***Note: I updated the chapter as it needed to flow better with the story. I started chapter 2 and it just wasn't going right. So I made some changes to the chapter. Much of it is the same, but there are some changes. Thank you for reading and I will be sure to get more chapters out soon! :)
It was finally over.
The battle to end the threat of destruction to their freedoms and families had been brutal. It was common knowledge that war behaved that way. Brutality was only the beginning. It's tendrils of death twisting and curling like tentacles searching for food, tearing entire nations limb from limb until nothing remained. When no more could be taken, it's thirst for blood only moved to another victim to quell it's gluttonous appetite. It didn't matter how many lives it ripped from mortality. All it cared for was to fill it's gut with the lives of both the innocent and the guilty.
From every direction, smoke from fires large and small could be seen rising into the air, the blackened plumes curling like dragon's breath. A chill wind bit into the earth, lashing out with ice and fire in it's fangs. Smaller fires were conceived as embers were ripped from their parents by the wind. The fire would cleanse the tainted earth from the evil that had once consumed it, but time would be required for full recovery. Much depended on how and when the earth would heal. The end conclusion would either result in desolation or replenishment.
Despite how quiet the land was, screams from the living echoed through the crisp and bloody air. They wandered among the dead, searching for their loved ones. Hoping to find them alive. It was agonizing to watch loved ones cradle their dead in their arms, weeping and wailing for their loss. The intense emotions filled the air, making it required to have great strength to withstand the crippling effects of mourning.
That was the consequence of war. Despite the victory, in reality, everyone suffers. No one in their right mind would ever consider destruction and death glorious. Only those who sought after power and blood considered it a victory.
Master Herion stood among the dead silently, arms folded close to his chest. It took all his strength and discipline to withstand the wall of pain and suffering that surrounded him. He had to appear strong to those who weren't. Afterall, he was the Grandmaster of the Jedi Order and he needed to give his people courage and assurance. If he showed weakness now, the living would lose all hope and wither away. Numb from the cold, he began to walk to encourage circulation and heat. As he did so, he lingered on the mangled faces of the dead, paying his respects to his fallen comrades. He owed them that much. Afterall, the war had been his fault.
He had been so naive, so young in the Force that he was unable to prevent the war. If he had recognized the warning signs earlier, he could have put an end to the suffering before it came to this. His heart ached, wishing that he could go back in time to correct his mistakes. To save those he loved and cared about. To prevent the darkness that had overshadowed his Order. However, the laws of time wouldn't permit it. Even if he could, it may contain serious consequences.
Inhaling the cold air, he bowed his head reverently as he continued walk through the dead. His steps were careful to avoid disturbing or disrespecting the dead. It was common practice to believe that the spirits of the deceased remained in the mortal world for thirty days before passing through to the other side. Disrespecting a body was just asking for trouble. If done, the spirit of the deceased would be angered and supernatural consequences would ensue. It was best to avoid those confrontations.
He felt himself stop, the cold air taking advantage of him as he caught a glimpse of one particular crumpled body a few feet from him. As he did, a strong gust of chilling air ripped through his robes and bit his bare skin with sharp teeth. He pulled his cloak tighter in an attempt to keep the air from biting him. The spirits of the dead certainly rested here, angry that they were taken before their time. Caution would be needed.
Eyes focused downward, he tip-toed around the bodies before him to reach the one that caught his eye. Slowly, carefully, he knelt beside the mutilated body. Despite the dried blood and gashes, he knew who it was. He lightly grasped the bloodstained braid behind the right ear that indicated the young man's status. A Padawan. Not quite a Knight. Now the dream would never be realized. No wonder why the boy's spirit was angry.
"May you find peace in the Force, young one." He gently closed the eyes of the young man. "Sleep free."
Slowly, he stood up and raised his hand perpendicular to his face, gesturing his respect, and bowed. The harsh wind suddenly stopped, halting all static energy in the area. Peace had been found by the young man's spirit. The dead around the young man must have already come to terms with their deaths as he felt no static energy in the Force when he walked by them. It only made sense. They were Knights and Masters who were disciplined to accept death when it came.
He continued his slow journey among the dead, feeling for those who were angered by their deaths. As he did so, his thoughts turned and began to wander. Was the Force really worth all the trouble? The purpose of the Jedi Order was to bring peace to the learner and to those they served. It would allow them to learn and grow in ways that were unimaginable by generations past. But how could they do so if the Jedi way of life had only seemed to crumble under the weight of the burdens that the galaxy threw at them. It had become very difficult to maintain with so few Jedi.
He looked skyward, his pale blue eyes filling with tears. "Eleniel, I have failed." He carefully sunk to his knees, head in hands. "You were patient with me in all things. Even when I began the Jedi Order, you stood by me." The tears fell freely now. "These years without you has been difficult. You were a voice of reason. Now I've gone and mucked things up."
A gentle wind began to blow, rustling his long, white hair. It was cold, but not vicious like it had previously been. Absentmindedly, he withdrew his lightsaber from his belt. His fingers tingled from the cold metal. The once sleek handle was now pockmarked and scratched from harsh use. It now resembled his battle-damaged katana he had lost earlier in the battle, the blade chipped and broken, severed from it's handle.
He gripped the handle tightly, hot anger, fueled by sadness and fear welled up within him. The lightsaber represented the Jedi Order in it's current state. It was broken and scarred. Gritting his teeth, he stood and threw his lightsaber as far as he could. Breathing heavily, he watched it disappear into the distance. A faint clank of shattering metal soon followed. He knew what he'd done and it brought intense pain and sadness. His lightsaber had become an extension of himself. It had been his life. The symbol of the way of life he had dreamed of ever since he had began to discover the secrets of the Force. Now, the dream lay shattered in ruins, broken and weak.
Suddenly, the hairs on his neck stood up as a large surge of energy engulfed him like a powerful wave. He jerked around, fearing the worst. Had he disturbed the soul of an angry spirit? He slowly pulled his arms closer to his chest, palms open and defensive. The stance he took was one he had found useful for calming angry spirits. His feet were rooted to the ground, stance firm, and breath steady. He felt the warm light of the Force spread throughout his body, preparing him for what might come.
The energy spiked again, but this time he could sense the difference. It wasn't malicious, nor was it angry. Instead, it felt friendly and gentle. Knowing that, he relaxed, but not too much. He didn't want to take any chances.
A voice entered his mind, following the rivers of his thoughts. "Herion."
Startled, he took a couple of steps back. He knew the owner of the voice, but they had been dead for a few years now. It wasn't possible to be hearing them. Once one succumbed to death, they never returned from the paradise their soul enters. No communication with the living.
The voice spoke again, but this time, it didn't come from his thoughts. It came from behind him, but he didn't dare look because he feared that if he did, he'd lose her. "Herion."
"Eleniel." He lowered his head, tears streaming down his cheeks. Seeing her would tear him apart.
Eleniel, his beloved wife, had been ripped from mortality after the birth of their third child, Sash. Her sudden death had thrown him into the crushing depths of despair and sorrow. It had taken years for him to recover and what helped was her spirit. She had stayed by him, even in death, guiding and protecting him. He never saw her, but always felt her near. She'd become his guardian angel.
From what he had seen and understood, when a Jedi passed, their soul would become one with the Force and their distinct presence became indiscernible. However, because Eleniel's connection to the Force was so strong, she had achieved enlightenment, thus allowing her to be discernable. Not just as a separate individual, but as the Force itself. She literally became the Force.
His long, pointed ears twitched when he heard a soft tinkling sound, like grains of sand falling on metal. Despite not wanting to look, he couldn't help himself. He opened one eye and was greeted by golden tendrils beyond mortal comprehension. They darted around him, their golden bodies swirling elegantly as if they were dragons. Eventually, the tendrils began to gather together to form a human figure. Each curve and smooth line was known intimately by him. Why was Eleniel showing herself to him now? What had changed?
Grains of sand began to fall away from the form, revealing Eleniel's luminescent body. Gracefully, she stepped lightly towards him, bare feet barely touching the ground. With each step, she left behind footprints of grass and flowers. Excitedly, she smiled and tilted her head just like she used to in life, teasing him with her golden eyes. It was nice to know that she hadn't lost her personality in death. She stopped a few feet from him and bowed as if she were before royalty. Her long, golden hair spilled over her slender shoulders, falling gently to the ground, revealing a pair of feathery, white wings.
Herion bowed deeply in return and suddenly realized that he was beginning to feel the after effects of fighting for several days without respite. The sudden sharp pain shot through him like an arrow and he nearly collapsed, but he didn't. He looked up and found that Eleniel had steadied him.
When she was sure he could stand, she gently touched the center of his forehead and the pain melted away like snow. "Herion, my dear husband, why do you mourn?" Her voice was gentle and quiet, just like it had always been, but more confident. Her eyes flickered with sympathy.
