Obi-Wan Kenobi surveyed the debris that littered the cavern. On the floor, directly beneath a ragged fissure in the ceiling, lay a pile of stones ranging in size from pebble to boulder, and commingled with chunks of splintered wood. A blanket of dust lay upon all of it. The table, he recalled from his studies, had seated seven.
With his foot, he nudged a tin goblet. Here and there lay remnants of leather clothing, a canteen, and the corroded husk of what looked to be a clothes locker. Along the base of a wall, shards of glass twinkled in the shaft of sunlight entering from above.
Scant evidence of an ancient melee, he thought. Maybe the story of the battle between the ancient Knights is only a myth. If it were true, then where did Kwes Dashwen's leadership falter? Why couldn't he maintain unity?
He crouched on the floor and began to sift through the debris, seeking clues. So far, their findings confirmed the legend: This moon orbited at the edge of the Outer Rim, and the cavern was nestled in mountains that overlooked a sea, but the legend ended here, and nothing about this place suggested details of Brask's intent.
According to records archived ten thousand years ago in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, seven knights, members of the first generation of Jedi, grew dissatisfied with the politics of the first Council to govern the Jedi Order. They formed a secret society that called itself the Order of the Serpent. Led by Kwes Dashwen, a Knight who had approached Masterhood before leaving the Temple, they convened in this place, committing to an agenda of their own. They continued to serve the good side of the Force but began to make decisions reserved strictly for the Council. They embarked on clandestine missions, some of which affected people throughout the galaxy. The dark path lay open to them and, little by little, corruption set in. Eventually, an order of fallen Jedi was born. They were evil, but never Sith, or so ancient scribes had speculated.
The Council had confirmed these oldest of records, which indicated little more, but legend holds that isolation and ever-darkening hearts fostered paranoia between the fallen. In time, violence erupted and the Serpents destroyed each other.
The Council, having reviewed the facts, believed the Serpents to be as dangerous as the Sith, perhaps more so since the nature of their spirituality didn't limit their numbers to two at a given time. They doubted that the Serpent Order had endured beyond its original members, but they suspected that Brask believed or hoped that something had, and that he sought it on this remote moon where his small fleet loomed in orbit. The Jedi had slipped past that fleet, not wishing to reveal themselves before learning as much as they could.
Obi-Wan's questing fingers touched something. He plucked it from the rubbish, shaking off dust. It came away trailing a wire from one end. Deposits of crystalline silica encrusted the metallic cylinder, fusing the buttons and knobs.
At once, he undertook to restore it. It only took moments to retrieve tools and parts from the ship outside.
Being careful not to disturb the orientation of the Adegan crystals which ancient hands, guided by the Force, had aligned so long ago, he disassembled it, cleaned it, rebuilt it, replaced the wire connection with a power cell module, and installed a fresh power cell.
He pressed the ignition button with his thumb. It resisted but he pressed harder until it yielded. A beam of light stabbed out in a solid spike, extending only a meter. Streaking the rock-strewn ground with long shadows and tinged with a scarlet shimmer, the beam sizzled. From the device a thrumming rose into the cavern, reverberating off the high walls.
He stood, smiling at his discovery. The sight of the weapon, still functional after ten thousand years of neglect, made his heart glad. Ten thousand years, he thought. The notion staggered him. His twenty years was but a raindrop in the river of so much time.
In the beginning, before they separated from the Temple, the renegades had been Jedi like himself. If they were never Sith then maybe the Council was mistaken. Maybe they were never evil, only misunderstood.
The thrumming prompted a gaggle of creatures - resembling the hawk-bats of Coruscant, Obi-Wan thought - to scatter into the air. Aloft on clouds of dust, flapping their leathery wings in a frenzy, they ascended toward the fissure in the ceiling, through which sunlight poured onto a wall. Beyond, wisps of clouds stretched across a blue sky. The tang of the sea wafted through as well, and Obi-Wan inhaled deeply, welcoming the soothing aroma.
Qui-Gon Jinn approached, having explored the secondary chambers.
"Brask has been here," said Obi-Wan. "I can see him when I close my eyes." He extinguished the blade. "Otherwise I sense no evil here, Master."
"Rest assured, my Padawan, evil once flourished in this place. The Serpents attuned themselves to a dark energy that lingers here even now."
Something caught Qui-Gon's attention. "What do you make of this, Obi-Wan?" he said, leading his apprentice to the far wall.
