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Before - Legends (Mod challenge) Eternal Darkness

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by CaraJinn, May 30, 2018.

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  1. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Title: Eternal Darkness
    Era: Prequels
    Genre: Drama
    Characters: Tahl Uvain, Bant Eerin, Qui-Gon Jinn, OC
    Synopsis: During a mission to the planet Melida/Daan Jedi Master Tahl Uvain lose her sight. After being brought back to the Jedi Temple she has to learn to accept her new situation and deal with the everyday challenges.

    A/N: The story has been written as a result of the mod challenge "Representing the Underrepresented". Tahl and Bant are borrowed from the Jedi Apprentice series by Jude Watson, while Qui-Gon Jinn first appeared in The Phantom Menace (Lucasfilm). Healer Khalder Shan is my own invention, there's always need for a healer in a SW fanfic...

    ------------------

    Chapter 1: Eternal Darkness

    It was so kriffin' dark. It was not the same darkness she'd felt in that terrible prison cell on Melida/Daan. It was not dark as night, nor dark as being in a room without light. Where there previously had been light and nature and furniture and other living beings there was now a mass of…well…nothingness, varying from some kind of thick impenetrable fog and "dark as night" dark.

    It was weird. And depressing. She wanted to see. Now. And she couldn't.

    Tahl Uvain, Jedi Master, concluded that she didn't like her new status at all. She had managed to keep herself calm when she her eyes were wounded during the mission to Melida/Daan. Somehow she had hoped that the blindness would be only temporarily and that she with time would regain sight, that is - if she survived, and if she ever was to be released from imprisonment and if she ever managed to find her way back to the Jedi Temple of Coruscant.

    There had been a lot of 'if's'. The latter one had come true when she heard her friend Qui-Gon Jinn's voice and felt his arms around her and carrying her out from the prison cell. She didn't remember much after that. She'd felt the vibrations from engines in a ship and then the weird feeling when entering hyperspace, and then nothing more - until now.

    Carefully she let her palms slid over the covers of her bed. Fairly soft, standard temple bed sheets if she wasn't mistaken. The mattress was, well, not soft, but softer than the one in her previous accommodation, that was for sure. She'd never been one for resting on stone floors anyway.

    Her spirits lifted a bit, and her hands continued the exploration of the immediate environment. A couple of needles pierced her arm. Maybe not so good, or good - depending on one's point of view. That meant she was in some kind of medical care. Well, not extremely good, but…better than the prison cell. If she'd been into gambling she would have placed a couple of credits on the fact that she was back home.

    Her suspicions were confirmed when a well known voice greeted her from the door.

    "Good morning, Master Uvain."

    The calm, pleasant voice did definitely belong to Master Healer Shan, in the Jedi Temple's Healers' Wing.

    "Good morning, Master Shan," she returned.

    "How do you feel today?" his question came out with a certain undertone of concern, but definitely not worried.

    Good sign indeed. She hated it when even the healers were worried.

    "I'm fine - I think. And hungry," she added for good measure. The rations in the prison cell had not been exquisite, to say the least.

    "That's a good sign," the healer confirmed, "we've given you intravenous nourishment since you came in, but we may proceed to some thin soup today, and see if we can get you up and running soon again."

    "Since I came? How long have I been laying here?"

    "Three days now," the healer explained, "but for the first day we kept you sedated to let your system rest completely."

    "Oh…"

    The promised soup tasted wonderfully and after the meal (which she managed to eat without spilling any - mostly) she fell asleep again. When she woke, healer Shan was back in the room.

    "You have a visitor," he announced. "Master Jinn has been hovering around like a giant mother hen. A rather nervous one, actually. At last I had to throw him out from here, but now he's back. Do you want to see him…I mean…?"

    " 'See' is okay with me," Tahl ensured, feeling the healer's awkwardness by using that word in her presence through the Force. "Let him in."

    The door opened and closed again. She could hear footsteps approaching, heels clicking towards the tiled floor. She turned her head in the direction of the sound.

    "Qui-Gon?"

    "Tahl! How do you feel? I've been so worried about you."

    "So I heard. I know how much you like this place, and Healer Shan told me you've been around quite a bit."

    "I was worried," he repeated. "Are you feeling better?"

    "Compared to what?" she retorted dryly. "Yes, I do. Thank you. There is a huge difference between a decent mattress and the duracrete floor in my cell. And, I've had my first decent meal in ages!"

    She could feel a large calloused hand gripping her own. It felt warm and wonderfully safe.

    "Thanks for coming after me, Qui. I had prepared myself for dying in that awful place, but I'm glad I didn't have to."

