Before Trials -- Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan -- one-post contemplation -- repost from temp forums

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ardavenport, Sep 30, 2012.

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  1. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    Title: Trials
    Author: ardavenport
    Timeframe: pre-Episode I, pre-TPM
    Genre: drama
    Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn
    Keywords: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Jedi Trials
    Summary: Qui-Gon contemplates a Jedi Trials that have not gone well.
    Disclaimer: All characters and the Star Wars universe belong to George and Lucasfilm; I am just playing in their sandbox.


    The tall, hooded figure stopped at one door in the silent, twilight-lit hallway. A raised hand passed before the wall panel next to it. The door smoothly hissed open.

    In the darkened room, the young man on the sleeping pallet next to the wall stirred, but a quickly outstretched arm, a hand waved, gently pushed the sleeper back into dreams. Faint light shone down from the slatted artificial window. Blue gray shadows outlined the slender, youthful body, barely twenty years of age, minimally clothed only in loose pants, a plain covering draped half over the bare chest slowly rising and falling. The tall, lone newcomer silently moved to stand over the sleeper, a robed shadow gliding over the body stretched out on the cushioned pallet. The shadow passed over the face, slack, mouth partly open, the head, the short hair sunk into the head padding. The long, thin black line of the Padawan's braid draped over the pale neck and collarbone, the feathered end fallen down into shadow.

    The shadow moved on, the newcomer turned away, the long folds of the robe whispered as it fell away into a dark pile on the floor.

    Worn out, his feelings numb, Qui-Gon Jinn bent low, taking a cushion from under the room's low table and putting it on top. Wearily, he sank down onto it, pulling his long legs up. Facing away from his sleeping apprentice, he stared at the blank wall for a time. Painful trickles of memory from the night before scattered his thoughts.

    Finally, breathing deeply, he straightened and gathered enough energy from within, dispelling the chaos to let the Force clarify around him, and show him what it would.

    A blue lightsaber flashed, the sudden hum and the line of plasma cutting through ephemeral darkness. An ominous crackle followed it.

    The lightsaber blade flashed again, this time trailing a line of bluish sparks before it went out again.

    'Noooooo!'

    Energy crackled, the sparks dancing in the dark, forming a writhing, jagged line, a false light saber blade.

    'See, Master. See what I can do? I don't need a lightsaber.'

    'Noooooooooo! Hasni, noooo! Don't!'

    The true lightsaber cut deep, sizzling through muscle and bone, leaving the smell of charred blood and tissue in the air.

    'Noooo-ooooo-ooooo!'

    The blade extinguished, the hilt falling to the ground, bouncing, flipping over slowly, silver briefly glinting in the cold light before rolling away into the darkness. A life extinguished, whisked away in a turn of the Force, a capricious breeze suddenly gone wild and then stilled. The memory-wind changed . . . .

    . . . . a lone brown robe under a single light, head bent low to the ground, the whole figure trembling, weeping.

    The moment stretched . . . on . . . .

    . . . . a circle of robed figures silently, dispassionately watched while the one in the middle disgorged his grief, a wretched outpouring of regret and guilt. All the watchers sat unfeeling and unmoved by it, like rocks in a river of sorrows that flowed outward and around them.

    Seated on meditation platforms, they surrounded the one being judged in the circular room, curves and vertical columns carved into its ancient stone walls, deep in the oldest parts of the Jedi Temple that Jedi Masters never spoke of or discussed with others in their Order of lesser experience.

    Finally exhausting his grief, he pushed his upper body up off the floor, his robe spread out in a brown spill around him, face shadowed under the hood.

    "I have failed, my Masters. I failed my Padawan. I have failed the Jedi Order."

    It was true. He had failed. His Padawan had not been ready for the Jedi Trials, though the apprenticeship had been long . . . .

    'Am I not ready, my Master?'

    The voice echoed in the Force, breaking up the image of the ancient room like a stone thrown into the reflection on a pond. Energy crackled, blue-white and wild.

    'No, Hasni. Your asking me tells me that you are not ready. Patience. You must learn patience.'

    The boy did not understand, his hand held up in mid-gesture . . . . the image shifted to an adult, full-grown now, but still with two bands tied around his left horn hanging down from his chin, the mark of a Padawan Learner.

    'Why did I fail, Master? I tried, but there were too many. I could not keep up.'

    'I failed you. You were not ready. Control, control, you must learn control. You mistake power for success, but it is control that you need. Power for its own sake is a path to the Dark Side. Jedi do not use the Force. It guides us as much as we draw upon it.'

    'Yes, Master.'

    The Padawan bowed deeply and backed away into shadow . . .

