"When in Rome..." (JA fanfic, version 2)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction Stories--Classic JC Board (Reply-Only)' started by Bastet, Jul 23, 2000.

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  1. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    *falls down on knees before her angry readers* Oh, I am so sorry!!! I know it's taken me forever to post more, aaahh! I, er, had writer's block, but yes, I know that's a lame excuse.
    So I am now up really late getting my story back on it's feet. I decided to start a new thread and repost the whole story since my old one is trashed. I'll lose my lovely post count, but oh well. I plan on finishing this story sometime next month, and starting a new one. Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking, but don't worry. I am going to have unlimited access to the computer for six weeks starting next month, so I will be able to finally stay glued to the computer all day like I love, except for when I have to go to work and stuff. Yay!!!
    Since we don't have UBB code anymore, I've had to improvise. I also fixed all the little inconsistencies in my story as well.
    //indicates thoughts//-italics
    [talking through master-padawan bond]
    *stuff in bold*
    I don't know how many posts this is going to end up being, but the last one is new!


    Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn sat back in the co-pilot?s chair with a sigh of content. ?Ah, finally we can relax? he said to the young man seated next to him, his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    Obi-Wan gave a small smile. ?If you can call three days trapped on a cramped ship relaxing, master.?

    Qui-Gon chuckled. Obi-Wan had made his feelings about the travel arrangements quite clear on their way out to this, their latest mission. They had needed to keep a low profile, so they had had to pilot the small ship themselves. Sadly, the cockpit was almost the most spacious room on board. They did not often have to travel without a pilot, but at least it was good practice for Obi-Wan.

    A low beeping sounded from the nav computer. ?We?re ready to jump, master.? Obi-Wan said with satisfaction. Qui-Gon could tell that his apprentice was just as glad to be through with this mission as he was.

    ?Allow me, padawan.? Qui-Gon pulled back the hyperdrive lever with relish. ?Next stop, Coruscant.?

    Obi-Wan sat back and tried to stifle a yawn. ?Would you like to sleep first, master? Everything is under control in here.?

    The Jedi master smiled appreciatively at his student. //Always thinking of me first. But he can barely keep his eyes open.// ?No Obi-Wan, I?m fine,? he said aloud. ?You go ahead.?

    ?Are you sure, master? I?m really not?../another yawn/??that tired myself.?

    Qui-Gon shook his head in amusement. ?Go on now, before I have to carry you to bed.?

    Obi-Wan smiled sheepishly and headed for the door.

    ?Sleep well, padawan.?

    ?Thank you, master.?

    As he headed out into the short, narrow hallway leading to the rest of the ship, Qui-Gon could see his apprentice yawning again. The door slid shut, and then he was alone in the cockpit. And then he started yawning too. //Force, but we?re both so tired// he thought wearily, slumping in his seat.

    Qui-Gon sighed heavily as his thoughts drifted over the last few weeks. Their latest mission had been hard. They had been sent to Ranara, a virtually unknown planet that was barely within the Republic?s borders. The Ranarans had little to nothing to do with outsiders, and preferred it that way. They were extremely proud of their self-reliance. So it came as a shock when their president, a man named Gom Tu?lar, had requested Jedi aid. He needed help in settling a major dispute that had arisen between the main planet of Ranara Prime and the various moon colonies scattered throughout the planet. The dispute was mainly over trade routes and taxes, the usual things. But tensions in the Ranaran system were high. Tu?lar knew that if he was not able to settle the disputes, a civil war could erupt at any time. He was aware that the Jedi were known as the great peacemakers of the galaxy, so they had become his last and only hope. But Tu?lar knew that if it became known that he had brought outsiders in to the negotiations, it would cause great resentment and controversy. So the small ship had been
  2. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Obi-Wan Kenobi had been enjoying a restful nap. He had fallen asleep on top of the covers, fully clothed. He had been too tired to even take off his boots. Obi-Wan considered himself lucky to have made it onto the bed before sleep overcame him.

    But as he slept, a strange dream crept into his subconscious. //He was standing in the middle of a wide open plain, tall craggy mountains surrounded him on all sides. Suddenly the entire sky overhead lit up with forked lightning, and a booming crash of thunder made the ground shake under his feet. The mountains trembled. Again the sky lit up, and thunder exploded. The mountains started to crack and tumble down into the plain. A violent earthquake tilted the ground and threw Obi-Wan off of his feet. BOOM!//

    ?Wha?? Obi-Wan woke with a start. He realized groggily that he had fallen out of bed and somehow rolled to the other side of the floor.


    A muffled explosion rocked the deck underneath him. Fully awake now, the young Jedi scrambled to his feet and rushed to the door. ?Master!? he yelled, heading for the cockpit.


    The hallway tilted dangerously, but Obi-Wan grabbed the wall and managed to keep his footing. ?What?s happening? Are we under attack?!? he asked Qui-Gon as he stumbled into the cockpit, but there was no response. ?Master?? He saw the big Jedi lying on the floor beside the co-pilots seat. He had a large wound on his forehead where he must have hit his head on the console.


    Obi-Wan was thrown forward further into the cockpit and barely missed hitting his own head. Looking out the viewport, he saw that they were back in realspace. The blue-green bulk of a planet loomed large in his vision.


    Obi-Wan managed to grab hold of the pilot?s chair and seat himself. He began punching buttons. All of a sudden, sparks started flying all over the console; the whole thing has shorted out. ?Oh no!? Obi-Wan breathed. //This isn?t happening! We?re going to crash!//


    It was then that the young Jedi managed to realize that all of the explosions were coming from the same location, the engines. //Bombs?// But now he had no way to tell if there really were ships attacking them out there. He pounded random buttons on the console in frustration, but only succeeded in letting off more sparks. Nothing worked!

    //For a Jedi, there is no emotion, there is peace,// he tried to remind himself, but it was hard. Looking outside, Obi-Wan saw that the planet now filled the entire viewport. And it was still getting larger.


    Once the latest explosion subsided, Obi-Wan got up and made his way cautiously over to his master. With the aid of the Force, he lifted Qui-Gon into the co-pilots seat and strapped him in. Then he strapped himself in and started praying.

    They were falling toward a large continent on the dayside of the planet. Flames engulfed the ship as it entered the atmosphere, and soon Obi-Wan could feel a rise in cockpit temperature. Just as the heat was becoming unbearable, the flames cleared away, revealing the planet in closer detail. Obi-Wan gasped. They were falling way too fast! He grabbed the controls and tried to engage the repulsorlifs as a few fluffy white clouds rose past the ship. The repulsorlifts were not responding, but Obi-Wan was actually able to level their descent somewhat as he pulled back with all he had on the controls. He realized it would not be enough to keep them from a violent crash. But maybe now they had a fighting chance at survival. He could now clearly see the ground, nothing but trees and rivers, with a few clearings here and there. There were tall mountains in the distance off to the left, but they disappeared over the horizon as the ship continued to lose altitude. The trees were too big and too close together for Obi-Wan?s liking. He continued to pull up as hard as he could on the controls, but it did little good. They hurtled over a large muddy river and several more trees. The young Jedi braced himself and squeezed his eyes shut right b
  3. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    For a few minutes, Maia, daughter of Kael, just stood there staring at the extraordinary scene before her, the knife still in her hand. She had drawn it out in case the boy tried to attack her or something, but he had fainted instead. Both him and the big man were obviously hurt, but at least their breathing was steady and even. If they were friendly, she hoped they would be all right. If they were not friendly, well, she had here knife.

    Slowly, she crept forward for a closer look. A sudden hissing sound drew her attention to the smoldering, twisted wreckage of metal behind the two men. //What is that thing?// she asked herself in astonishment. There was smoke pouring out of what looked like a door, and she could see flames inside. It had rained hard recently, so she was not too worried about the forest catching on fire. But that hissing sound was unnerving.

    Drawing her gaze reluctantly from the big metal thing, she turned to study the two unconscious men. The bigger man was lying on his back, so she could get a good look at his face. He had a swelling, bloody bruise on his forehead and a few scratches on his face and neck. But he appeared fine otherwise. Maia thought he looked a little like the chief. //They could be brothers// she concluded.

    Then she turned to the smaller figure. He was lying on his stomach with his face in the grass. He had one scratched up hand still clutching a big bundle of brown cloth that was lying beside him. Maia decided she had better turn him over to make sure he was all right too. She knelt down beside him and gently rolled him over. When she got a good look at his face, she smiled slightly. Now she was able to confirm what she thought she had seen from the bushes. He was lovely. And he appeared to be about her age. She sat back on her heels and stared at him for a few minutes. There was a large scratch on the side of his head in the midst of another swelling bruise, but he had no other wounds to mar his handsome face. The backs of his hands were cut up pretty bad, though.