    "My pleasure," he said, "you know I will always be there for you."

    "Even now? Even in my present condition? Master Shan hasn't said anything but I fear I will never be able to see again."

    "Even now," he confirmed softly, "and dont lose your hope. If Shan hasn't said anything, it's because he isn't sure."



    It was a short lived hope. It died a sudden death the following morning. After morning meal and after the med-droid had fulfilled it's duty and relieved Tahl from several milliliters of her blood, Healer Shan turned up again. She had learned to recognize his light footsteps by now.

    "Healer Shan?"

    "Good morning, Tahl, have you slept well?" Obviously he had thrown away the formalities now. Was that a good or bad sign?

    Silently he settled down on the high stool next to her bed.

    "There is something I have to tell you…"

    The words were uttered in the exact same moment as Tahl asked the question she had been worried about since she woke: "Master Shan, will I ever be…"

    Both of them stopped abruptly. Tahl was the first one to speak.

    "I have a feeling that you were about to answer my question. Will I ever be able to see again?"

    So, there it was. The words had been released. She embraced herself for the answer.

    "No," he said quietly, "you won't. We've done a lot of scans and tests while you were unconscious and they all indicate the same. Your optical nerve was damaged by the trauma and it's irreparable. I'm sorry, Tahl."

    "Not even bacta?" she whispered.

    "No, not even bacta. It can repair only so much. If you had been taken under proper medical care immediately after the damage was done, there is a fair chance that bacta might have repaired it, or at least reduced the damage, but as the situation is we have no cure. I'm sorry."

    "So am I," Tahl sighed with a sad smile, "would you mind leave me alone for a little while? This is much to digest, even though I feared this would be the answer."

    Silently he stood up and left the room and for the first time in years Tahl Uvain cried.

    Finding a tissue paper when you can't see isn't exactly easy, she finally concluded and decided to wipe her eyes with her sleeve instead.

    Is this my future from now? Am I to stumble and fumble whenever I'm going to do something? Even something as easy as wiping my nose - or eyes? I object. I refuse! I am not going to let this win over me. For Force's sake, I'm a jedi. We're trained to use our senses and the Force. I am going to learn how to live with this whatever it takes.

    In a final determined swipe with the sleeve the last tear was removed, and she sat up in the bed just as the door opened and Qui-Gon burst in.

    "Tahl! What's wrong? You've been crying. What's happened?"

    She almost had to smile by the anxious undertone in his voice.

    "Nothing particular, apart from Healer Shan told me that I never will see again," she sighed, her voice still slightly trembling, but with a hint of determination.

    "What? How can they know?" If the situation hadn't been so somber, the astonishment in Qui-Gon's voice would have been comic. "I'm sure there must be a specialist who can help you."

    She shook her head and raised her chin. "No. There isn't. He said that they had done several scans and tests. My optical nerve is too damaged. I just have to learn to live with it. I will learn to live with it."

    "But…"

    "No, Qui. No, buts. I will learn to live with this, and don't pity me. Whatever you do, don't do that. I need encouragement, I may even need some help until I adapt, but I don't need your pity. It will be hard enough to accept it and release my feelings into the Force without you clucking around like a mother hen."

    "I'm not clucking!" Qui-Gon's indignation shone clearly through his voice.

    "You were about to do it. That's nearly as bad."

    Then, with a softer voice she added: "I really appreciate your concern, Qui, but since this is going to be my life from now on, I intend to adapt the best I can. And for doing that I need support until I learn to handle things on my own."

    He nodded, and immediately realized his mistake.

    "Yes, ma'am," he sighed.

    ….

    The next day she was allowed to try to stand up. The needles were removed from her arm and Healer Shan was present when she carefully set her bare feet on the floor. During her captivity she had tried to keep her body in shape as good as possible in case a chance for escape should turn up so she realized that her legs actually were able to carry her weight. She was just a little wobbly,

    "Take my arm and walk around the room," Shan offered.

    "Thanks," she said, and immediately punched his ribs.

    "Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't see your arm."

    "My failure, I should have guided your arm," he corrected kindly.

    Walking was easy, at least as long as she had the healer's supporting arm. They made a full circle in the room and returned to the bedside.

    "Good," Healer Shan concluded. "Now you may try to take some steps without me. I will be here all the time. There is open space in the direction perpendicular to your bed so there's nothing you can stumble in."

    Tahl nodded in silent agreement. She would have to learn to move on her own, so she had better start practicing now.

    "One, two, three, four, five…" she counted. If she weren't to hit her knees or shins in the bed when she returned she'd better find a way to control the distance. She could walk all right but she felt slightly…unstable, as if her body was trying to pull her to one or the other side. Weird. She turned around and began her short detour."

