Jinn -- his sense of calm and formidable Force -- dominated almost every gathering. Kenobi was used to it. Also in the room was the overwhelming emotion of anger. Not coming from the Jedi.
    "You brought your accomplice to ambush me! You were supposed to bring the credits!"
    Jinn was the definition of calm. "This is an unofficial rendezvous. There will be no credits --"
    "You lied!"
    The huge blue alien threateningly advanced. Jinn, arms folded across his chest, didn't move. Kenobi impulsively stepped between the two. The Master was more than capable of defending himself, but the apprentice instinctively acted.
    "If Master Jinn says there will be no credits, then you will get none." His voi
  5. Arctic_Wolf Jedi Knight

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    WHEN PROPHECIES COME TRUE

    "Master, this is incredible! The Artan archive records on the ancient Jedi rituals --" Drawing in a deep breath he lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "One of them talks in great detail about the plains of Obtana."
    Obi-Wan Kenobi swept through the doorway of the bedchamber with two bowls, several crust sticks and a data pad balanced in his hands. Qui-Gon Jinn opened his eyes and patiently watched his apprentice spread his burdens on the nearest table.
    "I was talking to one of the ship's cooks. Did you know Obtana was so close? Only two systems away! After this mission we could divert there, don't you think? Just for a few days?"
    Remaining on his knees, the Master exhaled slowly, stepping down mentally and emotionally from the satisfying meditation that had been so abruptly interrupted. The deep sigh was too subtle for the younger man to perceive. Obi-Wan's passion for history dominated everything, even eating, it seemed on this occasion as he hurriedly pushed the food to one side of the table and set up the data pad to show his Master.
    "Did you know the Obtana plain has an ancient stone circle that was supposedly part of the Artan colony ruins? This text says there is a hidden treasure in the circle, and only Warrior Bond Master and Padawan can find this treasure!"
    Artan was the foundation of known civilization for the Republic and the birthplace of the Jedi Order. Qui-Gon and his apprentice had spent two unpleasant sojourns on the planet, but still managed to copy some useful historical data from the vast, ancient records there. Obi-Wan sifted through the old, difficult to read data when he had time, and in the last few weeks he had hit upon more prophesies and myths that directly related to Kenobi's greatest passion -- the Warrior Bond.
    "Do you think the treasure could be some kind of mystical power available to Bonded Warriors?" Kenobi took a breath between excited theories. "I've discovered some other comments from the Artan histories -- several things about Eridani. The same races founded Obtana and Eridani, did you know that, with their roots far back into Artan civilization. Perhaps they have an ancient Jedi altar circle like we used on Artan." Unspoken, Obi-Wan left out the legends he had discovered about the killing fields and the Jedi Warriors. It had been a prophecy he'd stumbled onto before, but this old legend spoke of Eridani and Obtana in the same story. He didn't want to think how killing fields could relate to Jedi. There were some prophecies he'd found that were frightening and he usually tucked those away to be studied in private without discussing them with Jinn. It was an almost superstitious fear that by talking about them aloud they would spring into hazardous reality instead of remaining ancient legends on dusty pages.
    The Bond was the most important part of Qui-Gon's life he pondered, but sometimes even he tired of the enthusiasm and narrow focus it caused in his apprentice. The Bond -- a spiritual and emotional link that bound them together with a profound unity unknown to most Jedi teams. If there were other Warrior Bonded Masters and Apprentices Jinn didn?t know about them. It was a rare blessing, a gift that had once been an occasional capacity of mysticism on certain teams that were exceptional in the Force. Over the years the legend dwindled and eventually became nothing more than a dusty myth along with so many other apocharaphal tales of early Jedi. No one believed in the story. Except Obi-Wan Kenobi. Then, by the power of the Force -- and crisis -- Qui-Gon believed. The discovery was the greatest bounty Jinn had ever known. Just -- sometimes -- he could wish for a little less of the research from his pupil. Always concerned with the future, Obi-Wan needed more attention to the Now.
    Obviously subtle was not going to register on the young man. "Padawan, I have not completed my meditation."
    The revelation was a surprise and Kenobi stopped in mid-stride. At twenty-one years of age, the young man had matured into a fine practitioner o
  6. Arctic_Wolf Jedi Knight