    Maia decided that she should do something to help them. //Perhaps they?ll be friendlier if I do//, she thought, getting up to walk over to the small nearby stream. She took out a few squares of cloth she kept in a pouch on her belt and dipped them in the cool water. She hurried back to the two fallen men, still keeping a wary eye on the big hissing metal thing. Propriety dictated that she clean up the older one first. She wished she had bandages, but only the medicine man carried those around wherever he went. Once she wiped all the blood and dirt off the big man?s face, Maia was satisfied that the wound had stopped bleeding completely, and was not as bad as it had first appeared. //Yes, he?ll be fine once his headache goes away.//

    Then she turned to the younger man. She carefully cleaned the cut on his head first, and then attended to his hands. There were a few small pieces of something sharp and clear embedded in them. She held a piece on her fingertip and eyed in curiously. It looked like ice, but it was not cold. It must have come from the metal thing. She wanted to stick her head inside for a quick look around, but the fires and smoke made that impossible. So she had to content herself with studying the two men who had come from it.

    They were dressed so odd! And the fact that their skin was fairly light showed that they did not spend a great deal of time outside. So where exactly did they come from? Her gaze drifted over to the path of wreckage leading away from the hunk of metal into the forest. Maia could see that several trees had been broken in half, and a few smaller ones had been knocked down completely, but further away only the tops were damaged. She thought back to a half-hour ago, when she had first become aware of a strange roaring sound from above. She had caught a glimpse through the trees of something fiery falling out of the sky. Far away at first, it had drawn closer and closer until Maia had heard it crash through the trees not too fa
  4. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    The first thing Qui-Gon Jinn was aware of was the fact that his head was pounding. //Ow.// Then he became aware that he was lying on soft grass with a sweet, pungent odor. His face was warm, and there were birds singing all around. Without even having to call on the Living Force, he was able to tell that there was life all around him. //Where am I?// he thought groggily. In a rush that made his head spin, he remembered all that had happened before he got knocked out: the explosions, the ship exiting hyperspace, and the planet rushing to meet them.

    So had they crashed? Qui-Gon hoped not, but there was only one way to find out. He slowly opened his eyes. He found himself staring up into a network of brown and green branches under a brilliant blue sky. He shifted his gaze down, and sighed. They had crashed, all right. That ship would never fly again. Qui-Gon turned his gaze sideways, where he had already sensed his padawan lying beside him. Through their bond, the Jedi master could tell that Obi-Wan would be fine; his presence was strong in the Force. He sat up with a groan. His headache had already receded somewhat, but it still pounded pretty bad. Qui-Gon studied his apprentice closely. His breathing was deep and even, and aside from a large cut on the side of his head and smaller ones on his hands, he appeared to be fine. As the big man stared, he realized that the cut on his head had been cleaned recently. Had Obi-Wan done that? Qui-Gon moved his hand to his own forehead, and discovered that his head had also been attended to.

    Before the Jedi could further reflect on the subject, he noticed that his apprentice?s robe was lying in a wad beside him, wrapped around something. Moving slowly, Qui-Gon crawled over and unwrapped the bundle. He raised his eyebrows in surprise. It was the comm unit! He thanked the Force that his padawan had had the foresight to get it. The ship was a charred, burned out hulk; it was far too late to retrieve anything from it now. Peering at the comm closely, Qui-Gon could tell that it was damaged. The cover was partially melted away, and underneath it he could see that several components were damaged. They would have to be patched or replaced. //But with what?// he asked himself in dismay. He sat back with a heartfelt groan to try and assess the situation.

    He let his gaze wander aimlessly around the clearing, and suddenly he found himself face-to-face with a native. She was sitting on the ground some six meters away and staring at him intently. //Force! How could I have not noticed her before?// Qui-Gon cursed himself. Her green dress sort of blended in with the bushes behind her, but the Jedi was chagrined that he had not sensed her through the Force. //I guess I was a little preoccupied.//

    The girl rose into a crouch when she saw that Qui-Gon was looking at her. Her hand strayed toward something shiny at her waist. A knife.

    ?It?s all right!? Qui-Gon called out to her once he had regained his composure. ?I won?t hurt you.? He held up his hands in a placating gesture to show her they were free of weapons.

    The girl blinked at him in surprise, but her hand relaxed back to her side. She continued to stare at the big Jedi, unsure of what to do.

    ?Come here, I need to talk with you.? Qui-Gon beckoned her with his hand. The girl shifted slightly, but continued to stare at the Jedi master, not making a move to comply. He could sense her fright through the Force. He remained seated and smiling, to appear as unthreatening as possible. ?Please, we need help. I don?t even know which planet I?m on.? He beckoned again.

    Finally, the girl rose up and cautiously walked closer to Qui-Gon. She crouched down about a meter away and held up her hand in what appeared to be a gesture of greeting. ?Mawala? she said softly in a sweet, melodious voice. She was regarding the Jedi master anxiously.

    //Oh no// Qui-Gon groaned inwardly. //Please don?t tell me we don?t speak the same language!// ?Do you understand me?? he asked with an a
  5. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Luckily there were branches in the way that broke Maia?s fall. Obi-Wan could hear her crashing through the tree as he launched himself off of his branch, lightsaber out and ignited. Unfortunately, the same branches that were saving Maia from a hard, bone-breaking fall were also in the way of Obi-Wan from managing a smooth, graceful landing. He tried to twist away from the branches as he fell, but there were too many of them too close together. They were fairly thin and springy, as they were far out from the tree trunk, so the impacts were not too terribly painful. But he knew they would both still have plenty of bruises.

    Obi-Wan could see Maia flailing about below him as they fell, trying to grab hold of a tree branch. But they were too thin and she was falling too hard, they all quickly snapped under her weight. She reached the last branch, which was a good two meters above the ground, and tried desperately to hang on. They could both see the pack of kabirs waiting below. Obi-Wan was stunned when he realized that the pack had more than doubled in size from earlier. They appeared to be led by a particularly large kabir that he recognized as the one that had started climbing the tree earlier. It had the same markings and the same cold, vicious eyes. It was prowling back and forth a few meters away, between the tree and the rest of the pack. Apparently they followed some kind of pecking order, in which the leader got the first dibs at any kill.

    Obi-Wan took in all of these details as he bounced from branch to branch. His robe kept getting caught, which further slowed down his progress. Below, he saw with dismay that Maia was loosing the struggle to stay in the tree. The branch she was clinging to broke with a loud snap, and she fell shrieking to the grass covered ground below. Obi-Wan was only a second behind her now. But just as he was about to clear the last of the branches, his robe snagged again. He lost precious seconds as he brought his lightsaber around to hack at the branches holding him prisoner. The large kabir was still pacing, but its movements were now calculating and deliberate. It was stalking Maia, who was lying on the ground where she fell, almost directly under Obi-Wan.

    The young Jedi was almost free when he heard a hideous snarl that made his blood run cold. The kabir was getting ready to pounce. It tensed its body, still some four meters from its intended victim, and launched itself into the air. Maia screamed and threw up her arms to try and protect herself. The kabir had left the ground at almost the same instant Obi-Wan managed to free himself from the tree. He landed directly in the kabir?s path at the same instant it attacked. His lightsaber was out in front of him, but Obi-Wan did not even have time to swing it. The kabir impaled itself on the glowing weapon, but its momentum carried it forward, slamming into the young Jedi. Obi-Wan?s breath was knocked out of him in a painful whoosh as he landed on the hard ground with the kabir on top of him. He felt a searing pain in his right shoulder as its claws dug into him. The huge creature was twisting and writhing on top of him in its death throes, its nightmare face just inches away from his neck. Obi-Wan could not breath as he struggled to free his lightsaber and himself from the still snarling beast, while the kabir?s hind claws dug painfully into his legs. He felt like he was being slowly shredded and crushed to death.

    Just as Obi-Wan started to panic for want of air, he saw a flash of green from somewhere above him. Qui-Gon! The snarling of the other kabirs reached new heights as they moved to attack this new threat. The younger Jedi knew there were too many of them for his master to manage by himself. He had to help! Strengthened by the older Jedi?s presence, Obi-Wan was able to concentrate enough to bring the Force to bear and lift the almost-dead kabir off. His ribs ached from all the abuse they had sustained today as he sucked in great gulps of air, trying to get his breath back. He lo
  6. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    After Maia hugged her father, they all began talking at once. They all had questions.

    ?Where in the name of the Great Sun were you?!?

    ?Who are those people you brought back with you?!?

    ?Why are they dressed so strange??

    ?What is that thing the older one is holding??

    ?Where did you get those scratches on your legs, Maia??

    The chief held up his hands. ?Peace!? he said in a commanding voice, and the hall immediately fell silent. ?Now, if you will all refrain from asking questions for just a few minutes, Maia can tell us her story. But first,? he gestured for his aide again, ?fetch Yaru, and apologize for interrupting his meditations. He needs to hear this too.?

    Maia groaned inwardly. Yaru was a lunatic, at least in her opinion. He was the village priest, only twenty-one years old, and he had the greatest sway with the chief as the official representative of the Great Sun. Maia wondered uneasily what he would think of the two men. He was always thinking up crazy new rituals and doing things that were just plain strange. But at least he was not evil, like his father had been, who died two years ago. He was just really weird.

