EXCERPTS FROM THE AUDIO JOURNAL OF QUI-GON JINN, JEDI KNIGHT
Coruscant, Jedi Temple
My son is gone.
They have taken him away.
I barely had the time to say goodbye before he was snatched from my arms and carried away from the Temple.
From my life.
I am on probation, my knight status under scrutiny, my every action examined to discover hidden, dangerous behaviours.
My status of Jedi is on hold and yet, for the first time in my life, belonging to the Order is not the most important thing in my mind. It seems like my childhood dream, the dream I have worked so hard to transform in reality no longer matters to me.
No, that's not true. Had it been so, I would have defied the Council more, or I would have resigned to be with my son. Instead, I bowed to the masters' will and let my boy be taken away.
Forgive me, my son.
Forgive me, Lydah.
I was not strong enough to fight the Council. I was not strong enough to renounce the life I love.
I tried, but it was not enough.
My eyes are squeezed shut now, to prevent my tears from falling, and this morning's events flash through my mind.
I am back in the Council Chamber, standing still in the middle of room, the unforgiving gazes of the twelve masters fixed on me.
"Knight Jinn, the Council has decided. Your request has been denied. The boy will not be accepted in the Temple." Master Ki-Adi-Mundi's words are like a stab to my heart.
"Why, Masters?" I force my dry mouth to say. "The boy is strong in the Force; he has the potential to become a great Jedi. You certainly see-"
"Decided it has been to make an example of your situation for other Jedi. The Code broken cannot be," Master Yoda interrupts me.
"But the Code is not against casual relationships." I insist, "I admit it was unexpected I came to sire a child, and it is very sad the mother died giving birth to him, but there was no attachment between Lydah and me. We just comforted each other during a difficult situation..."
"It is not to the mother you are attached; it is to the boy," Master Ki-Adi-Mundi says again, his eyes accusing.
"He is my son! How could not I care for him?" I all but explode.
Ki-Adi-Mundi shakes his head, sadly but firmly. "Qui-Gon, we cannot accept the boy and create a precedent. If we allow you to keep the boy near you, other knights, especially the younger ones, would feel entitled to be as careless as you were. The life of a Jedi is a life of sacrifice, and our legacy is in the Padawan's we train from childhood to knighthood. This is why we cannot grant your request. However, you must not worry for your son. We have already found a good family for him; he will be taken there today."
I know I am beaten and I have not the strength to fight more. "Let me take him to them..."
"Enough, Knight Jinn!" Yoda exclaims with a tone that does not allow replies. "Dissolve this attachment you must, if to remain a Jedi you wish. On probation you will be, until done it you have."
"I will do as you command, Master," I bow to the Council's will, "but please, let me see him one last time. Let me say goodbye."
A long silence follows my request and a lump constricts my throat, I am sure they are going to say no. And instead...
"See the boy you can, Knight Jinn. Goodbye you tell to him and let him go." Yoda's words are a mere whisper and for a moment I sense he is as pained as I.
And so, my son, I was able to see you before they took you away.
My beautiful child, I don't even have a picture of you. I was so sure you would have been accepted in the Temple that I did not think to take one...I thought there would have been more time.
However, I will always remember you - your red-gold hair, your lively blue-green-grey eyes, your dimpled chin and your beautiful Force aura. Every detail of you it is etched in my memory.
I will always keep you in my heart, my son.
May the Force be with you, always.
EXCERPTS FROM THE AUDIO JOURNAL OF QUI-GON JINN, JEDI MASTER
Coruscant, Jedi Temple, 3:4:4
It is almost amazing how quickly time elapses, but even more amazing is how the mind can retain the memory of long-past events, so that they look as fresh as if they have just happened.
Most of the time, these memories deal with something pleasant or joyous, but it is not always so.
Twenty-five years ago, on this very day, I saw my son for the last time, and yet it feels like it happened yesterday.
The memory of that day is burned in my mind and heart. I have never been able to forget it, no matter how much I have meditated on the subject.
If I am completely honest, and I wish to be, I have never really tried to release those memories to the Force. I have held onto them with all my being, the exact opposite of what the Council had wanted me to do.
At first, I kept all the memories regarding my son secret, putting strong shields around them, so that Master Yoda could not see them during our shared meditations. However, as I grew older and became more critical of the Council's ways, I stopped hiding those memories, and made them known, with pride and defiance.
They have been both my comfort and my torment during these long years, and they have influenced some of my actions-something, I am sure, the Council would be appalled to know.
My eyes fall on the compartmented wooden box that lies open, resting on my knees. I made it with my hands, and it contains twenty-five stones, one for each of my son's naming days.
These are the gifts I bought for you, Obi-Wan - which I have never be able to give you.
I often wonder what you must look like today. Are you tall like me? Or did you take after your mother's family? What are you doing now? Are you a pilot, a lawyer, or a doctor?
Would I even recognize you if I happened to meet you in the street? I wish to believe I would. Your Force signature was so strong, so beautiful, so unique...
I should stop entertaining such wishes. The galaxy is so big; the chances of meeting my son are practically non-existent, no matter how much I confide in the will of the Force.
And speaking of the Force and its will, it is best I concentrate on what awaits me tomorrow - my first joined mission with a Sith. I cannot deny it; I am very excited I have been given this opportunity. I know the Code states Jedi do not crave excitement, but I have the feeling this mission will be important for both the Jedi and the Sith.
I put away the wooden box and try to remember everything I know about the Sith.
Their order was created about a thousand years ago, when a group of rebellious Jedi knights left the Temple in disagreement with the Council and the Code. They believed emotions to be important and refused to release them into the Force, even the negative ones; those considered being a pathway to the Dark Side.
A bloody war followed the rift, but it ended with no victors, too many deaths on both sides and a still-standing peace treaty.
Since then the two orders have co-existed, not as enemies, but as rivals and sometimes allies, because they both serve the Republic, albeit in different ways.
Where the Jedi are mostly diplomats and negotiators, the Sith operate in situations where the diplomacy has failed.
The Jedi work to prevent and avoid wars; the Sith work to end wars.
The Jedi negotiate the release of hostages; the Sith rescue the hostage when the deals fail.
The Jedi are guardians of peace; the Sith are warriors.
The Jedi release their emotions into the Force; the Sith hold on them.
The Jedi are servants of the Light Side of the Force; the Sith always tread near the thin line separating the Light Side from the Dark Side of the Force. They live in a perpetual grey zone, and this is one of the reasons for they are also called the Grey Order. The other reason is the colour of their Jedi-like uniform, which are comprised by light grey tunics and trousers, dark grey robes and black boots.
