Thank you for all the kind words – the reviews have been amazing.
I love reading them.
As usual – stay safe and look out for each other.
Chapter 7: Sow
1 Year Later
Turning off her shower a fair-skinned lady stepped out onto a yellow-coloured carpet, wrapping a towel around herself and stepping toward the mirror. She had light honey-coloured eyes and brown hair with a slight curl, just long enough to reach her shoulders. To her right the cold rain poured down onto the cobble stones outside and the clouds above were moving fast overhead. She breathed a heavy sigh as she readied herself for the day. Exiting the bathroom, she hung her towel over the shower railing – her bare feet making small sounds as they moved from the white tiles to the floorboards and finally the carpet. She opened her wardrobe picking out her lacy night gown, slipping into it and straightening the straps over her bare shoulders. She walked over past her bed and sat down at her wooden desk, behind her a large bookshelf stood housing a plethora of thick book. Her pencil swept across a piece of paper, at the top of page in beautiful calligraphy was inscribed. The pencil made loud scratching marks as the owner continued to write in an aggressive manner. The desk the writer was using was spotless and smelt of disinfection that were piled in a bin at her feet. Each item was placed careful in its place, perfectly 5 cm apart from each other. Under her letter she placed a mat that had a beautifully illustrated map of the known galaxy. There was a piece of folded card at the top of the desk, next to large pile of old notes stored in binder that overflowed with letters all from the same person. All in all, it was a place she could entice her dreams to dance, to take the stage and never care for a bow or to hear the applause of an audience. It was a place to let the shy-creative girl twist and land, always gaining confidence, always growing stronger. There was a simple feminine beauty to the rest girl's room that was reflective of her untameable yet at times timid spirit. The room was organised to the umpteenth degree, books in alphabetical order on the books shelf, carpet, freshly vacuumed, floor newly mopped, new sheets on the bed, not a single spec of dust anywhere and the smell of cleaning product mixed with the lavender diffusor filled the room.
Lavender relieves stress and we can't have any stress.
All around the room were photos of her doing various activities with friends and family, a homage to her adventurous and cheerful disposition. Graduating from university with her family celebrating with her, a degree in 'Political Science and Philosophy,' her sister and her at a dress up party, a camping trip with some friends and a picture of sporting team on a large grassy field. The photo on her desk of her sister and her when they were toddlers bought the brightest smile to her face, every time she'd look to it. Ever since she had moved out from her parent's home alone she had longed for company sometimes. Her sister had already met her husband, a young architect, while studying at a Naboo university with them. As her sister had settled happily into a domestic life she had worried about her choice of life, wondering if settling down and having children was on her mind, teasing her about her many suitors.
Placing her pencil down she leaned back in her chair and ran her hand through her brown hair. She wore a white lace night gown, her emerald eyes looking fondly at the papers in front of her. They told a story, a story of two people that lead different lives, that told each other their deepest secrets, that shared their inner most desires, fears, hopes and dreams.
I haven't heard from you in months – maybe even a year.
Are you alright? For all I know you're dead. I miss hearing of your adventures. I keep looking over the letters you've sent me over the years, and I can't help but feel great regret if I never hear from you again, we've not seen each other since you saved our planet all those years ago. What if we never got the chance to have this tea you keep writing to me about? I'm sure Obi-Wan would love to hear how much you look forward to him asking you to join him for some. You know you really should share your feelings more – might be why you're the perfect Jedi because you hide them so well.
Your friendship is the only thing that has gotten me through my studies and my therapy. By the way, I can go a few hours now without washing my hands or wanting to take a bath! Writing this out now it seems less impressive, but you know what a big milestone that is for me. I mean it's not the same as fighting against a bounty hunter syndicate or you and Obi-Wan rescuing princesses from castles.
I was so excited to tell you in a few months' time – although I've had a change of heart and you'll be the first person I tell.
I've decided to be braver….
Just a little.
I'll be running for senator of Naboo once I finish up with the University. I know I'm young - times are changing though! Younger people need to have a voice in how things are going.
A story about a Jedi and a politician.
Sighing the young woman placed the letter into an envelope, leaving it on her desk and making her way underneath her covers, switching her lamp off and laying her head down on her pillow.
The galactic senate was massive drum-shaped building boasting a dome with a diameter of more than two kilometres. Occupying the majority of the building central mass was the cavernous Grand Convocation Chamber, a tiered chamber sometimes referred to as the Senate Arena. The slightly slopping walls of the funnel-shaped room were lined with repulsorpods arranged in concentric patterns from floor to ceiling, which soared over a hundred meters high. Currently outrage sounded off like an alarm all the halls of this chamber. The pods belonging to several systems in the Republic turned red, members of these systems were promptly leaving.
"Wait friends, we can work this out. Give diplomacy a chance!" Sheev Palpatine cried at the centre of the chamber. "We must stand together, or this new breakaway sect of renegades and agitators win!"
"The honourable senator for Onderon." The Vice Chair, Mas Amedda's voice echoed in the chamber from his position next to a worried looking Palpatine. Mas' blue facial features scrunched together as he looked toward the woman. Her pod removed itself from its place imbedded in the wall and out toward the centre of the chamber.
"That's not possible Chancellor, we see the actions of desperate men with large pockets. The rest of you are so concerned with your scraps from the table of these corrupt men that you've forgotten your right to something much better, freedom!" Her voice rose several octaves as she grew more passionate as the words left her mouth.
"My dear please, reconsider, you your planet are an invaluable piece of this Republic." Pleaded Sheev earning several murmurs from the other politicians. "If we do not stand together we will surely be abandoning our democracy – our way of life." His hands form a strong lock together as his darted amongst the arguing senators.
