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Saga Another Galaxy

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by DarthMarly, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Title: Another Galaxy
    Author(s): DarthMarly (marly4077 on fanfic.net and Archive of Our Own)
    Timeframe: Clone Wars
    Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Original Characters

    When Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker encounter a space anomaly during a Clone Wars mission, they find themselves millions of light years away from home, in another galaxy. While Anakin struggles to find a way to return to Padme, Obi-Wan finds himself more and more attracted to this distant and exotic place.

    Chapter One
    Anomaly

    Obi-Wan Kenobi glanced over at Anakin Skywalker as he piloted the ship out of their initial hyperspace jump. The two men sat in silence for quite a bit of the journey from Coruscant to Corellia, despite the fact they hadn’t seen each other for several weeks prior to leaving. Now over a year into the Clone Wars, the Jedi seemed stretched thin across the galaxy, leading troops, going undercover, striving for peace, and Obi-Wan and his former apprentice had been separated by light years and different missions.

    The older Jedi knew a rift continued to form in between himself and Anakin, but he could not put his finger on the cause. He and Anakin, although close, did have a rough time over the years, and Obi-Wan often wondered what he failed to do as a teacher. He longed to have with Anakin the relationship Qui-Gon Jinn had with him when Obi-Wan was a padawan, but as Anakin grew older and more rebellious, Obi-Wan saw this could never be, and he felt he’d failed in several respects. Still, Anakin turned into a marvelous Jedi, dedicated, intelligent, hard-working, loyal. He even had an apprentice of his own now.

    Obi-Wan wondered momentarily if Yoda sensed this gulf forming between Obi-Wan and Anakin and arranged this rather mundane mission to Corellia, to procure more ships for the Clone Army, to encourage the men to bond. Obi-Wan smiled and shook his head.

    “So, how’s life on the Council?” Anakin asked, breaking the silence.

    Obi-Wan’s grin grew. Typical Anakin, could not stand a thoughtful quiet, a slower pace.

    “Interesting. I honestly don’t feel a whole lot different, being a Master now. I thought I would but…perhaps if the war wasn’t happening,” he answered.

    And how is Padme? He longed to ask in return but kept his mouth shut. No use opening that discussion. But Obi-Wan knew much more than Anakin thought, and he also knew not to breech the topic. The argument that would inevitably occur would further drive them apart, and Obi-Wan did not see Anakin’s transgressions as being terribly harmful, as he was the Chosen One after all.

    “Think I’ll ever be a Master?” Anakin asked.

    Obi-Wan’s eyes narrowed, looking through the front window. A bright blue aura appeared and blinked out in space ahead of them. Strange.

    “Master?”

    “Huh?” asked Obi-Wan turning to Anakin.

    Anakin sighed heavily. “You don’t, do you? The Council, especially Master Yoda and Master Windu, don’t trust me. I can feel it. They give me an apprentice, but I don’t think they’ll ever…”

    The aura appeared again, but only for a second.

    “What the….?” exclaimed Obi-Wan leaning forward in his seat. “Did you see that?”

    Anakin turned to Obi-Wan and rolled his eyes in spectacular fashion. “Of course you’re avoiding the topic. C’mon Obi-Wan, you’re my friend! My brother! You’ve gotta have allegiance to family over the Council, right? I know Master Windu says I’m…”

    The blue anomaly flashed again, and their ship headed straight toward it.

    “Full stop!” Obi-Wan cried, reaching over and grabbing Anakin on the shoulder. “Now.”

    Anakin glared over at Obi-Wan but stopped the ship. “What’s your problem?”

    But Obi-Wan didn’t answer. He studied the space ahead of them. They were in between systems, empty vacuum. Had he been seeing things?

    “Didn’t you see that blue flash?” Obi-Wan asked.

    Anakin grabbed the metal cup in the holder on the helm and took a long drink of caf. He laughed. “Getting old, huh master? They say the mind is the first thing to go.”

    “I don’t think…well, maybe it was my imagination,” Obi-Wan said, puzzled. He looked around him on the small ship, which consisted of only the cockpit and a storage bay, minimal weapons. A simple transport really. He suddenly laughed, trying to put himself at ease. “Maybe I am getting old.”

    “There’s a few more grays than the last time I saw you,” Anakin teased. “Although I must say the beard is looking very well groomed.”

    Obi-Wan chuckled. “A new barber near the Temple, yesterday. Nice to have someone else do it for once.” He shook his head. “Sorry, Anakin. Let’s continue.”

    Anakin studied the panel, entering the next set of hyperspace coordinates.

    “You know, you could make a little more effort with that mop on top of your head,” Obi-Wan said, raising an eyebrow playfully at his former padawan. “You look in a perpetual state of…”

    “What in the…” cried Anakin, and Obi-Wan turned toward the window in time to see the blue flash burst and suddenly swallow them.

    The ship shook aggressively, and both men cried out.

    “Did…did you put it into hyperspace?” yelled Obi-Wan over the clanking of the ship’s metal. The transport sounded like it would fall apart at any moment.

    “No!” Anakin screamed just as the colors around them changed, running through the entire spectrum.

    The movement of the ship seemed to speed up, going forward, and for a time going backward, then spinning…spinning uncontrollably through a tunnel of rapidly changing colors.

    Obi-Wan felt himself increasingly pressed to his seat to the point he might implode and become nothing altogether. He reached out to the Force but sensed nothing. His vision began to dim, and he had the sudden realization he might die. But that thought didn’t frighten him since he slipped into unconsciousness.

    Jerking awake suddenly, Obi-Wan sat up from his slumped position, his eyes darting around the cabin. How long had he been out? Was he hurt? He made a quick assessment of his well-being, noticing his only injuries seemed to be bruising caused by the crash webbing. Thank goodness he always belted in, especially when Anakin drove.

    Anakin! He turned toward his friend to see him still out cold, his forehead bleeding profusely. Obi-Wan looked at the floor to see Anakin’s metal caf cup with a blood stain around the rim. He’d probably been hit when the ship spiraled. Otherwise, Anakin looked fine, breathing steadily.

    Finally, Obi-Wan looked out the front window. A large gas giant planet filled the view, swirls of orange, red, and yellow. He could see several small moons orbiting. While Obi-Wan traveled throughout much of the galaxy in his time as a padawan and a Jedi Knight, he couldn’t recall this world, nor the name of the system.

    The ship seemed dead in space, the emergency lights and life support system on, as indicated from the helm. Slowly unbuckling, Obi-Wan stood on wobbly feet and went to Anakin.

    “Anakin, wake up,” he said, ripping a piece of fabric from his robe and applying pressure to Anakin’s cut. His friend’s eyes fluttered, and he suddenly became wide awake.

    “What…where…why is there blood?”

    Obi-Wan sat back down as Anakin took over the cloth on his cut.

    “What happened?” Anakin said, looking dazed, staring at the planet in front of them. “Ah…that wasn’t there before.”

    Obi-Wan just shook his head, and Anakin began to check all the systems.

    “Seems the ship is fine. Looks like some damage to the outer hull. We should do some repairs before attempting hyperspace again,” he suddenly looked over at Obi-Wan in excitement. “Hey, maybe we discovered a new hyperspace lane. There’s money to be had in that.”

    “Maybe,” said Obi-Wan, curious now. Maybe the Kenobi-Skywalker Route, a new trading lane. Or just Skywalker, as he foresaw Anakin arguing the point that he was, in fact, piloting. “How far away are we from our previous location?”

    He turned to Anakin in time to see utter shock take over the Jedi’s face. “I…that…no…”

    “What?”

    “That can’t be possible. That would mean we’re in another galaxy,” Anakin said, barely above a whisper.

    “How far?” demanded Obi-Wan, suddenly feeling cold.

    “The gauge says we are 20 million light years from our last stop,” Anakin said.

    Obi-Wan shook his head in disbelief. Twenty million? That seemed like an obscenely large number. He reached out with the Force without thinking and gasped. The Force existed here, but it definitely felt different, hard to place or describe, that difference, but different nonetheless.

    “Another galaxy,” Obi-Wan said, barely audible, shock settling into his every fiber. “Twenty million light years.”

    Author’s Note: Welcome to my new story! This plot idea kept itching at my brain, so I just had to write and share. While my other Star Wars story is my top priority, I look forward to sharing this fun little tale with you. Expect adventure, friendship, romance, humor, and angst. This story will be updated sporadically and chapters will be shorter than my Tatooine Trilogy (on fanfic.net and AO3), although reader feedback might inspire me.
    Happy reading, and may the Force be with you!




     
  2. Caiden Ray

    Caiden Ray Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Apr 22, 2016
    You displayed all the emotions very well, and Anakin's characteristics were very true to his personal.
     
    AzureAngel2 and DarthMarly like this.
  3. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Thank you very much! While I have experience writing Obi-Wan, I'm a little worried about writing Anakin, so your comment means a lot.
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  4. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Two
    A New World

    Anakin frantically checked all the gauges on the ship, continuing to come up with the same figure: 20 million light years away from home. How could this be? That number seemed impossible, an extreme exaggeration. His heart began to race, his blood running hot, and fear began to flow through him. How would he get back home? He needed to be there, for Padme.

    After checking for every possible mistake in the readings and finding none, he turned toward Obi-Wan, the man who always seemed to have an answer for everything, even if Anakin disagreed with the solution. But Obi-Wan sat, transfixed, looking out the window at the gas giant in front of them.

    “Um…Master?” Anakin asked
    .
    “Hmmm?” said Obi-Wan, still looking ahead, even leaning forward slightly.

    “What are we going to do?”

    “It’s beautiful,” the Jedi Master murmured. “And the Force…it’s different here.” He finally turned toward Anakin, his eyes slightly glazed. “Can’t you feel it?”

    Anakin raised an eyebrow at Obi-Wan. “Yes, it’s different. And that just confirms things. We’re screwed.”

    He leaped out of his seat and went to the back of the transport, opening the storage bins and closets to look for anything that could help. He found emergency rations as well as blankets and a few extra articles of clothing. He also found a small tool kit but not much else.

    “Damn! Why didn’t we bring the droids? At least R2,” he hissed angrily, starting to experience the familiar feeling of rage. He willed himself to calm down, reaching out to the Force, but finding the slight difference unsettling rather than comforting. He turned back to his former Master. “For goodness sake, Obi-Wan! What is wrong with you?”

    Obi-Wan slowly rose from his seat and came to the back of the transport, adjusting his robes and glancing into the open panels at their limited supplies. “We need to find a place to land so we’re not draining the ship’s fuel on life support. We should check for a terrestrial planet in this system, if possible.”

    Anakin nodded, feeling relief to see Obi-Wan finally in problem solving-mode. He couldn’t think of a time he’d seen his friend dazed and oddly giddy, and that version of Obi-Wan made him uncomfortable. As much as they disagreed and argued, he’d always found Obi-Wan to be the most stable force in his life.

    The two men returned to the cockpit, checking the system for other worlds.

    “A terrestrial planet with an atmosphere exists a bit further in-system,” he reported, Obi-Wan once again staring outside at the red and orange swirls of the gas giant. “You think we should head there?”

    “Sure,” said Obi-Wan slowly, his voice casual in a way directly conflicting with Anakin’s growing, but still muted, panic. He jolted as if awakened and turned to Anakin. “But remember to mark this spot. Perhaps the rip in space that opened only appears here.” His brow furrowed. “But maybe the system rotates around the galactic center like home, and we’ve already moved away. Or maybe it is in orbit around this planet. Yes…so interesting.” He smiled broadly at Anakin. “Isn’t this fascinating?”

    “Okay, that’s it!” Anakin cried, finally losing it. “What is your problem?”

    “Problem?” Obi-Wan said, his face falling in confusion.

    “Yes! Twenty million light years, Obi-Wan! We’re across the universe from everything…everyone. The Temple and the war and Pad…everything!”

    “Yes, Anakin, but just take a moment. Calm down. We’ve traveled further than anyone ever…well, at least that we know…”

    “Yes, because they didn’t make it back!” Anakin shouted, jumping up and running his fingers through his hair in frustration. He paced around for a moment, then froze, turning his gaze back to Obi-Wan, who’d once again turned to face the gas giant. At this point in the conversation, his Master should have intervened with some sort of logic, a lesson for Anakin.

    Was Obi-Wan ill, somehow affected by their strange journey? Taking a deep breath in order to calm down, he returned to his seat at the helm.

    “Okay. Let’s find this planet so we can figure things out,” Anakin said through gritted teeth.

    “Excellent,” said Obi-Wan brightly, and he sat up and looked at Anakin, his bright blue eyes shining. “Let’s have an adventure. Hopefully one in which we’re not being fired on by a droid army.”

    Anakin accelerated the ship, worry over Obi-Wan beginning to replace his initial fear of this far off place.

    Obi-Wan leaned forward as they came closer to the terrestrial world, a blue and white orb with one rather large moon, when considering the proportionality to the planet. Quite beautiful really, and Obi-Wan felt excitement overtake him. After Anakin announced they’d ended up so far away, he’d felt a strange calmness after the initial shock, and now he simply experienced a pleasant blend of curiosity and awe. Twenty million light years. Simply incredible.

    As they made their way from the gas giant further in-system, Obi-Wan considered he should feel more concerned about this sudden change of events. And the anger emanating from Anakin at the moment usually bothered him. But he felt neither concern not the usual need to reprimand his former padawan. He simply wanted to enjoy this new place.

    Drawing closer to the new world, Obi-Wan saw large land masses separated by even larger bodies of water. Clouds floated across the atmosphere, and a large white mass extended from the northern pole to the upper fourth of the world. Ice, he guessed.

    “We should put down there,” he said, pointing toward an area appearing brown and green from the atmosphere, in the northern hemisphere just south of the ice sheet.

    “Why there? Why not the equator?” Anakin asked. “Might be warmer.”

    “Just go there,” Obi-Wan said matter-of-factly.

    “Do you feel something in the Force?”

    Obi-Wan considered this for a moment. He couldn’t explain why he chose that location, he just felt they needed to land there. And the Force, as it was in this strange galaxy, offered no answer.

    “No…I just think there…maybe,” he stammered. He looked to Anakin to see the younger man studying him intently.

    “Okay,” Anakin said finally, and they broke the atmosphere, coming down to the large land mass.

    Anakin finally landed the ship in a wide meadow, the green grass tall and vividly colored, an occasional flower adding to the visible spectrum. In the distance, hills and mountains covered in snow and ice, glaciers a blue and occasional grey.

    Anakin shut down the engines and fiddled with the controls.

    “The air is breathable. Temperate, a little chilly,” Anakin reported. “Let’s step out and look at the hull.”

    Opening the back hatch of the transport, the two Jedi emerged, Anakin immediately dashing around the ship to check for damage. However, Obi-Wan continued to walk away from the ship, not even looking back. He breathed in deeply, the air cool and clean, drifting down at him from the distant glaciers. He suddenly felt fresh, cleansed, healthy, and he untied his outer robe and shrugged it off, letting it fall to the ground as he continued walking. Not too warm, not too cold, the climate perfect, the sky a bright blue, with the occasional high, fluffy white cloud. He put out his hands and allowed the tall grass to run against his palms.

    He never felt this way before, becoming completely intoxicated by a place. No, intoxicated wasn’t the right word, as he had complete and total control of his faculties. Full control, in fact, a complete awareness of himself and the environment around him.

    Finally, he sat in the grass, unclipping his lightsaber and tossing it off to the side so it wouldn’t press into his hip uncomfortably. He sighed, breathing in and letting out the air with a slight chuckle. Then falling back to lie on the ground completely, the grass towering above him, he spread out his limbs and regarded the sky.

    Twenty million light years away, and he felt completely at home on this distant and strange world. Why? But at the moment, he didn’t care. He simply felt like being, watching the clouds drift across the blue canvas. He knew this wasn’t his usual demeanor, and he worried Anakin, but at the moment, Obi-Wan couldn’t care less. Watching the sky begin to change color, ever so slightly, he knew evening would come soon. He wondered what sights the sky would yield then as well.

    Anakin came around the side of the ship, his hands running along the outer hull.

    “So no damage underneath, but the front end…” he stopped. He couldn’t see Obi-Wan anywhere, and he’d been chatting away for nearly ten minutes. He realized then his former Master never responded. Looking out into the meadow, he spotting an area in the distance where the grass seemed pressed down. Had he fainted? “Master!” Anakin cried, dashing over only to find Obi-Wan’s outer robe discarded. “Obi-Wan!” he yelled, starting to feel panicked.

    “Over here,” came a calm voice, and Anakin ran further to find Obi-Wan lying on the grass, gazing contentedly at the sky, his lightsaber a couple meters away.

    Anakin now felt even more panicked. Something was definitely wrong with his friend; the man never behaved like this. He should be right beside Anakin, figuring things out, arguing animatedly.

    “The sun will be setting soon,” Obi-Wan said, sitting up and turning to Anakin. “We should sleep outside, see what the sky looks like. Figure out where we are.”

    Anakin watched as Obi-Wn stood and walked back toward the ship, whistling an upbeat tune as he gathered his lightsaber and robe. He shook his head in dismay, knowing he might need to be the one to take the lead on this mission, fix the ship and keep an eye on the wayward Jedi Master.

    A few hours later, after taking an assessment of their ship and supplies, the two men lie beside the fire they built near the transport, lying in their bedrolls, staring up at the foreign sky. Anakin could usually identify different star systems from many different worlds, particularly Tatooine, Corsucant, and Naboo, but here, nothing looked familiar. The band of light of the galaxy, in whites, pinks, and purples, spread across the night sky. Lovely indeed, and Anakin would probably enjoy it far better if he lay holding Padme in his arms rather than lying a couple of feet from his former Master.

    “We need to get home,” Anakin said, filling the silence. They hadn’t spoken much, just about their state, where they could be, how they got here, and Anakin felt himself becoming more and more frustrated with Obi-Wan.

    “Yes,” said Obi-Wan wistfully. He looked at the sky, his arms behind his head.

    A surge of frustration went through Anakin. “Listen, you may not have anything special to go back to, just the stupid Council and the war, but I have…I…”

    “You have Padme,” said Obi-Wan, not even turning to Anakin.

    Anakin sat up, shocked. “You know?”

    “Of course,” Obi-Wan said, still staring at the stars. “I’m not an idiot. I’ve been around you two enough, it would be impossible for me not to sense something.”

    Anakin considered this. Did other people know?

    “I’m sure Padme is fine,” Obi-Wan continued. “She is a strong woman and…”

    “But I love her!” Anakin said, starting to feel tears in his eyes. “And she is so far away. I crave her. I need her. You wouldn’t understand. You’ve never had love, had a woman! You just have the Jedi. Well, I have much more, and I’m…terrified we won’t get back. You…you just don’t understand. You never will.”

    At this outburst, Obi-Wan just sighed. “You’re right, Anakin. I don’t understand.” He shuffled around to turn on his side, not facing Anakin.

    Anakin immediately felt guilty. He did love the Jedi and admired Obi-Wan’s dedication to the Order. He’d been needlessly cruel.

    “Master, I’m sorry…I want to…”

    “Anakin,” came Obi-Wan’s voice in the dark, the fire beginning to burn low. For the first time since their arrival, Obi-Wan sounded dejected. “Please don’t speak anymore. Good night.”

    “’Night,” Anakin said softly, feeling ashamed by his outburst. Obi-Wan hadn’t chastised him at all about Padme, and he’d lashed out. He looked over at his friend in the dark, seeing the back of his head, the auburn hair turning to blue-black as the fire died further.

    Looking back up at the sky, Anakin felt the tears burn his eyes and begin to fall down his cheeks.

    Author’s Note: Next time, Obi-Wan and Anakin venture out to explore the new planet.

    Please comment. Thank you for reading!