    "One, two, three, four, fi…ow! What was that?" carefully she felt in front of her and the square corners of the bed stand could easily be recognized. Force, the little toe she had stubbed in one of the bed stand's foot hurt.

    Note to self, do not walk barefoot in an unknown environment.

    "I'm sorry, I was distracted by a message on my comm for a moment," the healer apologized.

    "Don't worry, I just stubbed both my toe and my pride," she sighed, "but else I'm OK."

    "When you get a little more practice in walking around, we'll give you a stick so you can feel any hindrances ahead of you. That may help. In due time you may get a droid who can help you navigate," he assured her.

    If she'd been able to see she would have looked at him in horror. Under the circumstances she had to restrain herself to narrow her eyes slightly. No way she was going to walk around with a meddling droid in tow. A walking stick might come in handy, though. At least in the beginning.

    "When will I be able to go back to my quarters?" she asked while sitting down on the bed and carefully rubbing the sore toe. "At least I know my quarters so I believe I will be able to move around more freely there."

    The healer sighed, obviously not ready to let his prey off the hook.

    "Well, it depends. Except for your blindness there isn't anything wrong with you that regular food and light exercise won't heal. Basically you need to recover for some weeks and learn how to navigate. You had some infections but we managed to cure them with bacta patches from the outside and intravenous fluids from the inside while you were unconscious so from a medical point of view you are healthy enough to go home. The problem will be the navigation. I assume you will not cook your meals by yourself yet so you have to manage to get to the refectory and back, and to get your food while you're there."

    "I see," Tahl copied the healer's sigh. This was becoming increasingly annoying by the moment. She had certainly not foreseen that getting food would be a problem.

    "But maybe… " the healer continued, "maybe you can have some food for the first meal brought to your apartment so you can make your own meal when you get up, and then later on you may have someone following you to the refectory when it's time for mid day meal. I'm sure your friend Jinn will be able to help you at least for some days, and then….there is an initiate who is particularly interested in the arts of healing. Maybe she would follow you if Jinn is unavailable."

    "Who is this initiate? Maybe I know her?"

    "It's a Mon Calamari girl named Bant Eerin."

    "Oh, I know her a little. She's one of Obi-Wan's friends."

    An uncomfortable silence followed.

    "Uh, yes, I believe she is," the healer confirmed and changed topic abruptly. "If you stay overnight we can 'release' you tomorrow if that is what you want and if Initiate Eerin is willing to help. You can always come back for a period of time if it doesn't work."



    ......

    Chapter 2: A Glimmer of Light

    Home! Right now it seemed to be the most wonderful word in the entire galaxy. Tahl Uvain had barely set her feet inside the door of her standard apartment and a relieved sigh escaped her. Healer Shan had followed her to her door and equipped her with a comm unit with a construction that made her feel the various controls in it. He had even entered his own code, Qui-Gon Jinn's code and Bant Eerin's code as a start, and she was quite certain that in a while when she got her datapads equipped with voice reading and a good old fashioned aurebesh reading list she would be able to enter more contacts by herself. Tomorrow morning someone from Temple infrastructure would turn up and install the new equipment.

    She was eager to learn. Not that she welcomed her new condition, but she was determined to overcome as many of the obstacles as she could.

    The first obstacle actually was the low table in front of the couch in her living room. Being sure she knew her apartment and it's furnitures inside out she had placed the walking stick by the door as soon as she entered the apartment. That mistake earned her a slightly bruised leg and her less frequent used vocabulary came to use.

    "Blast it to all the nine sith hells," she swore silently to herself. "I should have known I've been away too long to know this by heart by now."

    She sat down on her couch for a little while and tried to recall every little piece of furniture in the room and how they were placed inside her four walls. Actually the vicious table was the only thing that could cause immediate bruises so she had to re-learn how it was placed. With a determined look in her unseeing eyes she rose again and let her palm follow the wall.

    Couch is placed along the wall here, then the corner and my shelf…open space and then the …ouch… large meditation pillow. Next is the door to the balcony and there is the opening mechanism. Good. Again the wall towards the kitchenette. No furniture there. I'll definitely leave it that way. And the opening to the kitchenette. Fine. It's still there. Good thing the cleaning bot hasn't plugged it as a revenge for the crumbs I spilled on the floor before I left for Melida/Daan. My departure was a bit hasty.