The rivalry between the two orders is a known fact- even if the Jedi Council keeps on denying it - especially regarding the recruiting of new members. Sith and Jedi are always competing over the Force-sensitive children, with each order set to convince their parents to trust their sons or daughters to them.
The life of a Jedi is usually less dangerous than a Sith's, but the members of the Grey Order are allowed to keep in contact with their families and to visit them often. They can also marry, which is seen as a plus by "normal" people, who often cannot understand the rigid discipline required by the Jedi. On the other hand, the Jedi are much more admired, respected and requested in the Republic than the Sith, and this is useful to compensate the other issues.
My partner in this mission is called Dest-Parce, and he is a Sith master. He is about my age and according to his Order's archive, he has a very good service record, but given the Sith's modus operandi, it could mean everything and nothing.
Haughtiness is unbecoming for a Jedi, a voice has just whispered in my mind.
It is right, of course.
The years spent as a diplomatic envoy have taught me not to judge people basing on pre-concepts, yet I am behaving like that. I must not do it.
Tomorrow I will travel to Naboo with Master Dest-Parce, and my mind will be open and not clouded by prejudices.
All my resources and attention must be directed to convince the Trade Federation to dismantle the blockade around Naboo. This is what Chancellor Valorum has asked me to do- and this is what I will strive to do.
Diplomatic Cruiser on route to Naboo, 3:4:5
A Jedi is supposed to never, ever be shocked - and yet I am. There is no other word to describe how I feel.
Today I met my son again.
It seems almost incredible it had to happen today, less than one day after I thought about how slim the chances of an occasional encounter were. But this is no occasional encounter; I can feel the Force's design behind everything.
It could not be different, for I do not believe in concepts like "fate", "destiny", or "fortune".
There is only the Force.
It is thanks to its will that Master Dest-Parce has fallen ill during the night and the Sith Council has decided to send a last-hour replacement.
Sith Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Every time I close my eyes I return with my mind to this morning, to the moment when I suddenly felt a ripple in the Living Force.
I turned around and watched as a grey-robed figure crossed the landing platform near the Senate Building. It was still distant from where I was, but even so I was able to see it was not Master Dest-Parce. This man was much younger, in his mid-twenties.
I studied him with interest as he got closer. He was shorter than me, his body slender and compact, and his stride athletic and confident.
The young man finally stopped in front of me and bowed.
"Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn?" he asked his voice soft and cultured.
"Yes," I answered, bowing both in greeting and agreement, as the Living Force whirled around us.
"I regret to inform you Master Dest-Parce fell sick during the night. The Sith Council sent me to replace him. I am Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi."
I am ready to swear the universe stopped moving for a moment as his words sank in and that beautiful aura of his washed over my shaking shields.
There, in front of me, as I have imagined hundreds of times.
I think I must have staggered because Obi-Wan's hand reached for my elbow and his concerned voice asked, "Are you all right, Master Jinn?"
"Yes, yes," I managed to say. "It was just a passing dizziness, nothing to be worried about." I forced myself to ground and centre and regain at least the pretence of control and calm.
Obi-Wan did not seem too convinced but before he could say anything, the captain of the diplomatic cruiser Chancellor Valorum put at our disposal joined us on the landing platform, and our attention focused on the trip to Naboo and the problems that might await us once we arrived.
Shortly after we boarded, Obi-Wan and I separated and retired into the quarters assigned to us for the trip. We had agreed to meet in the briefing room in a couple of hours to discuss the mission in a more detailed way.
I had the intention of meditating and bringing my raging emotions under control, but it is proving very difficult, for I keep on thinking about Obi-Wan.
Oh, Lydah, it is such a tragedy you cannot see him now! He looks so much like you!
His face is handsome and full of quick-silver intelligence, just like yours.
The straight nose, refined cheekbones, strong jaw and resolute mouth surrounded by a well-trimmed goatee give him the look of a holomovie pirate- he just lacks an earring to be perfect for the role. His hair, ginger-coloured as his beard, is cropped short in a spiky, military style, except for a thin braid near his right ear. It is the same haircut adopted by the Jedi Padawan's to mark their status as apprentices, but it has the opposite meaning for the Sith. It symbolizes the attainment of knighthood, and the tiny yellow beads inserted in the braid indicate the missions successfully accomplished by its bearer.
I have counted at least fifteen of such beads in our son's braid. I can only wonder what kind of missions he had been in...and I cannot quell the bout of pride I felt when I spotted them. He is so young and already so successful! But I suppose I have no right to feel proud of his accomplishments. I cannot claim any merit in what he has become. I have not been at his side as he grew up, I have taught him nothing. I am a stranger to him- as he is to me.
I wonder how he came to be recruited by the Sith, and about the life he had in their temple as a child and adolescent for, dear Lydah, there is something I don't like in his eyes.
His eyes are a blend of blue-green-grey as yours were, and change according to the light and, I suppose, his emotions. They are beautiful eyes, fascinating - but also disturbing.
They are eyes that have seen too much, too soon, and I cannot help but feeling worried, as a Jedi and as a father.
ADDENDUM - early afternoon
I am just back from my meeting with Obi-Wan. It went well, for my previous meditation has helped me to calm down and be ready to face him like a Jedi, and not like an emotionally overwhelmed father.
We have discussed in depth the situation we will find, or might find on Naboo, and I have been impressed by how very informed Obi-Wan is, considering he must have had only a few hours to prepare.
We have compared our information about the Trade Federation, and he has expressed the feeling he believes there is something else, some hidden reason behind this current crisis, something that has nothing to do with the taxation of the commercial routes.
I did not agree nor disagree with him, just listened to his words as I studied him and tried to know him better.
Obi-Wan - I cannot bring myself to refer to him as Sith Knight Kenobi here in the privacy of my quarters - is clearly more attuned with the Unifying Force than with the Living Force. It is not a fault, of course, but given the dangerous missions usually undertaken by the Sith, a better understanding of the Living Force could help him in many tricky situations.
I would be honoured to teach him, but I can't, not now at least. Maybe, in the future, if I am able to forge a friendship with him...
Listen to your words, Qui-Gon Jinn! You are running too much. You must concentrate on the here and now. You have a mission to accomplish and it does not involve winning your son's trust and friendship.
Obi-Wan's agreed to let me take charge of the negotiations, but he expects me to pass him the command should diplomacy fail. I am not used to taking orders when I am in the field, which means I have another reason to work harder to find a solution to the blockade of Naboo. Another good reason is that I don't want to see my son in danger. Now that I have found him, I cannot risk losing him again.