     
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  5. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Three
    The Creek


    A distant screeching sound woke Obi-Wan from his pleasant, dreamless sleep, and his eyes fluttered open, dew on his eyelashes. The sun seemed to just be appearing above the horizon, the sky ablaze with vibrant colors, reflected on the glaciers in the distant mountains. On his side, Obi-Wan shifted around to lie on his back, finding the source of the screeching, and watching in wonder. A large avian creature soared in the air, soon joined by another. The bird made a sudden dive into the field several meters from where Obi-Wan lie, and rose again, a small creature in its beak

    Well that answers the question of animal life on this world, thought Obi-Wan, running his hand across his face, combing the morning dew out of his auburn beard. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he sighed happily, having slept well his first night on this exotic world.

    A snore from a couple feet away reminded Obi-Wan of Anakin, and his mind darkened, remembering the younger man’s comments from the evening before. Anakin didn’t seem to appreciate the wonderful opportunity they’d been thrust into, moaning about Padme this and the Clone Wars that. And once again, he’d lashed out at Obi-Wan. For a moment, Obi-Wan wished he were completely alone, exploring this new world without his moody former padawan.

    Well, he could at least take advantage of Anakin’s indulgence of sleeping late. Slipping out of his bedroll, he relieved himself, donned his robes, grabbed a quick protein bar from their rations, and looked around, stretching a bit, careful not to wake Anakin with any loud sound.

    They’d landed in a large meadow, which seemed to go all the way to the distant foothills of the larger, ice covered mountains. But in the other direction, a forest loomed, tall, lush green trees moving in the morning breeze. Obi-Wan closed his eyes and listened, hearing the sound of the trees. Peaceful, beckoning to him. Yes, he’s head that way.

    Clipping his lightsaber to his belt, he walked in the direction of the forest without a backwards glance to Anakin or their small ship. As he headed toward the forest, he opened himself up to the Force, feeling the life all around him. The Living Force, as taught to him by his master Qui-Gon Jinn, breathed into him in this place, and he quickened his step, finally plunging into the woods.

    His mind wondered as he moved through the woods, subconsciously heading toward the distant sound of water. He thought of Anakin’s words, how Obi-Wan didn’t know love. Of course he knew love! Wasn’t a Jedi the very embodiment of selflessness, one of the tenants of love? And Obi-Wan always strived to be true to the Jedi way, the Jedi Code.

    But then Anakin also said Obi-Wan never had a woman, and the Jedi Master stopped, shaking his head. Well, Anakin had been right in that respect, if he meant physically. Obi-Wan followed the Code, and the Code forbade attachment, and most of the Masters discouraged forming such relationships, romantic and sexual. Of course, Obi-Wan had his flirtation with Satine and a couple others over the years, but never going beyond sly winks and playful banter. Simply playing around. Of course he had urges like any other man, but he’d learned to suppress them long ago.

    He’d come close to breaking these vows, three years before that fateful trip to Tatooine where he met Anakin. After an argument with Qui-Gon, not a common occurrence between the two, but Obi-Wan could occasionally be a foolish young man, he’d dressed as a civilian and headed into uptown Coruscant to live like, as he’d put it then, a “regular guy.” Now, walking through the woods on a world 20 million light years away, Obi-Wan couldn’t remember the content of the argument.

    He’d gone to a nightclub, walked up to the bar, and ordered an ale, then leaned against the counter and regarded the room, thrilled to go unnoticed, since when one entered a space in Jedi robes, most everyone turned to look. However, he did catch someone else’s attention, a young human woman about his age, olive skinned, large green eyes, soft brown hair. They’d shared a drink and conversation before she pulled him onto the dance floor. She wore a short shimmering red dress with a deep scoop neck, and Obi-Wan had to keep drawing his eyes away from her cleavage. Such leering could be quite ungentlemanly.

    But when he put his hands on the small of her back as they danced to a slow song, he felt his body light up with arousal, and they danced, their bodies pressed together, Obi-Wan sensing she felt the same way without even accessing the Force.

    They moved to another nightclub, then another, and at the fourth stop, and five ales into the evening, they’d found their way to a booth in the back, hands all over one another, Obi-Wan’s mouth on her sweet smelling neck.

    “Come home with me,” she breathed into his ear. “My place isn’t far. My roommate is visiting her parents.”

    He’d agreed, his body tingling with anticipation, knowing exactly where this was headed. A short cab ride, and they were in the lift headed to her flat. She explained she was a university student, studying medicine. He lied and said the same, although had the presence of mind to pick another college.

    Entering her apartment, they fell onto her sofa, their tongues wrestling, Obi-Wan feeling himself growing too excited, and employing some of the techniques he’d learned in the Temple to calm himself down before he lost control completely and embarrassed himself. Her comm rang suddenly, startling them both, and she moved off him.

    “I’ve gotta get that, Ben,” she said, using the name he’d given her. “My grandmother. She always calls to check in about now, not aware of the time difference.” She laughed and moved into another room.

    Obi-Wan sat looking around her humble apartment. Clean, everything neat and tidy, he leaned over and saw a bedroom at the end of the hall. The bed…yes, this was going to happen.

    Then the magnitude of what he was about to do hit him. He never planned on leaving the Jedi Order, just wanted to see what it was like to step outside for a moment. And now he was taking a dramatic step…no, a leap. This could lead to something more, attachment to her. Maybe a child! What was he thinking?

    And he’d lied to her! He felt disgusted in himself, behaving like an animal driven by carnal, base desires. So uncivilized.

    She returned minutes later, and Obi-Wan confessed to her, and to his surprise, she did not seem angry, but shocked and curious. For the next hour, he answered questions about the Jedi before taking his leave, slinking back to the Temple in the early morning darkness.

    At breakfast, he’d told Qui-Gon what he’d done, and again received a surprise when his master just nodded.

    “So, you are dedicated to the Order?” Qui-Gon had asked.

    “Yes. Absolutely,” said Obi-Wan, sure of his conviction.

    Qui-Gon simply nodded and rose. “Let’s work on some new lightsaber techniques today. But after you get a cup of caf. I suspect you are quite hungover.”

    He laughed jovially as he headed away from Obi-Wan.

    Now, walking through the lush and pleasant forest, Obi-Wan smiled, remembering Qui-Gon fondly. No, Anakin had been correct, Obi-Wan never had a woman. He had no one specific to come back to in their home galaxy. And perhaps this made him a little more open to the possibilities of this new place. Perhaps the Jedi were on to something with them forbidding attachment. Anakin’s attachment to Padme seemed to intensify his already volatile personality.

    And right now, Obi-Wan felt the complete opposite, and when he came to the creek in the middle of the woods, he sat down on the bank, sighing in contentment. Looking into the water, the bank across several meters away, he saw small fish swimming by, their little mouths occasionally breaking the surface. Maybe he’d catch a few for lunch, look for some plants that might offer some flavoring.

    “I’m going for a swim,” Obi-Wan said suddenly, to no one in particular except himself.

    He stood, carefully removing and folding all his clothing. He placed everything, including his lightsaber, on a nearby rock and climbed in, yelping slightly at the ice cold, then laughing at himself. Soon, he was submerged up to his chest, his feet walking along the smooth rocks underneath. Moving onto his back, he floated for some time, looking at the blue sky peeking in through the trees. He smiled when he felt a fish tickle his legs as it swam by. Although he wouldn’t be able to stay in long, due to the cold, he did always enjoy the water. He remembered a time he and Qui-Gon visited Mon Calamari and…

    Voices in the distance ceased all thought, and Obi-Wan was on his feet again in the water, still, listening. The voices continued, getting closer as they now rose over the sound of the water breaking on the rocks. Looking at the bank opposite the one he entered the water from, he saw five figures coming toward the creek, the sound of their voices conversational, although he didn’t understand a word of what they said. The people came closer by the moment.

    People! They were humans! Obi-Wan stared, frozen in place as they came into view, and then remembering he was in the creek completely nude, he moved over to hide behind a nearby fern that stuck out over the water, large enough to hide his upper body, his bottom half still submerged.

    The humans came into view, seeming to be walking along a rudimentary path that worked its way near the creek. They appeared about as tall as Obi-Wan, but he saw the different genders represented, as three were women and slightly shorter than the two men. They all appeared to be young adults, bronze-skinned with dark eyes and black hair, although they all wore it differently, one woman letting it flow down her back while one of the men wore his hair in a tie. The other male had a short beard. All wore tunics and pants made of what looked to be animal hides and furs, and all carried a sharpened stick on their backs. The shorter female carried a rope over her shoulder, several rodent-type animals hanging off of it.

    Obi-Wan stayed still, but slight panic grew when he remembered his clothing and lightsaber across the shore from where they walked. But the humans didn’t even glance in that direction, walking by in animated conversation, passing mere feet from where Obi-Wan cowered in the ferns. Soon they disappeared into the woods, but Obi-Wan remained still for several minutes, growing colder and colder, before he emerged and redressed quickly.

    Humans! Could Anakin’s readings have been wrong, and they were still in their galaxy? Or were humans a universally widespread species? He knew this place was far from home by the way the Force felt…but humans?! He felt the rush of excitement return, the same he’d experienced when they first emerged from the space anomaly. He moved through the woods quickly, wanting to return to Anakin to assess this latest discovery.

    Anakin awoke with a start, sitting bolt upright. A low rumbling sounded again, and he looked in the direction of the foothills, his jaw dropping. He saw large brown creatures lumbering slowly along, but too distant to make out any specific features. He’d need to get the scope from the ship and…

    His eye caught Obi-Wan’s empty bedroll, neatly folded nearby. Damn, had he wondered off again? Anakin groaned in frustration. Those unknown creatures woke him from a very pleasant dream of Padme, his wife lying next to him, her smooth, skilled hands working their way up and down his body. And instead of awakening to her warm sweet softness beside him, he awoke in this awful predicament with Obi-Wan missing.

    Mumbling curses under his breath, he got out of bed and dressed. First he’d need to find Obi-Wan, and then find a bell to put around the Jedi Master’s neck so he wouldn’t wonder off again without Anakin knowing. As he grabbed his lightsaber, he looked up to see Obi-Wan emerging from the nearby woods, excitedly hurrying toward him.

    “Anakin,” he called, finally reaching the ship and their campsite. “I have to tell you…"

    “Kriff, Obi-Wan! You can’t keep doing that. We have to figure out how to get home, and you’re just leaving, going off to play in the woods. What is the matter with you!? You’re acting really weird and…”

    “Humans! There are humans on this world!”

    Anakin stopped, his mouth hanging open. Humans? How could that be? He listened as Obi-Wan recounted what he saw.

    “They must be pre-hyperspace technology. There weren’t any ships in orbit,” Anakin said thoughtfully, his anger at Obi-Wan disappearing, his mind puzzling over this new information.

    “Pre a lot of technology, would be my guess,” Obi-Wan said, sounding exuberant. “We should go back. Maybe try to find them. Or at least get some fish for lunch."

    “No,” said Anakin, shaking his head. “What if they’re hostile?”

    “But what if they’re not?” Obi-Wan argued, then his eyes left Anakin’s for the distant animals. “What are those?”

    Obi-Wan dashed into the transport, grinning like a child on his birthday, and Anakin heard him rummaging around.

    “Where is the scope?” he called.

    But Anakin’s attention turned to the ground, which was wet around the ship, the smell of fuel reaching his nostrils.

    A leak!

    “Obi-Wan! The ship! The rear tank is leaking!” Anakin cried. No, this couldn’t possibly get any worse. With only one tank of fuel, and that one not even full, they had no chance of returning home.

    Obi-Wan reemerged, and the two men stared at the spilled fuel. Anakin could feel the rage and frustration flowing through his veins like fire. He stared at the ground in deep anger, blinded by this new misfortune. Obi-Wan’s hand on his shoulder brought him out of his thoughts.

    “What?” he snapped at Obi-Wan.

    His friend took a step back, looking concerned, the giddy, childish behavior gone and replaced by his usual comforting and steadfast Jedi self.

    “Calm down, Anakin,” Obi-Wan said mildly. “There has to be something here on this world we can use for fuel. Let’s problem solve. But you were right, we don’t know if the people are hostile or not, so let’s re-park the transport. Maybe in those foothills. There’s bound to be caves. Then we can explore. Look for an alternative fuel.” He paused, and Anakin could feel Obi-Wan sending out a serenity toward him in the Force, as he’d often done in the past. He could feel himself calming. Finally, Anakin nodded.

    Packing everything up, the two men entered the ship, Anakin then piloting it toward the foothills to hide

    Author’s Note: In the next chapter, Anakin and Obi-Wan disagree about how to proceed, causing an even greater rift to form between them and one to be put in mortal danger.

    Thank you for reading. Comments welcome and appreciated. Take care.
     
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  6. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Four
    Hunted

    Anakin adjusted the pack on his back and sighed heavily, already tired of the landscape. They’d been walking for only an hour, but he already felt the need to hurry, move faster, find a fuel alternative to get off the planet, out of this galaxy, and back home, to Padme.

    By nightfall the previous evening, they’d found a cave in the foothills and hid the small ship inside. After spending the night, they’d packed up supplies, ate a quick breakfast, and headed out to explore. While the distant mountains loomed, the glaciers glistening in the morning sunlight, they’d entered a forested area, not too dense, possibly due to the colder climate. Still, his Jedi robes kept the chill from him.

    His mind ran with possible alternatives for fuel. Maybe a combination of minerals, broken down. Maybe something hydro-based, as this world seemed abundant in water. He’d been working on ships his entire life, he could figure something out.

    Obi-Wan, walking behind him, remained quiet most of the time. In fact, the Jedi Master seemed distinctly distracted, and Anakin continued to worry. The night before, Anakin bunked down in the ship, and he awoke in the middle of the night to relieve himself to find Obi-Wan relocated outside, lying on his back, looking at the stars.

    The silence now, as they walked along, became almost deafening, and finally, Anakin couldn’t stand it anymore.

    “So, um, other than the Council, what else is new with you?” asked Anakin, his voice seeming loud after the quiet.

    “Just the war, Anakin,” said Obi-Wan, sounding slightly weary, his usual tone whenever Anakin did something irritating.

    “I mean personally,” Anakin said.

    “Nothing of note,” Obi-Wan answered.

    Anakin glanced around to see him looking up at the trees that towered overhead. A bird seemed to be in the distance, gathering his attention.

    “Oh…yes, I did find a text in the Jedi library on ancient fight techniques, ones we haven’t used in a while. Perhaps practice if I ever get some down time,” Obi-Wan said. “Oh, and I discovered a new drink at the tapcaf across from the Temple. A little spicy. Different. Quite tasty indeed.”

    Anakin wanted to groan, tear at his hair, and scream at Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan always seemed to be in official Jedi Master mode lately. In fact, Anakin, who considered Obi-Wan a brother, his best friend, could not remember a time of late when the two men spoke candidly, just two guys. Desperately needing to talk about things, Anakin threw his usual caution to the wind. If Obi-Wan refused to get personal, Anakin would.

    “I’ve gotta say, I’m really glad to know you know about Padme and I,” he said.

    “Oh…why?”

    “Just, well, nobody else knows,” he said. “Wait…do they?”

    “As far as I know, I’m the only one,” Obi-Wan said, sounding disinterested.

    “I mean, it’s kind of fun sneaking around. Clandestine meetings can be sexy, you know,” Anakin laughed.

    “I suspect so.”

    “We were supposed to have leave after this run. Ahsoka was doing some training with the other padawans. Padme and I were going to the northern pole, to one of those snow resorts, nice cozy cabin, warm fire,” Anakin sighed, images of Padme and him naked under warm blankets making him aroused and dreamy. “We got married just as the Clone Wars began. No time for us really.”

    “How inconvenient.”

    Obi-Wan said it so matter-of-factly, Anakin could not tell if he was being sarcastic or not.

    “And I was supposed to have lunch with Chancellor Palpatine when I returned,” Anakin said, suddenly remembering the appointment. He’d been seeing the Chancellor on a regular basis for several years now, considering the man to be one of his mentors. He often found Palpatine easier to talk to than Obi-Wan.

    “Hmmm, how pleasant the Chancellor can still find a moment for a casual lunch during these troubled times,” Obi-Wan said.

    Definite sarcasm, Anakin thought bitterly, but he decided to brush it aside.

    “Master Yoda seems to think…” Anakin began but Obi-Wan spoke at the same time.

    “We should split up.”

    “What?” asked Anakin, finally stopping and turning around.

    Obi-Wan stood looking at him, his expression impossible to read. Tired, perhaps a little angry, Anakin felt unsure. He felt a shift in Obi-Wan over the past few days, but when Anakin reached out in the Force toward his friend, he felt blocked completely.

    “Why?” said quietly.

    “We would cover more ground,” Obi-Wan said, moving his pack in front of him and removing a device. Location trackers. He moved toward one of the trees and attached it to the trunk. “Program the code into your data pad. We’ll meet back here in three days’ time. Okay?”

    “But Master, don’t you think…”

    “I think we need to get home, and we would travel twice the distance if we split up,” Obi-Wan said looking at Anakin steadily. “Don’t you agree?”

    Anakin studied Obi-Wan carefully, then nodded.

    Five minutes passed as they set their data pads with the location code, shifted around rations so each had an equal amount, and decided which direction to take. Anakin felt more and more uneasy with each passing moment. With Obi-Wan’s strange behavior since coming to this new system, he worried for his safety. Yet, the look Obi-Wan gave him as they said their good-byes informed Anakin any argument would be futile.

    Thus, the two men parted. After walking several meters, Anakin turned to look at Obi-Wan, marching away at a steady pace. He waited for the man to turn around to wave, but Obi-Wan disappeared around the bend without a backwards glance. Suddenly feeling another substantial lose hit him, like he felt over Padme when he first arrived, he turned and moved on his way into the forest, now alone with his thoughts.

    Obi-Wan walked, each step away from Anakin lightening his spirits more and more, until he was grinning at the trees around him, happily breathing in the fresh, cool air, so clean from the blue glaciers he occasionally glanced through the thin tree line.

    Why did Anakin continually have to prattle on and on? Couldn’t he just enjoy the moment? And did they have to talk about Padme, of all things? Just because Obi-Wan knew did not mean he approved. In fact, while he admired Padme in the past, her bravery, her convictions in the Senate, learning about her and Anakin made him lose respect for her. So careless, her and Anakin both. So disappointing.

    And then Anakin brings up the Chancellor, and Obi-Wan felt a twinge of anger hit him again. He did not trust the man and, in all honesty, felt a bit of jealousy seeing the positive relationship Anakin had with Palpatine over the years.

    Obi-Wan also couldn’t help but wonder about Anakin’s intimacy with Padme and the Chancellor’s association with the senator’s family back on Naboo. Everything seemed connected in a way that Obi-Wan could not see. He thought of a recent conversation with Yoda about the events that brought Anakin to the Temple years ago, the politics of Naboo, the death of Qui-Gon, Palpatine gaining power. Everything seemed related, but neither he nor the little Jedi Master could figure out the web.

    Simply, Obi-Wan and the rest of the Council did not trust Chancellor Palpatine.

    Obi-Wan stopped in his tracks and shook his head. Palpatine, Padme, the Clone Wars…twenty million light years away. No need to worry at this point in time. Obi-Wan knew he’d been granted some much needed shore leave, in an unusual way of course, but he already felt a level of depth with this strange new world, and he longed to explore more. Pushing Anakin out of his head completely, he reveled in the moment, the smell and sound of trees filling his senses and clearing his mind.

    On he walked, eventually coming to the edge of a cliff. Looking down, he saw a deep ravine, a violently rushing river below. On the other side, the forest continued. Sitting down on a rock, he pulled out a protein bar and ate, enjoying the chilly sunny day. He’d seen a variety of bird and small rodent life already, and he hoped he would encounter the humans again, at a distance of course. He puzzled over the existence of humans in this far away galaxy, and he wondered if they were the only sentient life on the world. They’d seen vast oceans upon their arrival; what could possibly lurk beneath those waters?