    Empty wall, kitchen table with two chairs, then the cooling unit and the oven. And the bench. Drawers just below… Out again - door to bedroom. Door to 'fresher…entrance. Good, there is my walking stick and there the door to the padawan's bedroom. Kriff it, I may never get a new padawan again. Then a short wall and back into living room, and I'm not going to repeat my meeting with the table. Approximately 6 steps between entrance door and couch. Let me try it once more. 1, 2, 3…6. Yessss! There's the door and the opening mechanism.

    The door bell buzzed and with a flicker of her hand she opened it and stood face to face with a familiar force signature.

    "Qui?"

    "In person, I wanted to see how you managed?"

    "I'm fine, thanks. Just a sore shin after a reunion with my coffee table," she sighed.

    "You could move it away," he suggested.

    "Not happening. I will learn it's there with time."

    "Will you join me for an early mid day meal in the refectory?" he said and offered her his arm.

    "Yes of course, Master Jinn."



    The refectory was rather quit on this time of day, something which proved to be good. To simplify the matter of choosing what to eat, Tahl asked Qui-Gon to lead her to the counter where already made plates were served.

    "Nerf steak with tubers please," she ordered.

    The 'click' when the serving droid placed the plate on the counter gave her a fairly good idea about the direction so except a minor incident involving her thumb and some droplets of sauce she managed to move the plate onto the tray and proceed to a table.

    "Is the floor in front of us free?" she whispered.

    "Yes."

    Carefully she tread forward. She could feel the various force presences of the few Jedi that were already there and tried to avoid those tables. Learning to know her fellow Jedi's force signatures so well that she could distinguish between them would be a more advanced lecture in 'Force Navigation for Unseeing Beings'. For the moment being it was challenging enough to walk without dropping the food to the floor. Interesting how much her sight, or rather lack thereof, affected her balance. She really had to work with that. Soon.

    By luck and her newly invented 'force navigation" she found a free table and managed to get herself seated without further mishaps.

    She could hear Qui-Gon settling down on the opposite side of the table, and in a glimpse she sensed something about him. There was a sadness there which she hadn't noticed before, but now she realized that it had probably been there since she woke up in the healers' wing. She had just been too focused on her own trouble to even ask him about it. But before she managed to do so, a familiar voice greeted her.

    "Tahl, how are you? It's a pleasure to see you again," Mace Windu said, "do you mind company?"

    "No, please, have a seat," she answered automatically. "It's good to be back home."

    The conversation among the three old friends continued in light terms and Tahl appreciated the updates on what had happened in the Temple since she left for Melida/Daan. When Qui-Gon finally escorted her back to her quarters she had once again forgotten to ask about the sadness she felt through the Force.

    The following days were busy. Tahl spent her days partly at home (the coffee table had finally stopped attacking her shins) and partly in the healers' wing where she were taught techniques to be able to feel the Force emanating from seemingly dead things with much more precision than she'd done before. Now she actually was able to feel a wall in front of her instead of crashing into it, something that lifted her spirits considerably.

    The refectory was still troublesome though. She could possibly have found her way there, but getting through the ordering procedures and finding a table when the place was crowded…well, she wasn't quite there yet.

    One evening the doorbell rang in a somewhat different manner than the merry ringing sequence Qui-Gon was using. She opened the door curiously.

    "Hi," she tried tentatively, hoping that the 'someone' outside would speak and that she would recognize the voice. She didn't. But it wasn't really necessary either since 'someone' actually had the wits to present herself.

    "Good evening, Master Uvain. I'm Bant Eerin. Master Jinn has been sent on a mission and Healer Shan sent me here to ask if you would like me to escort you to the refectory for mid-day meal?"

    Ah, yes of course. Shan's healer-to-be initiate, Eerin.

    "Thank you Initiate Eerin, I would appreciate some company there. Or is it Padawan Eerin now?"

    "No, Master," said he girl a bit shyly. "I'm still an Initate."

    "Oh, well, anyway - I'll appreciate your company. I do not want to risk ending up with fried tubers and choc sauce for mid-day meal, so your help is much appreciated."

    The girl looked tentatively at her and stretched out an arm."

    "Oh, yes, thanks. I don't think I will need your arm. Please just walk beside me and I will follow your Force presence. And if there are some stairs and I don't slow down, please tell me they're ahead of me. I did that mistake once and…well…I can live well without a bleeding nose," Tahl informed merrily.

    The girl stifled a giggle, and they began to walk.

    "I'm sorry, Initiate Eerin, I feel that I know you from somewhere, but I cannot really remember where. Do you have any idea where we've met before?"

    "Yes, Master Uvain," Bant said reluctantly. "I…we…it was…"

    The girls voice trailed off and Tahl could hear a small shivering in her voice as if she was fervently holding back tears. Tahl stopped abruptly.