Diplomatic Cruiser on route to Naboo, 3:4:6
We will reach Naboo in four hours and I am in my quarters to meditate and collect my thoughts to prepare for the task ahead.
Surprisingly enough, given yesterday's events, I was able to sleep well during the night, and when I met Obi-Wan at breakfast I found he too looked more relaxed. His eyes were clear, the lines around them smoothed by a good night's sleep; something that pleased me very much.
We exchanged some comments about the mission, but we mostly stood silent, each of us lost in his communion with the Force.
I have no bad feelings, which leads me to be optimistic about the outcome of today's negotiations.
Nubian Cruiser on route to Tatooine, 3:4:6
"I have no bad feelings, which leads me to be optimistic about the outcome of today's negotiations."
As somebody would say, these were the proverbial famous last words.
Nothing has gone as hoped during the day, and Obi-Wan and I are lucky to still be alive, for certainly they have done their best to have us killed.
"They" are the Trade Federation Viceroy, Nute Gunray and his droid army.
In a truly unpredictable move, they have invaded Naboo and now have control of the planet.
This leaves me puzzled, for it seems so out-of-character for the Federation. They are cowards, more used to bribing their way with money and promises, than to fight. There is really something I cannot grasp...
What bothers me most is that Obi-Wan's felt this coming from the beginning, but I have refused to listen to him. Worse, I have been patronizing and so certain of my convictions; I have paid little attention to his concerns.
We were on the Viceroy's battleship, alone in an empty conference room, when Obi-Wan made his unease known.
"I have a bad feeling about this," he had said, pacing back and forth as I sat down at the table.
"I don't sense anything," had been my matter-of-fact answer.
"It's not just about here. It's not only this mission, Master Jinn; it's something...elsewhere...elusive."
He had given me a confused glance, as if he was not able to put in words what he was feeling.
I had barely refrained from smiling and commented, "It is better not to centre on our anxieties, Knight Kenobi, but to keep our concentration here and now, where it belongs."
Be mindful of the Living Force, I would have wished to add, but the way he looked at me reminded me I was not dealing with a Padawan...and it was a good thing, because only a few moments later it became clear he was right and I wrong.
First they tried to kill us with a poisonous gas, then they sent battle droids against us, and when we finally managed to reach the hangar we discovered our ship had been destroyed.
Our only way to escape was to hide on board one of the ships that were transferring the invasion army of battle droids to Naboo, the irrefutable proof diplomacy had failed and that the situation had degenerated even worse than any of us could predict.
Once on Naboo, I did my best to avoid being crushed by STAP's as I waited for Obi-Wan to find me.
It was frustrating not to be able to locate him using some kind of mental link, such as the bond between two Jedi used to working together, or between master and apprentice.
As I escaped the invasion army, I managed to save Jar-Jar Binks, a young Gungan, one of the two sentient species inhabiting Naboo.
The creature was clearly scared by the devastation caused by the STAPs and refused to leave my side, claiming he owed me a debt of life.
It annoyed me at first, but as soon as I managed to locate Obi-Wan, the Gungan turned to be a precious help, for he offered us a safe shelter from the droid army.
Jar-Jar took us to the under-water city where his people live, but he needed some persuasion to lead us there. Obi-Wan did much to convince him, but I cannot say I approve the almost perverse light in my son's eyes as he described in details the "thousand terrible things" the droids would do to Jar-Jar if he did not help us.
I felt a sense of uneasiness as Obi-Wan talked, probably because I was reminded once more I don't know the man my son has turned out to be.
He is a great fighter, a swordsman of first class that could easily compete against Master Windu, and he is very powerful in the Force, but I know nothing of his personality.
He seems to be duty-bound like me, and for the whole day he has worked and fought at my side without ever discussing my instructions. We form a good team and thanks to this collaboration we have been able to free Queen Amidala and her entourage and take them away from Naboo.
Our final destination is Coruscant, where the Queen will illustrate her planet's situation in front of the Senate, but first we will have to stop on Tatooine to repair our hyperdrive, which was damaged when we forced the blockade.
It was Obi-Wan's idea to stop on Tatooine, and I supported him fully, even if Captain Panaka was not pleased at all.
Tatooine, Mos Espa, Slave Quarters, 3:4:7
This mission is a constant source of surprises. First, I found my long-lost son, and now I have met Anakin Skywalker, this incredibly Force-sensitive boy that could be the Chosen One described in an ancient Jedi prophecy.
Anakin's skill as a pilot is amazing for one so young, but even more amazing is the goodness of his heart. Not only did he give us shelter during a sandstorm, but he has also decided to give us the money he might make winning tomorrow's podrace, so we will be able to pay for the spare parts we need to repair our ship. This boy is a slave and could use this money to buy his freedom or his mother's, and instead he wishes to help three strangers. I find it very touching and so uncommon; children of his age are usually egotistic and self-centred.
But Anakin is no common boy, that's for sure. I have talked with his mother and asked her about the child's father. She answered there was no father, that she found herself pregnant without knowing how.
Is this possible? Is she telling the truth? Something inside tells me I am right, but I would like to have some more proof.
I took a sample of Anakin's blood and I can't wait to return to the ship to run some tests...I would like to ask Obi-Wan to run them for me, but he would probably wish to know whose blood he is testing and why, and as a Jedi, I am not sure I can trust a Sith with such information. It pains me so much not to be able to trust my son, but if Anakin is really the Chosen One, I cannot risk that the Grey Order might take him away.
Nubian Cruiser on route to Coruscant, 3:4:8
I have been meditating for the past two hours, but despite all my dedication, I have not been able to centre and find the peace of mind that I crave. But given what has happened today, I dare to say even Master Yoda would find it difficult to concentrate.
My mind keeps on being assaulted by images and thoughts, each of them rivalling with the others in claiming my attention, and this recording is not a normal entry of my journal, but the desperate attempt to put some order to my feelings.
I will relate my disturbing memories in the order they happened, without trying to decide which one is more important.
Everything started this early afternoon, when I was about to get back to Mos Spa to return the eopies Watto had lent me to carry the spare parts we had been able to pay for thanks to Anakin's triumph in this morning's podrace. Even more importantly, I had to go back to fetch Anakin, whose freedom I had secured by winning a "Game of Chance" against Watto.
"Start getting this hyperdrive generator installed," I said to the crew and Obi-Wan as I mounted one of the eopies and pulled the other by the reins. "I am going back. I have some unfinished business."
"Business?" My son echoed, arching one eyebrow.
"I won't be long."
Obi-Wan studied me a moment, then asked "Why do I sense you have picked up another pathetic life form, Master Jinn?"