    After a few minutes, the aid returned with Yaru. He was covered from head to foot in orange pigment today. (Yesterday it had been yellow.) Even his hair was orange. He wore a blue and orange striped kilt that hurt everyone?s eyes who looked at it. His only adornment was a kabir claw necklace, a boast of his great skill in the hunt. His eyes went immediately to the two men, sizing them up. Maia turned to see their reaction. Obae-wahn was gaping at Yaru with his mouth hanging slightly open. Que-gun, on the other hand, was gazing at the priest with a calm, steady look. Maia got the eerie feeling that he was trying to see into Yaru?s soul. The priest must have felt the same, because he turned away abruptly and proceeded to ignore the two strangers.

    The chief cleared his throat and addressed Maia. ?Now, I suggest you start at the beginning Maia, and tell us exactly what happened yesterday. Then we will address the strangers and decide what is to be done with them. Proceed.? He waved his hand for her to begin her tale.

    Maia cleared her throat, wondering where she should start. She knew her father would be angry if she told him that she had lost Toi, but there was no way she could pretend that she had not been eaten by kabirs and had climbed a tree. So she started at the beginning, with her losing track of where they were going. She knew full well that her father would be delivering a lecture before this day was over. Oh well. She told the tale in full, and even gave a demonstration of the kabir battle, imitating the humming of the light swords the two men fought with. That part greatly impressed all present, and she knew they were all wishing they had been there. Yaru looked especially fascinated.

    When Maia finished her tale, there was silence for several seconds. Then finally the chief spoke. ?So, the two strangers have indeed come from the stars, bearing weapons of great power. We must endeavor to discover why they have come; yet we cannot talk to them as our differing languages prevent it. So we must rely on revelation from the Great Sun, conveyed to us by his representative.? He turned to the priest, and Maia uneasily wondered what he would decide to do.

    ?They are a threat to the tribe,? Yaru answered. ?The Great Sun cannot determine why they are here, because they come from outside the reach of It?s benevolent rays. But It feels they are dangerous. It has therefore decided that they will serve as a sacrifice. Though the Great Sun knows that we only very rarely follow that tradition now, an exception must be made. No one remembers what happened when those others came from the stars long ago, so we have no reason to believe that they are friendly.?

    ?But we have no reason to believe that they are unfriendly either!? Maia blurted out before she could stop herself. She clapped her hand over her mouth, her cheeks warmi
  7. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Qui-Gon, once more hefting the comm unit, and his apprentice followed Maia, Toi, and the chief?s advisor out of the village hall. The big Jedi was relieved that the crowd from earlier had dispersed. Qui-Gon took another moment to familiarize himself with the layout. The sun alter was on the east side of the ?+?, which made sense. The stone ring was on the south, and the village hall?s double doors also opened on the south. When they had arrived, they had come in from the southeast, and now they were headed northwest.

    Qui-Gon sensed several people nearby as they made their way around the southwestern corner of the building. He soon saw why, the western side of the common ground was a bustling open-air market place. There were several rows of wooden tables set up, laden with everything imaginable. Weapons, baskets, clothes, blankets, flowers, dishes, toys, and, of course, food. There was the inevitable muja fruit, (//that stuff really does grow everywhere//), but Qui-Gon did not recognize much else. Unlike the other sides of the common ground, the market place area had small buildings pressed right up against it. He assumed they must be shops. They had words painted above the doors, but of course the Jedi master could not read them.

    As their group passed the market place, the people close by looked up and immediately forgot all about what they had just been doing. A low, excited murmur of speculation ran through the crowd, and soon every head in the market place was watching them. Several people moved to follow them, but the chief?s advisor put up a hand and said something in a loud, commanding voice that halted the onrush. The people reluctantly complied, but instead of going back about their business, they just stood there and stared. Qui-Gon sighed inwardly, as he realized he would just have to get used to every eye in the village on him and Obi-Wan at all times. At least they were not hostile. Not yet, anyways.

    Soon, they left the market place behind and were headed toward the north side of the common ground. To his surprise, Qui-Gon saw that it was empty. //I wonder what they use that for?// It was lined with trees, and there was a wooded trail leading away to the north. But before the Jedi could ponder its use further, the chief?s advisor turned away and headed into a cluster of houses behind the trees on the west. They were average size, and each had a walled garden, but most of them appeared un-lived in. Qui-Gon assumed that they must be guesthouses of some sort.

    The chief?s advisor stopped for a moment, considering the houses, and soon he and Maia were arguing about something. Qui-Gon guessed it was over which house to put them in. He turned to his apprentice, and was concerned to see that Obi-Wan was leaning heavily against the nearest garden wall. He moved to stand beside him.

    ?Are you alright, padawan?? he asked, putting his free hand on the young Jedi?s shoulder and giving it a fatherly squeeze. He knew the morning?s hike must have been exhausting for him, as he was already hurt.

    ?Yes, master, I?m alright,? Obi-Wan replied. ?Just a little tired. What do you suppose happened back there, at the village hall? I couldn?t really follow what was going on.?

    Qui-Gon frowned in thought. ?I didn?t really follow it either, Obi-Wan. I know Maia said something shocking that no one was expecting, and that she didn?t seem too happy about herself. But whatever it was, it seems to have resolved things for now.?

    The young Jedi nodded. ?What did you think of that orange guy, master? Is he the priest, perhaps??

    ?I believe so, padawan,? Qui-Gon answered. ?He also seemed to be the only one pleased by what occurred in the village hall. Keep in mind that the priests are usually the strangest ones in these primitive tribes. They and the medicine men.?

    ?Yes master,? his apprentice replied with a wry smile. ?Strange is one way to put it.?

    Before they could say anything else, Maia finished her discussion with the chief?s advisor and motioned for them to follo
  8. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    An hour after he came back in from the garden, Qui-Gon was totally immersed in trying to fix the comm unit. He had taken out several fried components, the ones that would need to be replaced, and laid them on the table. Luckily the comm?s power source was still intact, otherwise they would be in serious trouble. //Stuck here forever, more than likely//.

    Qui-Gon surveyed the pieces once he had them all on the table. Their shape was not overly complicated or intricate. If these people could make door hinges, they could make these things. But he knew that it would take some time. He hoped they could manage to keep in the good graces of their hosts until then.

    A movement from the bed caught Qui-Gon?s eye. He looked up to see Obi-Wan roll over in his sleep, mumbling, and causing the covers to fall half off onto the floor. The Jedi master got up from the table and went to the bed to straighten the covers. He smiled down at the peacefully sleeping young man, and saw that Obi-Wan?s padawan braid had fallen across his face. He gently brushed it aside to lie on top of the blanket.

    Qui-Gon turned away from his slumbering apprentice to head back to the table. He had barely taken two steps when there was a loud knock on the door. He knew instantly that it was not Maia, for she would not have knocked so hard. He turned and headed for the door, but before he could get there, another loud knock disrupted the tranquility of their house.

    ?M-master?? came the sleepy voice of his padawan from the bed. ?Who is it??

    ?I don?t know, Obi-Wan,? Qui-Gon replied, annoyed that whoever it was had woken up his apprentice. ?But we?re about to find out.? He reached the door and pulled it open. There stood the chief, and the man the Jedi recognized as Maia?s father, Kael, standing beside him. Another advisor stood behind the other two men. The chief gestured into the house, and Qui-Gon stepped aside to let the three men in. The Jedi master was slightly taken aback when they ignored him, and instead went straight to Obi-Wan, who was now sitting up on the bed, alert.

    The chief held up his hand in greeting. ?Mawala,? he said.

    Obi-Wan blinked. He looked over at Qui-Gon, who could only shrug. The young Jedi turned back to the chief and held up his own hand. ?Mawala,? he said, a bit uncertainly.

    A small smile played about the chief?s lips. He nodded approvingly and turned to Maia?s father, who stepped forward. It was then that Qui-Gon noticed he was holding a rolled up scroll of yellowish paper in his hand. It was tied with a leather cord that had green feathers on either end. With a bow, Kael presented the scroll to Obi-Wan.

    ?Uh, thank you,? the young man said hesitantly, taking the scroll from Kael.

    The three men stood still, looking at Obi-Wan expectantly.

    ?Oh right,? he responded, and proceeded to untie the scroll.

    Qui-Gon came over to sit next to his padawan on the bed. He wished he had any sort of idea what this was all about. The demeanor of the three men was very businesslike as they stood waiting for his padawan to look at the scroll. Obi-Wan got it untied and started to unroll it. He held it out so that Qui-Gon could take a look too. ?What do you suppose, master?? he asked quietly. The scroll looked like some kind of declaration. It was covered with large, bold native script, which neither Jedi had any hope of understanding. But at the bottom were what looked like four signatures.

    ?I have no idea what this means, padawan,? Qui-Gon admitted. ?I wish I did.? //What are we getting into now?// he thought a bit uneasily. Whatever was going on, the natives were taking it very seriously.