"The Jedi Order has fallen." He gestured at the dead around him. "I caused this. Because I was weak…..." He hung his head, letting the tears flow freely once more.
An indescribable touch filled his frozen body with warmth as Eleniel took his face in her hands. Tears were in her eyes as well, but there was something else. "You are not weak, Herion. You're only weak if you lose hope." She kissed his cheek lightly. "Have faith. You have yet to see what the Jedi Order will become."
The playful smile returned to her lips. Gracefully, she lifted her silken dress and knelt down, grass and flowers immediately growing at her touch. She gestured for him to sit as well. It was painful, but he obeyed. As soon as he was comfortable, Eleniel lightly touched a flower bud before them that was struggling to grow. With that simple touch, the flower bloomed into a brilliant golden flower.
Her eyes glittered as she turned her gaze once more to him. "The Jedi Order and the Force are like this flower. Young, beautiful, and vibrant. However, it is affected by the seasons." She tapped the flower with her third finger and it immediately withered. The brown petals fell from the flower to the ground as the stem crackled.
Herion raised a brow and he looked at her, his expression saying it all. Pretending to be serious, she also raised her brow, a smile glistening behind her eyes. He frowned, but couldn't hold it for long because Eleniel's face broke into a smile. However, she soon regained her composure and became serious. He watched her pick up a browned petal from the withered flower.
"In winter, all life dies or goes to sleep, but when it wakes, it becomes beautiful once more." She tapped the withered flower and it immediately revived, it's golden petals regaining life once more. "Withering is like taking a step back. Sometimes to make a great leap forward, you have to begin again." She frowned when she noticed a small weed beginning to grow among the vibrant green grass. She fingered it gingerly. "There were weeds beginning to grow within the Jedi Order. Many were discovering a darker side of the Force and were using it for selfish and wicked purposes. Thus the weeds had to be plucked." She forcefully ripped the weed from the grass and clutched it in her hand. Smoke rose from her hand as she incinerated it to dust.
"Ganondorf." Herion shifted uncomfortably, gentle not to disturb his injuries. Her demeanor changed as she naturally sensed his sadness. She took his hand and he enclosed her hand in his. "He came to me one day to tell me of a new discovery he'd found in the Force. Naturally, I was open to it as I was still studying it myself, but when I saw what he was doing." He exhaled sharply, remembering the awful memory. "I observed the experiments he conducted on himself and others. It wasn't good." Her grip tightened. "I felt like the Force turned to sludge each time I got near him. It felt polluted and sick. The more he talked, the more I realized that he was misusing the Force. He craved the power the experiments gave him and he wanted more."
Eleniel looked away sadly, letting her hand drop from his. "That's what power does if used incorrectly." She bit her lip. "I saw what he did. The blood pricking and sacrifices, tuning into evil frequencies echoing through polluted crystals, seeking to destroy those who opposed him, teaching the younglings to fight with anger and without mercy…." She trailed off.
He sat quietly, waiting for her to continue, but she didn't. Her gaze in the Force had been turned elsewhere. She always had a much greater vision in the Force than he did. Most of the time, his vision was blurry and clouded, making things hard to discern. Though, with her counsel, he felt like she had handed him a pair of glasses and could see clearly now. He realized that now he had a better understanding as to why such events had to occurred. The Jedi Order needed simple gardening to pluck the weeds from the flowers. How would he rebuild the Order though?
"Don't focus on the past, my dear. Learn from it and move forward."
He been so deep in thought that her voice startled him. Heart racing from the sudden jolt, he looked up to find Eleniel grinning at him, eyes glowing with glee. Her wings rustled excitedly. She obviously enjoyed startling him. It had been a favorite pastime.
Like a child, she scooted forward on her knees to get closer to him. She took his hand and placed the fourth finger in the middle of her forehead. Then she put her fourth finger of her right hand on his.
"Feel the Force and focus your vision. Open your heart and mind. Let them be clear. Cast off the doubt and fear that have blinded you these many years."
Her words were gentle and he felt his body warm and relax as he emptied his mind. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. In the darkness, he saw the golden river of the Force, flowing gently in whichever way it felt. His soul reached out to touch the water and as he did, the ripples burst into a vision.
The Force rushed through him like a large gust of wind, rapidly flashing images of the future across his vision. It was like watching life flash before his eyes, but the speed didn't matter. His vision had been opened and he saw everything.
As the vision came to a close, he felt the power and energy of the Force withdraw, causing him to nearly collapse with exhaustion. Weakly, he looked at Eleniel and was nearly taken aback by how serious she looked.
"Eleniel, I saw-" She pressed her finger to his lips to cut him off.
She cocked her head and smiled at his confusion. Without a word, she bent to pluck the brilliant golden flower she had caused to bloom minutes earlier and stood. Her luminous, pale fingers gently stroked the delicate petals, eyes distant in thought, but they quickly refocused. She plucked one of the triangular petals and tossed it into the wind. Again, she plucked a second petal and then a third. Her eyes followed them as they were carried away by the wind. Once they were out of sight, she sighed.
"Always remember what you saw in the vision." She paused, waiting for him to acknowledge her words. She raised a brow when he failed to promise. Flustered, he touched his heart and silently promised. She decided to continue after that. "Just as the flower has bloomed, so shall the Jedi Order bloom. The three single petals that you saw carried by the wind represent three who shall guard the Jedi Order against the powers of darkness." She paused, looking into the distance where a marvelous sunset had begun. Her golden eyes sparkled in the golden orange light. "Three will make one. One will fight against the darkness."
Herion felt strengthened by her words and stood to join her. "A Chosen One you mean?" When she didn't answer, he continued. "Ganondorf, upon his death vowed that he would return time and time again. Death will not be the end." He exhaled sharply as he clasped his hands behind his back. "Nothing will stop him from coming back."
She turned her head and he felt her golden eyes pierce his soul. She was asking him to have faith. "He may shake the foundations of the Order, but I assure you that the three chosen will be the Order's first line of defense. Just like Ganondorf, their roles will continue, time and time again. A cycle if you will."
"The Cycle of Three." Herion breathed. At least he knew now that they would not be left helpless. The Order would rebuild itself and it would take time, but like Eleniel said, two steps back grants a giant leap forward. Though, he still had questions. "Why three, Eleniel?"
She laughed. "My dear, I thought you'd never ask." She tossed her long, golden hair over her shoulder and bent down to the ground. Lightly, she touched the ground with her finger. As she drew, grass and flowers grew within the grooves she had drawn. "The Order has three foundations, does it not?"
Three triangles. Three to make one. The pieces were coming together. Herion nodded, immediately knowing where this was going.
Eleniel indicated to the top triangle and the flowers that grew in the grooves turned to a warm red. "The first is Power. The one who holds the Triforce of Power will be a leader of great intelligence and strength. They will naturally understand the purpose of their power and will remain humble as many hardships will come from it. Because of their humility, they will have a great capacity to love. However, power can be manipulated by fear and anger. If they take the wrong path, they will fall."
Herion nodded slowly and waited for Eleniel to continue. She touched the bottom left triangle and the flowers bloomed blue.
"The second is Wisdom. The one who holds this Triforce will be wise beyond their years. They will have a natural ability to comprehend the intricacies of life and will be able to counsel others. Because of their wisdom, they will represent the Jedi politically and be a leader among them. However, because they are wise, they must be careful of pride. Humility will be a welcome friend."
Herion watched as she lightly touched the third triangle, flowers blooming a brilliant green. Her eyes softened and were tinted with sadness. The reaction confused him.
"The third is Courage. The one who holds this triforce will be burdened with much. It will be their sole responsibility to defeat Ganondorf each time he returns. A powerful sword will be forged for them and only they may wield it. Time will be an ally as they will have the gift to manipulate time when needed. Throughout their hardships, they will need to be valiant and courageous. If they fear, they will fail, and the Order will fall."
She paused to draw a circle around the triangles and looked at him, golden eyes asking if he understood what she had explained.
"Three will make one. One will bring balance." Herion said quietly. "And the cycle shall continue for how long?" When Eleniel didn't respond, he realized he knew the answer. He nodded slowly. "I suppose I can answer that myself. However, how will we know who is chosen?"
She stood up, countenance sad. Gaze never leaving his, she began to back away from him. Her wings spread out slowly, the feathers rustling in the calm wind. It was time for her to go. "Each will have the mark of the Triforce. That mark will be passed on to generations to come."
He felt himself stumble forward, not wanting her to go. He loved her so much and the warmth and light of the Force that she carried strengthened him. The despair and darkness, he didn't want to feel that anymore. It made him afraid. His hand reached out to her as she began to flap her wings.
She cocked her head gently, eyes soft, but sad. "I love you, Herion. I always will. Remember that."
"Eleniel!" He called out desperately as she launched upward with great speed. The wind from her wings, knocked him back stumbling. Regaining his balance, he painfully watched her soul dissipate into thousands of golden specks of light. Weakness settled in as he realized that she wasn't going to come back and he fell to his knees, body numb and mind lost in thought.