I frowned, annoyed by his words. Jar-Jar is not pathetic, he is just very...clumsy. As for Anakin, the boy had just helped us to find a way to leave the planet. How could Obi-Wan be so unfeeling?
"It is the boy who is responsible for getting those parts," I stressed, my voice betraying my irritation. "I will return shortly, Knight Kenobi. In the meantime, make sure the repairs proceed as quickly as possible."
Obi-Wan's eyes flashed with a hard light and his displeasure washed over me in waves.
"I am not a mechanic. They can mind the repairs by themselves. I am coming with you. I want to have a look at the town."
"But the Queen..."
"Captain Panaka can guard her for the hour or so we are away," and in so speaking, Obi-Wan took the reins of the spare eopie, and jumped on its back without waiting for the beast to kneel.
I tried to protest again, but the look on my son's face made the words die on my lips.
The only thing I could do was to keep our absence as brief as possible.
A good intention for sure, but soon ruined by Watto, who refused to hand over to me Anakin and his papers, by claiming our bet had not regarded the boy, but his mother.
"You are mistaken," the Toydarian said. "You won Shmi, not Anakin."
"That's not true. You tossed a coloured cube to decide what slave I would win. Red for Shmi, blue was for Anakin. It turned out blue, so give me the boy."
I waved my hand again, but as had happened two days before, the Force persuasion did not work.
"I told you I am immune from it," Watto smirked. "Now collect Shmi and leave me alone. You have already cost me too much money."
I began to sweat, wondering what else I could do. There had been no witnesses to our bet, and if there had been, I doubt they would have sided with a stranger. I thought of what I could possibly trade for the boy, but nothing came to my mind.
"Listen, Watto," I tried again, conscious of Obi-Wan's mounting impatience even as he stood by my side, his arms folded over his chest, his face emotionless.
"Oh please, don't start again. If you want the woman, take her. Otherwise-"
Watto never completed the line. His voice died in a strangled gasp as he suddenly raised his hands to his neck.
What's happening? I wondered and then I turned my head to face Obi-Wan, who had just taken a step forward. It took me just a glance at his outstretched arm and closed fist, at his hard expression and focused eyes to understand what was going on.
My son was Force-choking the Toydarian.
After a few seconds, his fist loosened and Watto took a big gulp of air. His arm still stretched out, Obi-Wan hissed, "Give my partner the boy's papers."
The Toydarian shook his head. "No, the boy is too precious and-"
Once again he did not complete the line, and I watched in horrified silence as his eyes bulged and his wings fluttered wildly, until I could not take it any more.
My hand fell heavily on Obi-Wan's arm, disturbing his concentration and breaking his hold over Watto. The small creature fell to the ground, lying on the sand and gasping for air.
"How dare you hit me?" Obi-Wan all but snarled at me, his eyes full of fury, as he shook my hand from his arm.
"You were going to kill him in cold blood!" I hissed, feeling shocked by what I had seen.
"Give me some credit, Jedi. I know exactly how much I can push." He glared at me, and then he went to kneel near the Toydarian, who tried in vain to roll away from him.
"Has your memory returned, little piece of scum?"
Watto nodded frantically, unable to speak.
"Good. Now give the boy to my partner and do not oblige me to refresh it another time."
The Toydarian nodded again, and Obi-Wan moved away, as I knelt and helped Watto to stand up.
Obi-Wan's irritation was almost palpable during our trip to the slave quarters, where Anakin collected his things and said goodbye to his mother, and then back to the ship. He walked near me and the boy, his eyes fixed in front of him, his posture rigid, and he paid no mind to Anakin's attempts to engage him in conversation.
We had almost reached the ship, when suddenly Obi-Wan ignited his yellow lightsabre an instant before the Force shrieked in alarm and a black-clad figure riding a speeder bike stormed on us.
"Drop down!" Obi-Wan shouted, and Anakin and I obeyed, as the speeder flew over our heads. "Get to the ship! Tell them to take off!"
Then before I could say or do anything, he charged against our attacker, pulling him off the bike. I watched almost paralyzed as the dark figure quickly regained his footing and ignited a red, double-bladed lightsabre, using it to deflect my son's blow.
"Get to the ship!" Obi-Wan shouted as he fought and it snapped me out of my trance-like state. I stood up and scooping Anakin in my arms, I ran to the ship, whose ramp was already lowered.
Once inside, I let Anakin go and rushed to the cockpit, instructing the pilots to take off and to fly low over the place where Obi-Wan was still fighting against our mysterious assailant.
Hold on, my son, hold on, I repeated in my mind as the cruiser wheeled smoothly about.
"There," I said, pointing to the two fighting figures. They were surging back and forth across the flats, yellow and red lightsabre's flashing with each blow struck and deflected.
As the captain piloted the cruiser toward them, skimming the ground barely higher than a speeder bike, I ran back to the entry hatch, using the manual control to lower the ramp.
Obi-Wan spotted us, understood what we were trying to do and as soon the ship was close enough, he took a Force-enhanced jump and landed on the ramp.
My hands reached out to steady him as the ship accelerated and rose higher. My son scrambled into the interior of the cruiser and collapsed to the ground as I retracted the ramp and sealed the hatch.
"How are you feeling?" I asked, returning to his side and kneeling.
"Like someone who has just fought a Dark Lord," he answered sarcastically, as he rose to his feet and headed toward his quarters.
All the blood left my face upon hearing those last two words.
The Jedi were reputed to have destroyed the last of the Dark Lords, the true servants of the Dark Side, a thousand years ago, even before the rift between the Order and the Sith. In fact, it had been the memory of the Dark Lords' crimes that had pushed the Jedi to react so violently against the "rebellious" knights that would later found the Sith Order.
How could Obi-Wan exclaim with such certainty that the Dark Lords had returned?
I followed him to his quarters and stepped inside after him before he was able to close the door.
He gave me an annoyed glance, then moved to his bed and sat down to remove his boots, as if I was not even in the room.
"How could you say it was a Dark Lord?" I asked him without mincing words.
"What else could he be? He was trained to use the Force and his blade was red. Only the Dark Lords use that colour."
Obi-Wan stood up and moved around the room, taking off his robe and folding it across the back of a chair. "I could sense him summoning the Dark Side of the Force as we fought."
I don't know why, but his final line triggered an unexpected reaction in me and I commented, sarcasm dripping, "Yes, of course. I forgot you Sith are much more familiar with the Dark Side than us Jedi."
Obi-Wan whirled around and looked at me, his eyes blazing, as he threw his belt on the bed.
"And what is that supposed to mean?" He hissed.