Carved into the tawny stone, a rectangular niche stood two meters high, a meter wide, and receded a meter into the wall. Chips of stone lay scattered on either side of the recess in piles too small to account for its volume.
"The disturbance?" said Obi-Wan.
"Yes, but not the source." Qui-Gon reached inside to caress the smooth surface. "A correlation. A strong one."
Qui-Gon held up a halting hand. He turned, looking out over the cavern.
Obi-Wan neither saw nor sensed anything. Then Qui-Gon's gaze turned upward, and Obi-Wan heard the buzz of the repulsorlift coils echoing in the chamber even before he saw the pilot and craft dive through the ruptured ceiling. The pilot had entered the cavern upside down; he pulled away from the far wall in a tight arch just in time, completing a loop.
He brought the nose up and flew directly at them. Obi-Wan saw a droid seated between the upper and lower horns of a crescent-shaped chassis. Behind the droid protruded a pair of plasma guns, mounted on either side.
The Jedi drew their lightsabers, igniting them. Obi-Wan recognized the droid as a Trade Federation Battle Droid, but the Trade Federation didn't operate this far into the Outer Rim. He turned to Qui-Gon. "Brask?"
"He detected our approach," said Qui-Gon.
Laser bolts hammered the wall above their heads, gouging a dozen fist-size craters out of the rock. Obi-Wan lunged forward, striking with his lightsaber. A laser bolt deflected off the blade with a flash and streaked beneath the oncoming craft.
As the rider climbed toward the ceiling, the Jedi lurched into a run toward the corridor through which they had entered.
The rider flew out of the cavern through the fissure above. Obi-Wan realized the rider was circling for another attack, and that they wouldn't reach the exit in time.
The Jedi paused, turning about. Obi-Wan concentrated on the rider as the craft entered the cavern again, letting the Force conjure impressions of likely maneuvers. The whine of the small engine rose to a scream. Again upside down, the attacker closed the gap. Obi-Wan lunged just before the shower of laser bolts began anew, deflecting one. The redirected bolt stabbed at the rider's craft as the rider arched downward. The rider managed to miss the ground, to pull up and out of the loop, but was thrown into a lateral spin, trailing smoke. The rider and craft sailed upward in a graceful arch, missing the hole in the ceiling. The explosion shook the cavern. Fingers of blue sky spread across the rock canopy as the fissure widened.
Obi-Wan relaxed and deactivated his lightsaber. Waving his long braid of hair back over his shoulder, he gazed at his mentor, a small grin lighting his face.
The Master glanced at him. "Don't gloat."
Entering the Palomino, the flagship of Davlin Brask's tiny fleet, had been easy. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan had commandeered the transport used by their attacker, leaving behind their own craft. Feigning trouble with communications transmission, they had impersonated their assassins and claimed that they bore news that the warlord must hear in person. The Palomino's shields had been lowered, and Qui-Gon had persuaded the docking bay captain, via the Force, to let them pass.
This far into the Outer Rim, beyond Hoth and Ison, one was wise to pilot a large vessel. Brask's cruiser provided the Jedi with the space they needed to move about unseen. They had followed a ventilation duct to a point above a room where they had located Brask.
Hunched forward and peering through the slats, Obi-Wan could discern two Neimoidians dressed in white coveralls, a Protocol Droid, and a Twi'lek. The Twi'lek, a huge, flabby specimen dressed in a red robe trimmed in yellow, sat atop a platform that crouched on mechanical legs. His hand moved to a control panel; beneath him, two of the segmented limbs unfolded. The apparatus hauled itself forward, stepping as would a giant spider. The staccato chiming of the mechaniped's talons on the metallic deck plates sent a chill up Obi-Wan's spine.
"Why is this taking so long?" Brask's voice sounded like sand in a grinder.
"My Lord, the subject has lain in this trance for an exceptionally long time. His condition is very delicate. We have identified the biological mechanisms responsible for his physical preservation, and deactivating them should awaken him, but the procedure must be handled with extreme caution."
Brask joined the Neimoidian technicians, who stood by a rectangular slab. Inside its shallow depression lay a human being, shrouded in a Jedi cloak. Lying on his back with eyes closed, he didn't breathe, and his face shone with a pallor that belied any hope of life, but otherwise he appeared to be unscathed. Connected to the slab by tufts of cables, a throng of machines stood behind him like a crowd of gawkers gathered at the scene of an accident, silent and studded with lights blinking in a rainbow of colors.
Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon looked at each other. Obi-Wan shared the disbelief he saw on Qui-Gon's face. How many times had Obi-Wan studied the hologram of the historic figure on file in the Temple archives?
The Jedi Council had sent them on a mission to investigate the new disturbance in the Force that all felt. While the specific nature of the disturbance remained unclear, the Council had agreed that it had something to do with the ancient cabal of Jedi and with Davlin Brask. No one, however, had suspected that the situation was this serious.
"By the Galaxy," whispered Obi-Wan. "That's Kwes Dashwen."
Kwes Dashwen, once a Jedi Knight on the verge of mastery, recalled Obi-Wan, had founded the cabal, recruited its members, and had led it to its self-inflicted demise ten thousand years ago.
The voices continued to drift upwards.
"...if he is revived too quickly we risk brain damage, even death. As it is, we are lucky if he is not paralyzed. We think the ancient pod was designed to awaken him should any problems arise, and we don't think any ever have, but we have no way of knowing whether the pod ever failed to detect a mishap. We don't even understand what motivates the physiological mechanisms that preserve his body."
By the Galaxy, thought Obi-Wan. Ancient, forgotten knowledge of the Force. Dashwen placed himself into a Jedi trance millenia ago, and his body hasn't changed. What an asset he would be to the Order.
"What of the implant?"
"The molecular machines now occupy the crucial brain centers. When he awakens, he'll do anything you tell him. Anything."
"He better. Believe me, I intend to keep a leash on him. We'll need him, too. The droid I sent to dispatch the intruders on the moon hasn't reported back. If they are Jedi they may try to board the ship. I want Dashwen conscious - now!"
"He is nearly ready to begin, my Lord."
Turning to Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan whispered, "Master, we should act now. There's no telling what harm Brask's implants might cause."
"We're not here to initiate," said Qui-Gon, "only to reconnoiter. The situation is highly unusual. Otherwise I would be inclined to agree. We must learn all we can before revealing ourselves."
All at once, a light flooded the shaft in which they crouched. They found themselves awash in a crimson glow which strobed rapidly and punctuated their movements with little pauses. The light streamed from behind them, where floated in mid-air a fist-size sphere wearing a semicircular jacket out of which stared a pair of lenses. From the side protruded the bore of a tiny weapon, pointed at them.
The droid emanated a mechanical voice that resounded in the confines of the ventilation duct. "This way," it said, reversing but keeping its blaster fixed on them.
Obi-Wan looked at Qui-Gon, who said, "We risk much by submitting, but they may tell us more." Obi-Wan nodded his agreement, and together they followed.
When they dropped through the aperture to the deck, they found a human and a Battle Droid awaiting them. The human, casually dressed, wore what resembled a necklace of jumbo pearls, drawn up onto the back of his bald head. The necklace terminated behind each ear, and on the right side its headset was missing a pearl. As he barked orders, the floating orb, still strobing, drifted lazily down to attach itself to the available position on the crewman's head. The Battle Droid lifted a blaster with both hands. Then the four proceeded along the corridor.
Moments later, they faced Davlin Brask. "Fools," bellowed Brask. "They let you lead them here. You've killed us all."
"We're not here for a fight," said Qui-Gon.
Astride the mechaniped, Brask moved closer. "The Council sent you to spy, eh? Good. They will rejoice to hear I have aided one of their own." He sneered, and his lekku, pouring over his shoulders, twitched. "You see?" he said, gesturing at Kwes Dashwen. "I've reclaimed his body from the walls of the ancient lair. He sleeps, but not for much longer."
"It astonishes me that you would dare such a risk. You of all people should understand the peril entailed in trying to control Jedi," said Qui-Gon.
"To be sure," said Brask, his sneer fading. "How do you think I came to this?" He drew aside the patterned coverlet that lay upon his lap to reveal a pair of legs that ended at the knees. A harness of sorts kept him fixed in place on the mechaniped. "But now I take a new tack."
"My Lord," said one of the two Neimoidians who stood over Kwes Dashwen. "He is ready."
"At once," said Brask. He was sneering again. He turned to face the two Jedi. "Don't despair, Jedi. You and me - we are the ones who make history, are we not? Come, watch me unveil its ugly visage."
He turned, driving the mechaniped toward the technicians and the prone form next to which they stood.