    "What's wrong? Is it something I have said or done? I know I can be a bit too straightforward sometimes, but I don't have as a hobby to scare Initiates? Have I hurt you somehow without knowing?"

    "No, Master. Never. It's just that…well, we met right after Obi-Wan had returned from Bandomeer with Master Jinn. "

    "Yes, that's right, you are one of Obi-Wan's friends. I remember that now. I'm sorry, I have no idea why I couldn't remember that."

    Then a thought struck her. What had happened to Obi-Wan? She hadn't seen him at all since she came back. Why wasn't he here? The first days she had been going to the refectory quite early and she had just taken it for granted that he still was having classes, but now when she focused on it, it was really, really weird that he hadn't visited her once. She definitely felt that they were on good terms with each other so there was no reason why he shouldn't have come to see her at least once, or at least been accompanying his Master once in a while. Unless…he was dead? Could he have been killed on Melida/Daan during the rescue mission? Was that the reason for the sadness she had felt in Qui-Gon? What was going on here?

    She stopped abruptly.

    "Obi-Wan. Where is he? Is he…dead?"

    A small gasp came from the Mon Calamari: "Oh, no. I hope not. No, I don't think so. He's…gone."

    And the girl burst into tears.

    Instinctively Tahl hugged her.

    "Hush, child, find us a peaceful place to sit and tell me what's been going on. Clearly there's something that I haven't been aware of."

    "But, Master, your mid-day meal…."

    "Food can wait. I need to get this cleared out. What is wrong with Obi-Wan? Why hasn't he turned up even once after I came back. Something is definitely amiss here, and I want to know what's going on."

    Bant wiped the tears off her face. "There's a bench here, Master. We can sit here. There's no-one around right now."

    The two women sat down and Bant began to explain.

    "Rumors says that Obi-Wan has left the Order. When Master Jinn came back with you, Obi wasn't with him. I haven't dared to ask him why Obi didn't come with him, but I'm sure that if he was dead he would have been brought back to the Temple for a funeral pyre. I just cannot fathom what may have made him leave the Order. More than anyone else I know he has always wanted to become a Knight."

    Tahl just gaped.

    "He…didn't come?"

    "No." Bant shook her head vigorously.

    "But why?"

    In the moment the question had been uttered she knew the answer. Melida/Daan… Of course. Somehow he must have been tempted to join the Young. During her mission she had been well aware of the two warring fractions on the planet and for a young man like Obi-Wan the idealistic goals of the Young about ending the war must have been irresistible.

    But why had Qui-Gon left his Padawan, in the middle of a war zone?

    "I don't know," Bant replied mournfully. "Nobody has told us anything."

    Tahl laid one slim arm around the young girls back.

    "Never mind, I believe I have the answer already. On Melida/Daan there was raging a war between the Melida and the Daan people. One fraction called the Young, with young men and woman from both sides, wanted to fight for peace. But unfortunately the elders of both fractions were against the meddling of the young ones, so instead of a war between Melida and Daan there were now fights between the Young and the Elders. I assume that Obi-Wan chose to stay behind to help the Young."

    "But…shouldn't Master Jinn have stayed with him, or ordered him to come back?"

    "He should," Tahl stated, "but he didn't, and I am not going to let him live that down!"

    "Do you..., do you think they will let Obi come home, Master Tahl?"

    Tahl noticed the slight change in the way Bant was addressing her. Obviously she had gained the girl's trust.

    "I don't know," she answered honestly, "I really don't know. Let's go to the refectory, and as soon Qui-Gon is back, I intend to get to the bottom of this."



    The next weeks followed the same pattern. Tahl felt her self confidence slowly rise as she was able to move more freely around the Temple without the walking stick. She gradually increased her skills in feeling the Force emanating from stone walls, pillars and wooden benches. The blue-green-brown color had almost disappeared from her shins as no new bruises had been achieved during the last days. Bant followed her patiently to the refectory every evening, but eventually it was more a gesture of friendship than something that was really needed. Tahl felt she really had achieved something the evening she was able to fetch a huge bowl of tuber-leech soup, put it on a tray and balance the entire meal to a free table in the other end of the room. She even managed without spilling half of the contents in the soup bowl down someone's spine.

    Then Qui-Gon came back.

    Tahl realized it was him when she heard the familiar ringing from the doorbell and with determined strides she went towards the door (1-2-3…6 steps).

    "Tahl," the deep baritone made her almost shiver, but she wasn't entirely sure if it was from anger or something else.

    "Do you want company for mid-day meal?" he asked.