"That I see little difference between you and the man that attacked us." I said, folding my arms in my robe.
"Ahhh...You are referring to what I did to the Toydarian." Obi-Wan almost smiled and it made me see red.
"How can you smile at something like that? You almost strangled him!"
Obi-Wan's took a step closer and snarled, "Listen to me, Jinn, and listen well. I do not kill in cold blood. I would have stopped before causing any permanent damage." He smirked, "I was just teaching him a lesson about not cheating his costumers."
"It was a despicable action," I insisted, remembering Watto's bulging eyes.
"Oh really? And what about your behaviour with the Gungan's? Must I remind you how we obtained the permission and the transport to leave their city?"
"It is not the same. Jedi act for a greater good and-"
"Bulls, Jinn!" He said, taking off his tunic. "You enjoy using your power as much as I do, but at least we Sith have the decency to fully admit it."
I shook my head, stubbornly refusing to let him win this argument. "Jedi do not act like this. It is not our way and you should-"
"I am a Sith, not a Jedi!" Obi-Wan thundered, interrupting me again. "And I am a knight, not one of your Padawans! Stop trying to patronize me and order me around. I am not a recalcitrant youth needing to be led back on the "right" path. I am a Sith and you should keep it in mind."
Silence fell on the room as he ended his tirade and his words sank in.
Of course, he was right.
For the entire mission I had done nothing else but command him, taking charge of the decisions even when it was clear it was impossible to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis. He had obeyed me without discussion - until this afternoon, when I completely overstepped my limits by ordering him to act as a mechanic.
It was not his fault if he had finally exploded, it was mine.
Maybe my intentions have been good, maybe my being in charge of the mission was just an unconscious attempt to keep my son safe, but in the end my attitude caused only irritation and pain, and almost managed to destroy any chances I had to come to forge a lasting relationship with my son.
Almost - because, the Force be blessed, something then happened to completely change the situation.
As I stood there, unable to say anything, Obi-Wan kept on shedding his clothes, until he remained bare-chested. When he turned around to drop his under-tunic on the bed, I noticed his back was covered by many scars that criss-crossed his shoulders and kidney region. They looked like whip or laser marks, as if he had been tortured.
My heart twisted in my chest, as pain, sadness, compassion and anger flooded in me at the same time. Who had dared to do that to my son?! And how much he must have suffered!
Almost without noticing I crossed the space separating us and put my hand over Obi-Wan's shoulder, my fingers gently brushing one of the scars.
My son whirled around, surprise clear in his eyes, but did not shake my hand away. I felt his mind probe my thoughts and I lowered my shields, letting him feel my compassion and concern. The genuine interest he sensed in me seemed to be welcome, for I felt his anger dissolve, replaced by curiosity and perplexity. Why did I feel like this for him?
"Who did this to you?" I asked softly.
"My master," was the equally soft answer.
Breath caught in my throat. "Your...your master?"
"To make sure I would never forget the lesson he taught me that day."
"What lesson?" I whispered, my hand still resting on his shoulder.
Obi-Wan smiled weakly, before his expression hardened. "A Sith does not fail his task. A Sith does not bend. A Sith does not beg. A Sith does not submit. A Sith does not surrender."
I swallowed hard, as my arms ached with the desire to pull my son in an embrace, and never let him go.
"How old were you?"
"I was ten."
I cannot express my shock upon hearing this. A child of ten receiving such a beating...It was - is - unconceivable.
I felt like I was going to be sick as Obi-Wan suddenly dropped his shields and let me see glimpses of his life as a Sith trainee.
Long marches under the scorching sun, days spent without food and sometimes without water too, physical punishments, nights spent sleeping naked on the pavement of chilly rooms...
No wonder the Sith are so unbending and so hard with themselves, so determined in reaching their objectives.
I thought of the Padawans and initiates in the Temple, brought up with gentle firmness and right examples, their natural good qualities nurtured, their progresses praised. I thought of the great Jedi my son would have made if only he had been allowed to grow up in a place where his inborn compassion, the one I had glimpsed when he had allowed me in his mind, had been appreciated and not considered a fault.
I did not realize my anguish had been pouring out in waves until Obi-Wan took me by my shoulders and looked at me with concerned eyes.
"Master Jinn! Qui-Gon? What is happening? Are you unwell?"
"No, I am not."
He never completed the line, because I chose that moment to completely lower my shields and let my feelings and my memories wash over him.
Through the veil of the tears I was now shedding I saw my son's face pale and his mouth open in silent stupor as his mind was filled with images and thoughts.
- The day I met Lydah Kenobi on a diplomatic cruiser directed to an Outer Rim planet where we would have to superintend the first free elections ever held there.
- The headlong fall toward Hoth after our ship was damaged by an asteroid field.
- The terrible crash that killed everybody but Lydah and me.
- The long chilly nights spent inside the almost powerless, broken hull.
- The desperate need to be close, to share body heat, comfort and hope.
- The embraces, the first kiss, and the passion.
- The primal need to reaffirm we were alive and ready to fight to survive until someone would come to rescue us.
- The sight of a ship at the horizon and the rescue.
- The promise to keep in contact with each other.
- The message announcing Lydah's pregnancy.
- The wonder and the joy I felt upon discovering I was going to be a father.
- The numbing grief at the news Lydah was dying because of a mysterious massive organ failure.
- The desperate journey to reach her home planet and bring her to Coruscant, to the Jedi Temple and its qualified healers.
- Master Dahar slowly shaking his head after checking Lydah.
- The long hours spent at her side as she laboured.
- The joy and the smile on her too-pale face as she embraced her boy and whispered his name, "Obi-Wan."
- The pain, the guilt and the regret washing over me as Lydah closed her eyes forever.
- The need to think about my son's future.
- The discovery of how strong in the Force Obi-Wan was and the desire to have him trained in the Temple.
- The petition asking for the child's admission as a trainee.
- The Council's refusal.
- The chill in my heart as my son was taken away from me.
- My probation period. My vain researches in the archives to discover where it was that Obi-Wan had been taken.
- The rocks I bought as a present for each of his naming days.
- The nights spent awake, looking at the stars, wondering where my son was, if he was all right, if he was happy and loved...
I don't know for how long it has gone on, but in the end my hand fell from Obi-Wan's shoulder and I stood there, frozen on the spot, watching him and waiting for his reaction.
His eyes, his beautiful clear eyes were glazed, and he was trembling.
"Obi-Wan?" I said hesitantly, brushing his arm.
The touch startled him, and he blinked several times.
"Are you all right?" I asked gently.
"No...Yes...I don't know," he whispered, and then started to back away. "Please...I need to be alone...I need to think."