    Obi-Wan suddenly realized the fallacy of splitting up – he had no idea what to search for in terms of alternative fuel. Anakin was the expert in the ship department, and he merely wanted to get away from the younger man. Standing and heading out again, his path now hugging the area between the forest and the cliff side, he saw how utterly illogical this was, very un-Kenobi.

    But goodness, to be alone in this wonderful place. And when had Obi-Wan ever been alone, off on his own, enjoying the moment? Enjoying anything for that matter. Obi-Wan couldn’t remember. How glorious to be walking outside, in the fresh air, alone.

    Only he wasn’t alone.

    Obi-Wan stopped, his danger sense lighting up all his nerves. Someone watched him. No…several beings. Malicious, but non-sentient. Stalking him.

    He was being hunted.

    A piercing howl penetrated the quiet of the forest, which would sound beautiful if he didn’t know it belonged to the hunters. And then he saw them, at least six…no, nine…maybe. Large canine creatures, moving in a pack out of the woods, on all-fours, sharp teeth bared. They might have been as tall as him had they stood on their hind legs, a few larger. Their thick fur the color of their surroundings, browns and greys, appeared matted with foliage. They came towards him slowly, Obi-Wan realizing he was surrounded on three sides, the cliff and sheer drop to the ravine the only way out.

    Foolish creatures, Obi-Wan grinned, unclipping and igniting his lightsaber with a snap-hiss. At this, the animals froze, and they all stared at Obi-Wan, growling. Finally, the ones directly in front of him pounced.

    Obi-Wan cut the first down immediately, slicing the creature in two, but was knocked to the ground by two from behind that leaped on his back. Shrugging off the pack and flinging the creatures back with the Force, he cursed. The Force felt so different here, and he hadn’t spent enough time learning how to manipulate objects in this new environment. One of the canines he’d thrown immediately lunged again and slashed Obi-Wan’s sword-arm with a long clawed paw, breaking through his tunic and drawing blood. Dropping the lightsaber in surprise and pain, he reached out his other hand to throw the oncoming animals aside, one sliding off the cliff into the ravine.

    At this, several of the animals turned tail and ran, but one approached, Obi-Wan backing up, gripping his bloody arm, until the drop-off loomed directly behind him. His lightsaber lie several yards away in the grass.

    Reaching out again, he felt a surge in the Force, ready to throw the animal back into the woods. But before he could act, the shouting of a man caught his and the creature’s attention, and Obi-Wan watched as a human dressed in furs approached, throwing a spear hard, directly through the beast. The animal dropped to the ground, dead.

    The man approached Obi-Wan, shock on his face. Obi-Wan noticed he looked distinctly different than the other humans he’d seen. His skin darker, almost described as ebony, with a wave of thick white hair on his head, he appeared about the same age as Obi-Wan. The man stopped in front of the lightsaber, picking it up. He studied the hilt in his hand, before looking up again at Obi-Wan.

    “You’re a Jedi,” he said in Basic.

    Obi-Wan stared, dumbfounded. He spoke the language of the home galaxy, knew the term Jedi.

    “Who are…” Obi-Wan started to say, but a loud crack sounded.

    “No! Wait…you need to…” the man began, dashing toward him, his arm outstretched, puzzling Obi-Wan for a moment.

    Then the ground fell from beneath him as the edge of the cliff he’d been standing on cracked and gave way. Obi-Wan plummeted toward the rushing river, briefly having the presence of mind to use the Force to push himself slightly away from the rock wall in order not to severely damage his body. Still, when he hit the ice-cold water of the river, he felt the air knocked completely out of him as the water engulfed him.

    Desperately swimming to the surface, gasping for air, he had no time to consider the fall as the swift current took him quickly along. His body banged against rocks and logs, and he plummeted down a small waterfall. He felt dizzy from hitting the water, but focused on his surroundings, trying to find something to grab onto, to stop his hazardous journey. And stop he did, suddenly. His body submerged again, pulled underwater, and he couldn’t get himself away. Opening his eyes in the water, his pupils hurting from the dirt and the pressure, he looked back to see his cloak caught on the branch of a fallen tree, wedged between two large rocks. He slipped out of his cloak and resurfaced, the current again whisking him away, his cloak soon long gone.

    Knocked around more, Obi-Wan finally used all his strength to grab onto a tree protruding into the water from the shore, apparently recently fallen, as some of the roots still remained in the ground. Pulling himself along the length of the tree, he dragged his body to shore, crawling on his knees away from the water before falling onto his back, exhausted and wounded.

    Painfully sitting up, he took assessment of his well-being. The slash the canine gave him still bled, and he seemed to have acquired another cut on his upper left thigh, his pants now drenched with blood. He also felt bruised all over his body, but thankfully, nothing seemed broken.

    His lightsaber, pack with supplies, cloak…gone. Nothing but his clothing, but that was drenched in cold water. And everything hurt.

    Confusion set in. That man spoke to him in Basic! Recognized a Jedi! What in the world was going on here?

    Fatigue began to overpower him, and the weight of his danger set in – he was badly hurt and alone. How foolish to separate from Anakin. And he’d lost the location tracker as well, at the bottom of the river in his cloak, which could be anywhere by now.

    But he knew a healing meditation he could do, at least for a bit, to regain strength. Tearing off a bit of his tunic to suppress the bleeding on both his thigh and arm, he surveyed his surroundings, finding himself on a small shore, pebbles beneath him. He could not sense any predators about. Placing his head back down, spreading out his limbs, he reached out to the Force, slipping into a trance, calming his body, using the molecules in the air to warm his chilled flesh. He remained on the surface for some time, attempting to heal but also protect himself from other outside dangers. His body soon demanded more, and he slipped into unconsciousness.

    Author’s Note: In the next chapter, Obi-Wan makes a friend.
    Thank you so much for reading.
     
    Kahara, Ewok Poet and AzureAngel2 like this.
  7. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Five

    Fireside


    Obi-Wan gained consciousness slowly, feeling a deep sense of serenity.

    I must be dead, he thought, remembering the incident with the carnivores and the river. He always thought one would feel peacefulness when one joined the Force.

    But soon wonderful smells reached him, the scent of burning wood, of food. And he felt his stomach growl. Did one feel hunger when dead? Where did one procure food in this afterlife? Such strange thoughts…

    Then, an awareness of his body came to him, and he discovered he was naked, but wrapped in something warm. Comfortable, soft. A blanket perhaps. His head lie on something soft as well. Only his face shown to the world, and he felt a cool breeze pass over him. The memory of his injuries filled his mind, the deep gash from the canine’s claw on his arm, the cut from the rocks on his thigh, and he sluggishly moved his hands over the areas. Yes, he was completely nude, but the wounds had been treated, some sort of sticky substance on them, leaves covering the openings. No pain, numbness.

    He stopped moving as sound now arrived. He heard the crackle of a fire, the rushing of the river, and singing. Yes, someone singing in words he did not know. In fact, he did not recognize one utterance. The voice…a woman. Lovely to listen to, but she stopped and talked for a moment. He strained, trying to hear someone respond, but then she began to sing again.

    Finally, Obi-Wan opened his eyes, the lids heavy with sleep. Darkness filled the sky, and he could make out stars. Turning his head slightly, he saw the fire, small but effective. Some sort of cooking set up, a bowl with food nearby. His stomach growled again.

    More singing. His gaze left the food and found the source of the song. A woman dressed in a heavy tunic and pants, all made of hides and fur, sat cross-legged in front of the flames, singing and moving her arms and hands in a fluid and captivating way. In fact, the rise and fall of her hands seemed to match her vocal inflection. She stopped abruptly, shaking her head and speaking plainly, before resuming her song.

    Moving his neck slowly, Obi-Wan saw no one else about, but he did discover his clothing, torn and tattered, but drying, laid out on a nearby rock. Had she removed the damp clothing to treat his wounds, then wrap him in the warm fur? Such strength.

    He turned again to study the woman. She looked like the other humans he’d seen in the woods, bronze skin, long black hair. She seemed a bit shorter than him, but this was hard to tell with her sitting. She continued her song as she stirred the food, putting it over the fire, dangling from a stick as not to burn her hands. After several moments, she put down the food, then laughed, beginning the song again, although it sounded quite different this time, similar words, different melody. Was she rehearsing something?

    He watched her for a long time, feeling the serenity set in again as her voice filled the night, her movements almost putting him in a trance. When she stopped again to stir the food, he suddenly felt ashamed. She probably thought he was still unconscious, practicing her song without an audience.

    He cleared his throat. “Hello there,” he said pleasantly.

    The woman turned sharply, and her eyes met his. Obi-Wan felt his breath knocked out of him, although he hadn’t exerted himself physically. From the firelight, he saw her eyes to be a deep brown, and the fire shown on only half her face as a broad smile stretched across it. She moved over to his side, speaking quickly.

    “I’m…I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” he said, feeling immediately foolish. She most likely didn’t understand him as well.

    She knelt beside him, placing her hand on his cheek, leaning forward to look in his eyes. The warmth of her hand, the intensity of her gaze, her breath touching his lips as she leaned close made his whole being light up.

    She leaned back and said something, sounding like a question. He shook his head. The woman shook her head and laughed, a wonderful sound, especially after the terror he experienced earlier in the day, and he joined her, realizing he had not laughed, genuinely laughed, in a long time. They may not be able to understand each other’s words, but laughter offered a connection.

    She moved around and opened his wrap a little ways to reveal his wounded arm. She removed the leaves covering the cut and nodded, looking up to smile at him. All must be well, he thought. But he knew this. Between his healing meditation and her obvious care, he felt no pain and knew through briefly touching his cells with the Force he would heal nicely, with scarring of course. She replaced the leaves, then whipped back the other side of the blanket, revealing his cut thigh as well as his private area, the cold air shocking him.

    The woman examined this cut as she’d done the other, one of her hands holding the inside of his thigh as her brow furrowed. She reached into a pocket and pulled out a small container, which she opened to reveal some of the sticky serum she’d used earlier. Perhaps this planet’s version of bacta? Gently, with her fingers, she added some to his cut, her other hand once again returning to his inner thigh to hold his leg still.

    Despite the cold, and to Obi-Wan’s absolute mortification, he felt himself beginning to harden in his loins. Hoping she wouldn’t notice, he used the Force to calm himself, but for once, this failed. She paused in her work, her gaze leaving the wound, drifting upwards. Quickly, he grabbed the discarded leaves, slapped them on the gash, which made him grit his teeth in pain, and threw the blanket back around him. When he looked at the woman again, she sat on her knees, a blush on her cheeks, her fingers pressed to her lips, obviously trying to stifle a smile.

    “I’m…I’m quite sorry, miss,” he stammered, knowing his face to be red. He wanted to disappear completely.

    She then laughed, stood, and returned to the fire, grabbing the plate of food. Returning, she handed it to him, motioning that he should eat.

    He looked down to see chunks of roasted meat, the smell practically making him swoon with hunger. Using his fingers, he grabbed a piece and ate, the meat warm, tender, delicious.

    He ate greedily before realizing she simply sat watching. Offering the plate back to her, he nodded and smiled, hoping this would indicate his gratitude. She motioned for him to keep eating and returned to tend to the fire.

    “I cannot thank you enough for helping me,” he said, finishing the food, starting to feel comfortable again after the brief embarrassment.

    Taking the plate, the woman moved toward the river to wash the cooking dishes.

    “I’m stronger now. I can help with the…” he began, but she put the dishes on the ground, once again kneeled next to him, and with both her hands on both his shoulders, pushed him back down to lie once again.

    Her long black hair fell forward, brushing him in the face. She smelled of the woods, and the silkiness of her hair in his face made him pleasantly drowsy. She spoke to him, a rather long statement he wished more than anything he could understand. When he didn’t respond, she placed her palm on his forehead and moved it down softly over his eyes, closing her eyes as she did so.

    He understood. Rest. Sleep. Heal.

    “Thank you,” he said softly.

    She moved away to clean up, then resumed her spot by the fire. As he began to doze, full of food, healing, warm, and safe, her voice once again filled the night with song.

    Miles and miles away, Anakin continued walking into the darkness, not feeling the least bit tired. By mid-afternoon, he’d arrived in a tundra area, the ground hard with permafrost, the trees more and more spread apart. He’d come across no creatures, no people, and, most importantly, no alternative fuel. His mind churned about ways to get the ship flying again with the materials in the landscape.

    After walking for several hours alone that afternoon, he began to feel the charm of the world, and if he didn’t have someone waiting for him back home, he might be enjoying himself as Obi-Wan seemed to, instead of in a raw state of panic. After the chaos of the Clone Wars, the fresh air, solitude, and the sheer fact no one in their galaxy had been here before provided almost endless opportunities. Anakin always liked to explore, but the terror of being so far from Padme kept himself from giving in to the adventure completely.

    He thought back to the conversation with Obi-Wan, to the point where the older man suggested they separate. He’d mentioned Palpatine. Anakin sighed. He seemed to be the only one at the Temple who trusted the man. No matter. Palpatine didn’t seem to overtly seek the approval of the Council and Anakin respected that, as he forever seemed to be at odds with the elder members of the Jedi, even Obi-Wan on occasion.

    As Obi-Wan came back into his mind, Anakin felt a twinge of pity for his friend. Anakin had his friendship with Palpatine and now even his new padawan Ahsoka, comrades at the Temple, and above all Padme, beautiful, kind Padme. Obi-Wan lived for the Jedi, as long as Anakin knew him. And he seemed happy with this, whereas Anakin wanted more. But of course, Anakin knew more about the real galaxy than Obi-Wan; he’d lived in harsh reality for the first several years of his life, knew family in a way Obi-Wan never did or could.

    Still, he respected Obi-Wan as a friend, brother, and fellow Jedi, and he knew the man worked harder than anyone he ever met. He’d gone from a padawan to a knight with a rather difficult task: training the Chosen One. And now he was a master and a general, always moving, always planning, always fighting. The man was non-stop.

    No wonder Obi-Wan seemed to check out when he came here, been distracted. He needed a break, and the further Anakin walked from his former master, the more sympathetic he felt. If being stranded in a galaxy far away gave Obi-Wan a chance to relax, so be it.

    And although he knew Obi-Wan didn’t approve, he also didn’t lecture Anakin about Padme. Anakin appreciated this and reminded himself he would need to express this gratitude to Obi-Wan, as he felt more and more often recently he’d never really been appreciative of his friend’s training, patience, and love.

    But obviously, Obi-Wan did not know about Anakin’s other secret, much darker, one that plagued his heart in the fact he still felt no remorse for his actions. His mother. The Sand People. His hate. His anger…

    He pushed these thoughts aside and walked on, turning his mind back to the problem at hand.

    Now, into the late evening, he felt he should stop for the night and get some rest. The forest slowly became denser, the tundra giving way to softer ground. He heard the occasional bird, but could sense nothing in the way of animals, or threats, around. He settled on the ground, his back against a tree. Although he could use the Force to keep himself warm, he built a small fire, perhaps for something to do and to keep himself company.

    Staring into the flames, he recalled a recent evening with Padme in front of the fireplace at home, her leaning against him on the sofa, soft, sleepy, peaceful, the world of the Clone Wars, the Senate light years away. He shook his head sadly. Yes, that world was now twenty million light years away, Padme with it.

    The fire then brought up another memory. His mother, the tent in which she died. The small fires of the Sand People, burning as he slaughtered them all. Standing in a quick movement, he stamped out the flames with his boot, returning to lean against the tree, his heart racing.

    He stared at the sky through the trees, the stars shining in the clear night, wondering if any of the bright lights above could be home.

    Author’s Note: In the next chapter, Obi-Wan learns to communicate and Anakin makes contact.

    Thank you for reading!
     
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  8. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Six

    Through the Forest

    Anakin woke his first morning alone having slept poorly throughout the night. Stiff necked, he rose from his place leaning against the tree, stretched, gathered his things, and began his trek again through the forest, eating a ration for breakfast.

    He saw nothing to help him get the ship up and running for their journey home. Still, the quiet of the woods allowed his mind to work, and he began to develop a plan.

    Solar power might be the best option. This world had a lot of metal resources. While he hadn’t been able to use his mechanical skills in years, he’d built droids and worked on starships before; he could figure things out. As his mind worked out how to best use the metals available, he realized this might take him a while, Obi-Wan not the one with this skill set. Nevertheless, if they worked together, they could get it done and back home.

    Padme. Yes, to Padme. His thoughts drifted from the problem of the ship to the last few days he’d spent with her. He’d slunk away from the Temple, where he’d been given a couple days leave, to her flat. Theirs, actually, but hers in name. As he came through the door in the early evening, he found her sitting on the balcony, staring into the cityscape.

    “Hard day at the Senate?” he asked, plopping down next to her, his cloak cast aside.

    She shook her head. “I don’t want to think about it, Anakin. Just…grrr.”

    He laughed good-heartedly, leaning into her, nuzzling her hair, his nose hitting some sort of metal barrette. Did she always need to dress up so much? He preferred her hair down so he could run his fingers through it, liked her wearing a simple tunic rather than layers and layers of skirts and robes. That’s how he’d first met her, simple Padme, and he loved that version best.

    He began to remove what seemed to be the endless number of clips from her hair slowly, kissing her neck.

    “We have all day tomorrow, Padme,” he said in her ear. “We can…”

    “No,” she said firmly. “I have a budget meeting about the war and…”

    “No,” he said, matching her firmness. “You have a husband to spend time with and…”

    “Anakin, with the war going on and…oh that feels good,” she said, leaning forward as he massaged her neck.

    “You will skip the budget meeting,” he said, pouring persuasion into his voice.

    “Don’t you Jedi mind trick me,” she laughed, getting up and whisking back into the room.

    Anakin shrugged. Obi-Wan always out did him on the mind trick anyway.

    Padme turned circles around their living room. “I just need to calm down. Relax.”

    “I know a way,” Anakin said, stopping her parade around the room, grabbing her at the waist.

    “Oh Annie, it would be terrible. I’m so distracted and…” she glanced at their kitchen and walked in, opening one of the drawers in which they often threw random items not fitting anywhere else. She pulled out a sabacc deck. “Bail taught me a new form of sabacc today and…”

    “So you sit in the Senate and play cards and this is stressful?” Anakin asked with a raised eyebrow.

    “When a Wookie tries to filibuster for three hours in the morning and his translator droid breaks down after the first hour…um, yes,” she said, sitting down at their caf table, Anakin taking a seat across.

    She explained the version, a new variation on Bespin Rules.

    “Let’s make it interesting,” Anakin said. “Whoever loses the hand removes an article of clothing.” He grinned broadly at her and was rewarded with a delightful laugh.

    “You are quite the cad this evening,” she said.

    “When you spend all day at the Jedi Temple, knowing a beautiful woman is waiting for you at home in the evening, you tend to do anything to get under her robes,” Anakin said.

    “All right,” she smiled.

    They played, and after an hour, Anakin sat in only his underwear, Padme still wearing quite a bit, a long tunic and pants she’d worn under a dress and her robes. He glared at her as she giggled.

    “Why must you wear so much?” he asked in mock anger.

    “General Skywalker, one must never ask a lady…ooohhhh,” she cried as he stood and swept her into his arms.

    “Enough of this,” he said, looking lovingly into her eyes. “I’m taking matters into my own hands.”

    Padme smiled at him as they fell together onto their bed. She called in sick for the budget meeting the next day.

    Anakin grinned at the memory as he continued his trek in the woods. He missed Padme so much, his spirit burned and stomach churned. He’d never been this far from her…Force, nobody’d ever been this far from anyone.