    The Jedi were brought out of their wonderings by the chief?s voice. He was saying something and holding out his hand. Obi-Wan tentatively held out the scroll. The chief took it and handed it to his other advisor, who laid it on the cluttered table. The chief and Kael conferred for a moment, and then Kael addressed Obi-Wan again. He pointed at him, then motioned outside, said somethin
  9. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Later that night, Maia sat by the window of the house she shared with her parents and Toi, waiting for her brother Ghenni to come by and see her. After the fight, Ren had requested that Ghenni attend an impromptu sympathy gathering held in his behalf. Such sympathy gatherings were a way of life in the village, but not everyone approved of them. They were more commonly known as pity-parties, actually. They were a way for someone to bemoan his or her situation, and receive comfort and advice from his trusted friends. It was considered a grievous slight to refuse to attend someone?s sympathy gathering, which was why Ghenni was attending, even though he hated the things.

    Ren had already held one the day he failed her father?s marriage test, and Ghenni had been invited then, too. Maia had drilled him with all the details afterward, and she was planning to do so again. Those pity-parties could last all night, so she settled herself comfortably next to a sleeping Toi and waited.

    Her thoughts drifted to the events of a few hours earlier, when Dengi had fought with Obae-wahn. She had been highly impressed that Obae-wahn had done so well. He had shown true honor, as well as impressive fighting skills. Dengi had been made by her father to humiliate the young man, so that he would get angry and seek revenge. But it was a highly dishonorable thing to attack an unarmed opponent. Her father wanted to see if it was possible to get her prospective husband mad enough to attempt it. He called it his ?honor in the face of adversity? test. And of course it was also a test of fighting skills, but her father valued honor more, as he should. Obae-wahn had exceeded her father?s expectations, and his faith and trust in the young man had increased a great deal. In fact, Maia had heard him discussing the menu of the wedding feast with her mother before they went to bed.

    Ren had also become convinced that Obae-wahn would pass the whole test, hence the early pity-party. She would have to talk to him. She was also going to have to talk to Obae-wahn and his father, because she was all too aware that they had no idea what was going on. But both conversations could wait until morning, she decided tiredly.

    She dozed off waiting for Ghenni to arrive, but woke up when she heard him coming down the path. She got up and quietly opened the door to let him in. He lived with his small family several houses away, but they still saw a great deal of each other. They were close, and always had been, as they were the only sibling the other one had. Ghenni looked grave as he stepped into the house. ?Ren is insane,? he began without preamble.

    ?So tell me what happened, and don?t leave anything out,? Maia ordered as she gestured for her brother to sit at the table.

    ?Well,? Ghenni began, sitting down with a sigh, ?at first, he wanted us to help him think of ways to kill Obae-wahn. Poisoning, stabbing, drowning, and strangling were just a few of his ideas. But we managed to talk him out of murder, since he would never be allowed to marry you then. So he settled for sabotaging tomorrow?s marriage tests. He thought it would be a good idea to put lead weights in your pockets for the strength test.?

    Maia raised her eyebrows in disapproval. ?He did, huh??

    ?Don?t worry, we talked him out of sabotage too. We pointed out that Obae-wahn?s father would be sacrificed if he failed, so Ren gave up. It was pretty pathetic, I must say. The poor guy. We started drinking then. Of course Ren had way too much, and he got drunk and started singing.?

    Maia groaned.

    ?Yup, he sang a stirring rendition of ?Lonely Island? and ?Lost Love.? And then he made up a new song, which I have to confess I helped him with. It?s called ?There?s a Tear in My Minga Berry Wine.? It?s actually quite good, if I do say so myself.? Ghenni smiled. ?And Temi wrote down all the words. We?ll be hearing that one again. It may just become another classic.?

    Maia groaned again. ?I?m not mentioned in it, am I??

    Ghenni looked slightly uncomfor
  10. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Maia headed for Obae-wahn?s house first thing in the morning in order to take him and his father breakfast. Only Rika was with her this time, since they only had one plate each to give the guests. Rika was two years older than Maia, and already the mother of three. They had grown up best friends, and often went to each other for advice. She also happened to be Ren?s oldest sister.

    ?Obae-wahn did very well yesterday, we were all impressed. He would make a good warrior,? Rika said conversationally.

    ?Mmm,? Maia responded, her thoughts elsewhere.

    ?And a good husband,? Rika continued. That brought Maia out of her reverie. She glanced over at her friend, to see Rika watching her closely. The older woman raised her eyebrows. ?Don?t you think??

    ?Well yes, but-? Maia stopped walking to face her friend. ?So you approve of our match,
    then? What about Ren??

    Rika sighed. ?Ren understands. I don?t know if he?ll ever get over you, though. You?re the only girl he?s ever wanted, after all. I?ll have to see what I can do about that.?

    Maia looked suddenly hopeful. Rika was good at matchmaking. ?Really? Do you have anyone in mind? He needs someone to cheer him up. Take his mind off of me.?

    Rika sighed again. ?I don?t have anyone in mind yet. It?s a little early anyway. If he?ll even listen to me in the first place, which I doubt. He?s pretty stubborn.?

    Maia smiled sadly. ?I know,? was all she said.

    They continued on in silence for a little while. As they headed down the path between the guesthouses, Rika cleared her throat, a bit awkwardly. ?So, does Obae-wahn and his father have any idea what?s going on, Maia?? she asked.

    ?I doubt it Rika. No one?s tried to tell them.? She glanced away from her friend?s incredulous stare.

    ?No one? I can?t imagine what they thought about yesterday?s episode! They must think we?re a bunch of crazy savages who like torturing our guests with fruit and knife fights! I?ll be surprised if they didn?t make a break for it during the night, though I certainly hope they didn?t.? She turned to look Maia squarely in the eyes. ?You have to tell them. I?m not letting you leave their house until you?re sure they understand exactly what?s going on.?

    Maia looked down at the ground, defeated. ?All right, all right. I was planning to tell them today anyway.? Rika looked skeptically at her friend. ?Really, I was!? Maia defended herself. She shuffled her feet along guiltily. ?Just not this early.?

    ?Uh huh.? Rika led the rest of the way to the guesthouse.

    ?I have no idea how to make them understand, all right?? Maia said, trying futilely to postpone the inevitable.

    ?Don?t worry,? Rika commented over her shoulder as she knocked on the door. ?You?ll think of something.?

    Maia groaned. She looked around as they waited for one of the men to answer the door. There was a bucket sitting by the front door, and a few pieces of wet brown robe hanging on a bush to dry. There were also several soapy puddles on the path. What made the native girl raise her eyebrows was the site of Obae-wahn?s clothes, now mostly free of juice stains, hanging on a tree to dry. She nudged her friend and pointed. ?Look at that, Rika. I wonder what Obae-wahn is wearing now. I don?t think they had any extra clothes with them.?

    The other woman smiled mischievously. ?He must be in the natural. Oooh la la!?

    ?Rika!? Maia blushed.

    Then they both started giggling. It was just then that the door was answered. Que-gun stood there, his own eyebrows raised curiously. This time both girls blushed. Unable to say anything, not that it would matter anyway, Maia held out the plate of food she was holding and gestured in the house, wondering if the big man would let them in. To her surprise, he smiled and moved out of the way to let them enter. Maia?s eyes immediately sought out her husband-to-be. He was sitting up in the bed, bleary-eyed, with a blanket wrapped securely around his body. The young native girl shocked herself by feeling disappointed that he was
  11. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Obi-Wan sat beside his master in shocked silence after the two women left. //Force, are we in a mess now!// he lamented to himself. Qui-Gon remained silent beside him, lost in thoughts of his own.

    ?What are we going to do now, master?? Obi-Wan asked, at last breaking the heavy silence.

    ?I think the only thing we can do is prepare for your upcoming nuptials, Obi-Wan.?

    ?What?!? The young Jedi was aghast. ?You think I should go through with it, and marry that girl??

    Qui-Gon sighed heavily. ?I?m afraid I don?t see an alternative, padawan. Obviously your marriage to Maia is keeping that priest from trying to sacrifice me. Not that he would succeed anyway, but we would have to escape into the forest if he tried. Which means we wouldn?t be able to fix the comm unit. Everything else rides on that.?

    ?Blasted thing,? Obi-Wan said disgustedly, shaking his head. If that contraption hadn?t had the nerve to break in the first place, they wouldn?t be having all this trouble now. ?So it wouldn?t work either if I just refused,? he said unhappily.

    ?I wouldn?t try it, padawan. We?d probably incite the wrath of the entire tribe, and then they?d all come after us.?

    ?Sith, what a mess!? the young man exclaimed.

    ?Don?t swear, Obi-Wan,? Qui-Gon admonished.

    ?Sorry, master. I wonder what Maia?s father has in store for me today.?

    ?I don?t know, but if I understood correctly, there will be three tests today and one tomorrow.?

    ?And if I pass them all, my wedding will be tomorrow night,? Obi-Wan finished, slumping on the bed. Maia was a nice girl and everything, but he didn?t want to marry her, or anyone else for that matter! //We don?t even speak the same language!// he complained to himself. But he knew there was no getting out of it if they ever wanted to leave this planet.

    ?*When* you pass them all,? Qui-Gon corrected. ?We don?t have any other choice, padawan.?

    It was Obi-Wan?s turn to sigh heavily. ?Yes, master.?

    The big Jedi stood up and headed for the table. ?That food sure looks good. Come and eat, Obi-Wan, before it gets cold.?