A crushing sense of loneliness and despair began to filter into his was from the void he had carried with him since her death. He always felt more vulnerable without her connection. She was his strength and foundation. For years, he knew he had a good connection with the Force, but he leaned on her connection most as it was stronger. Now she was gone and he had been forced to learn to develop his connection. A stronger connection than what he started with. No one could do the work for him. He had to do it because he was a Jedi. The struggle would make him strong and he knew that Eleniel, whether he could see her or not, would be there beside him each step of the way.
A strong hand gripped his shoulder, startling him badly. He spun to find out who had touched him, arms and hands positioned to defend. However, he halted when he realized that a young man stood awkwardly with his hands up, eyes widened by fear and confusion.
"Balamaethor, it's just you." He breathed. "You startled me."
Balamaethor laughed slightly and ran a hand through his brown hair. "Herion, are you feeling alright? Normally you would have sensed me coming, but under the current circumstances…." He trailed off as Herion walked past him. "...I suppose not."
"I'm just in thought, Balamaethor." He turned slightly, gazing at the young man that stood behind him. A smile crossed his face as he noticed a golden glow on the man's left hand. It was the Triforce and the very top triangle was glowing. Eleniel's chosen already. "We've got a lot to do, my friend."
Looking at the desolation around them, Balamaethor nodded. A warmer breeze began to blow, rustling Balamaethor's long, braided hair. His green eyes flashed. "Where should we start?"
Herion stopped in his tracks. He smiled. The young man was so good. He'd make a fine Master one day. "We'll need to start with square one of course. Repair our foundations."
Balamaethor looked skyward as if looking for an answer. "I suppose we'll need to re-organize the council….seeing as most of them have….passed on."
Nodding in agreement, Herion took a step closer. "Who would you choose?"
That rattled Balamaethor for sure. His eyes wide with surprise, he couldn't help but stutter a poor response. "Y-you want me to pick?" He ran his hand through his hair again. It was his nervous tick. "Why are you asking me? I'm not a Master in any way shape or form yet. Heck, I just barely passed the trials."
"That's why I want your input. You're part of the remaining generation of Jedi. You'll help shape the future."
Balamaethor bit his lip. "I understand." He paused thoughtfully, obviously still nervous.
Herion couldn't help but smile. He placed a hand on the Knight's shoulder. "How does Master of the Order sound to you?"
A look of confusion. "Are you offering me the job, Master?"
"Yes or no, Balamaethor?" Herion pressed. There was no time to waste.
Clearly flustered now, Balamaethor laughed slightly. "I accept your offer, Master, but you must know that I am not nearly qualified -"
"You will be." Herion interrupted. "No one begins their journey completely qualified. Look at me. I'm still learning how to be Grand Master."
The sun broke through the clouds, beams of pure light filtering out the darkness. It was a new day. A new start.
Balamaethor laughed, but quickly stopped, fearing it was disrespectful. He straightened his worn and bloodstained robes. Another nervous tick, but it helped him regain his composure. "We all are still learning."
Content with the answer, Herion began walking again. Balamaethor joined him at his side, their strides in perfect sync. A comfortable silence fell between them. Neither felt the need to speak. Out of the corner of his eye, Herion noticed that Balamaethor was rubbing his left hand vigorously where the Triforce was, feeling his discomfort. Obviously, the mark hurt. Would it always hurt like that?
"Bal, do we need to have a healer look at your hand?" He inquired, eyes noticing the redness that slowly spread across Balamaethor's hand.
Balamaethor sighed and looked upwards, making it obvious he didn't want to be asked that question. "Master, I'm fine. Just a small injury I acquired in battle. That is all."
Eyebrow raised, Herion deftly grabbed Balamaethor's hand, trying not to hurt him. Bal was stubborn when it came to admitting weakness and injury. While it was annoying and inconvenient to deal with Bal's behavior, it was quite amusing to watch him squirm uncomfortably when the subject came up.
"It looks more like you were branded." He knew what it was, but he wanted to see if Bal was curious about it.
Balamaethor tried to remove his hand from his grip, but gave up when a jolt of pain shot all the way up his arm. He nearly collapsed from the pain, but he managed to remain on his feet. "It's nothing like that. If I had been branded, there would be much more damage done to the skin."
"A tattoo then?" Herion was teasing now and he could help but smile.
"No. Why would I get a tattoo?" He looked away, trying to avoid the confrontation. "It's not a tradition to do so, you know."
"Then what is it?"
Exasperated, Balamaethor finally wrenched his hand from Herion's grip. He rubbed it furiously, hoping to expel the pain. "I don't know, Master. It just appeared a few minutes ago." He paused when Herion laughed. "What? Do you know what this is?"
Stifling more laughter, Herion tried to regain his composure. "I do." He gestured for the hand again. Balamaethor hesitated, but lightly held his left hand out. Herion gently traced the triangles on his skin. "This is a special mark." He looked up and met Bal's confused gaze. "The mark indicates that you bear the Triforce of Power. This means that you will have a major part to play in the Jedi Order, in both it's reorganization and protection."
Balamaethor still looked confused. However, he had stopped trying to rub at his hand. Either the pain had stopped or his confusion made him numb to the pain.
"I don't know everything about the mark, but we'll learn about it together." Herion sighed. He wished he knew more about the Triforce of Power because he wanted to give some counsel to help ease Bal's fears. All he could offer was assurance and faith. "Cherish this mark and honor it."
"I will, Sir." Balamaethor nodded slowly, his voice low, but determined. He trusted Herion with his life and if Herion believed in the mark, then so would he.
He looked down the hill they stood on and saw his friends, Idhrenniel and Veryan, helping a wounded Jedi get to his feets. Idhrenniel sensed his presence and looked up, smiling brightly. She gently removed the Jedi's arm from her shoulder, leaving the burden to Veryan, and waved vigorously. Veryan near fell over with the wounded Jedi from the sudden loss of support. He must have cursed because Idhrenniel turned towards him, hands on her hips, glaring at him. There was no way Veryan could escape her wrath. Accepting fate, he remained stoic and unflinching as she chastised him for his language.
Balamaethor smiled. He was grateful that his friends survived the bloodbath that had ended only hours ago. If he had lost them, he wasn't sure what he'd do. Having them gave him strength to move forward and he was certain he did the same for them. He'd lost his entire family during the final battle and his friends were all he had left. They were his family now.
He saw Idhrenniel rub at her left hand furiously, but was stopped by Veryan. The injured Jedi had been retrieved by two healers, leaving Veryan unencumbered. Veryan had taken Idhrenniel's left hand and began to massage it gently, ignoring his own pain. Both Idhrenniel and Veryan had received the same mark on their hands the same time he had. At least he wouldn't be alone. Whatever these marks truly meant, they would find out together.
Herion took note to Bal's anxious composure and gestured for him to go with his head. Balamaethor smiled, eyes gleaming. Without a word, he ran down the hill and at full speed, tackled Veryan to the ground.
With admiration, Herion watched quietly as Veryan managed to throw Balamaethor off of him and pin him to the ground. Idhrenniel just laughed as the boys wrestled. He couldn't help but smile. The love and camaraderie he felt between the three friends was contagious. Eleniel knew just who to pick to begin the cycle. He closed his eyes and raised his head to the sky, feeling the wind blow around him. There was hope. They would rebuild and become stronger. No matter what came, the Order would be ready. Ganondorf and his followers, the Sith, would not break the Jedi. But if they did, the Jedi Order would come back even stronger. For light always dispels the darkness.
Obi-Wan Kenobi toggled back and forth between screens on his data pad absentmindedly. He had tried to keep up with the History and Lore instructor, Master Jaelin Kong, but his attempts were futile. The master's teaching style was too swift for him to keep up with in regards to listening and taking down notes. It was one or the other and at this point, he had decided to go with just listening. He hoped that he would be able to retain enough to be able to jot down in his notes later on and finish the ones that he had already. Most of his notes contained half finished thoughts or sentences, which to say the least, didn't help him with follow up study.
He groaned quietly.
At least he wasn't the only one in the class who felt the same way. His friend, Siri Tachi looked about ready to break her datapad in half. She had, in an attempt to maintain self control, set the pad down and was furiously tapping the stylus on the desk, loudly. Through gritted teeth, she bit her lip anxiously, face scrunching in annoyance. Then, she noticed him out of the corner of her eye staring at her and she turned to acknowledge him. She rolled her eyes and shook her head at him before turning back to the lecture.
Obi-Wan slid down in his seat. He wasn't bored. Just frustrated that he couldn't keep up. All he wanted to do was listen and take notes to review later. It became obvious that he wouldn't be able to do so.