    'I am strong, Master. How could I fail?'

    'You are too eager. You are too afraid to fail. And that is why I failed you. I should not have let you try again. It was too soon . . . '

    The voices echoes in the darkness, fading into distance . . .

    . . . the two figures met again, strolled together, the high ceilings of the Temple above, yellow light streaming in from tall light panels.

    'I have spoken with the Council, and . . . I am sorry, my Padawan. But they have refused to allow you to take the Trials again. They have decreed that you will never be a Jedi Knight.'

    'What? WHAT?!'

    'It is done, my Padawan, you have failed twice already, they - - - '

    'Noooooo . . . . !'

    'Hasni! Hasni! HASNI!!'

    The sound of footsteps, pounding across a long hall, panic and pursuit. A lone figure pelting into shadow. A second following, trying to catch up.

    'HASNI!!'

    'They cannot deny me this! They will not!'

    Lightning crackled in the darkness, forming a false blue line, snapping and biting.

    'They can't stop me! I am strong! I am stronger than them!'

    The wild energy changed, blue to white and then darkening into red, flashing outward - -

    - - to strike a true lightsaber blade that deflected and absorbed it. Making it harmless.

    'Hasni, DONT!'

    Lightsaber blade struck lightsaber blade in a vicious battle, hissing, crackling, whirling. Blazing lines of energy crossed, pressing on each other for an advantage. One drew back, rising high for a killing blow.

    The other slashed low, the deadly hum suddenly intensifying as it sliced through flesh and bone, the smell of charred blood cutting through the air.

    The other blade went out.

    'Noooooo!!!'

    This time, Qui-Gon Jinn did not divert the emotions. He let them fill him with anguish and grief. He tilted his face upward to the sorrow raining down into him.

    Hasni had failed the Jedi Trials. And died by his own Master's blade.

    Images of Hasni as a youngling, eager to learn and earnest . . . a young adult growing in power and skill . . . an older Padawan, full of promise, but always never ready. Squeezing his eyes shut in the torrent of regret, Qui-Gon yearned for a second chance for Hasni, for a different Trial that would reveal the apprentice's flaw without ending his life. What lesson had not been learned? What signs had been ignored? Image fragments of Hasni assaulted him . . .

    He was too eager to be elevated to the level of Jedi Knight . . .

    . . . ALL Padawans are eager to be elevated to the level of Jedi Knight.

    He used the Force in the heat of emotion without letting it guide his hand . . .

    . . . And what Jedi had not done that at some time?

    He had failed his Trials twice before . . .

    . . . He LEARNED from them. He learned patience. He learned focus. And failing the Trails was not meant to be a death sentence. Why would the third Trial take his life?

    Qui-Gon inhaled a desperate breath, a near sob escaping him. He knew why.

    "Master?"

    Obi-Wan was awake.

    Lowering his head, Qui-Gon exhaled the pain and grief from Hasni's Master. It was not his own failure. Not his own Padawan.

    There was a rustling of fabric and movement, cautious footsteps, bare feet on the floor. The room lights came up. Wearing only loose pants, his eighteen year-old apprentice peered at him, his eyes wide.

    "Master?"

    "We are to represent the Jedi Order at a reception at the Conglasit Embassy today."

    "A reception?" There was a long pause. "Is it . . . serious?"

    "No. The assignment is routine." Qui-Gon flicked his concerned apprentice a glance. "We can leave as soon as you are ready." His voice was steady, hardened into a near command.

    Still confused, he quickly nodded a bow and hurried into the fresher, the door sliding shut behind him.

    Qui-Gon rubbed his face; his cheeks were wet. His meditation had left him drained, weary beyond a sleepless night. But he knew why Hasni had died.

    Getting up, he stretched in place, inhaling deeply. He picked his robe up from the floor, wiped his face and nose on an inside sleeve before putting it on. He sat down on the floor cushion at the low table.

    After completing years of training, passing the Trials marked the final step of an apprentice's training before becoming a Jedi knight. The actual Trials were as varied as the individuals tested by them. But there was always only one thing being tested. Would the apprentice ever be tempted, or could they be driven to use the Dark Side of the Force?

    Last night, Hasni, Padawan to Jedi Master Narain Lo, had failed his Jedi Trails. For the third time.

    It happened sometimes. If the Masters failed to see a hint of weakness, an indulgence in fear, a flaring temper, the Trials would bring it out. There might be fear, denial, anger, sometime even rage. And then admissions of failure and the Padawan would re-commit to the Master's teachings and face the Trials again. But on some occasions, the challenge could turn deadly.

    It was rare, but not unheard of.