    The Jedi apprentice stood up, still wrapped securely in his blanket. It was just he and Qui-Gon, true, but the window was open, and well, he had his dignity. His master had checked on his clothes not long before Maia had arrived, and they were still pretty damp. //Force, they had better dry soon! I?m not doing *anything* for Maia?s father naked!//

    They ate breakfast in silence. Obi-Wan tried to imagine what would happen later, but he was at a loss. At least he now sort of understood what last night?s ordeal had been all about. He guessed they had been trying to make him mad, to see if he would kill an unarmed man in anger. He was glad these people had a sense of honor, but he wished he could have known what it was all about yesterday. He shrugged it off, knowing it was pointless to wish for things already in the past. He knew now, anyway.

    Qui-Gon finished eating first. He sat back in his chair with a sigh of satisfaction. ?Delicious. If Maia was the one who cooked this, you?re in for it, padawan,? the Jedi master said, smiling impishly. ?I?ll bet you gain ten pounds in one week alone.?

    Obi-Wan groaned. ?I hope not, master. I could barely keep my belt buckled after dinner last night.?

    Qui-Gon chuckled. He stood up and stretched. ?I?m going to the garden to meditate for a while. Care to join me??

    Obi-Wan hesitated for a moment. ?All right,? he finally agreed, when he realized that no one would see him out there, and followed his master out the door. The garden really was a lovely place, he decided. He could see why his master liked it so much.

    The two Jedi made their way over to the stone bench and sat down. Obi-Wan had to rearrange his blanket until it was comfortable. He looked over to see if all his fidgeting had disturbed his master, but he saw that Qui-Gon had already lost himself in the Force, his eyes closed and his face relaxed. //He looks so serene,// Obi-Wan mused. //He?s lucky he doesn?t have to wor
  12. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Qui-Gon smiled fondly at his apprentice as the young man fell asleep. Obi-Wan had made him proud today with how well he had handled everything the natives had done to him. The Jedi master was indeed grateful he had such a cooperative padawan.

    Qui-Gon gently took Obi-Wan by the shoulders and rolled him onto his stomach. It would be easier to tend to his feet this way. He covered the young man with a blanket from his ankles to his neck, and then sat down on the end of the bed. He grimaced when he got a good look at his apprentice?s feet. They were burned and blistered pretty badly. Qui-Gon doubted he would even be able to walk tomorrow. What would they do then?

    He carefully picked up on of Obi-Wan?s feet and touched it as lightly as he could, sending it all the healing waves he could muster. He knew it wouldn?t do a whole lot of good, as he wasn?t a healer, but perhaps he could ease the pain a bit.

    Qui-Gon was in the middle of tending the other foot when there came a soft knock on the door. The Jedi master smiled gratefully, knowing who it was. He set Obi-Wan?s foot gently back down on the bed and moved to open the door. Sure enough, Maia stood there, and her friend Rika was with her again. Just like this morning, they each carried a plate of food, but Maia was also carrying a bowl of some type of gray-colored cream.

    As Qui-Gon stood aside to let them in, he felt his stomach rumble. That food sure smelled good. Once the girls had set the table, Maia turned to him and handed him the bowl of gray cream. It had a strange, pungent smell to it that wasn?t terribly unpleasant. The native girl pointed at the bowl, then at Obi-Wan?s feet. Qui-Gon nodded, willing to try anything to his apprentice?s poor feet some help. Maia smiled and nodded, and then she and her friend left again. Maia threw one last admiring glance at Obi-Wan as she closed the door.

    Qui-Gon shook his head at teenage hormones as he sat back down on his padawan?s bed, the bowl in hand. He sure hoped this stuff helped. The cream was cool and slimy, and he felt his fingers tingle ever so slightly when he dipped his hand in it. When he started gently spreading it on one of Obi-Wan?s feet, his apprentice wiggled his toes but didn?t wake up. Qui-Gon got the same reaction when he did the other foot.

    Once satisfied that he had covered both feet completely, the Jedi master turned his attention to dinner. He decided against waking Obi-Wan up to eat, since the young man was sleeping so peacefully. Qui-Gon was sure he preferred to stay that way for now.

    The big Jedi fiddled with the comm while he ate his delicious dinner. He arranged all the parts that needed to be replaced in order of importance. He didn?t think he would have a chance to do anything about it until after Obi-Wan?s marriage. Luckily they would get that out of the way tomorrow, these people weren?t ones to waste time.

    Qui-Gon looked up from his work when Obi-Wan stirred in his sleep, rolling onto his side. As he stared at his slumbering padawan, the Jedi master started to feel a twinge of guilt. Poor Obi-Wan. He was definitely having a harder time with this than his master was, and their stay here had barely begun. Even with all the parts, it would take at least two days to get them all in the comm and operational again. And who knew how long after that for someone to answer their signal and come pick them up.

    Qui-Gon had no idea what system they were in, but from the positions of the stars he guessed they were somewhere in the Tiftan sector. It was right next to the Anariss sector, where the Ranaran system was located. It was hard for the Jedi to accept that they had been there less than three days ago, attending their final aggravating conference with all those hotheaded officials. Force, he was glad that was over with. Even though matters were now both simpler and more complicated, the Jedi master could think of many places far worse to be stuck in for a while.

    After dinner Qui-Gon got up to check on Obi-Wan. To his surprise, his feet
  13. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    After Maia and Rika left the guests, Maia headed straight home. She wanted to get her after-dinner chores over and done with as soon as possible, because she still had one important thing to do before bedtime.

    She finished her chores in record time, and then left again, heading for Ren?s house. The sun had set, and darkness was falling fast. After today, Maia would not be able to talk to Ren alone anymore. It would not be proper, as she would then be a married woman. And the last thing she wanted was to be the center of a scandal.

    As Maia walked down the path, her thoughts strayed to Obae-wahn. He had done better today than anyone, including herself, had expected. She couldn?t believe he had passed the firewalk test with the bucket so easily, though she was of course very glad. Her father had been highly impressed. His enthusiasm was starting to rub off on her mother, who Maia had left at their house weaving a string of white flowers to go in her hair during the wedding ceremony. Everyone seemed to be forgetting that here was still one test left for tomorrow, the courage test. But Maia felt certain that Obae-wahn would pass, after the episode with the kabirs, this test would be so easy for him. Apperently everyone else in the village was thinking the same thing. Tomorrow?s test would be a piece of minga-berry pie for the young stranger. Maia just hoped that Dengi had practiced enough. He was very, very good, so she wasn?t *too* concerned.

    With as start, Maia realized that had walked past Ren?s house. She turned around, shaking her head at herself. She really had to start paying more attention to where she was going when she was lost in thought. That was how this whole business got started in the first place.

    Maia took a deep breath and knocked on the door. Ren?s mother answered, and smiled when she saw who had come calling. ?Well, hello Maia. We were expecting you. Ren?s out in the garden, brooding.?

    ?Thanks, Nemi,? Maia smiled, heading out their back door. She found Ren sitting on the stone bench with his head in his hands. She stopped in front of him, feeling suddenly awkward.

    ?Hello, Ren,? was all she could think to say. //Sun,[/i] she cursed to herself, //why is it so hard to talk to him now? We?ve known each other all our lives! Relax!//

    Ren didn?t look up. ?Hello, Maia,? he said in a miserable sounding voice, ?have a seat.?

    Maia sat down and tried to collect her thoughts. Now that she was actually here speaking to him, she found herself at a loss for words, perhaps for the first time in her life. ?I?m so sorry,? she finally whispered.

    Ren sighed heavily and sat up straight. His well-muscled chest gleamed in the moonlight, but his handsome face was clouded with gloom. ?Maia,? he began speaking softly, ?I know why you did what you did. There?s no need to apologize, it?s not your fault.? He looked down at the ground. ?And I know it?s not Obae-wahn?s fault either. If anyone is too blamed, it should be Yaru, but pointing fingers at him won?t do one bit of good.?

    Maia nodded in agreement. Ren turned to face her again. He took her by the shoulders and bowed his head.

    ?Woman, why do have to be so noble?? he asked miserably, gently shaking her. ?I see now that you?re far better than I?ll ever be. I?m glad we?re not marrying now, because I?m not worthy of you. You deserve someone who deserves you, and I?m glad you found him. I?m lower than dirt.?

    Maia, momentarily stunned by this little speech, at last found her voice. ?Ren, that?s not true!? she protested. ?How can you say all that? You-?

    ?Because it?s true!? Ren interrupted, facing her again. He couldn?t look Maia in the eye, and his finely cut lower lip was quivering slightly. ?Don?t you know that I wanted to sabotage Obae-wahn?s tests today? And I even thought about challenging him to a duel to the death, you know? All I can think about is how miserable I?m going to be without you. I?m a horrible, incredibly selfish person! I know if I had been put in the same position as you, give
  14. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Obi-Wan awoke to the sensation of tingling feet. He felt something cool and slimy touch his left foot, and tried to pull it away. A big strong hand wrapped around his ankle and held it in place.

    ?Hold still, Obi-Wan, I?m almost done,? the gentle voice of his master floated to his ears.