    Shaking thoughts of Padme to the back of his brain, he continued his plans for solar power, finally sitting down on a rock in the woods, pulling out his data pad, and writing up schematics. Yes, this would work. He’d seen the minerals he needed along the trail. He’d return to the tree to meet Obi-Wan and…

    Voices brought him out of his inner monologue, and he looked up, concentrating. Then, moving slowly and stealthily through the woods, he found them, a group of humans a little distance away at the bottom of a small hill, working their way through the trees. Three men and a child, about eight or nine by Anakin’s reckoning. They were much how Obi-Wan described from his encounter and two of the men appeared to be younger, with the third older, black hair greying. They carried spears and knives and spoke quietly as they moved.

    Curious and fascinated by them, Anakin shadowed the humans silently, moving parallel to them along his hill. After about twenty minutes of this, the humans froze and separated, quietly crouching down and taking various positions. Anakin looked in the direction of their focus to see a group of large hoofed four-legged beasts, grazing on foliage from the forest floor. Beautiful creatures indeed, their brown fur helped them blend in with their surroundings, but their height, above five feet, made them majestic to watch. The humans went unnoticed by the animals, and Anakin realized he was witnessing a hunting party. Moving a bit closer, using the Force to lighten his step, he slipped behind a tree to get a good view.

    The human child moved away from the adults, walking in Anakin’s direction. Concerned he’d be found out, Anakin began to retreat. Suddenly, one of the beasts, a giant with huge antlers on its head, moved from the underbrush, quite undetected by the hunters, and began a charge toward the child. Without thinking, Anakin ran from his hiding spot, simultaneously using the Force to push the large creature back while tackling the child to the ground.

    The child screamed in terror and confusion as the hunters ran toward the antlered beast, attacking with their spears, the rest of the herd darting away. The animal didn’t have a chance, having already been discombobulated by Anakin’s Force shove. One of the men ran back to the child, falling quickly to the ground and grabbing the child in a tight embrace. The man spoke rapidly to Anakin, who didn’t understand a word. The three got to their feet together, the other two hunters joining, having brought down the animal, their spears bloodied.

    The four humans stood studying the Jedi, who realized he looked quite different from them, from his dress to his skin color. But as they regarded him, he got a good look at them, finding them a strong people. Finally, the child moved toward him and wrapped his arms around Anakin’s torso in an embrace, and the other humans laughed and smiled, descending upon Anakin in embraces as well, their jovial voices matching the smiles on their faces.

    Anakin simply smiled back and began to move back toward the hill in retreat, unsure how to interact with these new people. But they pulled him back and as two began butchering the creature, the oldest and the child began putting together a camp, continuing to push Anakin back down when he rose to leave.

    He watched as they took the animal apart, putting aside the hide, the meat, even the bones. They packed up most but put a little meat to the side as the older man built the fire. The child sat down and talked animatedly to Anakin, and then the men working on the animal walked over, smelling of blood and dirt, and handed Anakin one of the antlers from the beast’s head, a rather large, impressive rack. The humans all cheered, Anakin not knowing what to do except join them.

    Anakin soon realized they wanted to treat him to dinner, and from the smell of things when they began cooking, he would have a hard time resisting indeed. He settled down to listen to more talk from the child, holding the antler, wondering if Obi-Wan was having as interesting a time as him.

    That same afternoon, Obi-Wan stared at the assortment of items placed before him.

    “Hmmmm…rock…fish…stick…glove…rope,” he listed in the language of this new world, looking up at the woman who sat next to him.

    She smiled widely. “Yes! Good, Obi-Wan,” she said.

    Obi-Wan could not help but grin back. He loved when she said his name, the vowels rolling off her tongue like a melody, matching the singing voice he heard the night before.

    Neah. Her name was Neah, and she saved him, healed him. And he found her absolutely fascinating.

    He’d awoken mid-morning, feeling much better, no dizziness or pain. He sat up, looking around, remembering the night before, the food, his bit of embarrassment, her singing. He saw her standing near the river, filling a container with water, a platter of fish nearby. As her back was turned to him, he took the moment to dress back in his tunic, pants, and boots, all dry, even the tears repaired. Folding up the fur blanket nicely, he walked sure-footed to where she stood.

    “Good morning,” he said.

    She spoke back, and Obi-Wan knew he needed to figure out her language, communicate. He raised a hand to stop her talking, and she did, giggling. Finally, she placed a palm on her chest, over her heart.

    “Neah,” she said slowly, enunciating the sounds.

    “Neah,” he repeated. He placed his own hand over his heart. “Obi-Wan.”

    Her brow furrowed. “Obi-Wan?” she said hesitantly.

    “Obi-Wan,” he repeated.

    She placed both her hands on the sides of his face. “Obi-Wan,” she said firmly, her voice and touch making him warm all over.

    The next several hours the duo spent going back and forth with words, Obi-Wan all but demanding to learn all the words he could, the structure of sentences, of conversation. They used sticks to draw things in the muddy sand by the river. He opened up a part of his mind he hadn’t used in years, his language center which Qui-Gon taught him to use when learning new tongues. His master often needed to help species negotiate who could not speak Basic, and he’d learned languages quickly and well. He’d taught this skill to Obi-Wan, and the Jedi used it now, finding the language far easier to grasp than some others he encountered. He remembered a time he went with Qui-Gon to help develop peace terms between two insectoid races, who used a series of high-pitched whines and the rubbing of limbs together to communicate. Learning another human tongue proved far less challenging, and the Force allowed him to absorb the language quickly.

    Neah seemed impressed at his grasp of her words, of course not knowing he had quite an advantage, and Obi-Wan found her patient and kind about his frequent mistakes. He wondered about her, how she came to be alone. He tried to ask, and she drew something in the dirt that looked like a family dynamic, the sexes indicated in her drawing.

    “Brother,” she said, then frowned. “Dead. Moons ago.”


    Obi-Wan nodded, guessing she traveled with her brother, and he’d been killed. He wasn’t sure what a moon had to do with anything.

    She pointed to his claw gash, and he drew the carnivore in the sand.

    She nodded. “Wolf.” She paused. “My brother too.” She walked over to her pile of things and extracted a fur and hide coat like the one she wore. “He is gone. Take this. Your clothing is too cold."
    The coat was wonderfully cozy, like the blanket. He didn’t miss his Jedi cloak in the least.
    “Thank you,” he said.
    Now late afternoon, she quizzed him on words, teasing him playfully, Obi-Wan having an absolutely delightful time. As she doted on him the previous evening, he insisted on cooking the fish, and when the rain began during their meal, and she gathered together a small hide covering and some nearby logs, he grabbed these from her and erected a small tent, walls on three sides, another facing out. Quite cozy, their shoulders touched as they sat side-by-side in the dying daylight.

    “Tomorrow I need to move on,” she said. “I am expected in the valley lands by the new moon. Will you come?”

    Obi-Wan knew he needed to find his way back to Anakin, that the young man might be worried. “I need to find my…brother,” he said, not knowing the word for friend. Brother seemed to work perfectly, at any rate.

    “I head in the opposite direction of the river flow,” she explained. “We will look for the spot you fell from, and you can find your way from there.”

    Obi-Wan nodded, pouring gratitude into his look. Of course, he could not remember from which side of the river he fell, but he knew he needed to head in the opposite direction of the current. He remembered a waterfall, some rapids…

    But he felt more curious about her journey. The valley lands? Why was she expected there? Why had her and her brother been traveling? Was she always alone now? Where did her people live? What was she doing the night before when she sang and gestured? Preparing for a performance? And she seemed to trust him. Why? Unfortunately, he did not know how to ask these questions yet, still much better at understanding than speaking. He’d have more time with her nonetheless, and the thought made his heart light.

    Later on, they laid down to sleep next to one another, sharing the fur blanket. She fell asleep quickly, lying on her side facing him. He watched her calm expression, listening to the patter of the rain on the hide tent. Raising his hand automatically to place his palm on her face, as she had done earlier when she said his name for the first time, he stopped himself suddenly, and turned quickly away from her.

    What was he doing? This was ridiculous; he was a Jedi Master! He couldn’t just romance this woman, even if his body betrayed that resolve like the previous evening. But he couldn’t remember a time he’d been happy like this, not in years to be honest. Obi-Wan felt he should feel more bothered by the peril he’d gotten himself into, but he simply felt glad to be around this interesting and lovely person in such a beautiful place.

    And of course he found her attractive. Neah was the type of woman he always found attractive: strong, kind, humorous. And she helped him when he’d been vulnerable. But he needed to let those feelings go.

    In order to move on from thoughts of her and their happy afternoon drawing in the dirt in the fresh crisp air, learning words and laughing, he thought of the man who’d approached him just before his fall into the river. The man who knew him as a Jedi, who picked up his lightsaber, who spoke Basic. Such a mystery. Would he see the man again? And he’d grown quite fond of that particular lightsaber; would he get it back?

    Obi-Wan turned back on his other side, where he usually fell asleep best, and found himself looking at Neah again, her silky black hair falling in her face as she breathed steadily. He allowed himself to sink into thoughts of her, wondering if he would be out of place asking her to sing for him tomorrow.

    Author’s Note: In the next chapter, both Anakin and Obi-Wan continue their journeys. But will they make it back to their meeting place?
    Thank you for reading.
    Take care, everyone!




     
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  9. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Sorry that I just found your fanfic. It sucked me in and I will probably falls asleep in the morning circle in front of my kindergarten group.

    Life has been horribly busy for me the past weeks, but I was curious and when I had to read this in one go and comment immediately. Everything else would have been impolite by me.

    You writing gives the team Obi-Wan & Anakin a new drive. This is what I was always missing at the PT movies.

    You also catch their bewilderment well of them being stranded at a foreign place.

    Well written!

    I hope I can be back around the 11th November and can read plus comment more!
     
  10. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I've never written a story using Anakin before, and I'm having fun with his voice. Hope you enjoy the rest of the story. Take care!
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  11. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Seven

    From Beyond


    Nothing looked familiar to Obi-Wan as he and Neah walked along the cliff hugging the ravine, the river far below. That morning they rose early and packed up supplies, Obi-Wan demanding to carry more than half to repay Neah’s quality care. After arguing back and forth, the woman insisting she always carried her own things with little trouble, Obi-Wan snatched up the large pack and fastened it to his back using the leather ties, crossing his arms and giving her a playfully stern stare. Neah rewarded him with a delighted laugh, doubled over, saying something he didn’t understand. Then she waved her arm as if dismissing him and led him up the cliff by a narrow trail, away from the shore he’d washed up on two days before.

    They walked along the cliff for several miles, Obi-Wan scanning the edges of both sides to see where he may have fallen. Unfortunately, many places showed signs of having broken away recently. Obi-Wan expressed his confusion to Neah. She nodded.

    “The snow and the wind and the water changes the landscape often,” she said, looking at a giant, recent landslide from the cliff opposite of where they stood. “That is how I lost my family.”

    “What happened?” Obi-Wan asked, glad to have Neah talking about herself. He’d been curious about her since the moment he opened his eyes to her singing in the night.

    “My brother and I left our group to travel the region and beyond,” she said, continuing to walk, looking ahead. “I am a storyteller.”

    “Storyteller?”

    “We collected stories from different peoples and shared them with others. I keep and spread the history of us. I sing the histories so people can remember and share as well,” she said. “My father and mother were storytellers and traveled before finding a group to stay with for their older years. In the south. My people stayed in one place for several years at a time before moving, unlike people around here. But my brother and I returned after several seasons on our first journey and found the group gone, the valley flooded with a new river. I do not know where my parents went.” She sighed. “Then my brother died a few moons later. Wolf. But I keep up the work. The stories are a part of my mind, my heart. I travel the same ways, adding stories, teaching people.”

    Obi-Wan smiled, many of his questions answered. This explained her singing, her traveling, her solitude, the fact her pack seemed so heavy. She was a nomad, but one with a specific mission to inform people about each other. Obi-Wan found this intriguing, as only someone curious about her world would do such work. He enjoyed travel, learning from others, and could easily see himself enjoying this life. In fact, this seemed a bit like his own existence back in his home galaxy, traveling from one conflict to another, helping others, only Neah helped others by setting up lines of knowledge and communication.

    “Where are you from?” Neah asked.

    “Um…ahhh…” Obi-Wan hesitated. How could he explain his home, how he got here, Neah’s world obviously technologically primitive. “From beyond.”

    She stopped, forcing him to pause as well, now facing her directly. She reached up and touched his hair with the tips of her fingers.

    “From far beyond,” she said. “You look different than others around here. Your hair is the color of the sunrise, you’re eyes like the sky.”

    Obi-Wan could feel himself blushing, and he thought perhaps he should step away, begin walking again, but Neah continued to play with his hair, her fingers moving down through his beard.

    “I like your eyes,” he said suddenly, without thinking. “They are warm and deep and…” he stopped and stepped back, feeling foolish. He sounded like an idiot.

    But Neah smiled. “Thank you,” she said softly. “You must be from far beyond, you and your brother. Over the water?”

    Obi-Wan chuckled. “You could say that.”

    “Your home words are strange, words I haven’t heard before,” she continued. “But I like how they sound on your tongue. The language is interesting.”

    “I like your singing,” he blurted again, instantly damning himself. What was wrong with him? He was being so uncouth, not his usual clever, graceful self.

    But her face brightened. “Really? May I practice a song for you as we walk?”

    “Yes!” he said, perhaps a little too enthusiastically. But he had longed to hear her sing again since that first night.

    They continued to walk, and Neah sang in her light, melodic voice, Obi-Wan, who did not know too much about music, guessing her to be a classic soprano. She sang of a hunt against some large beast, most of the words ones he did not yet know. But the melody hypnotized him. When the song ended, she stopped and looked at him, her eyebrows raised.

    “So, what do you think?” she asked.

    Obi-Wan didn’t know the words for perfect or beautiful or any other adjective to describe what he just heard. So he grabbed her hand and squeezed it.

    “Amazing,” he said in Basic. “You’re voice is enchanting.”

    He knew she didn’t understand, but she beamed at him, then flushed, turning quickly and continuing to walk.

    They moved in silence for quite some time, Obi-Wan shifting the weight of the pack around, studying her with a side glance. A previous thought again came to the forefront of his mind: why did she trust him? A woman traveling alone in the wilderness, apparently not thinking twice about helping a strange man on the shore of a river.

    “Why do you trust me?” he said.

    She looked over at him and shrugged. “I know I can. I feel like we’ve met before, or I know you from the past.” She turned forward and continued in silence.

    Obi-Wan considered this a moment before shock suddenly jolted him. He’d asked her the question in Basic, as he didn’t know the word for ‘trust,’ and she’d responded in her native tongue. How in the world?

    But the sense of knowing her, knowing this place, this planet, this galaxy…yes, he’d felt drawn to this distant world since he and Anakin first arrived. Why? And he’d been the one to suggest they land here, in the northern hemisphere. Was the Force, which felt so odd here, speaking to him?

    He said nothing and refocused on looking for the spot he fell into the river. But nothing looked familiar, and he couldn’t remember, having spent those frantic moments avoiding drowning.

    “Come with me to my next stop,” Neah said finally, as they once again paused to study the terrain. “The people in the valley…they only move twice a year, back and forth following the herds. They meet a lot of others. Maybe they know something of your brother.”

    Yes, go with Neah. The frustration of not knowing which way to go to return to Anakin seeped away. More time with Neah, a chance to hear her sing again, learn stories of the people of this world.

    Anakin would know he’d met danger, attempt to find Obi-Wan. He nodded to himself; yes, he could trust Anakin to seek him out. He’d trained his padawan well.

    “We turn from the river here,” she said, pointing to some distant hills. “Come, Obi-Wan.”

    He followed her into the woods.

    Later that evening, and across the river miles away, Anakin arrived back at the tree he and Obi-Wan parted from more than two days before. They pledged to meet on the third day, but Anakin trekked quickly back, knowing he’d already solved the problem and now just needed Obi-Wan to talk to about gathering the appropriate materials. As the one moon of the world shined brightly on the fallen snow, Anakin settled in against the tree, regarding his plans on his data pad. He glanced over at the antler at his side, smiling about his adventure with the hunting group the evening before, wishing he had the warm, filling meal again rather than the meager protein ration.

    He’s awakened before the hunting party, slipping away as the sun rose, making sure to take the gift of the antler with him. Anakin enjoyed listening to the group the evening before, even though he understood little, and he felt grateful for their hospitality. But the humans could provide little use for the problem at hand, the problem of the ship. A primitive people in terms of technology, they did not realize the wealth of resources around them. Yet. Anakin wondered what this world would be like in a few thousand years, as the humans proved intelligent and industrious on a planet surrounded by such potential.

    Humans. How were there humans in this galaxy as well as his own? Did they originate back home and somehow end up here through that tear in space? Or vice versa. Anakin shook his head in confusion; too many questions he could not possibly find the answer to now. Focus on the ship.

    He worked on his data pad for some time before his eyes looked down at the antler. When he returned home, he would find a nice way to mount it on the wall in his and Padme’s apartment, a souvenir of his adventure far away. Everything currently decorating the home came from her, artwork from Naboo, gifts from friends and family. He’d acquired little in the way of trinkets and art throughout his life, the Jedi way to live a sparse existence, but having the antler up would be fun indeed. He imagined Padme scrunching her nose at it, and the thought made him smile.

    Sitting back and watching the stars, he looked forward to seeing Obi-Wan the next day, telling him of his adventures with the humans. And when he came back to Coruscant, doing the same with the Chancellor over caf. Palpatine would appreciate the antler. The Chancellor had a fascination with archeological artifacts, curiosities. His office featured numerous pieces from all over the galaxy, and Anakin often found himself studying the strange objects, wondering how Palpatine came across them. The Jedi momentarily thought of giving the antler to the Chancellor, keeping with the Jedi way in avoiding unnecessary possessions, but he liked it and looked forward to seeing it on the living room wall.

    As the night crept along, Anakin put his data pad down and fell asleep, waking once again with the sun, noticing no further snow fell overnight, the previous day’s dusting nearly hardening to ice in spots not touched by the yellow warmth. He rose, removed his cloak, and ignited his lightsaber, wanting to get in a bit of training before the day began and Obi-Wan arrived back. He swung around in his favorite practice stances before trying the ones he struggled with more, mostly due to him still getting used to his artificial hand.

    Anakin stopped suddenly, feeling a presence, and he turned off the lightsaber, listening intently. A crunching footfall could be heard, and he spun around to see a fur-clad, dark-skinned man with snowy white hair come towards him through the woods.

    “My goodness, the forest is riddled with Jedi these days,” the man said jovially.

    “What…wait…?” Anakin stammered, realizing with a start the man spoke Basic.

    Anakin studied the man, who continued to move toward him. While he wore the furs of the humans of this world, he looked quite different from the others, and of course, speaking Basic caught Anakin off guard. Then Anakin glanced to the man’s right hand, which clutched a lightsaber hilt. A very familiar lightsaber hilt.

    Obi-Wan’s lightsaber.

    Fear and anger simultaneously gripped Anakin’s heart, and he re-ignited his blade.

    “What have you done with him?” he hissed, moving toward the stranger.

    Author’s Note: Next time, Anakin confronts the stranger, and Obi-Wan ventures further from his former apprentice, growing closer to Neah and this new world.
    I truly appreciate you reading my work. Please take a moment to let me know what you think. Take care, everyone!
     
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  12. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Eight

    Warrior


    Anakin stalked toward the stranger holding Obi-Wan’s lightsaber, anger like fire in his veins. Not only was he stranded on some world twenty million light years from Padme, but now his master and best friend seemed to be in peril, thanks to this Basic-speaking stranger.

    “Tell me!” Anakin shouted, his lightsaber whirring, now mere feet from the man. “What have you done with him?”

    The man looked terrified, tossing Obi-Wan’s lightsaber to the ground at Anakin’s feet and backing away, his hands in the air.

    “I…I was trying to help him, I swear!” the man pleaded. “The wolves cornered him and…”

    “Wolves?” Anakin asked. “What in the name of the Force is wolves?”

    “Wolf. Wolves. Carnivores here. He fought them off but then fell from the cliff into the ravine. With the big river,” the man continued, stopping since Anakin paused his own approach. “Half a day’s walk from here.”