    "Possibly," she answered, "but first, please come in. I have a question for you. I'm sorry, but I have been terribly self-centered."

    Qui-Gon raised an eyebrow quizzically: "Why? How could you ever be that?"

    "Please, take a seat."

    Qui-Gon followed her into the living room and admired how seemingly effortless she managed to find her favorite spot on the couch. He sat down on the other side.

    "Tell me what's wrong," he urged.

    "No," she said calmly, "I believe it's better you tell me what's wrong."

    "With me? Nothing. I'm perfectly fine."

    His astonishment over the question was almost palpable.

    "No, you're not. Qui, please tell me one thing. And I want the truth. Why hasn't Obi-Wan come to see me since we came home? I know it's busy being a padawan, but I would have expected him to drop in and say 'hi' every now and then."

    A stunned silence followed, then Qui-Gon cleared his voice.

    "He has…he has left the Order."

    "What???"

    "He chose to leave."

    "Why? It seemed like everything went well with you two."

    A deep sigh escaped Qui-Gon.

    "It did. I was really beginning to trust him and then he left. He chose to stay at Melida/Daan - with the Young."

    "For stars' sake, Qui. Why did you let him do that? You have no idea what is going on on that planet and he is... was... your padawan! If he insisted on staying, why in all the nine sith hells didn't you stay too? Haven't you sworn to raise, train and protect him? And then you're actually leaving him in that war zone. Are you totally, utterly, completely crazy?"

    "I had no choice. I had to leave him. He insisted on staying. He even handed over his lightsaber to me."

    "He…insisted? And the reason you're here now and not with him there, is…?"

    "I had to bring you home. You were in a terrible condition when we found you. You might not have survived if you hadn't got proper medical care at that point," Qui-Gon said quietly.

    "You had to…what?! Did you ever listen to what you were taught about being a Jedi? I'm a full grown woman, and a Jedi Master and if my time had come at Melida/Daan I would gladly have given up my life if that meant the survival of Obi-Wan. Blast it, we're prepared for this through all our training. We are supposed to lay down our own lives if needed be. Do you understand the dangers he's facing right now?"

    "I could not let you die, Tahl. I just couldn't."

    "You couldn't? Instead you chose to sacrifice your own padawan. It's a wonder Mace didn't kick your sorry ass right out of the Temple when you came back. You had no right to chose me over him, and you know it."

    "I…I…"

    "Do not 'I' me, Qui. You simply have to go back there and beg him to accept you as his Master again, help him solve whatever mess he is in and take him back here."

    "I cannot. I don't know where he is anymore."

    "Don't be stupid. He's still where you left him. He will not abandon the Young so he's either with them, or they're all dead."

    "No." The word came out as a whisper.

    "Yes," Tahl said softly, "I'm eternally grateful for you rescuing my life and bringing me home, but it should never have been at the expense of your padawan."

    Then Qui-Gon's comm link rang.

    "Jinn here. What? He has? Really. You mean right now? No, I'm sorry. You know what happened. Obi-Wan is not my responsibility any more."

    Then he switched his comm off.

    "What was that?"

    "It was Mace. He say's there's an incoming call from Obi-Wan. Obviously the Young won the war, but now a new one is about to break out after his friend Cerasi died. He asks for assistance."

    "And why are you still here, Qui? You'd better get up and inform Mace that you're on your way to Melida/Daan right now, in this very moment."

    "I cannot."

    "You can. You will. And you're definitely going to do just that. Obi-Wan saved your life when he became your padawan, and the two of you need each other. I don't want to see you fall into another depression again. It was bad enough after Xanatos. You. Go. Now."

    Qui-Gon heaved another sigh.

    "I'll go. You're right. He's just a boy and at least he was my responsibility. I don't know if he will get back or if we ever can return to our old Master-Padawan partnership, but he deserves some response when he asks for help."

    "Don't forget to bring his lightsaber," Tahl yelled after him as Qui-Gon closed the door behind him.

    "You may have lost your sight, but obviously you may still be of use to someone, Uvain," she said silently to herself. "If he actually for once listen to anyone but his own stubbornness and bring Obi-Wan back home there will at least be a glimmer of light coming in this miserable story."
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent! You show the progression and determination of coping very well from Tahl. I am not surprised she adapted so well and swiftly, with the support of Qui and Bant. And I see she's as outspoken and clear-headed as ever. [face_love] She's the ONLY ONE who can get Qui to see sense! [face_laugh] =D=
     
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  3. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Wonderful progression with Tahl going from disheartened to confident; just like it would be in real life.