Siri continued to tap her stylus on the desk. and it was beginning to annoy him. He was surprised that Master Kong hadn't come over to put a stop to it. Either he was too engrossed in his lesson and didn't hear it or he simply didn't care. Either way, Obi-Wan knew that he wanted it to stop. He reached over to swipe the stylus from Siri when Master Kong's voice grew louder. The Master didn't need to look up to know there was a disturbance. With eyes forward, he slowly withdrew his arm back to his chest. Siri glanced at him, blue eyes twinkling and smirking. All he could do was roll his eyes.
Master Kong stopped pacing and swiped with the tips of his fingers on the podium to remove the images from the vidscreen. He stood silently as he eyed each Padawan in the class.
"I hope that all of you have managed to keep up with the lecture. Much of what we covered today will be utilized in section two of this lecture." His voice was sharp and blunt. Obviously he knew that the class was struggling, but didn't care. No mercy for the unlearned. He stood straight, hands clasped behind his back. "All life has a beginning. An origin, if you will. Some find origins to be dull, but they fail to see the benefits of learning about our past. The past preserves our future."
Siri had stopped her insistent tapping and had rested her head on her arm, half listening. Her shoulder length blond hair spilled over her shoulder and onto the desk. It was obvious that wasn't trying to hide her boredom.
Seeing her in this class reminded Obi-Wan of the time they were on Kegan. They had been captured and imprisoned in a school that taught false information to their captive audience, blatantly ignoring that what they were doing was wrong. Together they had gotten quite a few marks and received punishment because they were 'correcting' and 'lying' to the instructors. The subjects were obviously not true, but the children imprisoned there didn't know that.
The image of Siri sassing the instructor on Kegan flashed in his mind. He smiled at the thought. The memory of that entire mission was important to him. It was there, on Kegan, that he and Siri became friends. Before then, she had bullied the living daylights out of him and she was two years younger than him. She had been one of many bullies that tormented him daily alongside another Padawan named, Bruck Chun. He shivered at the memory.
He turned his attention back to Master Kong's lecture. "I'm not going to repeat myself during this section of the lecture. I want to get through it as we are behind schedule. Please use what we learned in section one and apply it to help you comprehend. Now to begin, I want to focus on the history of our Order. What do we know?"
The entire class was silent. Awkwardly silent, making it obvious that the class either didn't understand the question properly or they simply didn't know. However, the silence didn't sit well with Master Kong.
"Kenobi, you have a brilliant head on your shoulders. Please share with us your thoughts."
Being called on so suddenly startled him as he wasn't expecting to be singled out so abruptly. He slowly stood, memories stirring. Something that his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn had said to him some time ago came to mind. "Master Kong, not to distract from your question, but is it true that the archives were destroyed during the Sith Wars, destroying ancient tomes containing much of our history in the process?"
Stunned by the question, Master Kong stopped in his tracks. "It is true, Kenobi. You are the first Padawan to ask that question. The destruction of the archives during the Sith Wars is not commonly focused on. Most commonly, the lectures on the Sith Wars tend to focus on the battles and parties involved and not what was destroyed." He paused in thought. "However, the destruction of the archives ultimately did affect how our Order rebuilt itself." He looked Obi-Wan in the eye. "Where did you hear about this particular event, Kenobi?"
"My Master, Qui-Gon Jinn. I overheard him in a discussion he was having with Madame Nu in the archives. I believe he was looking for some particular information when Madame Nu mentioned it briefly." Master Kong stood silent, arms folded as if he were waiting for him to continue. "I apologize if I lead away from your lecture, Master."
Master Kong shook his head. "No, no. You are actually on point, Kenobi. The loss of our original archives was the foundation of the lecture and I was hoping to begin a discussion in regards to it but since you've gone right to the point, I will forgo the discussion and proceed with the lecture." He walked over to the podium and began sifting through files. "You may be seated, Kenobi."
Obi-Wan slowly sat down, eyes still on Master Kong. The class remained silent as the Master continued to search through his files.
"Over the years, we have been able to recover much of what we lost, but despite our efforts, I believe that the most crucial information has yet to be found." He opened a file from the podium and it immediately flashed up on the vidscreen. "This is an ancient page of text that was found from storage in a library on Bardota. As you know, the Bardota are a people who study the Force to achieve spiritual enlightenment. We do the same, but are more active in utilizing it in the service of others." He touched the screen and enlarged the photo. "Retrieving this sheet was not easy as the Bardotans do not see eye to eye with the Jedi, but after some persuasion, I was able to gain some access."
Obi-Wan leaned forward slightly, hoping to get a better look at the text. He felt his long Padawan braid slide over his shoulder. Despite the aged paper, he was able to make out the text and a peculiar image. The image consisted of three small triangles that together formed one large triangle.
Master Kong walked away from the podium and gestured to the image. "Tell me what you see. Keep in mind that at this time, there is no right or wrong answer as this document is still under research."
A Padawan behind Obi-Wan raised their hand. "Is it a common symbol used in the Order today? If it is, I've never seen it symbol before."
Master Kong nodded as he magnified the symbol. "We still utilize it, but not as frequently as our ancestors did. However, I have found it highly significant in regards to discovering the mysteries of our ancient past. Any thoughts as to where this symbol may be found in the Order today?"
The Padawan behind him may not have seen it, but Obi-Wan knew he had. He was about to raise his hand when Master Kong called out to him. "What insight do you have, Kenobi?"
The fact that Master Kong had called on him before he could raise a finger to speak surprised him. Apparently, he had become a favorite for the moment. "Master, I..." An eyebrow raised, which signaled him to continue. He cleared his throat. "In the Jedi Order's handbook, I've seen that symbol in the section where it discusses the three core pillars of the Jedi Order - The Force, Knowledge, and Self-Discipline."
Master Kong nodded slowly and returned to pacing. "You are absolutely correct, Kenobi. The teachings of the Three Pillars is one of the few places where the Order still utilizes that symbol."
Another hand rose. "Why don't we use it anymore?"
"That is an excellent question. One that deserves more thought." He began to make his way up the aisles. "Symbols are very important to all cultures and represent different ideas and concepts, so why indeed, would we stop using such a symbol?"
He paused when he noticed that Siri wasn't paying attention. Her head had slid into her folded arms on the desk, hiding her face. The Master rolled his eyes and then swiftly tapped her on the head with two fingers. She immediately jolted upright, struggling to hide her surprise. Sheepishly, she looked up at Master Kong and sat up straight.
"So." He continued. "What do we know about the symbol?" No one answered, which made it clear no one knew. This was to be expected as Master Kong hadn't expected anyone to know the answer. "Good, we're all on the same page."
Obi-Wan frowned. For once everyone was on the same page.
"Select Jedi Scholars have spent much time and effort into discovering the meaning of this symbol, but unfortunately, most of the findings become dead ends with no favorable results."
Obi-Wan saw the master's shoulders slump slightly. Master Kong was a member of the committee dedicated to recovering the lost history of the Jedi. He had overheard that detail from Madame Nu as well. The topic was obviously very near to his heart and it was disheartening to see the Master so….resigned. Maybe he was teaching this class hoping that younger minds may have greater insight. It only made sense. Master Yoda often admired the minds of the Younglings he taught. They always saw things that no one else considered.
Master Kong faced the vidscreen, gazing thoughtfully at the enlarged symbol on the ancient text. "However, we feel that we are very close to a breakthrough."
Siri raised her hand, obviously trying to redeem herself for falling asleep in class. "Master, if the symbols match, wouldn't it make sense connect them to the same principles taught in the Three Pillars?"
"Trying to redeem ourselves, are we, Tachi?" Master Kong raised a brow, but didn't chastise further. "However, you are correct. It is logical to connect them to that, but after searching further, I found that theory to be incorrect. Consider this, the language that the text is written in is not Bardotan. Naturally, I couldn't read it so I searched for someone who could. After time, I was able to locate someone who could translate text, but they had only a basic knowledge as I was promptly informed that this was a dead language. Irregardless, we were being offered much more than we had been in years."
He hid the image on the vidscreen and pulled up a page filled with ancient characters, each one categorized based upon their meaning. "The translator took certain characters that he knew and wrote their meanings down. All of this was extracted from the text. While it doesn't look like much, it opened up more possibilities for us."
Obi-wan found himself trying to copy the characters down. They were intricate, but natural. Some of them represented complete thoughts while others, which were simpler indicated a single word. He noticed three, highlighted characters that stood out, but he wasn't sure why. The strangest part about it was he recognized them.
"Master Kong, what are the meanings of the three highlighted characters?"
The master exhaled slowly. "The translator said that any character that was highlighted by a different color indicated something of great importance or value. Definitely something to be paid attention to."
Perplexed, Obi-Wan tapped the end of his stylus on the desk. "If those characters are important, then why did the translator fail to indicate what they meant?"
Master Kong used the Force to suppress his tapping. "Because he was not familiar with those characters, but he felt that they needed to be studied and I trust his instincts."
The class was silent.