    The Jedi apprentice lifted his head off the pillow to look over his shoulder to see what Qui-Gon was doing. The big Jedi was seated on the end of the bed, and was finishing up rubbing some gray cream on Obi-Wan?s feet. It tingled when it touched, and he couldn?t help wiggling his toes. ?Master, what is that stuff?? he asked curiously. It hadn?t escaped his notice that his feet no longer hurt, not like they had yesterday. It almost felt as if nothing had happened to them at all, in fact.

    Qui-Gon smiled. ?This stuff is a miraculous native cure given to me my Maia last night. Your feet are now almost completely healed.?

    The big Jedi walked around the bed to sit next to Obi-Wan?s pillow. The young man rolled over to face his master.

    ?I was worried about you, padawan,? Qui-Gon said softly as he reached out to smooth the hair on his apprentice?s head. ?Do your feet still hurt??

    ?No master, they feel all tingly, but that?s all. You have no idea what?s in that stuff??

    The older Jedi shook his head. ?It?s worked wonders though, whatever it is.? He gestured toward the table. ?Breakfast is ready, you must starved.? Obi-Wan nodded vigorously, moving to get out of bed. But Qui-Gon held him back with a hand on his shoulder. ?Stay here, I?ll get it for you.? He got up off the bed and retrieved a plate piled with breakfast food from off of the table. ?Here you go,? he said, handing the plate to his padawan with a smile, ?compliments of your lovely bride-to-be.?

    Obi-Wan rolled his eyes, but gratefully accepted the plate. Qui-Gon tousled his hair, and then moved away to bustle busily about the room getting ready for the day, having already eaten.

    The young Jedi watched his master surreptitiously while he ate. Was it his imagination, or was Qui-Gon looking just a tad bit guilty? He supposed he was seeing things, but his master *was* being extra nice, bringing him his food in bed and everything. He was about to ask him about it, when he realized the big Jedi had stopped to stare out the window.

    ?You?d better hurry and finish, padawan, here come the natives,? Qui-Gon said over his shoulder.

    Obi-Wan groaned inwardly and hastily shoved the rest of his breakfast in his mouth. All too soon there was a heavy knock on the door. Qui-Gon barely got it open before the chief barged his way in. He was the only one who entered this time, but Obi-Wan could see a sizable crowd outside. The chief gazed around importantly, then gestured at the young Jedi to follow him out the door. Obi-Wan nodded, already moving to put his boots on. Standing up, he was relieved that his feet felt perfectly fine.

    The chief actually nodded at Qui-Gon this time on his way back out the door. The Jedi left the house together. Obi-Wan got his first good look at the assembled crowd. There was the chief, Maia?s father, and all three of the chief?s other advisors. Maia was there as well, looking sleepy. She smiled broadly at Obi-Wan, who found himself automatically grinning widely back. Next to her was her friend Rika, holing a baby. There were a few young men he didn?t recognize, but one of them looked a lot like Maia and Kael. Obviously her brother.

    There was one other person that Obi-Wan recognized, and the sight of him filled the young Jedi with dread. It was that warrior he had fought with their first night here in the village. Their eyes met, and the native grinned in a friendly sort of way. Obi-Wan smiled politely back, but kept a wary eye one the warrior. At least there was no fruit around this time.

    At a word from the chief, the procession headed off. They seemed to be in a festive mood, though Obi-Wan could only wonder why. The wedding wasn?t until tonight, after all.

    They didn?t have far to go, bu
  15. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Just before noon, Kael stood outside the doors to the village hall, tapping his spear impatiently on the ground. Two more spears were leaning against the wall behind him, one slightly shorter than the other. The native felt charged with energy, as he always did right before a hunt. And this one was particularly special, for he would be hunting for his daughter?s wedding feast. But as the husband-to-be, it was Obae-wahn?s responsibility to kill the main dish for tonight. Kael had chosen a tummpa, they were nice and tender, and had a zesty flavor when cooked just right. They were also pretty hard animals to hunt, making it even better. Kael loved challenges. He felt certain that his future son would be up to it, though, he was quite a remarkable young man. He had performed admirably in all his tests, and todays had been no exception. As one of the chief?s advisors, Kael had presided over many a marriage test in the past. Though they were all custom tailored to fit the wishes of each individual father, the courage test was the one tradition, always done on the day of the wedding. The native had seen his fair share of cowards, unfortunately. Young men who fainted, or ran away screaming like a girlie, or cowered on the ground begging for mercy. Kael had no patience for such people, and he was elated that Obae-wahn was not one of them. But he had expected nothing less, of course.

    When the shadows finally became their shortest, the two strangers arrived. Kael noted with approval how the young man followed behind and to the right of his father, showing he already knew how to respect his elders. Excellent.

    Once they were stopped in front of him, Kael handed each one a spear. The men looked at them in confusion, but he held up a hand to show that all would be explained. He reached down and picked up two scrolls of parchment from off the ground. He was prepared today. He wanted Obae-wahn and his father to know exactly what they were supposed to be doing, as this was important. He unrolled the first scroll to reveal a picture of a tummpa. He had drawn it himself, and thought it was rather good. Obae-wahn should have no trouble knowing what he was supposed to be hunting today. Kael pointed at the young man, then he lifted up his spear and stabbed it at the picture. The youth nodded his understanding. The native then unrolled the other scroll, which showed a picture of a seri. He indicated that he and Que-gun would be hunting those. They were smaller and much more common than tummpa?s, and used in a popular side dish, known as seri-lita, that most villagers ate at least once every other day. No feast would be complete without it.

    Once satisfied that the strangers knew what they were supposed to do, Kael led them out of the village. He had decided earlier that they would hunt in the forest on the west, that was where the most tummpas had been found. He set a rapid pace, for there was still much to do after this. He was pleased to see that neither man had any trouble keeping up with him.

    Once they entered the dappled shadows of the forest, he gestured for this companions to spread out. Once they had both walked off a good distance, he gestured for them to stop and move forward. He put his finger to his lips, to make sure they knew to be very quiet. He didn?t know if either of them had ever hunted before, after all.

    Kael moved stealthily forward, eyes and ears alert. He made hardly a sound. Out of the corner of each eye, he could see the young man and his father, but, Kael noted with satisfaction, he couldn?t hear them. Perhaps they *had* hunted before. Excellent.

    A movement in the bushes off to Kael?s left caught his eye. He crept slowly forward, his spear gripped tight in his hand. Sure enough, it was a seri. A nice and fat one. He looked over to Que-gun, who was on his left, and gestured toward the bush with his spear. The big man nodded, but Kael could tell by his grim expression that he wasn?t too happy about it. Nevertheless, he hefted his spear and moved quietly forwa
  16. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Qui-Gon led the way back to their guesthouse, lost in thought. Upon seeing all the preparations for the wedding back at Kael?s house, their unique situation had finally started to sink in fully for the Jedi master. His padawan was getting married today. And as far as he knew, Obi-Wan had never even kissed a girl before. It was all so strange. He was definitely glad the arrangement was only temporary.

    Qui-Gon held the door open for his apprentice when they returned home. The young man smiled his thanks, and headed in the house.

    ?Look, master,? he said, ?they left lunch for us. Thank the Force, I?m starved!?

    The big Jedi watched with amusement as Obi-Wan dug into his food, pleased that he still had an appetite. He was glad that his padawan was not suffering from pre-marital jitters, at least not yet. Once they finished their meal, the Jedi went outside to the garden to meditate. Qui-Gon felt much better afterwards, having been able to release his feelings of guilt and uncertainty to the Force. Obi-Wan appeared in better spirits as well.

    They went back in the house shortly before sunset. Qui-Gon had the feeling that they would not have to wait much longer, and sure enough, five minutes after they settled themselves at the table to look at the comm together, there came a knock on the door. The Jedi master answered it, and was surprised to see Maia?s brother and the warrior from earlier standing there, each holding feathered adornments in their hands. Qui-Gon stepped back to let them in the house, guessing it must be almost time for the wedding to start. Both natives advanced on Obi-Wan, who had stood from the table when they arrived, eyeing the warrior distrustfully. Maia?s brother placed a colorful feathered headdress on the young Jedi, while the other one tied a strand of feathers and beads around his neck. They stepped back to admire their work, and nodded approvingly. Then they gestured for the two Jedi to follow them out the door.

    ?Well, master, this is it,? Obi-Wan stated as they headed down the path back to the common area. He was now starting to sound apprehensive.

    Qui-Gon nodded. He put an arm around his padawan?s shoulders. ?I?m sure everything will be just fine,? he said reassuringly. ?You?ve been in worse dilemmas, after all.?

    Obi-Wan smiled at that. ?A few, I suppose,? he agreed.

    They walked on in silence. The two natives led them to the north side of the common area, which was now crowded with people. It looked to Qui-gon like the whole village was present, which was probably true. They were on the edge of the crowd, but it parted as they came up. The chief stood at the other end, flanked by three of his advisors. Maia and her father came up beside the Jedi. Qui-Gon blinked in surprise at the young native woman, she looked stunning. She was wearing a simple, yet lovely light green dress. It was complimented with a necklace of white flowers, and a matching crown of flowers rested on her head. Her dark hair was done up to accent the flowers, with a single thick braid, interwoven with even more flowers, falling down her back. The Jedi master saw that his padawan was gaping at her, and smiled to himself.