    And someone needs to smack Qui-Gon when he’s been an idiot. :)
     
  4. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    She has her ways...:D

    Tahl is definitely the right woman for that job. I try to keep her somewhat in character compared to the "original Tahl" from Jedi Apprentice, but I believe I am writing her a little more feisty.
     
  5. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    In all honesty, I was slightly disappointed when Tahl didn't call Qui-Gon a stubborn bantha's ass.[face_laugh]
     
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  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Before there was Kanan, there was Tahl! You’ve portrayed the trajectory of her feelings in (at least what seems to me to be) a very believable way here, from her reaction to her newfound blindness and to the news that it’s incurable to her resolution to carry on even so, to all the new challenges posed by basic, everyday things like moving around (stang and blast that coffee table! :p ) and eating. It’s a gradual and believable progression, and we feel Tahl’s relief once she gets to the point where she can navigate by way of the Force signatures of the people and objects around her. Bant and Healer Shan are helpful and supportive presences here, and Qui-Gon is very dear as the “mother avian” figure; that’s a side of him we don’t often get to see. [face_love]

    But what was really great was that this story wasn’t only about Tahl’s blindness—it was also about the clarity she was able to bring to Qui-Gon in a time of crisis. She may no longer be able to see the physical world around her, but she can still “see” what’s right and proper, and she’s got the gumption to stand up for it too, to tell Qui-Gon exactly where he gets off in lackadaisically leaving his padawan behind on Melida/Daan out of some irrational devotion to her (Tahl). And he listens—because even if he’s sometimes a stubborn coot, he is at least also a mostly reasonable stubborn coot. Thanks to Tahl’s insightfulness, not only does Qui finally see the situation for what it is, but Obi too will no doubt get some much-needed clarity about his own priorities. Light all around!

    Wonderful work here with these characters and with a difficult topic—a fantastic contribution to the challenge! =D=
     
  7. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I liked your story a great deal, too. Because you show us the person behind the disability. And there is so much potential for growth.
     
  8. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2018
    So was I, and I honestly contemplated writing in that sentence for your pleasure [face_tee_hee] . (And my own.)

    Thank you so much. That was exactly what I tried to do. Writing someone who is disabled with regards to sight is not too difficult for me as I am very "close sighted" myself. Remove my contact lenses or glasses and place me in a white environment without contrasts (i.e. snow) I will go totally Tahl. So I know to some extent what she's struggling with. At least she can navigate throug Force signatures... ;).

    Tahl really had potential. As she was portrayed in Jude Watson's books she had already overcome the initial stages of her blindness so I tried to go a bit more in the depth of how she had to adapt.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  9. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    It's been a long time since I last read a Jedi Apprentice book (and I think I only made it through a dozen or so back in the day -- nowhere near the whole series), so if you say Tahl is a bit different from canon here then she must be. But she reads as a complete and interesting person here, and I found myself liking this version of her a lot.

    Her emotional reactions at each stage along the way seemed really plausible to me -- like many people would, she feels a bit lost as to "what next" when she learns that her blindness is permanent. Like herself, she is very determined to remain in control of her life as much as possible and learn her way around both literally and metaphorically. (As other readers have mentioned, her nemesis the coffee table was really well done and is one of the little details that show her dry sense of humor.) It's a nice, subtle thing that she is always discovering new annoyances in the beginning but then they seem to slowly become part of the background noise -- not absent, but not requiring quite as much energy. And we have the beginnings of Tahl eventually accepting Bant as her next Padawan, even though she's not consciously thinking of it at the moment. :)

    Another thing that I thought was really great here was the friendship between Tahl and Qui-Gon. Their banter was really enjoyable to read and I liked that we got to see them both support each other, though in very different ways.

    Qui-Gon's very real concern and devotion to Tahl were loud and clear in the early scenes where she first found out about the long term cost of her injuries. As we later learn, Tahl's support is expressed in her reassurance of others but also sometimes comes in the form of telling you that you are very wrong. Which honestly is a pretty important thing for Qui-Gon, who tends to charisma-march right over or ignore a lot of input. :p

    As much as I felt like her words might be influenced by guilt (that Qui-Gon rescued her instead), I think they are also exactly what Qui-Gon needs to hear at this point. Also, it warms my heart to know that she cares so much for Obi-Wan that she's willing to go to bat for him without knowing full details of anything. She knows him well enough to know that he's probably trying to do the right thing and needs help, and that's all she needs to know.

    Fantastic story altogether, I really enjoyed becoming re-acquainted with this time period and with a character that was in the EU all too briefly! =D=
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  10. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Phew, just had to made sure that I also paid attention to your answer for the Mod!Challenge. And luckily, I already had.