Having been buried alive in his own sarcophagus of sorts, Kwes Dashwen offered a solemn countenance. A slender man of about thirty-five years, two meters tall with sharp features, Dashwen looked much the same as he did in the holograms. The Jedi robe, hood drawn over the head, flowed down along his form. The attire of the Jedi, Obi-Wan noted, had not changed in ten thousand Standard years.
As all looked on, one of the technicians pointed a small device at Dashwen. Then both technicians stepped back to the far wall and stared with wide eyes. As Obi-Wan watched, Dashwen's body began to twitch, hands clenching and unclenching. Then, with a great convulsion he gasped, and opened his eyes.
Then he relaxed, and there before them lay Kwes Dashwen, breathing. He began struggling to rise, then swung his legs off the pod.
Dashwen sat, hunched over. His hands went to his head, pressing the hood against it. He shook his head inside the hood vigorously. Taking a deep, ragged breath, he drew the hood back to reveal a flowing mane of white hair.
"Stand," said Brask. He gestured at the Protocol Droid. "Y-3PO, if you would."
The Protocol Droid's exterior cladding gleamed in the light of the overheads like burnished silver as the droid shuffled forward. Y-3PO spoke, but Obi-Wan didn't recognize the language.
Dashwen raised his head and regarded Brask with inquisitive eyes, but remained still.
"I am your master. You will address me as 'Lord Brask'. You don't understand me presently, but we will work on that. You've had quite a nap. We have augmented your brain, as you may have surmised. You will be glad to hear that the genetic abnormality you inherited and from which you were dying has been cured by yours truly. Unfortunately, the rest of your Order died long ago. But no thanks are necessary; I was delighted to be of service."
Of course, thought Obi-Wan. A disease, incurable in Dashwen's time, was killing him. His followers must have encased him in the cavern wall for safe keeping so that the Order could restore him when a cure surfaced. This idea comforted Obi-Wan, though he wasn't sure why.
Y-3PO turned to Dashwen and spoke at length in the peculiar tongue. Dashwen's expression became a scowl.
"You will obey me and me alone," said Brask, his interpreter translating the words even as Brask spoke them. "Stand up."
Dashwen did. Leaning on the slab for support, he pushed himself up on trembling legs, and looked around the laboratory. His face still was waxen, and Obi-Wan guessed that his recovering circulation was hampering his balance. At the sight of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, his eyes widened.
"Master," whispered Obi-Wan. "He appears confused. I sense no ill will from him. Dashwen once was Jedi like we are. Maybe he still is. Maybe he isn't evil. We should free him and bring him back with us - before Brask uses him."
"I sense nothing also, but I can't penetrate very far. Dashwen is using the Force to conceal his mind. Make no mistake, my Padawan, he is very dangerous. His presence still disturbs the Force. Do nothing. We will depart in due time."
Qui-Gon nudged him with an elbow, out of character for his old mentor. Dashwen was stirring Qui-Gon in a way he'd never seen before. Still, he sensed no malice from Dashwen, only the Force disturbance.
"Tat," said Brask, gesturing.
The human and the Battle Droid who had escorted the Jedi stepped forward to assist Dashwen, who had slumped where he stood and appeared ready to collapse. Flanking him, each took an arm in hand; but Dashwen, evidently finding new strength, shrugged off their grip. Shrouded in his cloak, he staggered toward the center of the room. As he did, Obi-Wan noticed a coiled cable connecting Dashwen to the pod, flowing into the folds of Dashwen's cloak. As Dashwen moved away, the coils spread apart and the cable sprang free from him.
Dashwen turned around, and reached for the place where his lightsaber once hung.
"Ah, yes, your lightsaber," said Brask, turning his mechaniped toward Dashwen. "My mistake, I'm afraid. My men were rushed. We'll have to retrieve it later."
Watching Brask, Dashwen hesitated. Clean-shaven, Dashwen's dark eyes gleamed from an angular face dappled and shining with moisture; his color was returning, reducing the severity lent by his sharp features. On the hand poised over his service belt he wore a tattoo: A tiny black snake undulated toward the knuckles.
Dashwen's trembling hand fell onto a sealed pouch of the belt. Then, as if overtaken by some powerful spirit, he winced, growling through clenched teeth. He staggered back, tripped over his own feet and fell to the floor.
Brask drove the mechaniped forward, charging at Dashwen. He ended the charge with a segmented leg propped on Dashwen's chest, the talon gleaming in the overheads like a scalpel. "Think about it," said Brask. He sneered, and his lekku shivered with his irritation. "If you manage to produce it, you will only use it to serve me. Stop resisting me."