    Anakin deactivated his lightsaber. “So he’s alive?”

    The man paused, his face falling, no longer frightened. “I…well, I ran over to where the rocks fell and…and I couldn’t see him. But the water moves very quickly.”

    Anakin nodded, feeling better. Obi-Wan Kenobi would not perish from a fall or even a rushing river. Made of strong stuff, Obi-Wan faced bigger dangers in the past, Anakin having been present for many of them.

    “Show me where he fell,” Anakin demanded, turning to gather his things. Then the full force of the encounter hit him, and he whirled back around. “Wait…who the kriff are you?”

    “Zoltanarian,” the man said, extending a hand formally, which Anakin took in a firm shake. “But Zolti for short.”

    “And you’re from…?”

    “Fondor, originally. But here now,” the man laughed. “And you?”

    “I’m Anakin Skywalker. From Tatooine,” Anakin said. “Jedi Knight.”

    “Pilot,” Zolti said, pointing to himself. “I suppose you got caught in that space anomaly. The one that lets out by the orange gas giant further out system?”

    “Yes,” Anakin said. Pilot? A ship? “Where is your ship?”

    Zolti sighed. “In a cave along the coast, several days west. Everything went crazy after I went through that wormhole. Barely made it here, crash landed. Propelling system destroyed, hyperdrive damaged. A nice passenger yacht, but no way to fix it. Been here two years by my reckoning. Got bored staying on the ship, so began to travel around.”

    Anakin felt his heart rate quicken. Another ship. Possibilities ran through his mind.

    “Do you have fuel?” he asked, trying to contain his excitement.

    Zolti laughed. “Yeah, a lot of good it’s done me but two full tanks. Fueled up right before it happened. On my way to pick up Lord Kaan and…” Zolti stopped suddenly, fear returning to his eyes. He looked away from Anakin, biting his lip, staring intently at the ground.

    Anakin considered this sudden dropped statement. Lord Kaan…probably some leader important on some Outer Rim world he’d never heard of and made no difference in galactic affairs. Why should he…wait…

    “Two full tanks! Bring me to the ship! We have our transport! We can scavenge the pieces and…” Anakin began, but Zolti interrupted, also excited.

    “Yes!” he cried, his face shining with a large smile. “How long have you been here?”

    “A couple days. It may take some time, but I have a talent for machines and…well…” he felt like jumping up and down like a child but instead he slapped Zolti on the back like an old friend. “Let’s get away from this place.”

    “Actually, this is a nice world, if not a bit harsh to live in sometimes,” Zolti said, helping Anakin gather his things, nodding, impressed, at the antler. “I’ve wondered about the existence of humans. Although primitive, they’ve been kind, and I’ve been in their company many times, the tribes, the nomads. I’ve gathered some of the language, gotten good at hunting.” Zolti sighed happily. “But to return home, to see my family again, my little sister. I planned to return to Fondor for her wedding after dropping my Lord off.”

    Anakin smiled, feeling better than he had in days, for surely they’d find Obi-Wan quickly and could get started with repairs. He could almost feel Padme’s warm embrace.

    “Well Zolti, sorry I almost killed you,” chuckled Anakin.

    “Obviously in my line of work I deal with volatile Force users on a daily basis, so…well, this way, Master Skywalker,” Zolti said.

    Anakin smiled, not correcting his new companion, but puzzling a bit over his last statement. He shrugged and began questioning Zolti about his ship as they walked through the forest to find Obi-Wan.

    Unknowingly moving further away from Anakin with every step, Obi-Wan walked happily next to Neah, their conversation animated as they now understood each other better than the previous day, Obi-Wan continuing to pick up the language quickly. Last night, Neah performed several more of her songs for Obi-Wan as they sat by the fire, cooking a small animal they’d killed called a rabbit. Her voice enchanted him, and he allowed himself to immerse his spirit into the moment, forgetting all his troubles, the war, the Jedi, everything, to just enjoy. She’d choreographed hand gestures for the various songs, and although he didn’t understand everything she said, he gathered the literal as well as symbolic meanings. Also, she showed him a small collection of clay, wood, and stone figurines she carried, often taking things as gifts from one group of people to another. Obi-Wan realized that not only was Neah an entertainer and a teacher, but a messenger for these primitive people as well.

    They’d fallen asleep side by side, still talking, their conversation becoming slower as they drifted away together. Obi-Wan awoke once in the night to a distant howl that chilled his blood, but he calmed when he realized Neah lie directly beside him, her hand having fallen on his arm in her sleep. He focused all his senses on her, falling asleep to dreams of her singing to him, her face lit by the fire.

    Walking beside her now, over the small dusting of snow in the woods, he felt slightly unsettled as their conversation lulled. He’d been allowing these feelings to get the better of him, lowering his usual guards toward attachment. And perhaps he only felt this attraction due to his vulnerable state. No Obi-Wan, he reminded himself, you’re a Jedi Master, pull yourself together.

    But he found himself telling Neah things he rarely talked about. He spoke of Qui-Gon, using the term father, and Yoda, calling him teacher, talking about them with love and respect, Neah asking all sorts of questions about him growing up, Obi-Wan trying his best to answer, considering their vast differences of lifestyle.

    “So your tribe…the Jedi…you are all warriors?” she asked.

    “Well, not always. Our job is to keep the peace between groups of people,” Obi-Wan explained, realizing that he’d mostly been fighting the past year, rarely at peace.

    “Do people fight often?”

    Obi-Wan considered. “Yes. Almost constantly,” he said sadly. “How about around here?”

    Neah shrugged. “People within groups have disagreements. And different tribes disagree, try to take another’s land or resources. But this doesn’t happen often enough for someone to be
    a warrior all the time.” She stopped, forcing him to pause beside her. “Have you ever killed anyone?”

    Obi-Wan looked at her, the deep brown of her eyes showing her sadness. He felt suddenly cold. Would she be disappointed in his answer? He suddenly felt ashamed of himself, of the Jedi as a whole. Who were they? Mere warriors, with glorified magic tricks thanks to the Force? When he described their work to her, that is all they seemed, warriors, security guards, mercenaries for the Republic. At least these were the roles Obi-Wan seemed to take on during his own lifetime. What about the Code? Did this reflect the current state of the Jedi?

    Obi-Wan sighed, looking away from her. “Yes, I’ve killed.”

    Silence fell between them, the only sound from the wind in the trees and the occasional bird overhead. He raised his eyes back to her face, and she continued to regard him curiously.

    “You do not like being a warrior,” she said with finality.

    “No,” he admitted. “I sometimes…well, I don’t really like what the Jedi have become, what we stand for. But with the Dark Side growing…I…I don’t know.” He grinned, trying to bring his good spirits back, with little success. “I’ve been told I’m a good warrior.”

    “Well, you have a strong body. Good muscles,” Neah said, then her eyes widened, and Obi-Wan saw her blush. She turned and began walking again. “Is that why you and your brother traveled away? To no longer be warriors?”

    “No,” Obi-Wan said. “We ended up here by accident.”

    Neah nodded beside him, still not looking at his face. “I’m sure your mate misses you. And your children.”

    “Oh…um…I don’t have a mate,” he bumbled. “You?”

    Neah turned and laughed. “Of course not. I would not be a storyteller. Well, not a traveling one. I would be with a group to take care of the children.”

    “Do you, um, want to find…or have, well…” he said, unsure why asking this made him nervous. They were just engaged in pleasant, everyday conversation after all.

    “If I found someone I cared about who wanted me too. But I’m never around places for a long time. And other tribes do not know my family or people. They are gone. The groups like me visiting, but sometimes people still are distrustful,” she said, looking a little sad, Obi-Wan wondering how much of her time she spent in solitude. She continued, “You are lucky to have a people, the Jedi. Many family members.”

    “You can often feel alone amongst many,” he said before thinking. Did he really feel this way?

    “But you are close to your brother?”

    “We’ve been…distant for some time. I’m unsure why…well, I know he’s made some choices I haven’t agreed with, but I do love him and…” Obi-Wan began, thinking back to the last days with Anakin, realizing the younger man tried to converse with Obi-Wan, who kept letting his irritations over Palpatine and Anakin breaking the Code get in the way. “We both haven’t made things easy. I see my faults now.”

    Neah laughed. “Like my brother and I. We would fight over silly things, like a song title for a history or how to cook the meal…and I would give anything to fight with him again. I miss him.”

    Silence fell between them again, Obi-Wan’s mind drifting to the Jedi and Anakin before thinking about Neah and her loneliness. He’d always been surrounded by people, from the other younglings in the Temple when he’d been a child to the other Masters on the Council to the armies he led. Neah wondered the woods by herself. Despite these distinct differences, he realized they both existed in personal solitudes, offering both solace and captivity. He longed to share these thoughts with her but realized he did not know the words.

    Midday they sat down together to eat some of the leftover meat from the evening before along with some berries they’d picked along the trail. The breeze blew cold, and Obi-Wan tightened the coat around him, grateful for the warm fur.

    “Look,” whispered Neach beside him. “Deer.”

    A little ways up the hill, three four-legged hoofed animals grazed the moss peeking through the permafrost and growing on the trees. Their auburn coat helped them blend in, and their smooth graceful movements made them pleasant to watch. Obi-Wan and Neah sat quietly, eating and enjoying the animals.

    “I’m glad I found you, Obi-Wan,” Neah said after some time. “Usually I talk to myself, see the animals and cannot share them with others. But now…this is good.” She rubbed her bare hands together, having taken off her fur gloves to eat. “We should move. We get cold when we sit.”

    She reached for her gloves, but Obi-Wan grabbed her hand, entwining his fingers with hers. His move shocked him, and he stared at the hands. Small, a little rough from the weather, her hands fit nicely with his, and he tightened his grip.

    “I’m glad you found me too,” he said softly, daring to look up at her.

    Her long black hair framed her face, her eyes intensely regarding him. He felt his breath caught in his lungs. Let go, he told himself. Move away now. You’re a Jedi Master.

    But he didn’t. Instead, he scooted a little toward her and continued to hold her hand, turning back once again to enjoy the grazing deer. He wasn’t a Jedi here; the Jedi existed twenty million light years away. He felt good not being a Jedi at the moment, the constantly fighting warrior he had become. He wanted to be Obi-Wan Kenobi, just a man sitting next to a woman watching the world.

    Throughout the afternoon, Anakin and Zolti walked along the shore of the river, covering several miles before Anakin began to feel his hope at finding Obi-Wan falter. During their search, the two men talked about their ships and plans to bring one up and running, capable of finding the anomaly again and returning back to their galaxy. Anakin thought the most logical solution would be fixing up Zolti’s yacht. First he would need to fly his and Obi-Wan’s transport to the site Zolti mentioned along the coast and go from there.

    Zolti chuckled suddenly beside him.

    “I have to say Master Skywalker…”

    “Call me Anakin, please.”

    “Anakin. Well, I thought you’d slice me in half when you learned I worked for Lord Kaan,” Zolti said.

    Anakin stopped and looked at the man. “Listen, I’m sure your Lord Kaan is important on your world, but in the scheme of galactic affairs…”

    “My world?” Zolti said, surprised. “Does the Jedi not consider the Brotherhood of Darkness a threat anymore?”

    Anakin stopped. Brotherhood of Darkness. Lord Kaan. His history lessons from the Temple when he first arrived as a child came back to him. Lord Kaan, former Jedi fallen to the Dark Side. United many Sith under the Brotherhood of Darkness. Perished, along with the entire Sith order, at the Battle of Ruusan. Sith hadn’t been seen or heard from since until the time Anakin joined the Jedi.

    “Lord Kaan?” Anakin said, now looking at Zolti seriously. “The leader of the Brotherhood of Darkness, the Dark Army?”

    “Um…yes.”

    “You are his pilot?”

    “Yes. I fly his personal yacht,” Zolti said. “But…that shouldn’t matter, right? We’re in the same predicament. We need to get home and…”

    “Lord Kaan died over a thousand years ago,” Anakin said, his mouth feeling dry suddenly, his heart beginning to race.

    Zolti’s face fell in shock. “What? No. Impossible. I’ve only been here two years! I’ve…I’ve…” The man placed his palms on his forehead, sitting down on a nearby log.

    Anakin felt like someone poured ice water on him, as a chill slowly passed form the top of his head down to the tips of his toes. Lessons about time and space and folds in the universe came to him, and he felt dizzy.

    “You’ve been here two years,” he said slowly, trying to clarify things to himself. “And a thousand years passed back home.”

    But Zolti didn’t hear. He sat weeping into his hands.

    This couldn’t possibly be happening, Anakin thought, the coldness now taking over the very marrow of his bones. But he knew it could be true. Wormholes, anomalies, plus different galaxies rotating around the universal center in different locations, different speeds based on various gravitational forces. The math, the science…yes, possible.

    He’d been gone for only a few days. Did that equal a few years back home? The thought weakened him, and he crumbled to the ground next to Zolti.

    Author’s Note: Next time, Anakin puzzles and frets over the time difference revelation, and Neah and Obi-Wan arrive in the valley to meet a tribe of people.


    Thank you so much for reading, and a special thanks to those who take the time to comment. Please continue to let me know what you think. May the Force be with you!
     
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  13. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I was hesitating to respond to this one, because I had this feeling that you were talking to an audience, from a stage. Some sentences repeat in those end notes. But still... you did respond the first commenter, so I think it's OK. :)

    However, one thing that helps a lot is this post right here. If people are not responding and the story is worth responding - which this one most certainly is - branch out, talk to them, wait for them to discover it. This has a page turner quality and it's really easy to read and catch up with - but how would those who see six chapters and freak out know about it? :p

    So, now that we've covered that - a proper comment. :)

    Chapter 1

    I like the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin here. Totally! There's a lot to it that Clone Wars didn't appear to cover and neither did Episode II, so those aspects of the story were quite a pleasure to read. The amount of trust Obi-Wan has in Anakin might be a bit too risky, especially given that Yoda appears to want him to keep an eye on this Padawan (hence such a mundane mission) and that he knows about Padmé and the blatant breach of the code. The positives that Obi-Wan sees seem to be overpowering the negatives, still.

    The anomaly was described effectively and - yup - it was frightening! The colours instead of the common starfield, the fact that nobody put the engine into hyperspace and the chilling possibility that this was a very rare occurrence - unless it's the Bermuda Triangle of the GFFA that takes ships away to another galaxy regularly.

    Anakin's comment about Obi-Wan's mind being the first to go could've been rude, cheeky, whatever - but in a situation where they're both kind of shaviting their Jedi robes...it was more like a predecessor to one of those comedy gold things - two adult men crying like newborn babies.

    Chapter 2

    An orange gas giant? Darn if I have ever seen one of those, especially if it has a tendency to be radioactive (those stars that never were, I tell ya...complexes galore!) and casually swallow smaller objects. ;) :p Glad that they're marking it and adding it to their navigation data and even more glad that they're smart enough not to, say, look for a Cloud City clone on it.

    Now I am trying to determine what geological era is this, because...hey, brown and green below the ice cap? Then again, its name hints that it miiiight have been green in the past. :D

    More comments to follow.
     
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  14. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010


    Thank you for commenting! Much appreciated. Your first comment made me laugh aloud. I work in theatre!

    I publish my work on fanfic.net and AO3 (two Sith focused stories and an exile Obi-Wan trilogy), but I felt encouraged to also post my non M-rated material here as I've read several great stories on this forum in the past and wanted to add mine to the community. I'm a big EU fan, so participating in the forum over the years helped me connect with a lot of fellow EU readers, which led me to writing my own SW stories.

    I hope you continue to read my story and find it entertaining. Again, thank you for giving me feedback.

    M
     
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  15. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Theatre? That explains A LOT. You have this "stage presence" in the way you converse with us random strangers that I don't even have with my clients - say...help me out the next time I miss a deadline? :D I show you their mails and you tell me how to be...convincing? Never been a good persuader.

    On a serious note, a background in any professional writing will - of course - contribute to these gorgeous worldscapes and the dialogue that has this semi-scripted quality to it. It's really fun to see where people writing on here come from, as I'm often determined to think that those among us who don't copy typical fanfic writing styles (wish I knew how to explain, but there are, like...2-3 typical ways people write on the sites you mentioned) usually have a good, good set of factors that makes their style stand out. :) Now, may those troglodytes in your story poke me in the rear if this comment made sense, since you're a native speaker and all and I'm not.

    *ahem*

    Chapter 3

    It's interesting that Obi-Wan's sleep is dreamless. I'm inclined to believe that he does not need escapism, dreamscapes and the like when he's so impressed with here and now, the very world that he and Anakin landed on. And the serenity, the balance and the love of the beautiful unknown should give him some peace...at least before whiny Ani (tee-hee) wakes up.

    As far as the urges go - how about "most other men" and not "any other man"? Sorry, just have to wave my violet, black, white and grey flag here, we're real. :D

    That said, the story of Obi-Wan's encounter is interesting. It shows that he cannot be "perfect", but that he still values discipline over temptaton, something Anakin was never good with. And this one-off ladyfriend character is written with respect, which one rarely ever see in such context.

    And of course that Qui-Gon, a dominant extraverted iNtuition user thinks that learning by doing and making mistakes to prevent bigger mistakes is good. Not surprised at all.

    Well, that cut off just at the right moment. :p Not sure if I wanted to know what can attack a buck-naked man in the water on Mon Calamari. :p

    The moment where Anakin wakes up upon Obi-Wan's realisation is a nice touch.

    And theeeen they're stuck. Whoa. On a second read - yes, I had read the first seven chapters before I had left my first comment - this definitely has a touch of suspense to contrast the serenity.


    Chapter 4

    Anakin, in the future of (what I think) this planet (is), there's this delightful individual known by the name of Grumpy Cat. She had fun once, and it was AWFUL. I think you'd make great friends.

    But looks like his desperate attachment wakes up his mechanic side. He must find a way to repair the ship, while it kind of seems that Obi-Wan would not mind starving here.

    It's kind of funny how they talk about the advanced civilisation they're so far away from in order to get over the "where the hell are we?" state. But that's where one can see that Anakin's indoctrination is already in progress, which truly is a chilling realisation.

    Obi-Wan seems to be just a tiny bit jealous of Anakin and Palpatine's friendship, too and then...the wolves come. This is interesting. Despite how negative his overall view of Palpatine was, it seems like that one little moment of positive, if one can even call it that, brought along the wolves.

    And wow, the master of the wolves is more advanced than the others. Unless he is an illusion, some form of a vision of the future, as the place definitely felt like a Force nexus to our heroes. And each time Obi-Wan feels any sort of doubt, something happens to him. He'll make out of this, that much I know...but doubt is his enemy here. His instincts tell him to go with the flow, and he should! Regardless what Whiny Ani thinks of it. :p
     
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  16. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010

    Hi Ewok Poet!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback on my story. Other than my beta reader/husband/sounding board, I don't often get such detailed responses.

    I too love to see where people come from in their writing, what they do in their lives. So fascinating, especially when you consider their choice of fandom and style. What's funny for me in terms of fanfic is I love to write in the SW universe and have a few stories I'm following (and of course the EU novels), but I adore Lord of the Rings fanfic best, just don't write it. I guess inspiration just never slapped me in the face with Tolkien.

    Anyways, really enjoying writing this story, exploring both Anakin and Obi-Wan. Anakin is new to me as a writer, so hopefully I'm getting him right. Have some more planned for him now that he has a new companion and is on a break from Obi-Wan.

    Again, I really appreciate your feedback. You are awesome!

    Marly
     
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  17. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Nine

    Time and Space


    Mid-day found Neah and Obi-Wan at the top of a ridge overlooking an enormous valley. The forest went down to the banks of a large river, steadily flowing west from the distant snow-capped mountains. While snow still dusted the ground, the air felt slightly warmer here, yet not warm enough to remove the fur coats.