"This text is the only firm lead that we have had in a very long time." Master Kong's voice lowered, head bowed. He sounded tired. "But I know that through continuous work and study, we'll find the answers to our missing past." He looked up and resumed his stiff composure, eyes determined. "If any of you have thoughts regarding this particular study or lecture, please come meet with me in my office at any time. I am willing to consider any insight that you may have as part of my study."
***After the lecture, Obi-Wan found himself wandering in the Room of a Thousand Fountains. His thoughts were so jumbled that he needed to meditate. Master Kong's lecture had encouraged curiosity and wonder, so much so that it had left its mark in his mind. Why this particular topic? He'd heard it a thousand times, or at least, the basics, but what was different this time?
Walking through the thick, green foliage, away from the beaten path, he searched for a place to meditate. Closing his eyes, he tuned in to the sounds and feel in his surroundings. Meditating in nature was much easier than it was in his quarters or meditation chambers. He let the sound of rushing water calm his mind, the warmth from the simulated sun warm his skin, and the sound of various birds and animals reminding him that the Force was in all living things. The spot he would choose today would help him reclaim peace and tranquility to his mind.
He opened his eyes and found he had turned towards a large waterfall. The water rushed over the cliffside with great power and elegance. The power was so great, it generated a gentle wind that rustled the leaves on the trees and the grass around it. Mist emerged slowly from the falling water and rose upwards, being carried by the wind. Over the years of his training, he had seen this waterfall from a distance, but hadn't really come this close to it. Afterall, it was the Room of a Thousand Fountains. It would take a long time to see them all.
Slowly, he made his way over to the waterfall, being careful to not disturb his surroundings. He didn't want anyone to know he was there. Before climbing, he paused to look upward, taking in the grandeur of the waterfall. Nature was truly beautiful. He managed to find a way to climb up the side of the waterfall and climb safely behind it. Behind the waterfall, there was a large cave. After his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he found a dry spot at the back of the cave and sat down.
He felt satisfied with the spot. It was quiet, secluded, and in nature. Everything he needed to clear his cluttered mind. Taking a deep breath, he rested his head against the cool wall behind him.
Tuning in with the sound of the rushing water, he cleared his mind, removing the cumbersome thoughts. Just like the water, he envisioned them being washed away, never to return again. New thoughts would slowly flow into his mind from a clear source. Next, he turned his attention inward to relax his body. He focused on his breathing, slowly inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. As he did so, he felt his tense muscles grow warm and relax. Before he knew it, he felt entirely at peace and open to whatever the Force needed to reveal to him.
Just like the river, the Force began to flow through him at a steady pace. It warmed his whole body, filling his veins with light. After a time, he noticed that amidst the darkness of his closed eyes, a gentle, yellow light began to appear. Eventually it became more discernible, gently evolving into a river. It's flow became that of a gentle river - a river of light. The light brightened beyond normal comprehension, drawing his spirit in. He'd lost track of when he realized he could no longer hear the sounds around him. However, he had noticed that the river of light had a gentle sound. The sound it made was a soft, tinkling noise, like the sound of tiny bits of metal or sand being dropped from a small distance onto a hard surface.
This was not the first time he'd seen this river. It always seemed to manifest itself whenever he meditated, but it's appearances were few and far inbetween. He couldn't command it to appear by will. It just….appeared. Still, no matter how many times he saw it, it sparked curiosity. He wanted to know what it was, but in meditation and research, the answer had managed to evade him. Maybe it was something that he needed to speak with Master Yoda about.
He felt a surge in the Force and next thing he knew, he was standing by the bank of the river of light. The first time this happened, he found a spot that he favored and sat there, marveling the beauty of the river. Since then, he'd been able to somehow...warp to that spot. Even now, he had moved without realizing it. The sensation had eventually become normal to him and he just learned to accept it.
Absorbed in thought and amazement, he didn't realize that his hand was reaching for the water. A sharp warning from the Force jolted him back to reality, or whatever this was in his meditation. As always, it was confusing. It was just a river and shouldn't be able to hurt him. Or was it possible that the water was made of a dangerous property? That was something he really wanted to find out.
The urge to touch the water came again and he reached out once again. His fingers nearly touched it, but was stopped when another hand gently grabbed his wrist. That was odd. Bewildered, he looked up only find himself staring inches away from the face of a beautiful woman with long golden hair. Her eyes were a luminescent gold and seemed to be endless in their depths. They twinkled as he continued to awkwardly stare at her. Her lips drew upwards and smiled sweetly. There was no anger, but she was definitely firm and it became obvious that she didn't want him touching the river.
Eventually, she released her grip on his wrist and slowly came to sit beside him on the bank of the river. Now that she had moved, Obi-Wan had a better chance to look at her closely. Her skin was ethereal and glowed with a soft light. Her very long, golden hair draped her shoulders and spilled down her back, coming to rest on the ground beside her in neat piles. In addition to that, flowers and grass had suddenly grown in the area where she sat. Most of the time, he couldn't make out any sort of foliage in this place. Just the river of light shining through the darkness.
He heard a soft rustling sound and turned his gaze slightly to barely catch a pair of pure white feathery wings folding behind her. Was she an angel? At that moment, she cocked her head, golden hair spilling over her shoulders. The smile still lit her face. It was almost as if she had heard his thoughts.
"Do you come here often, Young One?" Her voice was like silk. It was gentle and curious, but was filled with authority. Her eyes twinkled when he realized that his jaw had dropped.
"S-sometimes, Ma'am." He stuttered and ran a hand through his hair nervously. "I don't see this place too often, but when I do see it, I try to stay as long as I can."
She nodded and turned her gaze back to the river of light. "It's beautiful, isn't it?"
Obi-Wan nodded. "Yes." He found himself staring at the river again, watching it's currents ebb and flow, unimpeded by rocks or trees. Maybe she knew what this place was. Just by feeling along, he had been able to determine that it was a place connected with the Force, but he wasn't sure how. "What is this place?"
The woman laughed quietly and sighed. She flipped long strands of hair away from her face and pulled her knees to her chest, making her look like a young child. "What do you think it is, young one?" Make that a very wise and knowledgeable child.
The question hadn't been dodged, but was expertly turned to him to give his opinion first. He looked at her, eyebrow raised, but simply complied. "Based off of my feelings alone, I can tell this place is very special. It radiates in the Force like a giant sun, but despite my efforts to find out, I haven't been able to determine what it is."
The warm smile crossed woman's lips once more. It was wider this time and seemed to have taken on a more playful feel. He watched as she unfolded her legs and moved closer to the bank of the river of light. Her hand hesitated above the flowing light. "It takes many years to build up strength of spirit to touch this river. Touch it early and you'll shrivel and die." Obi-Wan realized that she had just answered a question he had a few minutes ago. "Though, you are correct about this place being connected to the Force, Young One. For lack of a better description, this river is the Force. The Force here manifests itself as a river. There are very few who are able to see the Force in this form. They can feel it, but cannot see it."
"So...this is similar to the Force veins that are described by the Masters?" He asked quietly, staring in awe at the river. So this is what the Force looked like.
"You have great insight, Young One." The woman lightly touched the river with her fourth finger. Ripples began to expand and grow, but then mixed back in with the normal flow of light. "There are veins and arteries like this all throughout the universe. The smaller veins alter their courses from time to time as they grow, but arteries like this one remain constant. They follow the same path that they carved out from the beginning of life itself."
He wasn't sure how to respond to her. In fact, it took him some time to realize that he had been silent for a time. His gaze had been captured by the wonder and beauty of the river. The concept that the Force could be seen baffled him. All of his life, he had been taught that the Force could not be seen. Only felt.
After a while, he was able to collect himself and turned to face her. She sat in silence, legs crossed, hands folded in a peculiar fashion, and eyes closed. Her wings rustled from time to time as if they reacted to her emotions and thoughts.
"You mentioned that only few can see Force veins?" He fiddled with his long Padawan braid as he asked. He wasn't sure what to do or say to this mysterious woman. It was already odd enough that she was here in this place with him. Normally he was alone.
Unmoving and eyes still closed, she shifted her hands into another odd position. "Those who have a strong connection to the Force are only able to see these veins. Considering this, it shows what great capacities you possess."
"Yes." She opened her golden eyes and looked into his directly. He felt as if she were examining his soul. "You are a special young man. Don't ever forget who you are and what you stand for. Do not doubt yourself. There will be those who will try to put you down, but don't let them dampen your spirit. If you do, you'll never reach your full potential."
That sure cleared his questions up. He exhaled sharply, making it obvious that he was frustrated. "With all do respect, but what you just told me made no sense whatsoever. What do you mean by my full potential?"
She cocked her head and smiled mischievously. Her eyes twinkled like stars. "If I told you, then it wouldn't be a surprise." She winked. "That is for you to discover, but I suppose that I will tell you this. Do not be afraid to step into the unknown. That is how all life grows."