Y-3PO relayed the message.
Slowly, Dashwen raised his hands in the open-palmed manner of surrender. Then, without warning, he spread his arms in a warding-off gesture. With a ringing crunch, the prosthetic limb lifted, its arch reversing. The talon now pointed at Brask, its curve dipping downward; the segmented leg gave Obi-Wan the impression of a creature he had once seen in the spice mines of Kessel: The scorpion-rat, a rodent with features similar to an insect, possessed a tail much like that leg. As the poised limb twitched, Brask gasped, and drove the mechaniped back. Dashwen thrust his arms forward in a shoving motion. The scorpion-rat tail twitched again. With another ringing crunch, it flicked at Brask's head, missing by inches as Brask leaned to dodge the attack.
Brask fumbled frantically with the control panel at his side, turning the mechaniped around. He scuttled toward the exit, drove too fast and rammed the jamb of the archway, the remaining legs of the mechaniped clawing gashes in the thin durasteel of the wall as the machine tried to propel itself forward. Then Brask reversed, and vanished into the corridor. With a hiss, the door slid down into the archway, swift as the blade of a guillotine.
As Dashwen rose to his feet, Qui-Gon sidled away from Obi-Wan, drawing and igniting his lightsaber. Obi-Wan remained still, maintaining a defenseless posture. "Obi-Wan," he shouted. "Be ready."
Obi-Wan watched Dashwen, waiting, not quite sure what Dashwen meant to do. I know that the disturbance in the Force emanates from him, but is evil the only thing that can stir the Force?
Dashwen didn't produce any weapons, but Nokon Tat, facing Dashwen, spoke. "Attack sequence. First target. Lethal."
The ringlet of orb droids floated away from the crewman's head and spread apart.
Dashwen extended a hand toward Obi-Wan, and when the lightsaber Obi-Wan had labored to restore flew into his grasp, Dashwen ignited the blade.
Like a pearl necklace flung through the air, the orbs rushed at Dashwen, firing as they approached.
The moisture of his face agleam in its scarlet light, Dashwen slashed at the laser bolts with a wide, diagonal sweep that sent the bolts over the heads of the two Jedi, where they gouged ragged holes into the ceiling. He ended the sweep in a pirouette perfectly timed to intercept the oncoming droids. The energy blade obliterated all six in a burst of sparks and smoke. Dashwen ended the maneuver by extinguishing the blade and hooking it onto his belt.
Obi-Wan now understood the purpose of the cable that had connected the pod to Dashwen: It had been meant to supply power to any weapons Dashwen stowed on his belt. An antimatter cell must have maintained their charges for the last ten millennia, thought Obi-Wan.
The Battle Droid lifted its blaster. The droid fired, but not before Dashwen reacted. With a twirl of hands he raised his arms, his palms turned outward, as if to avert impositions from the sides. The laser bolt stretched half the distance then slanted downward. It arched around Dashwen's back and over his shoulder, returning to its source and striking the mechanical head, piercing it. The Battle Droid fell forward, the cylinder on its shoulders lain open and smoking from the front and back.
Dashwen then turned his attention to Tat, who had dropped to the floor, cowering. With a scowl, he raised a hand, the garnets of his eyes agleam.
"No," cried Obi-Wan as he drew his lightsaber and summoned the blade all in the same movement. Both he and Qui-Gon moved forward, brandishing their lightsabers, but it was too late. There was a sound like a crelnut being cracked in a vice, and the man on the floor craned his neck at a horrible sidewise pitch. He remained in that position, breathing, but not stirring.
At this point, the two Neimoidian technicians bolted for the exit. One of them pressed a contact on the panel next to the archway. The door retracted, but the Neimoidians didn't make it. Dashwen raised a hand, thrust it in their direction, and the Neimoidians burst into flames. Green fire engulfed their bodies, playing over their white coveralls and heads and arms. They tumbled to the floor, writhing and screeching as the questing tendrils of fire charred fabric and hide. The odor of broiled Neimoidian meat tinged the air. The screeching lasted for but a moment, and then there was only the sound of burning, like dry leaves being crushed in a slowly tightening fist.
Holding the lightsaber with one hand, Obi-Wan gestured with the other. The fire engulfing the Neimoidians failed to diminish. Obi-Wan couldn't get a feel for the nature of the energy that was consuming them. More forgotten Jedi knowledge, he thought. We're in trouble here.