    The two young men who had led them here bowed to Kael and then melted into the crowd, leaving the four standing alone. The chief raised his hand for silence, and a hush immediately fell on all assembled. Then from somewhere off to the left, a single flute began to play. The native leader raised both hands, and lowered them again, palms downward. Everyone in the crowd dropped to one knee, leaving only eight people standing on their feet, four at each end of the assemblage.

    The chief beckoned the four of them forward. Kael took his daughter by the arm, and glanced over at Qui-Gon to indicate he do the same. The Jedi master nodded, and hooked Obi-Wan?s arm in his. Then they started slowly walking toward the chief. Low murmurs could be heard from the crowd as they passed, and Qui-Gon found himself surrounded by a sea of smiling faces
  17. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Maia smiled to herself as she led Obae-wahn down the path toward the sacred garden. She was thinking about the kiss. It had been quite nice. But she felt she already knew her new husband well enough to not expect anything else, for now anyway. He was very uncomfortable already; she could feel it in the tenseness of his arm against hers.

    Maia considered herself a patient woman, she would give him time to get used to the idea of being married before she brought up the subject of children. She was young, she could wait. For a little while, anyway. She would just wait and see what happened tonight. She squeezed his hand and drew him closer, and felt his whole body tense even more. Yes indeed, this was going to be interesting.

    Maia held the torch high as they entered the garden. She loved coming here. The trees were all so beautiful. Well, most of them anyway. The garden was part of an ancient tradition for newly married couples in her village. After the wedding ceremony, they would come to the garden and plant a seed each, right next to each other. But they were no ordinary trees they planted. These were Junari trees, lovely and mysterious. When two seeds were planted side by side, they would often entwine as saplings. Their stems would wrap around each other, and they would grow up that way. A person looking at one of the full-grown trees only saw one tree with a beautifully coiled trunk, and that was what it had essentially become, one tree.

    Strangely though, not all of the trees would entwine as saplings. They would simply grow side by side as two seperate trees, and as they got bigger they would crowd each other out. Inevitably, they would end up killing each other off. When that happened, it was supposed to be a sign that the marriage was never meant to be, and was thus doomed to be unhappy. But of course it was too late to do anything about it by then.

    It was just another superstition Maia would normally have scoffed at. If it hadn't been for Yaru, that was. He had agreed to marry Dina because her father had paid him lavishly, as the rumors went. His marriage test had been pathetically easy to be sure, all he had had to do was prove he could climb a tree and pick yewi fruit, her favorite.

    Yaru and Dina had been fighting ever since the night of their marriage, when she had whacked him in the head with a shovel because they couldn't agree on where to plant their seeds. And now, five years later, they were still going at it. And so it came as no surprise to anyone when they discovered that their Junari trees were fighting too.

    Of course, there were other cases, like Hem and Seri, but their marriage wasn't all that bad. Maia had to admit, though, that that was simply because they only spoke to each other about twice a day. But at least they didn't fight. It was another case in point to back up the superstition. There were dozens more like it, but those were only stories Maia had heard about, and thus not so easily believed.

    Maia wondered what would happen to their trees. It was true they barely knew each other, after all, and could barely understand one another on top of that. But despite those limitations, Maia had a good feeling about this young man, and their marriage together. Like her father, she was considered a good judge of character, and both Obae-wahn and Que-gun were good men, she felt sure. She would just have to wait and see what happened.

    Soon they arrived at the spot where the trees of her parents and brother were growing. She picked a spot next to Guenni's tree. It had been planted only three years ago, and was now shoulder high. He and Tila had been here recently to trim it, she observed. It was important for a couple to keep their Junari tree healthy and happy, as it was the symbol of their marriage. And it was tradition too, of course.

    Maia knelt down on the ground, pulling Obae-wahn down with her. She planted the torch in the ground, then took the shovel and watering can from her husband's hand. She smiled at him in the torchlight before getting to work. Obae-wahn def
  18. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Qui-Gon?s mouth was starting to hurt. Too much smiling and nodding. Every two minutes someone would walk by, raise his or her cup in a toast, and say something to him. He would raise his glass back, and nod his thanks with a polite smile, having no clue what anyone had just said to him. Everyone was doing the same to Kael and his wife, and they would say something back, sometimes entering into a conversation. Qui-Gon figured they were going to him, the stranger, just to be polite. He wished they would stop, he didn?t like being in the center of attention like this. He had a feeling though, that when the newlyweds returned, he would be forgotten anyway.

    The natives all seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. There was a lot of boisterous talking and laughing, drinking and eating, music and dancing. A marriage was obviously a big deal for these people, one that was celebrated by the whole tribe. As Qui-Gon?s eyes scanned the crowd of happy people, he began to squirm a little. And when he looked at a proud Kael with his chest puffed out, and his beaming wife beside him, the Jedi master felt even worse. The guilt that had been niggling at the back of his mind for a while now was starting to get harder to ignore. Kael and his wife were obviously very happy with their daughter?s recent marriage. How would they react if they were told how short it was going to be? They wouldn?t like it one bit, that he was sure of. It was becoming painfully clear to Qui-Gon that they simply couldn?t get up and walk away when their transport finally came. They were in too deep, and they were only going to sink lower from here.

    At least the Jedi master did not have to worry about what Obi-Wan would do on his wedding night, or all the nights thereafter, for that matter. He was a responsible young man, Qui-Gon trusted him to make the right decision. Because if he did end up with a child on the way, then leaving would no longer even be an option, at least for Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon would still be free to leave, but would he want to? His padawan could leave too, of course, but he would turn his back on all he had been taught about responsibility if he did, and the Jedi master knew that was one thing he would never do.

    No, Obi-Wan wasn?t the one Qui-Gon was worried about, it was Maia. How was she going to take all of this? He doubted she would understand her new husband?s refusal to give her children. He knew they owed it to her to try and explain the situation. //No, not try, // Qui-Gon corrected himself, *do*. But how would Maia react? He knew the sooner they were able to leave, the easier it would be on everyone involved. He had sensed through the Force earlier that Maia?s feelings for Obi-Wan were not very deep yet, it was more like a crush than anything else. But he knew that as each day passed, they would grow more attached to each other. It would get harder and harder to leave the longer they stayed.

    All of these thoughts were swirling through Qui-Gon?s head as he ate at the feast and smiled at all the well-wishers, waiting for his padawan to return. Though he knew leaving this place was not going to be as easy as he wanted it to, he still had a feeling that a solution would present itself. He only wondered what it would be, and when it would come. He would be patient.

    The sound of a woman shouting off to Qui-Gon?s left distracted him from his thoughts. He turned just in time to witness a rather big woman hit the village priest over the head with a bone. Yaru attempted to grab it away from her, but she was too quick. She hit him again with an audible *thwack*, and everyone nearby laughed heartily. Qui-Gon shook his head at the site, marveling at the strangeness of the priest?s attire tonight. He was green, except for his hair, which was a bright yellow with blue stripes. He decided he had never seen someone quite so, well, *interesting*, before.

    Qui-Gon was still staring at Yaru when a great cheer went up from all assembled. He turned in time to see Maia running up to the head table, Obi
  19. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Obi-Wan followed Maia down the path to their new house, Toi snorting happily behind them. The young Jedi wished with all his might that he was simply following Qui-Gon back to the guesthouse, but it did no good. He kept telling himself to relax, but that also did no good. What was Maia going to do? What if she, well, tried *something*? The thought made him tense up again, and it was even worse this time. He didn?t like this, oh no he did not. Not one bit.

    Maia led him down a path between rows of houses on the southeast side of the village. They passed a house on the left where Kael was standing in the doorway, waving. As they got closer they saw that he was also grinning from ear to ear. Maia waved back, grinning too. They passed his house and kept going past a few more, until they ended up at one on the right near the end of the lane. It was about the same size as their guesthouse, and had its own walled garden in the back.

    Maia opened the door and went inside. Toi pushed past Obi-Wan with a loud grunt and followed her into the house. Shaking his head, he went in last. The young Jedi was even more unnerved to find that there was only one bed in the house. //Oh, sith!// he cursed to himself. But of course he knew it would be this way. They *were* married, after all.

    Maia was over at the table, washing her face and hair in a basin of water. There was another one right beside it on the table, and there were towels lying next to them. Face dripping with water, his new wife gestured him over to the other basin. He gratefully obliged. //She must have known we would both be coming home a big ol? mess.// he thought wryly. He had to hand it to her for her forethought.

    Obi-Wan dunked his whole head in his basin and swished it around. The water was lukewarm, but it still felt quite good. He heard Maia laughing next to him, a sweet musical sound. Then he felt her tap him on the shoulder. He straightened up, water streaming everywhere. She handed him a bar of soap, which he took with a nod of thanks. The young Jedi washed his face and hair vigorously; glad to finally get those sticky berries cleaned off.