    The duo sat to rest in a clearing with a view of the valley, and Neah pointed to the west.

    “Around the bend we’ll find the home of the people in this valley. We will be there by nightfall. I look forward to the luxury of having a roof over my head,” she said. “They’ve lived here since the time of my parents, very long indeed for the communities of this land. Of course, not as long as the groups you mentioned from your home.” She shook her head and laughed. “Hundreds of years. Amazing.”

    Regarding her, Obi-Wan wondered what Neah would think of his home galaxy, so vast, so many different species and worlds. A sudden fantasy came upon him, Obi-Wan walking through the Jedi Temple, holding hands with Neah, guiding her around as she looked in awe at the enormous structure. Then Neah and him standing on the viewing deck of a galactic transport vessel, the stars spread out before them. How would she react to such a place?

    “Thousands of years,” he murmured.

    “Hmmm?”

    “Um…well, my tribe alone is thousands of years old,” he said.

    She looked at him puzzled, then laughed. “I’m going to write a song, a history, about you, Obi-Wan, and the land of which you speak.” She regarded him thoughtfully. “I often use animals to characterize people.” She laughed playfully. “I know the animal.”

    “Wolf?” he asked, remembering the creatures with a shudder.

    “No. They move in a pack. You stand alone…you stand out,” she explained.

    Obi-Wan didn’t know too many other animals of this world. “A rabbit?”

    Neah laughed. “No! Although you did resemble a drowned rodent when I met you.”

    “Well, thank you,” Obi-Wan chuckled, glad he now reached the level of understanding to be able to engage in banter and teasing.

    Neah giggled, her eyes scrunching up as she did, the smile spreading across her face. Such a sweet, beautiful look for her, and Obi-Wan felt his heart rate quicken.

    “You are a bear,” she said matter-of-factly.

    “A bear?”

    “Yes. They are large, fur covered beasts. They eat both meat and plants,” she explained. “I sometimes see them from afar. But you should never go close! They only become aggressive when provoked but are peaceful most of the time. Like you, a warrior, but a reluctant one.”

    “I like the sound of them,” Obi-Wan said.

    “They are beautiful,” she said absentmindedly, staring down at the valley. “My favorite.” She then turned to him, a mischievous gleam in her eye. “And you sound like one when you sleep.”

    “What?”

    “Like this,” she said, then began making a loud growling sound.

    “I do not snore! Well, at least not like that,” he laughed.

    “Yes, you do!”

    “Well, you sound like one of those wolves when you sleep, breathing through your nostrils,” Obi-Wan fired back, then hesitated, worrying he insulted her.

    But Neah laughed hard, doubled-over, and Obi-Wan began laughing too, not able to stop, encouraged by her laughter. Tears rolled down his cheeks, and he lay back in the grass, his stomach hurting, finally calming down.

    He opened his eyes to see Neah looking down at him. He froze as her hand ran through his hair, then combed through his beard.

    “I don’t mind the snoring,” she said softly. “I like having someone with me. I sleep better than when I’m alone.”

    Obi-Wan suddenly realized the same. He’d slept wonderfully the past few nights, in fact, the best sleep he’d ever had, waking up fully rested every morning. Her hand still on his face, he moved his hand over hers, squeezing it softly.

    “I sleep better too,” he said. “I…well…um…” he stammered, not knowing what he wanted to say. His fingers brushed his beard, and he realized he probably looked quite unkempt. “I should trim this, haven’t in a few days. I usually keep myself presentable.”

    “It’s not bad,” Neah said, producing her pouch of knives, pulling out a small, sharp blade. “Just a couple stray hairs. Most men around here have beards. You’ll look fine.”

    Obi-Wan watched her use her knife to cut away the stray hairs of his ever-thickening beard, her eyes watching her work carefully. She gently bit her lip in concentration. Her face very close to his, Obi-Wan felt the overwhelming urge to lean forward and kiss her. What would her lips taste like, feel like? Would she let him?

    She put her hand down and smiled at her work, then her look became serious as she leaned a bit toward him, Obi-Wan moving a bit forward, now inches from her.

    A loud crashing sound startled them both, and they leaped to their feet to see a deer jump from the nearby woods and move down the hill. They both looked at each other.

    “We need to get going so we arrive by nightfall,” she said, shouldering her pack and moving away quickly.

    Obi-Wan watched her for a moment before grabbing his burden as well. So close…thank goodness for that deer! What would he have done? Kissed her?! Ridiculous. He was a Jedi Master!

    But as he walked behind her, he wished more and more the deer hadn’t chosen that moment to make its move for the river.

    Anakin and Zolti moved through the land, the Jedi hardly noticing the world around him, lost in his own thoughts. After the discovery of the time difference between this world and his home galaxy, he made the decision to abandon the search for Obi-Wan and seek out Zolti’s ship. He now knew time to be very precious, each minute passing perhaps equal to days for Padme. Once they had a ship up and running, flight would enable them to cover more ground in looking for the wayward Jedi Master, who Anakin knew to still be alive. He’d certainly feel in the Force if Obi-Wan died, wouldn’t he?

    “So, the Sith are completely gone in the future?” Zolti asked, seeming not to trust Anakin’s summary of the past thousand years of galactic history. “But their armies were huge, powerful, the Jedi made foolish errors, and…”

    “They destroyed themselves from within. But we’ve recently discovered a few, living in the shadows. I told you this. The Brotherhood of Darkness failed,” Anakin said, a little exasperated. But then he paused. He would probably have a difficult time adjusting to this new information, having missed a millennium. He sighed. “Sorry to be short. It’s just…I need to return to my wife. I was just on a routine mission. And maybe years…”

    Zolti stopped short and turned to Anakin. “Wait, what? A wife? The Jedi marry now?” He laughed. “I thought you were all some celibate Force fanatics.”

    “Fanatics? The Sith are…” Anakin snapped back, but Zolti held up his arms in surrender.

    “Whoa! Okay, okay. Remember, I piloted for a former Jedi, who left your Order for several reasons. He’d lecture away on long flights. Honestly, I couldn’t care less about you Sith or Jedi. You both spent a lot of time destroying the galaxy in your self-righteous attempts for superiority. Sounds like that still might be happening.”

    Anakin frowned deeply at Zolti, considering his words. The history of the Jedi, as he learned it in the Temple when he first came, always seemed to have violence, no matter the era. When did they truly keep and enjoy peace?

    “So…a wife,” Zolti said, raising his eyebrows.

    Anakin shook his head, looking at the ground, grinning sheepishly. “Yeah. The Jedi still forbid attachment. I sort of went against the Code.”

    Zolti laughed. “Must be some woman.”

    Anakin joined in with a small chuckle. “You have no idea.”

    The two men continued walking.

    “You know, you aren’t the first. Lord Kaan told me of his time with the Jedi, of others he knew…they weren’t exactly, well…perfect Jedi.”

    Anakin thought the Jedi he grew up around, Mace Windu, Yoda, and most of all, Obi-Wan. He couldn’t imagine any of them breaking the rules like he did. Of course, he’d done more than simply marry Padme. The Sand People…

    “Tell me more about the ships of the future,” Zolti said, thankfully interrupting Anakin’s dark thoughts.

    “Well, the fundamentals are still the same, but there have been a few exciting changes in fuel efficiency and hyperdrive reliability,” Anakin said, happy to talk about mechanics.

    But after some time, silence met them again, allowing both men to slip into their thoughts. The profound impact of the time change once again hit Anakin in the gut. Had he lost even more time too, going through the anomaly? Time and space seemed to bend for him and Obi-Wan, as they had for Zolti two-years previously (or two years by Zolti’s biological reckoning). Anakin shook his head as if trying to loosen his thoughts. He was no scientist or philosopher. He longed to talk to Obi-Wan about the problem at hand.

    But first to the ship. Get something running, then find his master, then fly to the anomaly, then…but what if he couldn’t find the wormhole again?

    Anakin felt the familiar feeling of anger and desperation run through his veins, and he took several deep breathes to calm down, employing mediation techniques that worked in the past. No, no…he needed to think of one thing at a time. Obi-Wan could take care of himself. Step one, get a ship.

    By the time the sun dipped down toward the horizon, Neah and Obi-Wan walked along the edge of the forest, the bank of the large river several yards away. Soon, the rich smell of smoked fish filled the air, making Obi-Wan instantly hungry.

    “Wow,” he said, inhaling the fragrance deeply. Delicious. “Hope we haven’t missed dinner.”

    Neah grinned over at him. “Yes, the bear is your animal. They love fish.”

    “What is your animal?” Obi-Wan asked.

    Neah shrugged. “I don’t know. No one ever gave me one. I tell stories about others, not myself.”

    “I’ll give you one,” Obi-Wan said quickly. Why shouldn’t Neah have an animal? And furthermore, he found the stories she told about herself and her journeys to different lands fascinating. Back home, Neah’s character and travels would the stuff of grand operas and holodramas.

    “You are going to give me an animal?” she asked, her eyes shining with delight.

    Obi-Wan then realized the error of his comment. “I…well, once I know more animals. I only really know wolf, deer, fish, and rabbit, and none of those suit you. But I’ll be looking around. You should have an animal too.”

    Suddenly, Neah leaned over to him as they continued to walk and kissed him softly on the cheek. “You are wonderful, Obi-Wan.”

    Obi-Wan could feel himself blushing, the spot where she kissed him tingling. She continued to walk, a smile on her face, while Obi-Wan’s insides went haywire. Doing his best to hide this, he longed for someone to talk with about these feelings. This felt different than the women he flirted with causally in his work protecting the galaxy, from the woman he went home with that night several years ago when he’d been a padawan, then even Satine. During these past encounters he merely told himself he couldn’t go further, and then he simply didn’t, caring more about his adherence to the Jedi way than his feelings of attachment. But he found himself caring less and less about the Code, wanting to become more intimate with Neah, physically and emotionally, share his deepest thoughts, fears, and hopes with her while lying next to the river, wrapped in her arms, face nuzzled into her warm hair.

    He imagined talking to Yoda about this and inwardly laughed. Obi-Wan could write the script for that conversation. Qui-Gon would be better, but that would only be speculation now. Somehow, he knew his master would like Neah, find her fascinating and charming the way Obi-Wan did.

    The only logical option would be Anakin, who by now probably realized something happened to Obi-Wan. He wondered about his former apprentice. Was he looking for Obi-Wan? He knew Anakin to be fine, as he would sense in the Force if something awful befell him.

    But what would Anakin think of Obi-Wan falling for Neah? Obi-Wan imagined laughter and an “I told you so,” as well as the classic Skywalker smugness. But could Obi-Wan talk about this with Anakin? He’d always been the teacher, the mentor. Yes, he considered Anakin a friend, and wasn’t a friend someone you talked with about such things? But could Obi-Wan step outside his role to do so? Obi-Wan realized with sudden clarity that this was the core problem with him and Anakin as of late. Anakin sought out a friend, while Obi-Wan continued to keep the wall up, forever in the role of mentor. But now, Obi-Wan needed the console of a friend, and Anakin fit the bill nicely. He’d need to search for…

    “We’ve arrived,” said Neah, and Obi-Wan raised his eyes from concentrating on the ground to see several people, women, men, and children alike, coming toward them. Wooden structures could be seen in the distance amongst the trees. The people smiled warmly as one of the women, older than the rest, stepped forward.

    “Neah the Storyteller,” the woman said in a pleasant voice, and she moved to Neah, embracing the younger woman.

    Soon, many of the people gathered around them, Neah introducing Obi-Wan. As they began to move toward the village, he felt Neah take his hand as one of the older men walked at his side.

    “Welcome to our valley, Obi-Wan from Beyond.”

    Author’s Note: In the next chapter, Obi-Wan gets to know the people of the valley and takes assessment of his feelings for Neah.

    Thank you for reading!
     
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  18. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Ten

    Daily Life


    Following a delicious dinner and conversation that exhausted Obi-Wan to the point he nearly slept while walking through the small village, the older woman who greeted the visitors led them to a small wooden house.

    “I hope you enjoy the guest home,” she said. “Your packs should be inside. Tomorrow I will show you around, and you can see how we work.” She looked at Obi-Wan. “Will you be staying with Neah or in the men’s house?”

    Obi-Wan glanced at Neah, who did not meet his eyes, looking intently at the ground.

    “I…um…I would like to stay with Neah,” Obi-Wan said, noticing a wide smile spread across the woman’s face as she turned to look at Neah.

    Obi-Wan felt like he missed some social cue, but voices outside drew the woman’s attention.

    “A moment,” she said, exiting.

    Neah looked up at him. “Are you sure about…ah…staying with me? People might think that…”

    “Neah,” the woman said, re-entering. “The head of furs would like to see you for a moment. Maybe schedule time with you this week.”

    “Of course,” said Neah, leaving Obi-Wan alone in the small cabin.

    Looking around, weary from the busy evening, Obi-Wan found a comfortable room, a fire with ventilation above warming the space nicely. The packs of supplies they’d divided between them sat against a wall, with four beds made up of furs and foliage around the space.

    Removing his boots, Obi-Wan fell onto one of the beds, instantly feeling sleep start to come. Since they arrived, Obi-Wan’s brain worked on overload, trying to keep up with the conversations around him. While just he and Neah conversing over the days-long journey allowed him to concentrate and learn, hearing dozens of conversations, all fast-paced, not intended for a learner, brought on fatigue after a while. At some point during the delicious dinner of smoked fish, fruit, and some root vegetable, Obi-Wan shut down in the conversation and simply observed. He knew Neah explained his situation to others, since they seemed to understand, not pressing him.

    About a dozen people joined them for dinner around what appeared to be a central gathering area, a large fire surrounded by wooden seats. The people looked similar to those he first saw in the forest, with their black hair, dark eyes, and bronze skin, only now Obi-Wan saw people of all ages, even an infant in the arms of a young father, the mother sitting beside him, leaning lovingly on his shoulder regarding the child most of the meal. Obi-Wan found his gaze returning to them over and over, the tenderness of the scene calming him and warming his spirit.

    Using the Force initially to boost his awareness and understand, he discovered through inference, and Neah’s frequent translations, that she would be visiting with the different groups of the tribe over the next several days, her song and history performance after the return of some hunting party gone abroad. He knew from Neah that she often spent days and sometimes weeks with a group, learning their ways and teaching them things learned from other villages. When asked if he would be joining her by another elder of the group, Obi-Wan eagerly agreed, wanting to learn more, curious about these people on this planet he found so attractive.

    They questioned him too, about the beyond, and Neah intervened after he bumbled through an answer, saying he still needed to learn the language. The people nodded and offered him more fish, which he gladly took.

    Now lying in comfort, he distantly heard Neah re-enter the house after some time, but he drifted too far asleep and just murmured good night. He felt her hand on his cheek briefly, then heard her settle in herself, humming softly. The crackling fire, his full stomach, and her closeness, her own bed a few feet away, made him feel completely safe, and he soon surrendered to sleep.

    The next morning, Neah and Obi-Wan spent several hours visiting the different people of the village, making introductions and inquiring about Anakin. Nobody knew anything about another looking like Obi-Wan, and after leaving the group in charge of the small community vegetable garden, Neah pulled the increasingly distraught Obi-Wan aside.

    “Other people live within days of here, Obi-Wan,” she said, stroking his arm. “When we leave here, we will continue our search. We will find your brother.”

    She turned from him to head to their next destination, leaving Obi-Wan staring after her, his heart beating fast, body suddenly quite warm despite the chill in the air. Our search. We. She’d included them both together. She wanted to continue with him, take care of him.

    Take care of him. How nice it felt for someone to take care of him. He’d rarely been taken care of, except by the physicians at the Jedi Temple when he’d been ill on occasion. But then he’d return back out into the galaxy, taking care of others. Ah, but how wonderful it felt for someone to be looking after him, worried about him, helping him. He moved along after her, puzzling over this new sense of contentment.

    The next several days, Obi-Wan integrated himself into the community, joining the different working groups to see how these people lived. Some work groups featured both men and women, and some were all of one grouping. As the storyteller, Neah gained admission into all the work sites, learning about the methods of the people and teaching them the knowledge she gathered from her travels. Obi-Wan followed behind, most people very curious about him. On the third day of their stay, he found she moved on without him, as he’d become quite engrossed with the work of the fishermen. He stayed there all day, enjoying the conversation with the men, the fresh, crisp, cool air, and manual labor of untangling nets and cleaning out the canoes, hooks, and spears. That afternoon, he worked on a wooden canoe with another man, younger, between his and Anakin’s ages, named Akule. Obi-Wan found he enjoyed the work immensely, realizing he relied on the Force so much in his usual work as a Jedi Master. There was something quite satisfying about working with one’s hands to create something new.

    Chopping away, Obi-Wan wished he had his data pad so he could record his experiences with these humans. Branches of the Jedi focused on the anthropology of the galaxy, but Obi-Wan, being very powerful in the Force, always found himself on the warrior path since before he could remember. He wondered what he would have done if he had not been taken by the Jedi.

    Such thoughts! But being away from home seemed to bring out more and more introspection and criticism, particularly since he’d been in a state of fighting most of his life. This gentle hum of daily life comforted him.

    Quite intelligent, the humans themselves appeared no different than Obi-Wan, just this particular branch of the species seemed at a technological disadvantage. But then again, thinking what all the technological advantages got the humans in his galaxy, he began to think a simpler existence might just appeal to him.

    Akule brought Obi-Wan out of his thoughts as they gutted the fallen tree for the canoe.

    “I offer my congratulations to you and Neah,” he said with a smile. “I was going to be a jealous brute to you, but now I see what a good man you are and…well, I just can’t.” He laughed jovially.

    Obi-Wan stopped working and looked up, confused.

    “I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” he said.

    “Come now, everyone knows that when you did not arrive at the men’s house that first evening you were Neah’s chosen one, her mate,” Akule continued. “I was planning on pursuing Neah when I heard she was coming back through these parts, but then she arrives with you, and you stay the night with her.” He stopped, regarding Obi-Wan’s increasingly shocked expression with a kind smile. “Do not worry. We will not make a big deal about it unless you announce it formally.”

    Did everyone think he and Neah were together? The odd moment the first evening came back to him, and he opened his mouth to speak, to correct Akule, then stopped. He liked sleeping next to Neah, being around her, found his feelings of safety and comfort depended on her presence.

    But Neah had no mate, mentioned longing to settle down if she found the right person. Could Akule be that man? He studied Akule, who’d gone back to work with a sharp stone, cutting at the wood, casting it aside in a pile for the fire. His stomach churned slightly; he really needed to say something, set Akule straight, let him know Neah still sought out a mate.

    But Obi-Wan remained quiet, working more diligently than before, and talk soon shifted to the species of fish in the region.

    A few hours later, as Obi-Wan walked back to the guest house after working, he felt guilt over his lie to Akule. No, he didn’t lie; he just didn’t redirect the man to the truth. Why? This was very un-Obi-Wan.

    He knew why, of course, but he had to deny these feelings. He was a Jedi Master, for goodness sake! But truth be told, he was falling for Neah…hard. He enjoyed their evening conversations together, when she would grill him on what he thought of this part of the world and laugh at his observations. She’d sing to him and encourage him to talk of his home. And he felt his body increasingly drawn to her like a magnet, finding more and more ways to be next to her, to brush his hand over hers.

    Entering their room, he found her seated on her bed, rummaging in a small pouch he hadn’t seen her bring out before. Neatly lying on her blanket, several strings of brightly colored beads shimmered in the light of the fire.

    “I’m trying to decide which to wear for my performance. The hunting party should be back soon,” she said as he sat beside her, his fingers gracing over the necklaces.

    “I did something wrong,” he blurted out suddenly, needing to get this guilty feeling off his chest.

    “What?”

    Taking a deep breath, Obi-Wan related his conversation with Akule to Neah. As he spoke, her eyebrows rose higher and higher and her jaw dropped slightly. Finishing his tale, he bit his lip, feeling a bit embarrassed.