"As you wish," I murmured, heading toward the door, understanding his need to be alone, but still longing to be able to soothe and comfort him.
And now I am here, prey to my emotions as had not happened since Xanatos' turn.
I am here, unable to focus, unable to concentrate, unable to meditate - unable to be a Jedi. I am just a man, an aging, lonely man hoping I have not just destroyed all my chances to build a relationship with my son.
Coruscant, Jedi Temple, 3.4:9 - Late morning
I am in my rooms resting on my bed as I record this journal.
We arrived on Coruscant this morning and found both Supreme Chancellor Valorum and Naboo Senator Palpatine waiting for us on the landing pad. The Senator was there to take care of his Queen, while Valorum wanted to hear a report about the situation on Naboo. He was clearly worried by how the crisis has developed and I sensed his concerns regarding how the Senate would react to it.
He is afraid the congress will continue to stall or postpone making a decision, losing precious time over meaningless, bureaucratic details, as they have done more and more frequently in the past years.
Once the meeting with the Supreme Chancellor was over, Obi-Wan and I saluted each other and separated, heading toward our respective Temples to give our reports to our leaders.
My son has been rather subdued today. He made no sarcastic remarks about Jar-Jar's behaviour at breakfast, and let me do all the talking while reporting to Valorum, limiting himself to nodding now and then.
There were dark circles under his eyes, a sure sign he spent a sleepless night, just like me.
My heart longed to offer him my help, but what comfort can you give to the man that is your son but is also a perfect stranger? And not even a common stranger, but a Sith, trained since early age not to show any weakness.
No, I could not ask him how he felt. I could not offer him comfort and risk alienating him even more. The only thing I can do is to stay close and hope he will decide to come to me and talk.
Once arrived at the Temple, I gave my report to the Council, including Obi-Wan's opinion regarding the man that attacked us. The masters were not sure it was a Dark Lord; they seemed rather sceptical and, I must say it, not very trusting of a Sith's judgement.
I refrained from expressing my opinion about the matter, because, while I tend to agree with Obi-Wan, I did not want Yoda and Ki-Adi-Mundi thinking I am siding with a Sith only because he happens to be my son. The two masters, of course, have recognized my son's name, and we have exchanged some accusing glances now and then. I don't think I will ever forgive them for not admitting Obi-Wan to the Temple. How different his life as a child would have been if they would have taken him in!
I also had another reason not to antagonize the Council about the Dark Lords' supposed reappearance: Anakin.
The child is currently in the Council chambers being examined and tested for his Force abilities.
I thought the Councillors would have been more eager to meet the boy I believe to be the Chosen One. Instead, they reacted coldly and rebuked me for my presumption.
I know I am right. I can feel it. Anakin is the Chosen One, the Force is so strong in him, and I am sure our meeting was not casual.
I was meant to land on Tatooine and find him. I will train him and transform him into a great Jedi.
A long time has passed since Xanatos' turn and I am now ready to take another Padawan - my last Padawan.
Anakin will be my legacy to the Jedi Order as Obi-Wan is my legacy to the galaxy.
ADDENDUM - Afternoon
I no longer know what goes on in the Council these days. I can no longer understand or share many of their decisions.
I have always been a bit of a rebel, I admit it, but only because I chose to always follow the will of the Force as I understood it. I have been called defiant, stubborn and presumptuous because of my attitude, but the Council has always known I am absolutely loyal to the Jedi Order. But now, now I cannot help but doubt the Council's decision.
They have denied me the permission of training Anakin.
They say he is too old, too emotionally scarred and too full of fear to start the Jedi training.
The Council is right, but Anakin is not a common child. He already uses the Force in many ways, and just needs to learn how to do it consciously and not be led only by his instinct.
As for his emotional scars and fear, what do they expect?
The boy had been a slave until yesterday and has just left behind his mother and the only life he has known, to be taken to an unknown place. Of course he is scared - every child of his age, even our initiates would be. But with time he will learn how to control and release these emotions into the Force.
What saddens me most is how the Council ignored Anakin's good qualities and concentrated only on his perceived faults - basically the same thing that happened when they refused to accept Obi-Wan.
They only saw the danger of creating a precedent, and did not think about what a great addition a child as powerful in the Force as my son could have been for the Order.
But this won't happen with Anakin; I will not allow the Council to dismiss him, so that the Sith can take him as they did Obi-Wan.
The Grey Order won't transform this sweet child into a sarcastic, cynical young man as they did with my son.
I will not allow it.
ADDENDUM - Late evening
The Council has ordered me to escort Queen Amidala back to Naboo and to investigate more about the Dark Lord. The masters are convinced he will return, and so am I.
I have been informed Obi-Wan will travel back with us, no doubt with orders similar to mine, and the Force tells me this time together will help us to reach a better understanding.
Nubian Cruiser on route to Naboo, 3.4:10
I have just listened to the last line of my previous entry.
'Better understanding' is not what I would call the development my relationship with Obi-Wan underwent after the conversation we had this morning after settling on the ship.
I was about to leave his quarters after we had discussed our line of action once we reached Naboo, when his words stopped me.
"So, your council has granted you the permission to train the boy. I thought they would not."
I turned around and faced him, surprised to discover he knew of my intentions regarding Anakin.
He smiled briefly and added, "I saw it in your mind, Qui-Gon."
I nodded before asking, "Why did you think the Council would not let me train Anakin?"
Obi-Wan's eyes hardened. "Because I sense the boy is dangerous. There is too much raw power in him, too much fear and anger. I believe training him is a mistake."
I was hurt by his words and commented sarcastically, "A Sith claiming a boy is too emotional to be trained...is really amusing."
Obi-Wan's nostrils flared, but I sensed him release his irritation into the Force, and it shamed me, for I had not be able to do the same just a few moments before.
"We Sith hold onto our emotions, but we do keep them in check. We never allow the negatives ones to control us," he stressed coldly. "I hope for our sake your recent behaviour was just a momentary lapse in your Jedi control, and that you will be able to teach the boy well. Otherwise, we might soon find ourselves in a very dangerous situation, especially now that the Dark Lords have returned."
I paled at what he was implying, and again reacted in a way unbecoming to Jedi. I did not thank him for his concerns. I did not reassure him I would do my best with Anakin.
I simply stormed out the room.
I did not behave like a Jedi or like an adult for that matter, but just like a spoiled child and now I am afraid I might have ruined any chance I had to fill the gap separating us.
Obi-Wan was very hard with me, that's true, but if Anakin is the Chosen One, as I am sure he is, my son has all the right to be concerned about the boy's future and training.