Smile still on her lips, she stood up slowly. Her wings rustled anxiously with energy. Was she leaving? Apparently she was because she started to walk away from him. He felt his body lurch forward to try and stop her. "Wait!" He called. She stopped and turned to face him, the small smile still on her face. "Who are you?"
For the first time, he saw her spirit drop, noticeable by her lowered wings. Her golden eyes dimmed slightly. "I am Eleniel, a Sentinel of the Force." Her head bowed slowly as if her statement made her sad. "That is all you need know at this time. However, next time you find yourself here, don't touch the vein and don't look at it too long. Because I am able to do so doesn't mean you can. Disobeying my counsel will have it's repercussions."
Confusion was beginning to become a common feeling he felt here. "Repercussions? What do you mean?"
Her posture straightened, face becoming stern. "You will not be able to return to reality."
Not waiting for him to respond, she turned away from him once more, her ground-length hair trailing behind her. Grass and flowers grew as she walked, leaving evenly spaced patches of life behind her like a trail of breadcrumbs. Despite the darkness around them, it didn't dim the light she gave off. Her light continued to shine brightly. Then, just as quickly as she appeared, her body and presence in the Force disappeared.
Right at that moment, he felt his knees give out from beneath him and he fell to the ground. His head smacked against the hard ground, affecting his vision and hearing. Ears ringing, he attempted to get back up, but because he was so disoriented, he fell back to the ground. It was almost like he had no control over his limbs and strength. Had it left him when she left?
He shook his head, hoping to clear his vision, but it remained blurry. Again, he tried to raise up on his hands, but his strength was gone. No matter how much determination he had, his body felt heavy and weak. Getting back up was beginning to look impossible. Suddenly, a sharp, cold chill surged up his legs and down his arms, freezing his blood as it moved. His whole body eventually began to grow cold and there was no escaping it.
In the distance, he heard a menacing laugh, deep and evil. Eventually, it grew louder as if it were getting closer to him. Hearing this, he frantically tried to get to his feet, but all he could manage was getting to his knees. The weight from his weak body made his arms shake, but he remained upright.
Suddenly, the cold gnawed at him as if it had sharp teeth. "Die, Jedi." The voice whispered.
Obi-Wan turned his head in the direction of the voice, but nothing was there. A tingling sensation filled his veins as his heart rate quickened from anxiety.
"Die Jedi." The voice repeated, but louder. It was taunting him.
He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block the voice out. "NO!"
Responding to the voice only made it worse. "DIE JEDI!" The voice screamed in his ear this time.
Obi-Wan wanted to cover his ears to shut out the screaming voice, but he didn't have enough strength to do so. Weakness had settled in his bones like sand, trying to force him to the ground. All he could manage was barely staying on his hands and knees. The voice continued to taunt and scream until it just became white noise. Eventually, the screaming stopped. Slowly, Obi-Wan opened his eyes. He only saw the river, flowing along peacefully. Sighing with relief, he once again attempted to climb to his feet, feeling strength slowly return.
Suddenly, a strong hand grabbed him by the scalp and painfully ripped him into the air. He screamed in pain as the pressure from the hand surged through his body. Struggling only made the pain worse. Desperate, he reached his hands up to pry the grip that the mysterious hand had on his scalp. As soon as he touched skin, a surge of darkness shot through his body, freezing his blood further. That halted his escape attempt.
"It is useless to fight me, boy." It was the same voice that screamed at him earlier. "You are too weak."
Ignoring the voice, Obi-Wan drew a small reserve of strength and once more attempted to free himself from his attacker. However, before he could even reach his arm up again, he was thrown to the ground. His back cracked against the hard ground, leaving him winded and gasping for air. The attacker still held him hard, his grip threatening to crush his skull. Streaks of pain shot through his body like lightning, striping the rest of his strength from him. He moaned in pain as he struggled to move.
Still gripping his skull, the attacker knelt beside him on one knee and wrenched his head back, threatening to break it. He screamed in pain, almost bending under the intensity. The attacker leaned his head towards Obi-Wan's face, the smell of his rancid breath filling his nostrils.
"Weakness is failure, boy." The attacker taunted. "And it has no mercy."
Before Obi-Wan could make another attempt to escape, his attacker shoved his head into the ground, the pain ringing through his ears. Desperate, he attempted to roll away, but the man grabbed him by the neck and forced down. The air expelled from his lungs once again like a cannon being shot. He raised his hands to pry his attacker's fingers from his throat, but the lack of air sapped his strength. Still, he had to try. Despite his efforts, his attacker's grip only tightened, expelling the last of the air in his lungs.
"The weak consume the strong." The voice growled, leaning down into Obi-Wan's face again. "You're just fodder."
Obi-Wan's lungs burned from the lack of air. Weakly, he opened his eyes and saw a very tanned man with glowing red eyes and hair. Who was this man? The man had such power and strength that was fueled by the Darkside of the Force.
As a last attempt, he gathered his remaining strength and despite his lack of oxygen, he gripped one of the man's fingers and ripped down hard. Bone gave way, cracking and ripping through his attacker's skin and yet, the man still gripped his throat. Bewildered, Obi-Wan tried once more with another finger, but despite breaking another finger, the man still refused to release his grip. He felt his arm fall to the ground limply, his body weak from the lack of air. Why hadn't it worked? Usually ripping someone's finger off forced the attacker to release their grip.
His vision blurred, but he could still see the man's glowing red eyes. Such hatred emanated from them. How could someone feel so much hate and let it fuel them? He'd felt anger and hate before, but he'd been able to control it through much discipline. It was painfully apparent that this man's hatred fueled his power in the Force and possibly helped prevent him from feeling pain. This was quite the disadvantage to Obi-Wan as he couldn't breathe and was now doomed to suffer a slow and painful death.
He felt his body give out, heart slowing. Was this what it felt like to die? All he knew was that he didn't want to die, but he had no more strength to fight back. What else could he do? Slowly, he closed his eyes and listened to his heart. It beat sluggishly, weakly trying to keep him alive, but he knew it wouldn't be long till death embraced him.
The man laughed triumphantly. He knew that Obi-Wan's strength was giving out. "That's right, boy! Accept your fate!"
The man's laugh continued, but it was faint. Obi-Wan felt his body grow numb and heavy as his heartbeat continued to slow until finally, it stopped. Almost immediately, he felt pulled towards a bright light as if he had gone into lightspeed and then….nothing.
Seeing the life leave Obi-Wan's body, the man released his grip and stood. He smiled and cackled victoriously. "And so the darkness consumes the light."
Suddenly, a streak of bright light seared across the darkness like a burn and struck the man square in the chest, knocking him off balance and away from Obi-Wan's body. The man quickly regained his composure, the flow of hatred pouring from his eyes like a waterfall.
"I should have known you'd come." He growled, fists clenched. Red light seemed to evaporate from his body like blood in the hot sun. "But you're too late!"
A ball of white light burst a few feet from the man, revealing a human form. Glittering light particles falling like snow as the features of a woman defined themselves. "One can never be too late, Old Friend?"
The man chuckled as he casually removed his dark cape, making it quite obvious that he was ready to start a fight. "Friend? Eleniel, do you honestly believe that we were friends?"
Eleniel's golden eyes saddened as she gingerly stepped forward, life springing forth with each careful step. "At one time, Ganon, but the man I once knew has been consumed by the darkness." She paused, her eyes glancing over Obi-Wan's body. "The man I see before me now seeks revenge, power, and death."
Ganon laughed once more, tightening the straps on his gloves as he did so. "Revenge? My dear, Eleniel. You are so naive. Despite your enlightenment, you have failed to see the full power of the Darkside. You cannot stop me." He growled menacingly as if he were a feral wild animal.
Cautiously, Eleniel slowly knelt beside Obi-Wan's body and lightly touched the middle of his forehead with her third finger. "Light always pierces the darkness, Ganon. You never understood that."
Ganon frowned, eyebrows knit with anger. "You never understood my discoveries, talents, and gifts. Obviously, you felt threatened by my power and because of that, YOU who exiled me!" He clenched his hands, squeezing the leather between his fingers and palms. "For millenniums, we have fought, but this time, I will win. I will snuff you and all the Jedi out! YOU'RE ALL DEAD!"
He rushed forward, drawing a wicked blade, double-edged and skewed with hate, tainted with the blood of the lives he had taken in millenniums past. His scream pierced the air with such intensity that even the most courageous would cower. However, Eleniel was not fazed. She couldn't be. In life, she had made her decision and in death, she had continued as a physical embodiment as the Force. A Sentinel. A Guardian of the Ways of the Force. She looked up from her work, eyes flickering with sadness. As if time didn't affect her, she stroked Obi-Wan's hair and stood.
She gazed at Obi-Wan and smiled sadly. "Live, young one. I'll restore your strength shortly. More will be explained at a later time. For now, rest and recover."