    “I…well, I will go now and tell Akule that…” he began, but Neah grabbed his arm.

    “No!” she cried, then began to laugh. “Akule wanted me for his mate?!” She laughed harder, wiping tears from her eyes.

    “Yes…and I misled him and…”

    “Good!”

    “What?”

    “Akule is a boastful idiot,” Neah said. “When I last visited, he picked a fight with my brother over a story we told about a group to the north bringing down the largest mammoth ever. He called us liars! Said he and his cousin brought down the largest mammoth and…” Her laughter continued. “Akule. Never…never.”

    “I should go to sleep in the men’s house,” Obi-Wan said quietly, and Neah stopped, regarding him.

    “You do not want to stay with me?” she asked, her dark eyes suddenly sad.

    “Yes…no…I mean I love being around you,” Obi-Wan insisted quickly, then stopped short at his choice of words. A long silence fell between them as they intensely stared at one another. Finally clearing his throat, he continued. “I did not know about the men’s house…that people were separated…”

    “They do not do this in the beyond?”

    “Well, some planets…um…tribes…I…” Obi-Wan stammered, then rose to sit on his bed. “Can we just…I…” He was bumbling along, and he hated this. He always had some quip, some clever remark. Where was his mind? “What is a mammoth?” he asked finally.

    Her head cocked to the side. “Mammoth? You have never seen a mammoth?”

    “No.”

    “They are the grandest beasts in the land. Huge, wooly, long snout, large tusks. They provide a lot of meat and oil and fur. Beautiful but difficult to hunt. They come through this area, in herds. Perhaps we will see them.”

    Obi-Wan nodded, grateful for the conversation change. Neah suddenly rose and began to pace.

    “I’m really nervous,” she said, wringing her hands in a way Obi-Wan never saw before.

    “About what?”

    “My performance,” she said, turning to look at him. “This is the largest audience I perform for, and this is my first time here alone.”

    Obi-Wan nodded, knowing fully about self-doubt, even amongst those that appeared quite confident to others. He knew because he functioned like this most of the time, giving orders, putting up a strong front, when oftentimes his head swam with doubts and what-ifs. He could only imagine how someone who performed for others felt.

    Obi-Wan rose. “You will do wonderful. Your songs…your voice…everything is perfect…beautiful.” Before he knew it, he stood before her, his fingers running across her cheek and through her hair.

    “You think so?” she said, barely above a whisper. “I’m…well, I suppose it sounds ridiculous to a warrior, but I’m afraid.” She sighed, the sound gentle, soft, encouraging Obi-Wan to step slightly closer until he was right up against her. “These stories…they are important to everyone. I want to tell them right.”

    “You will,” he whispered, his fingers gliding through her hair again, his mind falling into the depths of her deep brown eyes.

    “Obi-Wan,” she said. “Why didn’t you correct Akule?”

    He paused, his face mere inches from hers. Jedi Code be damned! He wanted his mouth on hers, their bodies together.

    “Dinner time!” came a child’s voice from outside the house, and Neah stepped back quickly.

    “I’ll…um…help me decide on a necklace later?” she asked, her voice shaking as she put the jewelry from her bed into the pouch.

    “Yes,” Obi-Wan answered, his voice breaking a bit.

    He stood in the same spot as she put the pouch into her larger pack. She turned abruptly and walked back to him.

    “I…I care for you, Obi-Wan. And…and…I feel…drawn to you…but…” she paused, wringing her hands again. “I’ve been alone long…and I have no people and…”

    “Dinner!” came another voice, this time a grown woman.

    “Kriff!” cursed Obi-Wan, and he shouted, “Yes, thank you!” He looked at Neah. “I understand…I…I’ve been alone as well.” He sighed. “Even when I’m with my brother. And my people. I am alone.”

    She nodded and took his hand. “Then we’ll see what happens.” She guided him from the house to the central fire.

    Obi-Wan could not answer. What he should do and what he longed to do deeply conflicted with one another. But knowing Neah felt a similar draw to him pleased him deeply, and he damned himself again for his weakening resolve. He wished to find Anakin, desperate to speak with someone over these conflicting feelings, as he certainly felt the opposite from the first line of the Jedi Code: There is no emotion, there is peace. Whoever first uttered these words obviously never met Neah.

    Far away, Anakin breathed deeply, tasting the salt in the air. They neared the coastline, and he felt curious about seeing the ocean. Furthermore, Zolti’s ship sat hidden in a cave, and the more Anakin spoke with the pilot, the more excited he became about seeing a vintage galactic yacht from a millennium ago, in prime condition.

    Over the past several days journey, Zolti and Anakin formed a comfortable friendship, first talking about starships before breaching more personal topics such as work and family. Still, their conversation always returned to mechanics, both men quite the enthusiasts, and Anakin now formulated a plan based on Zolti’s descriptions on what he wanted to do to get a ship up and flying. He planned to survey the damage to the Sith yacht, full of fuel but unable to fly, then poach engine parts from his and Obi-Wan’s transport, empty, but with a working mechanism.

    Plus, Anakin didn’t care about the transport, one of about several thousand in the galaxy. To fly a vintage luxury yacht home…now that sounded more like it. Padme, who herself owned a top of the line elegant ship, would be impressed. According to Zolti, Lord Kaan purchased the ship brand new, added luxury features and weaponry, and only used it for transportation, never battle or even hosting other Sith Lords. The ship, Tenebris, sat in mint condition, except for the damaged engine, waiting for Anakin to arrive and fix her.

    The two finally came to a tall cliff overlooking the vast sea, the sky clear above them, but a huge thunderhead off shore, seeming to head their direction.

    “Tenebris is actually in a cave directly underneath us,” Zolti said. “The climb down is not bad. Should be easy for a Jedi.”

    Anakin laughed softly, then stopped. A tingling in the Force seemed to emit through the ground. The Dark Side. He shuddered. Over the past few days, he simply thought of the ship as simply that, a starship. But now the reality he would be entering the personal yacht of a long-dead, powerful Sith Lord hit him. Anakin already teetered dangerously close to the Dark Side. Would entering Tenebris affect him further?

    Shrugging off the abstract feeling of foreboding, he followed Zolti down a steep path toward the cave housing the yacht.

    Author’s Note: Next time, Anakin enters an ancient (but slightly brand new) Sith yacht. Also, Neah performs her new song, with an unexpected reaction from Obi-Wan.

    Thank you for reading!
     
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  19. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    This is really interesting; I'm very curious to find out what's driving Obi-Wan's reaction to this mysterious world. My first thought was some kind of deliberate influence (which still seems plausible -- there's even a Sith artifact of sorts nearby. [face_thinking]). But at the same time, so much of what he shows here seems like it's coming from his own doubts and emotions that he doesn't usually acknowledge. Whatever this is, it seems to be blunting some of his practiced mental boundaries. I like that one gets the feeling that isn't a 100% negative thing, and yet it's troubling at the same time. The Obi-Wan who seems drawn to stay and experience this other galaxy, and even build a relationship with Neah, isn't quite himself in all ways. Or is he?

    And I'm curious to see what Anakin's adventures will lead to as well. He's much more focused and seems unaffected by whatever's got its hooks into Obi-Wan. On the other hand, even he is aware that he's not entirely immune to dark side influences, which are apparently around somewhere. Unless that Sith ship is entirely harmless... seems unlikely. :p In any case, it'll be interesting to see what happens when he and Obi-Wan find each other again. (Though I have to wonder if there's someone/something that very much doesn't want that to happen.)

    [hl=black] So, this other galaxy seems a little familiar. ;) Possibly the whole "a long time ago" bit of the Galaxy Far Far Away applies here?[/hl]
     
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  20. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I've been enjoying writing this little story and having a lot of fun with the next chapter, with Anakin in the Sith ship. Using this particular setting and time period has also been great, one of my favorites to learn about. Not sure how this all came together in my head (a little odd, I know), but I'm glad it did because it's allowing me to work on my prose.

    Thank you very much again! New chapter posted soon. Take care!
     
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  21. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Eleven

    Tenebris


    Anakin followed Zolti down the cliff side path, finally arriving at the cave housing the Sith ship, Tenebris. Solar panels stood at the entrance to the cave, and the duo carefully moved past them, side-stepping the generators Zolti set up before leaving to explore months ago.

    “I’m impressed you got the ship in here,” Anakin said, also appraising Zolti’s resourceful solar power set up. “That’s quite a narrow opening.”

    “With the engine struggling, it was rough,” Zolti said. “But I’m Lord Kaan’s personal pilot for a reason.” He stopped, looking thoughtful. “Or, I was. I suppose…hmmm.”

    Anakin patted him on the back, trying to distract himself by consoling Zolti when his whole being felt the Dark Side call to him.

    Zolti shook his head. “Well, let’s get some light.” He walked over to a nearby generator and entered a code on the keypad on top. The entire cave flooded with light. Anakin gasped, forgetting for the moment the pull of the Dark Side.

    Tenebris stood before him, a gorgeous vintage yacht of shimmering black. The outer hull appeared triangular, the entire ship looking like a pointed, aerodynamic, asymmetrical pyramid.

    Zolti sighed lovingly. He turned to Anakin, his face lit up in a joy only another gear head would understand. “The black shimmer could allow for some cloaking, a sort or mirroring, handy for a Sith in Jedi space.” He sighed again. “She’s a beauty.”

    “Oh yes,” Anakin breathed, recalling a ship show on Corellia he attended with Padme months ago, her humoring him as he ran from display to display. The exhibitors showed ancient ships, but nothing in this sort of condition.

    “Wanna see inside? The cockpit has all the latest comforts and tech,” Zolti said, entering another code into a side panel, the ramp coming down. Zolti then laughed. “Well, the latest for 1,000 years ago, I suppose. But come inside.”

    Anakin happily followed Zolti inside, embracing the moment with a fellow enthusiast, forgetting the fact he entered the lair of a very powerful ancient Sith Lord.

    Using the solar power stores, Zolti brought power to the ship, turning on the lights, heat, and other comfort systems.

    “But do your business on the ledge outside,” he said, turning to look sternly at Anakin. “I’m not cleaning the ‘freshers if I don’t have to.”

    “There’s more than one?”

    “Three large cabins, each with a ‘fresher,” Zolti explained, walking Anakin down the hall. “Although one is more of a library. The other two bedrooms, one mine, the other Kaan’s. And we have the galley and the great room.” They stopped in the kitchen, Anakin seeing rations in boxes upon the floor. Zolti pointed up. “And those stairs lead to the turboblasters. Fully loaded. Never used. We stay cloaked.”

    Anakin looked around the room, immediately noticing the elaborate decorations, from small wall tapestries to sculptures, attached to pedestals fixed to the ship in order to avoid an accident during dangerous travel.

    Anakin’s gaze fell on one sculpture in particular, a stone carving of human head, the forehead elongated, the eyes missing, and the mouth open in a fanged sneer. Walking over to the piece, Anakin’s eyes narrowed. Something felt familiar about the sculpture.

    “Come on!” Zolti said, sounding almost childlike in his excitement. “I cannot wait to show you the cockpit.”

    After the tour, Zolti led Anakin to Kaan’s private cabin. “You can stay in here. You’ll need to make up the bed, but it’s comfortable.” He stretched and yawned. “Get settled and let me know when you are ready to look at the engine.” Zolti disappeared into his own cabin, directly across from Kaan’s.

    Anakin felt the Dark Side shimmer in the air again. Taking a deep breath, he turned on the lights in Kaan’s cabin, realizing he held his breath as he did so. He let out the air in a little chuckle to himself when he saw the space. Did he expect to see a cloaked Sith Lord standing there, ready to fight? He simply found a bedroom.

    Walking in, Anakin placed his pack on the floor, detaching his antler from the ties and putting them on top of a chest of drawers. Opening the drawers, expecting to find all manner of weaponry, he simply found robes in various shades of brown and black. The small closet revealed linens, made of fine fabrics, soft to touch. Anakin eagerly removed sheets and blankets, throwing them onto the mattress. After sleeping out in the cold, on the ground, for several nights, a bed sounded amazing.

    Nightstands stood on either side of the bed, and Anakin opened the drawers, on one side finding an ancient data pad, battery long dead, no charger present. In the other drawer, something far more interesting: a framed holopic. The picture showed several humans together, all smiling. Men, women, old, young…they all looked out at Anakin with expressions of joy. Curious thing to find beside the bed of a Sith. Or was it? Sitting on the floor and looking around, the walls decorated in art similar to the great room, Anakin realized he didn’t know too much about the Sith, truth be told, other than they were evil.

    Hearing Zolti bustle around in his own cabin, whistling some long forgotten tune, Anakin moved quietly to the library. Several comfortable chairs sat around, a sabacc table at center. But the shelves caught Anakin’s attention.

    “How in the world?” he gasped, approaching one shelf and pulling off a book, a real paper book, very ancient, even for this preserved ship. Thumbing carefully through the pages, he found the thick paper bound by some form of hide, the pages elegantly decorated with bright colors, written in a language he could not read.

    He paused in his perusal, feeling a deep sense of recognition again. One page held elegantly drawn symbols that seemed very familiar to him. Holding the book, he walked over to Zolti’s comfortable, yet sparse cabin.

    “Hey Zolti?” he asked, the man looking up from his unpacking. “What language is this?”

    “Sith,” Zolti said, raising an eyebrow. “They don’t teach you that at the Jedi Temple?”

    Anakin laughed. “Can you read it?”

    “Anakin, I’m a pilot, not a scholar of archaic languages.”

    Retreating to the library, Anakin put the book back on the shelf next to other texts and ancient data devices. A low humming brought his eyes to a small cabinet mounted on the wall. Opening the small doors, he took a wobbly step back, feeling the Force almost knock him on his back.

    The cabinet consisted of three small shelves, each with five holocrons. Fifteen Sith and Jedi holocrons sat in front of him, a few shaking and glowing as if eagerly awaiting his touch.

    “Oh…stang,” Anakin said under his breath, trying with all his might to keep his hands at his sides, not to reach out to grab the small cubes. He knew accessing any of them to be dangerous for him; someone in the Temple archives should take them.

    His hand rose without his consent, reaching forward, and he slapped it away with his other hand, knowing he looked foolish, but needing control. If only Obi-Wan were here now. What would he do?

    “That one!”

    Anakin leaped, startled by the sudden presence of Zolti at his side. His blood boiled, and he felt the desire to hurt Zolti, to strike him down. Anakin could feel his hand rising again, this time toward his friend.

    “Stop!” Anakin screamed, forcing himself away, falling into the chair by the card table, putting his head in his hands.

    A few moments later, he felt Zolti’s hand on his shoulder.

    “Anakin…I…I didn’t mean to startle you. Sorry,” Zolti said hesitantly.

    “Please…please close that cabinet,” Anakin whispered, embarrassed by his outburst.

    Obi-Wan, I need you, he thought desperately.

    “I was only pointing out one that Lord Kaan was able to project for me,” Zolti said, Anakin hearing him close the doors. “The Sith Lord who made it fancied himself a comedian. It’s a holocron of just jokes. Some funny. Some so bad they’re funny. Some just bad.”

    Anakin raised his head. “A comedian Sith?” The thought seemed ridiculous. Weren’t Sith always plotting some evil? “What about the others?”

    “I don’t know. That’s the only one my Lord could actually project for me to see. Sometimes he would bring them out, and a small projection would appear only he could hear. Or sometimes he’d go into a trance. I suppose you might be able to access them…with the Force and all…”

    “No!” shouted Anakin, leaping up and exiting the room. “Please show me the engine.” He turned to see Zolti moving hesitantly from the library, eyeing the Jedi carefully.

    “Okay, this way,” Zolti said quietly, and Anakin followed.

    After about an hour together assessing the damage to the engine, including the hyperdrive, Zolti slipped quietly away, leaving Anakin to make lists of items needed from the transport. Yes, the hyperdrive would definitely need replacement, but he could figure out a way to bring together the two ships to make this one fly.

    Swinging down off the outer hull of the ship, he stretched, his back a bit aching from the crouched position. A loud rumble sounded, and Anakin looked toward the entrance of the cave, seeing the offshore thunderstorm finally made landfall.

    “Jedi!” came Zolti’s voice. “Got some rations heated up. Want some dinner?”

    Anakin and Zolti sat quietly at the little dining table, the pilot continuing to eye Anakin from time to time. Anakin finally put down his utensil.

    “Zolti, I’m really sorry about earlier,” he said, feeling his embarrassment rise again.

    Zolti looked up at him, his deep eyebrows furrowed in concern. “Just…just don’t go crazy on me. Please. I’ve seen what some of you Force users can do and…”

    “I’ve been tempted by the Dark Side, many times over the past few years. And…and I…may have…” he couldn’t finish the sentence, the images of the Sand People filling his mind again. But somehow, admitting his temptations felt good, made him relieved.

    “I’ll lock the cabinet,” Zolti said. “Hide the key. And we’ll be leaving in a day or two anyway.”

    “Thank you,” Anakin said meekly, hating the feeling of weakness and at the same time suddenly realizing Zolti might understand him far more than Obi-Wan, Yoda, or even Padme. Picking up his utensil again, his eye became drawn to the strange fanged bust he noticed earlier. “What is that a sculpture of anyway?”

    Zolti followed his gaze. “That guy? Creepy, huh? Kaan told me it is one of a set of two, the pair flanking the doorway to an ancient Sith tomb discovered hundreds of years ago. Kaan always searches for the companion whenever we come across an art show or antique dealer. Haven’t found it yet. Hope we don’t.” He paused. “Or…I wonder if he ever did and was frustrated he lost this one.” Zolti grew quiet, looking introspective as he ate.

    Anakin found himself eating and staring at the sculpture, the toothy grin and strange familiarity with the object unsettling him more and more.

    Elsewhere, Obi-Wan took a seat at the back of the assembly around the central fire. Everyone gathered facing Neah, who sat conversing and laughing with a group of women as everyone got settled. Shortly, she would begin her performance.

    Earlier that day, the wayward hunting party arrived back, a group of ten young and middle-aged men and women. They carried small game and unfinished furs with them along with exciting news: a mammoth herd headed toward the area of the tribe. A new hunting party would be formed in a few days to take one down. Neah explained to Obi-Wan that the creatures were so large, and the people used most of the animal, that communities sought to kill a mammoth near to home in order to salvage as much of the beast as possible. Obi-Wan could feel the anticipation ripple through the tribe.

    Now another excitement buzzed around him as everyone waited for the entire community to be there for Neah’s performance. The village consisted of several dozen people, and many waved to Obi-Wan as they arrived, the Jedi still a curiosity. But Obi-Wan found himself gazing at Neah, both proud of her for causing such excitement and a little nervous as well.

    He’d spent the afternoon with her in the guest home as she prepared, going through three different clothing and jewelry changes, practicing her numbers (an old favorite of this particular tribe as well as five new songs telling of neighboring communities from the sea to the plains), and pacing around wringing her hands and fiddling with her hair nervously. When Obi-Wan finally got her to sit down, he taught her a meditation technique he learned as a youngling, and the two sat in a comfortable silence for some time before she left to go to the performance space.

    Now she looked at ease, although he could see her anxiety still by the way she drummed her fingers on her knees. But no one else noticed except himself, and he realized suddenly of all the people present, he knew Neah best. He’d become her confidante, her friend and she his. He’d been wrestling with these feelings throughout their week with these people, especially since the incident with Akule when he failed to mention Neah had no mate. He’d become possessive of her to the point he now felt great pride in seeing her onstage now. He knew these to be natural responses to attachment, particularly of the romantic kind, but very un-Jedi, very un-Obi-Wan, who’d always been the model Jedi, the poster boy, as Anakin once put it in his smart ass tone, for the Jedi Order.