Dashwen turned and drew his lightsaber, igniting it. He rushed headlong at Qui-Gon, the scarlet lance poised high and angled downward.
Qui-Gon parried the oncoming blade aside, and whirled to intercept a counterattack. Obi-Wan, quickly assessing a standoff, moved to help. Advancing by degrees, Obi-Wan waited for an opportunity. When Qui-Gon blocked one of Dashwen's wide-swung assaults, Obi-Wan struck at Dashwen's blade, sending it upward. Dashwen reared back, stepping away, the beam of his lightsaber retreating into its hilt, which he hung on his belt. I've never seen a single swordsman hold his own against two experienced Jedi, thought Obi-Wan. I hope I never do.
It occurred to Obi-Wan then why Dashwen hadn't attacked them the way he had attacked the Neimoidians. He enjoyed the duel, and he would have dueled Qui-Gon with ancient tactics and with great skill. Obi-Wan also suspected that Dashwen wished to beat the Jedi at their own game.
Glaring at them, Dashwen, for the first time in ten thousand years, spoke. Obi-Wan heard Dashwen pronounce the word Jedi clearly; the rest was archaic and made no sense to him.
Y-3PO translated: "He thanks you for returning his lightsaber. And for modernizing it."
Y-3PO turned back to Dashwen as Dashwen spoke again, then returned his gaze to the Jedi. "Jedi of the Order." The Protocol Droid's emotionless voice failed to convey the feeling with which Dashwen had spoken. "Nothing has changed."
With that, Dashwen turned on his heel and stalked out of the room. The Jedi pursued him, but the door sliced down at the moment they reached the archway. The adjacent control panel burst into a shower of sparks as the scarlet beam of Dashwen's lightsaber emerged through it.
Qui-Gon used his own weapon to furnish an escape in moments, but Dashwen had vanished.
Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon sat at the forward controls on the bridge of Brask's cruiser, the Palomino, preparing to leap into hyperspace. They had apprehended Brask and placed him into his own stockade. Hearing of this, the rest of the fleet had dispersed and fled, taking all but several of the Palomino's crew with them. The authorities on Coruscant would confiscate the Palomino when they returned, and process what remained of her crew accordingly.
"You were right, Master. I'm sorry I didn't listen when you warned me about Dashwen. Only the Dark Side of the Force can be used to murder the way Dashwen murdered Brask's crewmen."
"The Dark Side of the Force can tempt with the illusion of camaraderie. Dashwen may not be a Sith, but he walks the Dark Path. Always trust the Living Force completely, especially when you feel a disturbance."
"I will, Master. Master? How do you think Dashwen overcame the molecular machines installed in his brain?"
"The will of the Force is enacted through the spirit, Obi-Wan. You know that. The body merely bridges the physical with the spiritual."
Obi-Wan sat up straighter in his seat. "Master, that ship." As they looked on, the tiny fighter arched away from them toward the moon. "I sense it's pilot is using the Force to guide him in operating it."
"It's Dashwen," said Qui-Gon.
Of course, thought Obi-Wan. He would have to use the Force to understand how to pilot that fighter. Spaceships must operate very differently than they did ten thousand years ago. "Should we pursue him?"
"This ship lacks the means to track in hyperspace."
As if on cue, Dashwen's fighter, a tiny, arrow-shaped craft, veered upward and away from the moon. Pointing toward the Outer Rim, it began to change, seeming to stretch, as if distorted by some lens effect of the view-port. Then it was gone.
"What do you think, Master?"
"Dashwen is the type who isn't content without a cause to pursue. I'm sure he will seek to recruit new Jedi followers."
"When the Serpent strikes, the Jedi will face knowledge of the Force it has abandoned."
"There is a reason for forsaking those old ways. We will witness history repeat itself unless we stop him. The Council will not be glad to hear of his return."
"If only we knew how much more of the legend was true," said Obi-Wan. "It might hint as to Dashwen's plans."
"I suspect only Dashwen knows the whole truth. I doubt he will surface any time soon. In any event, the Jedi have a new reason to remain vigilant."
Leaning back in the co-pilot's chair, Obi-Wan marveled at the swirling beauty of the hypertunnel that bloomed in the field of stars before him as Qui-Gon made the leap into hyperspace, a whorl of light that flung itself past the forward view-port of the bridge. He closed his eyes, and thought about caves and ancient legends.
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