Standing resolute, she summoned balls of crackling light to her hands, shielding Obi-Wan from Ganon's rage. As she inhaled, she summoned another ball of white light that completely engulfed Obi-Wan. Slowly, his form began to fade and eventually disappeared completely. For now, sending Obi-Wan back to reality would protect him. The Sacred Realm was no longer safe. Reality would be a barrier to prevent the demon from breaking out for a time. Time that would be needed for those chosen by the Cycle to be trained.
A tear rolled down her cheek as Ganon continued to rush at her, seeming as if he were in slow motion. His anger couldn't be quenched and she knew it never would be. Ganon had been consumed by the Dark Side, body and soul. All the light inside him was gone. The man she had once known, gone. Slain by the lust and greed of power. That's all he had wanted and it had been his downfall.
Rubbing her hands together, the balls of light that engulfed her hands merged together to create a beautiful, diamond hilt glistened with the light of the Force, channeling it through the entire blade. She readied herself, preparing for Ganon's attack. Once more, she looked back to where Obi-Wan had once been. He was safe….for now.
Obi-Wan awoke suddenly, gasping for breath, pain pulsing through his skull. Shrill alarms and bright lights overwhelmed his senses, creating a sense of panic and confusion. His throat felt raw and dry as the sudden abundance of air rushed into his still burning lungs. With each gasp, his throat felt like it had been ripped apart and the intensity of it caused him to cough uncontrollably. It was almost as if a bucket of gravel had been shoved down his throat and now his body was desperately trying to expel it.
Still gasping, he tried to open his eyes. They felt swollen and heavy, preventing him from being able to effectively clear his vision. All he saw were blurred images of color and intense bright light. Then a sudden flash of intense white light flashed across his vision and he cringed, closing his eyes in pain. He tried to turn his head away, but numbly felt pressure on his temples as if someone was trying to hold his head still. The intense light continued to flash, but after a few more flashes, it stopped.
Another string of coughs followed, causing his chest to burn. A muffled, but gentle voice spoke to him and tried to move his head in the direction of the voice. That only caused a sharp jolt of pain to shoot down his spine, making him cringe in pain. Once more, he felt pressure on the sides of his head, keeping his head in place. The voice continued to speak, but he still couldn't understand. It was like his ears had been completely plugged by water. His senses finally cleared when warm pressure was placed on his chest, dispelling the intense pain.
Groggy and confused, he slowly opened his eyes once more, vision clearer this time. There were two faces that looked down at him, both of them appearing concerned and relieved. He wasn't sure what to think of it, but one of them looked familiar. Through his coughs, he strained to focus on the face he recognized.
"Where...?" He managed to croak out between coughs. His throat felt like it had been through a durasheet shredder.
The face he recognized was a bearded man with long brown hair. "You're in the Healing Halls, Obi-Wan." A large hand was placed on his forehead. "You seem to have had an accident of….sorts."
Sorts? What did the man mean by that?
"What happened, Obi-Wan?" The man's question had been gently asked. However, it was in hope that Obi-Wan knew what had happened. In all honestly, he wasn't positive. What he did know was that his body hurt from head to toe.
The other being shushed the man promptly. "Don't press him, Qui-Gon. I don't think he is completely clear minded yet. Asking him won't do you any good."
That's right. The man's face he knew was Qui-Gon Jinn, his Master. A sudden and violent shiver raced up his spine, making him realize how cold he was. His whole body tingled from being numb as the blood rushed through his veins, once more. Lacing the tingling sensation, was the cold. His body began to tremble from the chill and the other being swiftly grabbed a blanket from a cabinet off to the side and draped it across him. Despite the welcomed warmth, his body still shivered, the cold emanating from his bones.
Qui-Gon glanced at the other being, eyebrow raised. "He's coming around, Vokara."
Vokara? Master Vokara Chi? Obi-Wan also knew her. She was the head Temple Healer.
Frowning, Vokara closed the cabinet she had rushed to and put a hand on her hip, head tails twitching with irritation. "Not fast enough. I don't want him to be strained. His body already has been. All I ask is for you to be patient." Chastising him didn't do any good. Qui-Gon just simply smiled defiantly. She shook her head and rolled her eyes. "You're impossible."
"You do have to admit that you're just as curious as I am. The incident was unnatural. There's no evidence as to point us to the reason behind his sudden death."
Sudden death? Did he die? Obi-Wan blinked slowly, still feeling confused. He inhaled slowly, the air burning his lungs like a raging forest fire. What had happened to him? Exhaling, a few fuzzy memories began to filter in as his awareness became clear. He had been meditating when he had been transported….mentally or physically, for lack of better description, to the Force river he had seen a few times. There had been a woman named Eleniel and the man who had attacked him. Eleniel was kind to him, but the man had tried to….kill him. Realization hit him in the face like a brick. He had been dead!
He looked up at Qui-Gon, who still was arguing with Master Chi, and reached out to touch his arm. "Master…."
That definitely stopped them from arguing. Qui-Gon paused and looked at Vokara for a moment. She nodded and walked out into the hall. "I'm here, Obi-Wan. How do you feel?"
"Cold." A shiver ran down his spine as he said that.
Qui-Gon smiled and put a hand on his shoulder. "You're in good hands, Obi-Wan." He paused to pull a chair closer to Obi-Wan's bedside and sat down. "Do you feel strong enough to tell me what happened?"
His body continued to shiver even though he was covered in several layers of blankets. "I….was just….meditating-" A long string of coughs interrupted him.
Qui-Gon leaned in and put his hand on his forehead, worry showing in his eyes. Beads of sweat had begun to form on Obi-Wan's skin as a fever began to rapidly rise. "Obi-Wan, don't strain yourself."
Shaking his head, Obi-Wan coughed sharply. "I saw….a Sentinel."
Brows furrowed, Qui-Gon slowly removed his hand. "A sentinel?" Curiosity set in. "What do you mean by that?"
Obi-Wan's eyes began to grow distant. He was too weak to talk. Vokara was right, as usual. "She looked….like...an angel…." His breathing slowed as consciousness slowly slipped from him.
When Obi-Wan failed to continue, Qui-Gon stood up quickly, knocking his chair over in the process, and stared at the monitors. Jagged lines bounced up and down, indicating a heartbeat. The beats were slow, but steady. Sighing, he righted his chair and sat down, putting his face in his hand. He was exhausted from the intensity of Obi-Wan's incident. One doesn't simply just die without reason.
He had been in a meeting with the council when he felt Obi-Wan's presence in the Force suddenly vanish like stars in a black hole. Master Yoda had sensed it as well and allowed him to bolt out of the chamber. Usually after his instructional courses, Obi-Wan would go to the Room of a Thousand Fountains to meditate. He had on occasion, watched him wander through the foliage trying to find the perfect spot. Lately, Obi-Wan had chosen the caves behind some of the larger waterfalls. Even though he couldn't sense Obi-Wan anymore, he at least had an idea of where he would be.
On his way to the Room of a Thousand Fountains, he'd recruited a couple of Obi-Wan's friends to help him look. Turned out that they had felt the disturbance as well. The search didn't take too long as Padawan Bant Eerin, had seen him head towards a specific waterfall earlier. Sure enough, behind the very large waterfall, Obi-Wan lay motionless. Even from a distance, he could see that Obi-Wan was also covered in cuts and bruises. He'd rushed to Obi-Wan's side and immediately began checking his vitals, but found no heartbeat or breath. Obi-Wan was gone.
However, if he had learned one thing from Obi-Wan, it was to be persistent and he wasn't about to give up on him. He picked up Obi-Wan, slung him over his shoulder, and then lept down the side of the waterfall as quickly as he could. Next thing he knew, he was in the Healing Halls watching Vokara and her assistants scrambling to revive Obi-Wan. It was painful to see Obi-Wan hooked up to so many machines, breath mask donning his nose and mouth. As time went by with no results, he began to feel more anxious and worried. At one point, Vokara just stopped. She had looked at him with compassion, her sharp features softening. As she reached to turn the life support off, Obi-Wan suddenly started breathing again.
"Master Jinn?" A voice asked, startling him.
He looked up slowly to avoid showing that he had been startled. "Jaelin, it's good to see you."
Master Jaelin Kong bowed respectfully as he entered the room. "I heard about your Padawan and wanted to check on him." He paused to glance at Obi-Wan, concern clearly showing. It was an odd sight. The man was usually quite stoic. "Will he be alright?"
He leaned forward in his chair and felt Obi-Wan's forehead once more. The fever had risen tremendously to the point where it almost burned to touch the skin. "Vokara is cautiously optimistic, but she expects a full recovery."
Nodding, Jaelin used the Force to pull another chair to a choice spot across the room by a window. "He seemed well for the duration of my class, but obviously that isn't the case. What happened?"
Qui-Gon shook his head. "I'm not certain. Obi-Wan was only conscious for a short time and was too weak to really provide any major details. I'll gather more once he has the strength. The circumstances are odd. When I found him, he looked like he had been in a fight of sorts, which after investigation, there were no reports indicating that he had been in one." He paused, thinking about what Obi-Wan had said before he had passed out. Thoughtfully, he rubbed his chin. "However, he did mention something that I wasn't quite sure what to make of. He claims to have seen a Sentinel."