    Yes, the poster boy, who now questioned his own role as a Jedi. He hadn’t much when he’d been in his home galaxy, so wrapped up in his work, in defending the Republic. But now, so far from home, he realized he might not be that person he built himself into all those years. No…he may not want to be that person. Not anymore. Obi-Wan realized a few days ago he’d been given the chance to live another life, and he found he rather enjoyed it.

    He never knew anything other than the Jedi, and he embraced that existence. But the moment he and Anakin got swept away, something felt different within him, and he now questioned everything he ever knew, ever did. Furthermore, he’d been instantly taken by this place. And when they arrived on this world, he’d felt enchanted, like he belonged here somehow. Why? He remembered he’d been the one to tell Anakin where to land, to this location. Why choose here and not the equator or one of the other large land masses?

    And to add to these mysteries, he wondered about Anakin. Was he alone or had he found people as well? And the dark-skinned, Basic-speaking stranger who killed the wolf? How did he fit into all this?

    Obi-Wan quickly put these thoughts to the back of his mind as a hush fell upon the crowd. Neah stood at center and looked up at him. He smiled broadly at her and nodded. She grinned at him, which knocked the breath from his lungs, and turned to the audience. She began with her first song, the tale of a small community to the east, driven from their land by a forest fire only to find a more prosperous valley elsewhere. Obi-Wan heard this song several times before, but listening now, amongst an audience reacting to her words and gestures, felt like he heard it for the first time. He only tore his eyes away from her to watch the reactions of others, everyone avidly listening the woman below. His woman, his Neah.

    Her voice alone filled the night, the melody dancing on the air, her words floating above the people and into the sky. Obi-Wan imagined her voice drifting through time and space, traveling great distances. Such fancy, but listening to the songs made him feel a bit dreamy and whimsical.

    The entire performance of six histories took nearly an hour, and when finished, Neah bowed quickly and sat, taking a drink of water. The audience stood and cheered loudly, to which Neah rose and bowed again, Obi-Wan seeing her cheeks a bit red from the attention. While many people got up to head back to their homes for the evening, several went to speak to Neah, the crowd slowly dissipating. Finally, she stood alone, watching the fire in contemplation as he rose and approached her.

    She turned to him, smiling, speaking quickly in her excitement. “I thought it went well, don’t you? I made that verse error during the second song. I should have done the chorus but jumped right into the third verse. And then I lost my beat for a moment in the story of the stag hunt. I really need to work on the transitions in that one. But it came off…” She paused, Obi-Wan realizing they now stood face-to-face. She looked up at him, her eyes widening.

    This time, Obi-Wan did not hesitate. Leaning down, he pressed his lips against hers, his right hand cupping her cheek, his left falling to her waist. The kiss simple, he felt her lips press back, and he closed his eyes, allowing his other senses to take over. Her familiar scent filled him, of trees, of the forest, and he heard her sigh softly, opening her mouth a little, deepening their kiss. She tasted wonderful, of the spicy root so popular to chew upon here after mealtimes. And her hair, which he allowed his fingers to glide through now, soft, silky.

    Realizing suddenly he hadn’t made a plan for breathing before diving in for a kiss, he pulled away slowly, now looking into her eyes, seeing a bit of his own reflection in the deep brown color lit by the nearby fire. She’d placed both her hands on his shoulders during their kiss, and they now stood with their bodies against one another, pressed together in the chilly evening air.

    “Obi-Wan,” she said softly, regarding him in wonder.

    “Neah,” he breathed, feeling as if saying her name for the first time. His whole body felt aflame, but not with guilt or anxiety over the Jedi Code. No, this felt right, in every sense of the word. And the Force embraced him now in a way he never felt before. He could feel it all around him, pressing into him, shining from within him, surrounding him completely. Surrounding him and Neah.

    At that moment, he knew without a doubt the answer to one of the mysteries of his and Anakin’s journey. He’d chosen this place on this world to find Neah. He knew it, felt it in himself and in the Force.

    Now as to why he needed to find Neah, he didn’t care to question at the moment. He simply leaned down and kissed her again.

    Author’s Note: What does this kiss mean for Obi-Wan? Should he abandon the Jedi way and embrace this new life fully?
    In the next chapter, Anakin makes a shocking discovery that shifts his perspective on a dear friend.

    I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. Take care!
     
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  22. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Like this story. Eagerly awaiting the next chapter.
     
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  23. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010

    Thank you so much! Working on the next chapter now. Take care!
     
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  24. DarthMarly

    DarthMarly Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    May 10, 2010
    Chapter Twelve

    Art


    Obi-Wan lay in the dark, wide awake, the fire slowly fading beside him. Neah lie in her own bed across the room in the guest home, and Obi-Wan could sense her awake as well.

    Following their kiss by the fire after the performance…well, multiple kisses, truth be told…they’d been interrupted by one of the tribal elders, Tama, inviting them for a treat before bed, some sweet cakes that tasted like they could have come from the finest bakery on Coruscant. Another two hours of conversation followed, Neah promising to teach a few in-community storytellers her songs before moving on to the next village.

    The couple came back to the guest house, Obi-Wan’s sleepiness after the sweet cakes suddenly gone, his senses on high alert, wondering what would happen now that they kissed. But they quietly got ready to sleep, as they had the past several evenings, and silence followed.

    Obi-Wan had no idea what to do next. The moment he kissed her, the Force spoke to him, told him he’d taken the right path, that he belonged here, on this world, with Neah. Did that mean he and Anakin were stuck here, and they needed to make lives for themselves in this strange place? What exactly did that entail? Where was Anakin? And what came next for him and Neah?

    Damning his lack of knowledge of romantic protocol, he shifted in his bed, sighing in frustration.

    “Obi-Wan?” Neah said softly in the dark.

    “Yes?” he answered, his mouth suddenly dry. His body lit up again, wanting to close the distance between them, move over and crawl under her furs, into her bed. But he was no scoundrel; he’d always prided himself a gentleman.

    “You kissed me,” she said plainly, Obi-Wan wishing he could see her face.

    “Well, um…you kissed me back,” he said defensively.

    Neah let out a delighted laugh. “Yes, I did.” She grew quiet again. “I’ve wanted to kiss you for a while,” she said finally. “I like you, Obi-Wan. I feel…close to you. My heart, my body, my mind.”

    Obi-Wan’s own heart began to beat quickly. Should he get up and move over to her?

    “I know you are looking for your brother…and you want to return to your home, to beyond, but…” she hesitated.

    “Yes?” he said, hearing the eagerness in his own voice.

    “Maybe…you would like to travel with me…for a bit…maybe,” she said, then continued quickly. “Or maybe…maybe not. I’m…you…”

    Hearing her hesitance, her nervousness, made Obi-Wan feel better. They both seemed to be quite new at this, both novices at ages where they should know better. Obi-Wan felt comforted by this, his apprehensions leaving him…for the most part.

    “I would love to travel with you, Neah. Be your companion,” he said. “I must admit though, I am new to this…this…” He did not know how to say romance in her language, so he finished in Basic. “I am not skilled in romance. This is a new experience for me.”

    “Me too,” she answered in her language.

    At this, Obi-Wan sat up, finally seeing her in the dimming fire light, lying on her back across the room.

    “How did you know what I said? I spoke in the language of my home,” he said.

    She sat up as well, her hair falling messily about her face. “No you didn’t. I understood you completely.”

    Obi-Wan stared at her, puzzled. She finally smiled and lie back down on her side, facing him.

    “I see the singers early tomorrow, but we can meet midday for a walk,” she said.

    Obi-Wan snuggled back down, facing her as well, drowsily watching as she fell asleep. That was the second time she understood his Basic, he knew it. Or maybe more, and he hadn’t realized. Shifting to lie on his back again, he puzzled this over before again pondering the new change in their relationship.

    The next day, he awoke to an empty room, Neah having left early. Rain pounded on the wooden roof of the house, and Obi-Wan lazily lounged for a bit, listening to the pattering, thinking of Neah’s lips against his. Realizing his daydreaming started to intrude on a productive day, Obi-Wan got dressed and emerged, ready to head to the river to work with the fishermen.

    Pulling up the hood of the hide and fur jacket he wore, he passed through the homes of the village, Tama coming out of a nearby hut.

    “Obi-Wan,” she called to him, beckoning him into the home. “Don’t bother heading to the fishing waters. The river is very rough today from the storm that came from the coast. All the fisherman returned an hour ago.”

    An hour ago? Obi-Wan glanced at the gray skies, trying to get some indication from the sun as to how long he slept in. Lulling the morning away in pleasant thoughts of a woman. Anakin would surely find a lot to tease Obi-Wan about…if they were reunited.

    “Here, my child,” Tama said, gesturing to a bench and handing him a cup of steaming seeped herbs, pleasant and warm after being in the wind and rain.

    “Thank you,” Obi-Wan said, taking a sip.

    “I am so pleased to see Neah with such a kind and hard-working man. She is very deserving of love and care, and I have often worried about her, out in the world alone,” Tama said, sipping her own drink.

    “I…um…Neah is…yes…wonderful,” he bumbled, then took another drink. He imagined Qui-Gon rolling his eyes and putting his forehead in his palm at his former apprentice’s lack of elegance and tact.

    “I would like to extend an invitation to you and Neah, for you to become a part of our tribe. I have heard much from the fishermen about your efficiency and endurance. And Neah would bring much prestige to our community,” Tama continued, smiling warmly at Obi-Wan. Her whole manner reminded him of Yoda, the wise and compassionate sage.

    “I…we deeply appreciate the invitation,” Obi-Wan said, a little shocked that images of himself and Neah, living out their lives in this valley by the river, began to roll like a holoshow through his head. Days on the river fishing, nights in their home, lying together as rain fell on the roof. This all sounded so pleasant, especially after years of fighting and trying, often failing, to keep peace for the Republic. To be just a man, with a woman, on this world far, far away from anywhere.

    “Of course you need to speak with your mate,” Tama said. “And no rush. You may stay as long as you need.” She winked. “But hopefully forever. I would love to see what you and Neah’s children would look like.”

    Children?! Obi-Wan must have given her quite the look because she laughed.

    “Neah said she is working on a song about you, your home and time as a warrior,” Tama said. “Can you tell me a bit about the Beyond?”

    Obi-Wan visited with Tama for quite some time before emerging to seek out Neah. By now, the rain had stopped, the occasional shower passing through. People with outdoor work began to go about their usual duties, everyone greeting Obi-Wan as he passed, one group of women finally pointing him in the direction of Neah.

    He found her near the river, a ways down from the fishing spot, alone and singing. Obi-Wan immediately knew she performed something new, as he hadn’t heard this melody yet. She sat nestled in between several large boulders, which he’d seen from afar but hadn’t approached, and she obviously chose the spot for the seclusion. Hoping not to interrupt her newest song, he
    crept up slowly.

    Her familiar voice rose from the rocks:
    Obi-Wan from Beyond, from far away
    Knocked about by the river, from his brother torn away
    Pale of skin, hair like the sun
    His blue eyes speak of journeys begun
    A warrior to his people, a savior of man
    He…ahhhhh!

    She stopped her song, shaking her head, then picked up a stick and began beating a rhythm on a nearby stone. Obi-Wan watched this process before as she prepared for her performances, and he marveled as she began to hum an entirely new melody to the beat she created, something he never heard before. Having always been a warrior, a Jedi Knight turned Master, he never ventured into the arts, but hearing her process fascinated him.

    And she sung about him! Obi-Wan felt his heart swell. While he knew he helped many people over the years, he always considered himself in the background, unnoticed except by his close friends and the Council. Particularly when Anakin came around and he became the teacher to the Chosen One. Anakin, with his natural gifts, was simply far more interesting than Obi-Wan, and the Jedi Master was happy to remain in the shadows, the general who led his troops then retreated from glory.

    Now someone wrote song specifically for him, paid attention to him, was interested in him. And such a person! Neah, trekking through the world on her own, braving the wilderness to bring knowledge to others. A songstress, an artist, a beautiful woodland maiden enchanting the warrior Obi-Wan with song.

    Obi-Wan shook his head, knocking that ridiculous romantic fantasy out of his mind. That sounded like something from a cheesy holodrama! And Obi-Wan was anything but a hopeless romantic!

    “How long have you been there?” Neah said angrily, now standing in front of him, the place he froze by the boulders. Goodness, had he just been standing there like some fool?

    “I um…I like my song,” he stammered.

    “You are not supposed to hear it until it is done,” she said firmly. “And it’s terrible right now! I’m so embarrassed. How could you…why are you smiling?”

    “Nobody ever sang about me. I’m…flattered.”

    Neah shook her head, her anger gone. “But it…well, it just doesn’t flow nicely yet. I need a melody first I think.”

    “I want to compose a song for you,” Obi-Wan said suddenly, then realizing what he just implied.

    She raised her eyebrows in what he now knew to be her expectant expression. He cleared his throat and sang:
    Neah, her hair black like the night, voice like a bird
    Brave and beautiful and…um…I don’t know many a word?

    They both burst out laughing, and Neah stepped up to Obi-Wan, wrapping her arms around his neck, her fingers sliding up into his hair.

    “Obi-Wan, my bear,” she said, kissing him full on the mouth.

    Bolder than the night before, Obi-Wan pulled her close and opened his mouth, their kiss deep, exciting, satisfying. Everything. He lost track of time until she pulled away, still holding onto him.

    “Would you like to go on the mammoth hunt?” she asked.

    “Huh?” asked Obi-Wan, his mind still with the kiss.

    “I am staying with this community until the mammoth hunt, then…”

    “Oh yes!” Obi-Wan said, pulling her over to a stone to sit. He told her about Tama’s invitation to stay.

    Neah looked thoughtful. “I would like to settle down with a community…and this valley is one of my favorites.” She gave him a sly look. “Still my pretend mate, huh?” He felt himself
    reddening, but before he could respond, she continued. “I am due to the tribe along the shore, where this river meets the sea, following here. But after that, I have no obligations.” She laughed.
    “They only want us here because we would add variety. You are a bit of a novelty.”

    Obi-Wan nodded. “Yes, it’s natural to seek out genetic variety.”

    Neah looked at him puzzled. “Genetic variety?” she repeated his Basic.

    “Different blood…in the families,” he explained, then remembered Tama’s comments about children and could feel himself blushing again. But isn’t this what the Force wanted of him?

    Neah entwined her hand with his and leaned her head on his shoulder. “Hmmm…well, let’s just worry about the mammoth hunt for now.”

    Obi-Wan leaned his cheek on the top of her head and brought her hand up to his lips as another rain shower began to fall.

    Later that evening, Anakin prepared to sleep his second night in Lord Kaan’s cabin. He and Zolti spent a productive day getting ready for the impending repairs to the Tenebris, and the two men would be heading back to Anakin’s transport in the morning, what would be a several day journey on foot. Still, Zolti owned a fully charged float cart they would use to haul back the hyperdrive and other replacement pieces.

    Sighing heavily, Anakin shut off the lights and put his head on the pillow, willing himself to dream of Padme, hoping not much time passed, but fearing the worst. Two years for Zolti, a thousand in their home galaxy? This did not bode well for Anakin.

    “Padme,” he whispered as he drifted away, asking the Force to send her to his dreams.

    Instead, Chancellor Palpatine’s face greeted him from across the table in his office near the Senate.

    “I must say, Anakin,” the man said in a jovial tone, one of his assistants pouring cups of caf, another setting out a plate of delicious looking pastries. “I am so proud of you.”

    “Thank you, sir,” Anakin said, and he suddenly realized this dream was a memory, the time he’d been invited to have caf with the Chancellor after becoming a Jedi Knight.

    “I am so sorry about your hand. But I do trust the surgeons fixed you up nicely,” Palpatine continued.

    “Yes. I think I will just need to get used to it, that’s all,” Anakin said, holding his mug up in a silent toast with the Chancellor.

    As he drank, his eyes drifted to a stone tablet hanging near the entrance to the office. Words in a language he did not recognize etched in stone, looking to be taken off the side of some ancient temple. But the Chancellor did have a love of art…

    “I remember,” Palpatine said, leaning back in his seat and smiling warmly at Anakin. “I remember when I first met you, Anakin. A boy removed from slavery, becoming a Jedi Knight.” He sighed, sipped his caf, then continued. “Such power, my boy. And such a victory for you. And you know the old saying, through victory, your chains will be broken.” He raised his mug in another toast. “The Force is with you, Anakin. And the Force freed you.”

    The image froze, Anakin suddenly breathless. His vision refocused to the sculpture behind the Chancellor. A stone bust of a head, the forehead elongated, eyes bulbous, eyebrows drawn down as if angry, no mouth.

    He refocused on the frozen Palpatine. No…it couldn’t be…impossible…but…

    Anakin awoke and leaped from the bed, running from the room for the library. Grabbing the book he’d seen the day before, the passages in ancient Sith, he found the page that seemed so familiar. Yes, yes, the words in the carving by the Chancellor’s office door.

    Throwing the book onto the sabaac table, Anakin rushed toward the galley. He stared at the statue, the bust with no eyes and the fanged smile. Zolti said this was one of a pair that guarded the doors to an ancient Sith tomb…and Anakin had seen the mate to this stature.

    Anakin’s stomach became a mess of knots and nausea threatened. He dashed to Zolti’s cabin, throwing open the door and turning on the lights.

    “Palpatine!” he shouted, Zolti sitting up, startled.

    “What the kriff, Anakin!” Zolti shouted. “What in the name of all that is…”

    “Do you know the Sith Code?”

    “What?”

    “Ths Sith Code? Do you know it?”

    Zolti looked sleepy and confused, but he sighed heavily. “Yeah, I think I remember it. Had a sort of repetition to it.”

    “Please recite it,” Anakin said, desperate, wishing Zolti understood.

    Zolti took a deep breathe. “Peace is a lie. There is only passion. Hmmm…then…ah yes. Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory…”

    “My chains will be broken,” Anakin said, his voice brittle. Oh no…

    “Yes! Very good. Nice work, Anakin. Now good night,” Zolti said, beginning to lie back down.

    “Palpatine! The Chancellor! The head of the Senate! He’s the Sith Lord!”

    Zolti shook his head, yawned, and rubbed his eye with his palm. “Great. Shut off the light on the way out.”

    “You don’t understand! A Sith Lord is running the Republic!” Anakin cried.

    Suddenly, everything seemed so clear. The clone troopers, the war, the Jedi spread all over the galaxy, even the events on Naboo all those years ago. And now the artwork. Force help them all, Palpatine surrounded himself with Sith art. Everything made sense, everything pointed to Palpatine.

    “A Sith Lord as Chancellor?” chuckled Zolti. “My, Lord Kaan would be pleased indeed.”

    “This is not funny!” hissed Anakin, dashing toward Zolti, who suddenly appeared wide awake and slightly fearful. Anakin froze, himself frightened by his sudden reaction. Of course Zolti would have a different point of view. Calm down, Anakin. “Sorry…but we need to get back…now!”

    Zolti stared at Anakin with concern, then shrugged. “We leave in the morning. Travel at night is difficult and dangerous. And who knows, the man might already be dead. Sith are good at self-destruction.” He moved to lay back down. “You should try not to worry. There is nothing you can do that we are not already doing.”

    Knowing he’d been dismissed, and he’d been rather callous and demanding to Zolti to begin with, Anakin retreated from Zolti’s cabin and shut the door. Pacing up and down the hall, he knew he would never get back to sleep. He imagined Padme, at one of her meetings with the Chancellor, sitting right between Senator Organa and a Sith Lord. He needed to find Obi-Wan. Goodness, what would he think?

    He finally found himself back in the galley, glaring at the Sith stature, his stomach churning, his mind throbbing with darkness, wondering how he and the rest of the Jedi, even Master Yoda, had been duped all these years.

    Author’s Note: In the next chapter, Obi-Wan hunts for mammoth and learns to woo a lady, and Anakin and Zolti scavenger for parts.
    Thank you for reading. Happy New Year!



     
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  25. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016