    The Force guided the hand and the lightsaber of the Jedi, faster than any thought could. And if the blade killed, it was the will of the Force. The Masters in the circle that judged Narain Lo saw it in the long meditation that ended with the cremation of Hasni's remains. Master Lo would meditate on how she had failed Hasni. And the Masters who had judged her failure had been the will of the Force would go back to their own Padawans and wonder if there was some trace of darkness that they were denying could be there.

    The soft hiss of the fresher door opening intruded on his thoughts. Obi-Wan returned. His presence in the room glowed with the Force. Qui-Gon only sensed Light. He had no doubt; Obi-Wan would pass his Trials . . . whatever they would be.

    He was not ready; at eighteen he still needed years of training and discipline yet to be eligible for knighthood. But Qui-Gon pondered what Obi-Wan would do if he were tested as Hasni had been; to be told that he would never be a Knight, something he had devoted his whole life to. It would be a cruel cut – the Jedi Trails always were – but he would accept it, at least, he would not have the strength to fight against it after such a blow. Even at his sometimes rebellious age, a lack of obedience to the Code was not Obi-Wan's greatest weakness.

    Hasni's Trials had tested his acceptance of the Jedi Code, the decision of the Council. If he had bowed to what he was told, the test would have been revealed and he would have been elevated to Knight. But he fought it, reached out for a dark power in the Force to challenge it. And his Master's own blade had cut him down in the confrontation.

    Exhaling, Qui-Gon opened his eyes. In his side vision, he saw Obi-Wan quietly pulling on his clothes and only warily darting glances toward him. Master Yoda would have disapproved of him allowing his Padawan to see how much the judgment of Master Lo had affected him.

    But this was hardly the first time that Qui-Gon Jinn had done something that Master Yoda did not approve of.

    When Obi-Wan finished dressing, he stood at uneasy attention. His robe hanging askew on his shoulders, he waited for his Master to acknowledge him again. Turning his head slightly to the side, Qui-Gon inclined it toward the place before him. When Obi-Wan seated himself on the opposite side of the small table he spoke first.

    "Is there something wrong, Master?"

    "Not anymore."

    Obi-Wan's eyes lowered to a neutral spot of floor.

    "Is it something that can be discussed?"

    "No. It cannot."

    There would be no discussion with him of what happened; Hasni, Padawan Learner to Master Narain Lo, had been killed during his Jedi Trials. Only after Obi-Wan Kenobi had passed his Trials and trained his own Padawan to knighthood would he be in a position to even ask about why or how it had happened.

    "Yes, Master." He respectfully lowered his eyes, though Qui-Gon sensed that his curiosity was as intense as ever. There were things that Padawans, and even Jedi Knights, were not told until they were deemed ready. Obi-Wan knew that. Qui-Gon never hid his feelings when some of those things affected and upset him.

    The silence settled between them and Qui-Gon let his thoughts drift away from the tragedy of the night before like an unguided boat on a sea, calmed after a storm. Simulated morning light came in through the window slatted. The air circulated through the overhead vents subtly changed to a cool early day freshness.

    What was done was done. Master Lo would meditate with a smaller group of senior Jedi Masters over his failings. The Council would later decide if he would be allowed to train another Padawan. But Qui-Gon was not part of those deliberations and he was glad of it.

    The mists of tragedy seemed to break as the morning began to feel more normal to him, the light aura of Obi-Wan meditating, seated on the other floor cushion at the table. His burning curiosity stilled into acceptance.

    If only Hasni . . .

    Qui-Gon let that remnant of regret trail away. He opened his eyes. What was done was done.

    Obi-Wan remained in his own meditation, the overhead lights and the daylight illumination from the false window shining down on the pale tabletop, the plain gray walls of the room.

    "We should go."

    Obi-Wan's eyes snapped open as soon as he spoke, betraying a lack of depth in his meditation. Qui-Gon smiled and climbed to his feet. There were more than a few twinges in his joints from his sleepless night. Obi-Wan popped up to his feet with the agility of well-rested youth.

    Qui-Gon bowed deeply to his Padawan. "I thank you for your patience, my Padawan."

    Momentarily surprised, Obi-Wan stared back before he returned the bow with a smile in his blue-gray eyes. "We should not keep the Conglasit waiting."

    "No," Qui-Gon sighed, smoothing down the front of his robe. It would be a long day for him. "We should not."

    They left Obi-Wan's room together.



    *** END ***
    Last edited by ardavenport, Sep 30, 2012
  2. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Wow =D= =D= Stunning and vivid emotions. Your Qui-Gon is amazing! :D @};-
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