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    ALWAYS

    Distance was never an existence between them. Until Anakin.
    Forces had been trying to weaken and destabilize the Republic for years. Yoda knew they needed to bring balance. Anakin would do that. It still didn't make this easy. Why did Qui-Gon have to be the one to find the boy, to see the importance of the child? Why did Destiny demand the pain this was causing his apprentice?
    Through the Warrior Bond Qui-Gon Jinn could feel the hurt, betrayal -- abandonment -- permeating his Padawan's emotions since the Council meeting. When he offered to train Anakin he felt Obi-Wan stare at him, more deeply felt the tremor of painful sensitivity shooting through him from his apprentice.
    How was Obi-Wan supposed to feel? Publicly, impulsively dropping his apprentice of over a decade, for the young boy who was not eligible to enter the Jedi Temple as a student. No consultation, no preparation. Coldly, Qui-Gon had pushed Kenobi away in favor of the child.
    It was true that there was little else he could teach Obi-Wan. For the last few years the Council had implied they were ready -- again -- to consider Qui-Gon as a member of the vaulted Council after his apprentice became a Knight. Most considered Kenobi very nearly ready to take his trials. They were right. Kenobi had grown up to be a noble, valiant, dutiful Jedi. Qui-Gon could not think of him without warming with pride. Yet, Jinn had been hesitant to offer Obi-Wan for the trials. In truth, he wasn't sure he, or Obi-Wan, were ready for the separation. It would be like losing part of himself, perhaps the best part, and Qui-Gon did not want to hasten that break.
    Not that the change would separate them spiritually - emotionally -- that would never happen. Forever and always they would be connected through their Warrior Bond. Without even trying he could sense that strong, Force-cord was still attached, but now strained. The turbulent emotions of rejection and hurt were so clear from his Padawan.
    With a breaking heart Qui-Gon forced himself to believe it was necessary. Anakin had changed everything. If he didn't train the boy no one would. The child needed a champion and only Qui-Gon seemed to sense the importance -- the certainty -- that Anakin was the one to bring balance to the Force. Anakin was special, yet, there was no connection -- it would never be the Warrior Bond he shared with Obi-Wan. Nothing could replace that. Happily, there seemed to be no way to break their bond so they are stuck with each other in some degree forever -- always. Even when Jinn acted in this cruel manner.
    So many years ago Qui-Gon had experienced an abrupt severing with his second apprentice. After the young man was seduced by the Dark Side Qui-Gon had felt betrayed, wounded and guilty from the disloyalty. The only difference now was that he was the betrayer. It was a dishonor to the strong young man Kenobi had become. It was foreign to everything Qui-Gon felt in respect and regard to his Padawan. Yet, seeing it as his duty, Jinn defied everyone, even the one closest to his heart, to shepherd the boy.
    Looking across the cabin of the ship, Qui-Gon stared at his apprentice. Obi-Wan's face was a hard, cold mask. Emotions, turbulent and raw on Coruscant, were now closed to Jinn. Through the Warrior Bond he could feel the unsettled pain, but nothing more specific. Kenobi had expertly shielded those details from him and Jinn did not want to intrude. He did not want to feel the depth of anguish again. How was his devoted and loyal son supposed to feel when his Master pushed him away in favor of another?
    Qui-Gon superficially consoled himself by recalling that Obi-Wan was anxious to prove he was worthy to take and complete the trials to advance to Knight. For months they had both sensed the time was near for the young man to progress and become independent. Neither wanted it but both longed for the inevitable -- the proof that their partnership had been an unparalleled success and that Kenobi would be the strong and brave Knight everyone expected of him. The triumph would show the Council
  7. Arctic_Wolf Jedi Knight

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    THE LAST HOPE

    Each breath was a scrape of torture, each movement an exercise in agony. Sliding along the jagged, serrated lava path, Obi-Wan Kenobi paused to still his ragged, sulfur-drenched breathing, to focus his Force senses toward his surroundings more than his internal injuries. The heavy vaporous atmosphere of the planet obscured normal sight and his sensitivity was the only forewarning left him.
    With his left elbow he inched his way along the craggy foot trail spiraling the ancient volcano. His right hand held his lightsabre. Barely. Gashes striped his right arm and shoulder, cutting across his chest and mid-section. Most of the wounds were superficial -- burns and scrapes; some were deep -- internal bleeding. All were searingly painful, inflicted by deadly strokes from a powerful lightsabre blade.
    Leaning his head against a crusty, sharp ledge of pumice, he closed his eyes and evened his breath. He was so close to death he could feel the cold seeping into his body, writhing around the wounds that would weaken him until there was nothing left of his strength. Then his Life Force would thin out and leave his body, to exist in the Living Force. A place of no pain. A place where he would be with his greatest friend. Blood trickled from a corner of his mouth as he smiled. He had waited a long time for this moment. It was almost upon him. Not that he had ever longed for death -- given up. He had fought the good fight to the end. Life now was misery and he would gladly relinquish it to walk the Warrior Path of eternity with his Master.
    There had been moments in the last decade when he had seen his beloved Master, heard the deep, mellow voice in his mind. Qui-Gon would ever be his Master no matter what their roles in the universe. In quiet moments, in times of despair and pain, in pleasant reflection, in tragedy -- Qui-Gon had ever been close in his heart.
    Sometimes in dreams his Master spoke with him guided him and then disintegrated with the morning light. The warmth in his heart always remained. Few times over the years had that sentimental radiance ever left him. When it had, it had been times when he pushed away the love and Light, it had never been a desertion from the other side. Always from his inadequacies, his failures. The visitations decreased, then stopped after Anakin's fall. Obi-Wan knew he was no longer worthy to receive the interviews with his Master.
    The Warrior Bond had kept them connected for a long time, sustaining Kenobi in the difficult years as a new Knight turned Master. Hadn't the old legends promised the Warrior Bond to be a source of strength in this life and beyond death? They had, tragically, tested the theory and proved it to be true.
    In the terrible years since the Naboo war, the desolate years that Obi-Wan had survived, Qui-Gon had still been with him, as promised -- always. The Bond with Jinn still saved his life even when Qui-Gon was not alive. Now the Dark Side had won, eclipsing the Republic, the Jedi, and the Light. Sometimes Kenobi wondered why he had been spared for so long, but that didn't matter any more. He was leaving the pain behind. Perhaps even before Anakin hunted him down again, he would join his Master within the Force.
    Since Qui-Gon's death, Kenobi had struggled to emulate his Master, to be everything that would make Jinn proud. Now, filled with desperation and grief, disconsolate over the mistakes he had made, he nearly giggled and cried in hysterical realization of how closely he had followed his Master. A champion of the Light, he had led an apprentice down to the Dark Side just as Qui-Gon had.
    Now, in his moment of greatest despair, Qui-Gon would come for him. Then the pain would be at an end. Once more he would know peace and happiness.
    'Obi-Wan.'
    Automatically his eyes snapped open, although sometimes that meant a disappearance of his apparition. Not this time. There was the Master, shimmering like a glittering light. Jinn stepped close -- preserved forever as the Master he had known. Obi-Wan wondered what he looked like to his Master. Like
  8. Arctic_Wolf Jedi Knight