    Feedback is just so important in my line of work. Not only towards the kids, but mostly their parents, who feel guilty leaving their off-spring between 5 and 11 hours with my kindergarten colleagues et moi.

    So I hope you will get much more feedback for this jewel of a story.
     
  11. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Very, very good and well paced tale for this Challenge.

    All your characters were engaging, and the Temple environs all seemed like real places, and I thought you handled the issues faced by an ordinary person faced with blindness, as well as the reactions of medical professionals and others around the said casualty, in realistic way.

    I don't know which authors write Obi Wan stories on here, and the last stuff I had read, Obi Wan seemed to be a toddler; and a writer was talking about wanting to get him kidnapped in another story; so when he suddenly got mentioned here, I a) did not know how old he was; and b) did not know old this made Bant, in the context of her being Obi Wan's friend.

    Then there was everyone going silent at the mention of her being the padawan's friend.

    Good progression to get Uvain from distress to determination, to sorting her way through this, such as the counting of step around her apartment.

    For an Order keen to promote the idea of not owning anything, her apartment was quite well laid out, with a lot more amenities than I would have thought.

    Interesting twist to move the story beyond her own troubles and on to the issue with Qui Gonn and Obi, and this war on the wierdly named planet.

    Her dismissal of everything that Qui Gonn said on the issue, I had to cling to a single mention that she had sensed some sadness in him some weeks before.

    My own experiences and circumstances made some elements resonate:

    I've been concerned about a friend who went blind after an assault, so a lot of the early stuff before she went back to her place, was familiar, helped me empathise, and had me thinking back to my own time doing that.

    If I get impacts on my shins, I break out in ulcers so I was wincing during her coffee table incidents, and really wanted her to get that moved out, or thrown over the balcony, or something.

    Rescues resonate with me anyway, so Tahl's determination to get to the bottom of Bant's concerns, and then despatching Qui Gonn to go rescue his boy, felt good.

    That one-sided comm conversation when Obi called for assistance, was a nice touch, amongst plenty of nice touches and highlights.

    All your characters were a delight to read.

    Very well done. =D=:xwing:
     
  12. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    I’m not familiar with Tahl Uvain, but it was a pleasure to meet this tenacious and resolute woman. What a horrible situation to find oneself in—not only and imprisoned, but blind as well, with no way to judge the passage of time and no knowledge of what’s happening in the outside world! It must have been incredibly frustrating, if not maddening, for Tahl. Fortunately, Qui-Gon is able to rescue his dear friend, but far from being an end to her troubles, it’s only the beginning of a new set of challenges. First, there’s the uncertainty, not knowing where exactly she is how she got there, and what is going to happen to her. But even in the midst of this uncertainty, Tahl finds ways to cope with her new disability, piecing together her surroundings and circumstances by feeling the sheets and her IVs, recognizing Healer Shan’s voice.

    When he gives her the news that her blindness will be permanent—and it makes sense that even with the advanced medical technology available in the GFFA, some wounds can’t be healed—Tahl doesn’t give in to doubt and self-pity, but resolves to learn to use her senses and the Force to adapt. She does her best to be as self-sufficient as she can, declining Shan’s suggestion of getting a droid to help. As determined as she is, Tahl still runs into some difficulties, realizing just how much she relied on her sight. Even walking is harder than usual, feeling slightly off balance, and her memories of her quarters aren’t quite accurate, causing her to run into the furniture. Tahl does have certain advantages, and she soon learns to navigate by sensing the Force as it emanates not only from her fellow Jedi, but even the walls and furniture. Throughout the process, Tahl never loses her resolute attitude and wry humor—I loved her comment about “Force Navigation for Unseeing Beings”.

    Though she’s determined to do as much for herself as she can, it’s good that Tahl is able to accept help when she does need it. The kind, shy initiate, Bant Eerin is a perfect companion for her, and it’s through her that Tahl learns Qui-Gon’s been keeping her in the dark (so to speak) about what happened on Melida/Daan. She takes him to task for choosing to bring her back to Coruscant rather than staying to convince Obi-Wan to return to the Jedi Order, wisely pointing out that she is an adult and a full Jedi who would willingly give up her own life in service to the Force. I have a feeling that Qui-Gon’s concern for Tahl is part of the reason he’s kept quiet about the situation, so as not to worry her “in her situation”. But her blindness hasn’t weakened Tahl’s spirit and she helps him understand where his duty lies. Above all, Tahl is still a Jedi; losing her sight has not changed who she is.

    Thanks for bring us the story of this resolute heroine as she learns to adapt to her new life. It’s a wonderful addition to the Underrepresented Challenge.