I could have used his concerns to start a conversation, to bring us closer and instead...instead I behaved like an idiot.
I can only hope I will be granted another chance.
Naboo, Royal Palace, date unknown
The first entry in days- I don't even know how many. And frankly I don't care.
What matters, what really matters is I am still here.
I am still alive.
My son saved me.
My voice is shaky and raspy but I feel the need to record the events that led me to lay here on this bed now that they are so fresh in my mind. In fact, strangely enough given the trauma my body received, my memory is sharp and detailed - especially for a man that has spent several days in coma.
My previous entry was recorded while en route to Naboo, a trouble-free journey that allowed me to rest and get mentally prepared for the task ahead.
Once on the planet, Queen Amidala - or better, the young lady we thought was the Queen - asked Jar-Jar to take us to meet the Gungans' leaders as she wanted to propose the an alliance with the Naboo. Thanks to the Force her plan worked and for the first time in a century, the inhabitants of Naboo would fight together for their world.
The Queen's plan called for the Gungan troops to engage the droid army in a battle outside Theed.
It was a battle the Gungans could not win, but one that would distract the invading forces and keep them busy as our party would return to Theed to capture Viceroy Gunray, who was staying in the Royal Palace.
It was easy enough to reach the palace, but once arrived there, we found the Dark Lord waiting for us. I had barely the time to instruct Anakin to find a safe place to stay when the dark figure, a red-black tattooed Zabrak, attacked Obi-Wan and I with his double-bladed lightsaber.
The Dark Lord was very agile and powerful, and he parried our blows with ease.
There was little time to think as the fight progressed, but I remember distinctly some of the thoughts running in my mind during those moments.
First of all, there was the worry for my son. Yes, I know, it is not very Jedi-like, but I could not avoid it. I think worrying for your child is natural for parents, no matter who you are or what you do for a living.
Then there was my surprise about how well Obi-Wan and I fought together. There was an amazing coordination between us, as if it was not the first time we found ourselves engaged in a duel like this one.
Finally, there was the abrupt realization I was - I am - really getting old, that my youth is behind me and my strength is beginning to diminish.
The impetus of the battle took us across the hangar and inside the palace basement, as we slashed and bowed, attacked and retracted.
It looked like we were pressing the Dark Lord to back away from us, but in reality, I now realize, he was purposefully leading us to a place of his choice.
The Zabrak took us across the power station and it was while chasing him along a corridor, I in front and Obi-Wan in the rear, that we were separated by laser walls. The lasers were time-regulated and when they finally switched out, I did not wait for Obi-Wan to join me but rushed forward to engage our opponent alone.
I am not sure why I did it, but I have the strong suspicion I did it to protect my son. Which, given how it ended, is such a presumptuous thought.
I heard Obi-Wan scream my name when the red blade caught me in the midsection, trespassing me.
The pain I felt when the lightsabre burned through my flesh was both physical and emotional.
As I fell to the ground, I knew I would not survive the wound, for I was already too weakened to even try a Force-healing. I could only hope my suffering will be short.
A great sense of regret washed over me. I had not been able to protect my son and I had lost every chance to come to know him.
I thought back to our last conversation on the ship and felt tears rise to my eyes. What a wasted opportunity it had been!
I was barely aware of the fight still going on near me. I could hear groans and snarls, and the sounds of clashing lightsabers. Then suddenly all was silent and a lump formed in my throat. I tried to turn my head and search for my son, but I was too weak even for that small movement.
Someone approached me and gently lifted my head and shoulders, cradling my broken body.
I opened my eyes and I saw Obi-Wan's pale face hovered over mine, his eyes filled with anguish.
"Father," he whispered.
My heart rejoiced upon listening to the word I had so longed to hear.
"It's too late for me, Obi-Wan," I murmured.
"No," he shook his head, his braid whipping against his neck. I raised my hand and weakly tugged at it, before caressing his cheek with my finger pads.
"I have always loved you...even from afar. I regret I cannot...come...to know...you better."
I managed to rasp before my last strength left me and I felt the Force beckon me - but then my being was invested by a flash of pure, blue light.
"You are not going to die on me, Father," Obi-Wan's fierce mental voice said. "Now that I have found you, I refuse to let you go."
He linked his essence to mine, effectively anchoring it to himself, preventing me from slipping more into the oblivion.
"No, Obi-Wan!" I begged him, "Let me go, don't risk your life for me!"
He refused to listen as he channelled his healing force into me, and soon my being was invaded by calm energy that soothed my wounds and my soul.
"No..." I protested again, trying to push him out of my mind, but I was too weak to fight him. The last thing I remember before I surrendered to the Force's will is my son whispering, "Trust me, Father, trust me."
When I woke up, weak and confused, I found myself in bed.
I looked around trying to understand where I was. As memory returned, my heart jumped in my chest when I saw a figure half-slumped on my mattress.
It was Obi-Wan. He had fallen asleep while sitting at my bedside, and he looked so very young.
It was a mere whisper, but Obi-Wan heard it and snapped awake as if I had shouted. He blinked his eyes and straightened, grimacing at his cramped muscles.
"Father," he murmured, taking my hand in his own as he looked at me intently.
"My son..." I swallowed hard. "You saved me."
He nodded a little smile upon his lips.
"You risked too much...you should have let me go."
He shook his head.
"I could not, Father," he said simply.
Silence fell over us and I closed my eyes. I was so frustrated by my inability to articulate what I felt in my heart. I was there with my son after he had saved me from certain death and the only thing I could say was "thank you."
A wave of reassurance, understanding and care washed over me - no, washed through me.
My eyes snapped open as I tentatively examined my mind.
I found it.
A newly formed bond.
Stronger than a master-padawan one, deeper than the link between two working partners, more meaningful than any connection a Jedi can form with another.
It was a father-son bond.
My eyes widened and I returned to face Obi-Wan in amazement.
My son was smiling shyly. "I hope you are not displeased," he murmured. "I certainly am not."
"How could I be displeased, Obi-Wan?" I said, my voice gaining strength along the way. "I have longed so much to find you, to be able to talk with you, to come to know you and now...now..."
"Now we will be always together." Obi-Wan smiled, then sobered. "I cannot promise it will be easy, Father. We are very different and I think we will clash often, but no matter how hard it will be, I know for sure I would not trade this bond for anything else. There are so many things I wish to ask you...so many things I wish to tell you..." He stopped and rubbed his beard as his cheeks flushed. "I am babbling."
I smiled. "You are entitled to it, I think."
Obi-Wan laughed and I tried to join him, but the pain in my chest advised me it was too soon.