    As Obi-Wan rinsed his head off, he heard a snort beside him. He turned to see Toi looking up at him. He frowned down at the pig, just daring it to slobber all over him again. Toi blinked, snorted loudly, and walked away. The Jedi padawan shook his head, still unable to believe that he actually had to live with that thing. The thought entered his mind to make Maia keep her pig outside in the garden, but he cast the idea aside. He didn?t want his new wife upset with him already. Then again?.

    Obi-Wan?s musings were interrupted by a loud scratching at the back door. He looked in time to see Toi turn around in a circle, and then scratch on the door again with one of its front hooves. The whole door shuddered from the impact. Maia said something to her pig, and then headed over to open the door for it. Toi practically knocked her over trying to get out. The native girl followed it outside, closing the door softly behind her.

    Obi-Wan had watched the whole scene with amazement. //A housebroken pig? Was that even possible?//

    //Apparently so.//

    It was one less thing for him to have to worry about, at least. He made a mental note to watch where he stepped out in the garden, however.

    After Obi-Wan finished drying himself off, he started wondering what to do now. Maia and Toi weren?t back yet. Should he wait up for them? As if in answer, he started yawning, and suddenly he felt very tired. It had been a long day, that was for sure. The bed seemed to beckon to him, with its soft pillows and nice thick warm blankets, and he felt that he must obey its summons. Obi-Wan took off his boots and robe and climbed into the bed. There was still a candle burning, but he would leave that on for Maia when she returned. That thought made him tense up again. //Will this torture never end?// he asked himself unhappily. Still, he knew that it could be much, much worse.

  20. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    //The next morning Maia had a very strange dream. There was another big metal flying thing in it, like the one that day in the forest. But this one wasn't burned, blackened, and broken; in fact it looked brand new.

    In her dream it had flown down to land in the village square, and there Que-gun and Obae-wahn were waiting for it. They stood watching with delighted smiles as the door opened and three people rushed out. One was an older woman, who ran straight to Que-gun and kissed him. The other two were younger, a boy and a girl. They ran first to Obae-wahn and hugged him. Then the five all bunched together and hugged and kissed and laughed and cried all at once. It was a very happy family reunion.

    Once they had all greeted one another, they turned to the ship and headed inside. The door closed behind them, and then the flying thing lifted back up into the air. Suddenly Maia saw herself run under the thing and yell for them to wait for her. But it didn't slow, the metal thing rose up into the sky and dissapeared. The native girl stood in stunned silence for a few moments, saying over and over, "They left me behind!"//

    Maia woke up with a start. The sun had just risen and its first rays were streaming through the window, lighting the room with a soft glow. Maia looked quickly toward the floor under the window, where she knew Obae-wahn had been the night before. She breathed an audible sigh of relief when she saw that he was still there, fast alseep.

    //Thank the sun! It was only a dream.//

    //But it could come true,// she told herself. Well, she was just going to have to make sure that it didn't. She would-

    Maia lost her train of thought as she suddenly realized what she was staring at. Toi was lying directly on top of Obae-wahn! She had to clap her hand to her mouth to keep from laughing out loud. She shook her head. Her pig had it bad. She'd never seen Toi with such a bad crush on anyone before. Literally.

    There had been that time she was in love with Ghenni, when Maia's family first got her, but she had gotten over it eventually. She sure had been jealous of Ghenni's new wife for quite a while though. It was no secret that Tila thoroughly despised her pig. Maia wondered if Toi was jealous of her. She decided probably not. The pig had gotten Obae-wahn all to himself last night, after all.

    Maia got out of bed smiling, her dream momentarily forgotten. Like everyone else in the village, they were having party leftovers for breakfast. As she set about getting everything ready, she debated whether or not to get Toi off of Obae-wahn. She decided against it. It would wake both of them up, and she knew her new husband had been pretty tired last night. And besides, it would keep Toi from begging for scraps while she cooked. She knew her pig could be rather forceful when she didn't get her way. She smiled suddenly. //Yes, and Obae-wahn knew that too, all too well.//

    Soon the house was full of the tantalizing aroma of frying leftover tummpa. A snort from the window signified that her pig was waking up. A groan followed soon after, signifying that her husband was waking up too. Then she heard a pain-filled "oof!" and realized that Toi must have stepped on him. She smiled. Poor Obae-wahn.

    Toi ran over and nuzzled her hand, then she ran to the back door. Maia looked pleadingly over at the young man still sitting on the floor, who was blinking sleepily. She was in the middle of cooking and really couldn't leave now, unless they wanted a burned breakfast. Obae-wahn rolled his eyes heavenward, but he nodded. As he struggled to his feet, Maia realized that he was covered from neck to waist in pig slobber. His look of disgust showed that he was well aware of that fact.

    Obae-wahn walked to the back door slowly and stiffly, and Maia figured he must be pretty sore. She felt bad for not ordering Toi to stay by the bed last night, but she probably wouldn't have cooperated anyway. Obae-wahn flung the back door open and jumped back out of the way. He winced as
  21. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    And now, dum dum dum dee dee, it's new story! Yay! It's very iffy, but at least it's more! And I will post again this week, really I will! More than once, in fact! Really, I will, I will!


    Qui-Gon strolled down a pathway between houses on the southeast side of the village. He had the comm unit under one arm. Today was the day to start getting this thing fixed. They had waited long enough.

    The Jedi master took a deep breath of the crisp morning air. The delicious aroma of roasting meat was thick, making Qui-Gon?s mouth water even though he had already eaten. Maia?s friend Rika had come just after sunrise to give him breakfast. He had gotten the directions to the newlywed?s house from her.

    The big Jedi came to one on the right near the end of the path. This should be it. He smiled as his guess was confirmed a moment later by the voice of his padawan floating up from the backyard garden.

    ?Ow! Get away from me!? This exclamation was followed by an indignant snort. ?Hurry up already, will you? I?m starving!? Qui-Gon smiled as he headed for the front door. //Poor Obi-Wan.//

    His knock was answered after a moment by his new ?daughter-in-law.? Maia?s face lit up when she saw whom her guest was. She gestured him in, pointed at the door to the garden, and then went back to bustling around the fire making breakfast. Qui-Gon nodded at her, set the comm down on the table, and then headed outside.

    Obi-Wan was sitting on the stone bench in the middle of the garden, vainly trying to fend off Toi as she nuzzled his leg. His clothes looked like they were in need of another good washing.

    ?Good morning, padawan,? Qui-Gon said, unsuccessful at keeping an amused glint out of his eyes.

    Obi-Wan looked up. ?Hello, master,? he said in an exasperated tone. Toi took advantage of his distraction and rested her slobbery head in his lap with an adoring sounding snort.
    The young Jedi rolled his eyes heavenward. Qui-Gon heard the boy?s stomach rumble quite clearly in the still morning air.

    The Jedi master decided his padawan needed a break; and not forgetting his guilty feelings of last night, he sent a Force suggestion to the big pig. Toi snuffled wetly, and withdrew from Obi-Wan?s lap. She began rooting around in the bushes for a suitable place to do her business.

    ?Thank you, master,? Obi-Wan sighed in relief. ?I?ve had about all I can take from that, that, that?.*thing* already!? he declared as he pointed at Toi and struggled for the right words to describe his current hardship. His young face was an interesting mixture of annoyance, disgust, and incredulity. ?You won?t believe what she did to me last night!? he continued heatedly, sounding as if he couldn?t believe it either.

    ?What?? Qui-Gon prompted when Obi-Wan fell silent. The older Jedi admitted to himself that he was indeed very interested to hear what happened last night.

    ?Nothing,? his padawan mumbled, staring at his slobber-covered pants. His young face was burning bright red with embarrassment.

    Qui-Gon folded his arms and cleared his throat. He knew it was really none of his business, but that didn?t deter him, it never had. In his best stern master voice, he said, ?Obi-Wan, what did that pig to last night? Does it have something to do with you and Maia, and-?

    ?No!? the boy exclaimed as he looked up quickly, having anticipated what his master was about to ask. His face had just gone redder still, and now looked almost purple. ?No master, not *that*! It was just, well, I?d rather not say!? His voice was a trifle higher pitched than usual. He shifted uncomfortably on the bench under his mentor?s penetrating stare. ?It?s too embarrassing,? he added, so low the big Jedi barely heard him.

    Qui-Gon?s face broke into a grin. ?All right, Obi-Wan, I won?t ask anymore. I believe you, so I?ll stop being a nosy busybody.?

    ?Thank you, master,? Obi-Wan said in obvious relief. He was finally grinning now too.

    Just then, Maia stuck her head out the door and called something out to th
  22. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    Yep, this computer picked the very last post to start acting like a ninny. Grrr.
  23. Bastet Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    I did not condone the course of action that led me to triple post.
  24. Jane Jinn Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 5
    At last, more story! Hooray, hooray! I liked the part where Qui-Gon uses his sternest voice to all but order Obi-Wan to tell him what the pig did last night, but then lets up on his Padawan at the last minute. And the fact that the metalsmith is not doing too well financially was a complication I had not foreseen. I like this intricate, funny story, and I hope that you really, really do post more soon!
  25. padawan3 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 1999
    star 4
    Thankyou force there is more story. I thought it had been abandoned.
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