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    THE LAST WARRIOR PATH

    Since young Luke had uttered the long forgotten, mystical name, the old man had been in an altered state of awareness. Buried senses and feelings surfaced. Old wounds, old victories swept through his memories with a flood of emotions he had not allowed himself to feel in decades.
    "Obi-Wan Kenobi."
    A different man. A different time.
    Like a magical, exotic incantation, the name evoked stirrings of Force, whisperings of Jedi honor and dormant instincts that now sizzled in his mind. As he paced next to the Jawa transport he tentatively reached out with the Force, familiarizing him with the sensation again, renewing the link to the past that he had abandoned -- forsaken -- for survival.
    Those many years ago he had told himself that bringing Luke, the son of Anakin, to Tattooine was clever. Darth Vader would never think to look here, his old slave home, for a boy he did not even know existed. And living close, nearby his brother and Luke, Kenobi slipped into a foreign persona, a hermit's life -- masking, watching, and waiting. He reminded himself that it was to act as guardian to the young Skywalker. In his heart he knew he was hiding.
    True, he had kept Anakin's original apprentice lightsabre for safe keeping, dreaming that one day the boy, or the girl, would come forward as Jedi. Qui-Gon's honored lightsabre had been kept as well, changed only with a blue power crystal, bright, blue, intense like his Master's gaze. Kenobi would rather lose an arm, or his life, than give up that cherished possession -- the only thing he had as a tangible memory of his beloved Master. Keeping the sabre was the foolish fantasy of an old man. He had believed in myths and fantasies and magic once, a long time ago. There were no more Jedi now. Why keep the lightsabre? Sentiment. No, he couldn't tread that path, he warned himself, shutting out the emotions that threatened to rise -- the old feelings and memories that haunted him every time he touched the lightsabre hilt, every time he thought of the man who once held this weapon.
    Even as he watched C3PO throw the Jawa bodies on a fire, even as the Force, familiar and quenching, flowed through his system and tingled long dormant feelings, he could not bring himself to believe it was time to move forward again. Yet could he deny the force leading him to this moment? Even down to the eerie return to his life of the droids C3PO and R2-D2? Not even when he felt the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law, Owen and Beru, did he want to believe. The Force, however, as usual, was undeniable. He had forsaken it years before, now it was calling him forward again. It had guided him once to walk the Warrior Path, but now there were no more warriors left.
    Numbly he recalled his first lesson in understanding how the Force could guide a life. Two lives. Drawn together by the unmistakable power of the Force, he and Qui-Gon had forged their Warrior Bond. It had been beyond incredible, and over the years it had proven to be more mystical and wonderful than they ever imagined. There had been some rough spots. At the end, after Anakin's arrival, there had been the breech before -- before Qui-Gon's death. Kenobi had defended his Master even when Qui-Gon defended Anakin as the Chosen One, had given his word to train the boy as a final vow to Qui-Gon's dying breath.
    In time, however, the Force called back it's own -- the most valiant -- to dwell on the other side. Qui-Gon was the first. When he died, the Bond was all but severed. Then the clone wars, the betrayal of Anakin, the decimation of the Jedi Order, the end of the Republic.
    It seemed egotistical in the extreme, but over the years he had convinced himself that the entire tragic chain of events had been his fault. If he had been a little quicker on Naboo, he could have saved his Master from death at the hands of Darth Maul. Then Qui-Gon would have been the teacher and Master of Anakin. Then perhaps Anakin would have never turned to the Dark Side and slaughtered the Jedi, helping the Empire take over the Republic.
    One act
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