Jaelin's eyes widened with shock and began to sparkle with excitement. "A Sentinel, you say?" The Force rippled as he scooted his chair closer to Qui-Gon. "Those haven't been spoken of for thousands of years. I myself have spent a large portion of my time exploring the ancient fairy tales we tell our Younglings. Specifically, the lesser known ones. Many grow up believing that they are just stories. Not fact."
"The stories we tell Younglings actually depict descriptions of these Sentinels?" Qui-Gon had been slightly taken aback by the sudden excitement. However, it really shouldn't have surprised him. Jaelin was a man of history and knowledge. It was also well known that the man loved to explore fairy tales and lore to find actual fact and truth.
"Very vaguely. They aren't a main character, so to say, but certainly have a large role to play." Jaelin's smile had grown wider. "Our ancient Jedi ancestors would often tell stories that sounded like fairy tales, but were in actuality, true stories. It is a method that has worked well to teach Younglings, but that's not the point. The point is the fact that we have historical documentation, actual accounts of Jedi seeing these Sentinels. What few we have, state that they or it, is a supposed entity that literally is the Force. They have also been described as an Angel of Light."
"Angels?" Qui-Gon leaned forward, his interest peaked. "That is how Obi-Wan described this Sentinel he saw. How many accounts are documented?"
Jaelin sighed, reaching for his datapad in his side pack. It was obvious that he was distraught about it. "Four that I know of. I've combed the Archives and other sources for more, but that's all I've come up with. Three out of the four, document encounters that take place while the subject is at death's door. The fourth is quite different." He swiped through his files on his datapad rapidly, but finally stopped when he found what he wanted. Standing up, he handed the datapad to Qui-Gon. "This account was given by a Jedi by the name of Idhrenniel. According to carbon dating, the document could be more than a million years old. The fact that it is still in prime condition is astounding."
Qui-Gon quietly skimmed through the digitalized document. He couldn't read it, but the symbols were fascinating. They had a certain power to them. "Did you have a translator?"
"Of course, Qui-Gon. Turns out that the language that it is written in is a dead language. No one speaks or writes it anymore. It was pure luck that I was able to locate someone who could partially translate it."
"Partially? That's reassuring." Qui-Gon looked up from the datapad. "Do you know what language it is?"
Jaelin frowned, eyes darkening. "The young man that translated didn't even know the name. He only referred to it as the Language of the Ancients. Quite generic if you ask me." He paused in thought, fingers tapping the arm of his chair. "He wasn't even a Jedi. I had to outsource, but I'm just grateful that we were able to get a partial translation." His hand absentmindedly rubbed his temple. "Returning to the topic of interest. Idhrenniel's account states that a Sentinel visited during her meditation before her Knighting Ceremony. She too describes the Sentinel as an angel, but with slight variation. Instead of using the title, Angel of Light, she uses Angel of the Force."
Qui-Gon handed the datapad back to Jaelin and glanced at Obi-Wan, watching his chest rise and fall. It was reassuring. "Does Idhrenniel's account give more detail beyond that?"
Jaelin handled the datapad in his hands gently as if he held the actual document. "It does, but it's cryptic. Most of it wasn't able to be translated, but we were able to extract some information." He reached into his tunic and put on some reading glasses. His vision must have gotten worse over the years. Staring at books and screens could have contributed to it. He quietly read through his notes on his datapad. "A name, or at least I assume it is a name, was mentioned frequently. Ah, here it is. The name mentioned was Eleniel." A smile crossed his face. "Quite beautiful." He shook his head. "Other subjects included details regarding a 'Chosen One.' The translation is very spotty, but from what I can identify, it varies from our version of the prophecy. It has made me question the authenticity of our version, but I can't prove it right or wrong if I don't have more evidence."
"What about your sources on Bardota?"
Jaelin sighed, shoulders slumped. "I've found very little from the Bardotans, partially because of their distaste for Jedi. The only major find I've had is a single page containing a triangular symbol. We discussed that symbol in my lectures today. I was hoping that my students would have some insight." He looked at Obi-Wan, a small smile on his face. "Your Padawan made a very good observation. He connected it with the Three Pillars that serve as the very foundation for the Order. I hadn't even taken that into consideration."
Qui-Gon smiled, eyes on Obi-Wan, making sure that he was still breathing. "His abilities in observation and comprehension is astounding."
The conversation had evolved into an active group discussion, enough so that it left an impression. He knew that during the Sith Wars, the Order lost much of it's knowledge and had to piece what they had together into what the Order is today. Talking with Jaelin always did this to him. It made him question certain aspects of the Order. What was true and what wasn't? What had been added or removed? He'd always felt like something was missing from the Order, but couldn't seem to pinpoint it. In previous conversations, Jaelin had mentioned that he often felt the same, thus resulting in his intensive research. There was definitely more to the Force and the Order than what was known.
Obi-Wan suddenly coughed, making them both jump. Intense worry filtered into the air as both masters stared at the monitors, focusing on Obi-Wan's vitals. As another wave of coughs began, Vokara casually walked in unnoticed as both masters were focused on Obi-Wan's vitals.
"Has he woken up since I left?" Vokara asked gently. A smile spread as she watched them both jump. Startling them had been her intention.
"No. He's been quiet actually up until now." Qui-Gon inhaled sharply, holding back a poor response to Vokara's surprise.
She paused, to look at the monitors, her serious demeanor returning. "At least he's not dead." Her response was blunt, but she didn't care. Turning slightly, she noticed Jaelin in the corner, shoving his datapad into his side pack. A smile crossed her lips. "I didn't expect to see you here, Jaelin."
Jaelin bowed his head, still obviously flustered by her sudden entrance. "I felt the urge to come check on young Kenobi. It's proven to be fruitful."
Exasperated, she turned to face him, hands on her hips. "You came here to conduct a study on young Kenobi? If you ask me, that is quite insensitive, but I wouldn't have expected anything less from you."
He held his hands up defensively. "All out of compassion and concern, I assure you. It was….just unexpected results." Vokara raised a brow, indicating that he had just dug a hole for himself. "Our conversation evolved from one of sympathy and concern to one of study. The study being what Obi-Wan had said before his consciousness faded. He claims to have seen an Angel."
"Angels? Really, Jaelin. You're studying angels?" Latex gloves smacked against her skin. She watched as Jaelin cringed. It was satisfying to see the reaction. "I should hope you know that Angels are of myth and fairy tale."
That struck a nerve. Eye twitching slightly, Jaelin frowned. "I should hope that you know that I have proven many of our so called 'fairy tales' as actual fact and event." Jaelin stood, arms folded and jaw clenched. "You've heard the tales of the Sentinel?"
"Of course, Jaelin." She didn't look at him, keeping her focus on what she was doing. "Everyone has heard it, but it's just a story that we tell Younglings. It's not fact."
Exasperated, Jaelin took a few steps closer to Vokara, hands white from clenching. "Haven't you ever wondered about where the stories come from? You have to at least admit that you have."
Vokara sighed as she placed her hand on Obi-Wan's forehead, feeling for his temperature. "I have, but I've come to accept reality. They are just stories. The fact that you analyze stories and pull theories out of thin air is beyond me. As of now, your Sentinel theory has no foundation to stand on. You've only found four accounts-" Jaelin opened his mouth to speak, but she quieted him by pointing her finger sharply at him and raising her voice slightly. "Yes, I've read your essays, but the accounts in discussion provide very little to support your theory."
Qui-Gon sat quietly in his chair, arms folded tightly against his check. He didn't want to get involved in their argument, but even if he did try to leave he felt certain that he would only be roped back in. For now, it would be best to wait it out.
Jaelin stiffly swung his side pack over his arm, eyes resolute. "I will find evidence, I assure you. I always do." He walked past Vokara, head held high. "Now, if you'll excuse me. Qui-Gon, thank you for your time."
Once Jaelin was gone, Vokara visibly relaxed, her head tails less twitchy. However, tension still hung in the hair like a thick fog that refused to filter out. Qui-Gon remained quiet as Vokara worked on Obi-Wan. She had selected a few crystals to channel the Force through Obi-Wan's body to speed up the healing process safely. Before she started the process, she rubbed her hands together, generating heat. Then, gingerly, she touched each crystal. The Force that flowed through the tips of her fingers caused the crystals to glow.
Qui-Gon watched for a moment, but felt restless. He needed to go for a walk. Despite how worried he was about Obi-Wan, he knew that he needed to take some time away from him. He stood and walked towards the door. Vokara noticed and bowed her head.
"I'll keep you updated on his progress, Qui-Gon." She smiled gently, knowing he was still concerned.
He smiled back and bowed. Then without a word, walked out into the hallway.