My son noticed it and looked at me worriedly, but I managed to reassure him using our bond.
Obi-Wan nodded, but said, "You must not push yourself too much. He stood up. "I suggest you to rest for a while. Two members of the Jedi Council arrived from Coruscant two days ago and they wish to talk with you soon, but I wouldn't allow them to come inside until you are strong enough."
There was such a determination in his voice; I mentally smiled at his protectiveness. Then I watched as my son walked away, before I allowed sleep to engulf me again.
All of this happened yesterday afternoon and I did not wake up again until early this morning, feeling much better.
I was not alone in the room, but it was not Obi-Wan.
It was Mace Windu.
"Hello, Mace," I said, choosing to talk with my friend and not with the Councillor.
"Hello, Qui-Gon," he answered in tone, smiling slightly. "How are you feeling?"
"Better than yesterday, but still far from well."
"I think you have no right to complain, considering you should be dead. That boy of yours must have a real talent for healing, Qui-Gon."
I tilted my head at his words. "That boy of mine? You know about Obi-Wan?"
Mace nodded. "Yes, Yoda told me. In your report you failed to include the fact that you're Sith partner for the mission was also your son."
"I did not consider it to be so important."
Mace threw me a strange glance and went on. "We have come here to check on your condition, see the Dark Lord's remains and to escort the new Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine."
I nodded. "Have you talked with Obi-Wan? He killed the Dark Lord."
"Yes, we did. Yoda says he is a remarkable young man, and I have to agree with him."
I felt my heart swell with pride, but I did not comment.
"Yoda has also said it was a mistake not to accept the boy in the Temple," Mace added after a while, looking at me closely.
This time I could not contain my reaction, nor hide the regret in my voice.
"Do you know how the Sith are trained, Mace? Do you know they are submitted to physical punishments? That my son's back bears the scars of a whipping he received when he was just ten? He is such a bright, gentle-hearted man, Mace, and yet he must cover his more compassionate side because it is not appreciated by his Order. So he hides it behind a shield of cynicism and sarcasm. He would have made a wonderful Jedi..." I closed my eyes and slumped against the pillow, releasing my bitterness into the Force.
"I know, Qui-Gon. Sith Knight Kenobi has allowed us to touch his mind as he showed us everything that happened with the Dark Lord. He has allowed us to see and feel more than we thought - your bond included. We were impressed by what we saw, so much Yoda and I have decided to make an offer to him."
My eyes snapped open and I sat up straight, not minding the pain in my chest as my heart started to run. "What offer?"
"We asked him if he would like to be the Sith legate to the Jedi Temple. Given his training and the fact he is married, we could not offer him more...Qui-Gon? Are you all right?"
"Married?" I all but gasped.
"Yes, to a commercial ship captain slightly older than him. Don't tell me you did not know it?" Mace was surprised and a bit uncomfortable.
"I did not...we didn't have much time to talk about our personal lives."
"Well, you will now have the time. Our offer will allow the Jedi Order to have a closer contact with the Sith, something that might turn out to be very important if, as we believe, your son killed the apprentice and not the master of the Dark Lords. Knight Kenobi is an open minded young man, and he can teach us how to properly deal with his order. Living in the Temple will also allow him to stay near you, learn some of the Jedi ways and permit his Light side the freedom it has never been granted."
I swallowed hard, my mind whirling with many thoughts. My son was married. Yoda and Mace knew of our bond and were going to allow us to stay close. More, they had implicitly admitted they wished to retrain Obi-Wan. It was almost too much to be taken in all at once.
"Did he accept?" I finally asked.
Mace smiled. "Yes, he did."
"What does the Sith Council say about this?"
"Yoda has already dealt with them. They have accepted, but not for the reasons you would imagine. They do not wish for a closer contact with the Jedi in order to join our forces against the Dark Lords. More simply, they don't trust Obi-Wan anymore, because of the bond he now shares with you. Had he not been hailed as one of the "Heroes of Naboo" by the press, they would have probably discharged him. But they cannot, for he is now the most famous Sith alive, and they need some good press."
I nodded slowly, troubled by Mace's words. Basically he told me Obi-Wan had been banished from his order because his father is a Jedi.
My friend sensed my turmoil and patted my shoulder. "Don't worry, Qui-Gon. I saw Obi-Wan after the meeting with his councillors, and I can tell you he was anything but troubled. I cannot swear it, but I think I even caught him humming a lively tune."
We exchanged a smile, and then Mace stood up. "I must go now, I have a meeting with Queen Amidala. Be well soon, my friend. There are young man and a boy needing you."
"A boy? Anakin?"
"Yes. The Council has granted you the permission to train him."
And with a final bow, he left me alone, as a satisfied grin spread on my lips.
This happened two hours ago and now I am here, waiting for Obi-Wan to come to visit me.
Our new bond tells me my son is currently asleep. I am not surprised he is sleeping in the afternoon. The three doctors that had been periodically checking on me have informed me Obi-Wan has hardly left my side while I was unconscious, despite the fact he too was exhausted due to the great amount of energy he had to used to heal me.
So, since he so badly needs to rest, I am careful to shield my eagerness to see him again. I don't want to wake him up.
I am using this time to think of what I will say to him when he comes to visit.
I wish to know about his wife, of how he was recruited by the Sith, what he knows about his mother. However, the first thing I must do is apologize for the discussion we had about Anakin.
I will apologize for my behaviour and then listen to his concerns, and I will curb my stubbornness should Obi-Wan say something I would not wish to hear.
I will tell my son I consider Anakin to be the Chosen One and ask him to help with the boy's training.
After all, the prophecy says the Chosen One will bring balance to the Force, and the Jedi are not the only ones that would be influenced by such an event; the Sith would be too. Thus, it is only right that at least one of them should be involved in Anakin's training.
I believe this is the Force's will, the reason it decided Obi-Wan and I should meet just now, on this special occasion.
I feel a stir in our bond...my son is awake. I feel his tentative brush against my mind; he is checking to see if I am up or sleeping.
"I am awake, Obi-Wan," I say using the bond and I sense a slight smile on his part.
"Good," he has answered. "I am going to take a shower and then I will be there."
The bond falls silent as I sit straighter on the mattress, smoothing the covers.
I am nervous; I so badly wish to do everything right this time. I wish to do it for Obi-Wan, for Lydah, and of course myself.
A wave of reassurance has just washed over me from the bond and I cannot help but feel more relaxed. I smile.
Yes, everything will be fine.
I can feel it.
I can feel it.
Original cover by TicklesIvory. HTML formatting copyright 2006 TheForce.Net LLC.