"If this body is not capable of action against the corruption and ineffectiveness of its members then action is required. I suggest an entirely new governing body take its place! Onderon will leaving the Republic and joining these renegades as you so eloquently classify them as. Jedi aren't the only group that proclaim to have the best interest of the people at heart, clearly a lie. At least they have the decency to become obsolete because of their code!" Mina's pod turned red and her and her advisors left to a chorus of threats and insults.
Sheev held the bridge of his nose as the noise rose, appearing confused and shocked.
From a distance Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker looked on, dressed in his typical Jedi robes. He eyed the number of systems leaving the Republic to join this new movement, his blue eyes, contrast to the deep purple bags underneath them darted back and forth from each senator. He had, had a difficult time without Obi-Wan. A time he had spent on missions with various other Masters, Fisto in particular. He had taken an interest in him and quickly became a trusted and close personal friend, teaching him how to use Jar'Kai and other sabre techniques to augment his already hybrid-like style. It had been interesting, learning from Master Naruto's old teacher. His elder had not taught him as much, it was such a contrast for someone so cold to have such a warm and caring Master. Although, thinking on such a thing was torture as he reminded him of Obi-Wan.
He had an unsettling feeling in the pit of his stomach, he had been tasked by Obi-Wan whilst he recovered to watch the proceedings along with several other Jedi Knights. Their orders were to report back the happenings of the senate to the council. Things had been steering in a very worrying direction lately and Anakin had been becoming increasingly concerned and engrossed with the inner workings of the senate. Placing his hands behind his back he watched the Chancellor take a seat in his pod as arguing continued to break out amongst the senators. He let out a sigh as a firm hand on his shoulder broke him out of his stupor.
"You'll get your face frozen if you keep it in that position for too long, young Skywalker." Anakin turned to be met by the senator from Alderaan, Bail Organa, an influential voice for peace in the Galactic Senate.
"Senator Organa, how are you?" Asked Anakin with a small smile. "I haven't seen you in months." The two shook hands firmly making eye contact.
"You know how things are, this and that. These meetings drag on in these times – lots of bickering." He joked with a smile of his own. "What are you doing here Anakin, spying?" Asked Bail with a coy look. Anakin shook his head, rubbing his hands together behind his back.
"It's alright, you don't need to tell me anything – secret Jedi business." He laughed pausing for a moment, peering into the boy's eyes. "You seem troubled Anakin, are you alright? I thought you'd be happy, Obi-Wan is awake. Usually, my jokes go down a treat with you, they're not hitting the mark today." The senator brushed some hair out of his face with a worried look.
"It's nothing, things are just changing, and people are talking more and more of war. It's a little unsettling." He sighed shaking his head. "If you'll excuse me sir, I need to go and meet with the Chancellor." Nodding politely, he waved casually, departing quickly down the busy corridors of the senate buildings.
"Alright, stay out of trouble, say hello to your Master for me." Called Bail turning back with a solemn look to the situation unfolding before him. "I haven't seen him in a while."
A man sat cross-legged over the edge of a cliff in the dead of night. As a negotiator of land and sea stood cliffs of the wind-beaten seasoned rock. The moon and star rays broke through the cloudy night, revealing small pockets of brushland up to the horizon. Small rocks floated around him, hovering in patterns in the air. Behind him a pair of footsteps interrupted his concentration, the rocks falling to the ground.
"The blood of Shae Vizsla serves you well." The light from the moon revealed the black beskar-plated Mandalorian armour. A lightsabre clearly visible on his belt. "I hear you were successful in engaging our young Jedi." The man stood to his feet turning to face the Mandalorian warrior.
"What did you do?" Asked the young man in a monotone. The Count turned and faced him with his hands behind his back.
The palace of Count Dooku stood on its own grounds, a rectangular area located on a cliff face overlooking a large forest. There was a long cobble stone walkway that led to the keep and was flanked at either side by three ornamental gardens. In front of the palace's main entrance was a double line of statues. The main tower, in which the Count's quarters were contained, was the highest building, featuring a grand, 22-meter high stained glass window on cliff side. Ten secondary buildings were scattered on the palace's grounds, each lavishly decorated with many statues and elaborate paintings.
"There is a lot you are not privy to I'm afraid. If you must know, I have merely set young Naruto on a different path." The older gentleman explained holding his hands behind his back. "You have indeed proved yourself. There will be many jobs and credits for you in the future that my Master and I construct." Dooku held his hand out
"He teleported." He spoke frankly.
"Now that is fascinating but completely expected."
"Why did you have me break into the Jedi Temple to wake up those Jedi?" Stepping forward the younger man peered into the Count's eyes.
Dooku smiled. "This is a very similar situation to that particular piece of business with my old Jedi brethren, Syfo-Dias." Examining his fingernails, he turned to the Mandalorian. "How is your family? I heard what happened - just shameful." He shook his head sympathetically.
He remained silent.
"I can sense your conflict, do not fret, you're doing the right thing." The Count walked toward him with a beaming smile. "Come, it's time you returned to home. You must continue to encourage your people to rally behind you – tell me have you come up with a name for you and your new followers?" He asked placing a hand on his shoulder.
A few silent moments passed. The young Mandalorian looked at the floor and then back toward the Count.
"Death Watch." Responded the young warrior. Dooku rubbed his chin, letting the grin on his features.
"A fitting name." He responded.
Palpatine could sense Anakin before he even stepped off the lift; the boy had a strong Force signature. He had just given a stellar performance – an integral one. The door to his private chamber opened and the young Jedi stepped in. Palpatine rose to greet him with a small smile.
"You sent for me, Chancellor?" Anakin stepped into the room with his hands firmly behind his back.
"I did, indeed, my boy. Please come in." He gestured toward the seat on the other side of his desk. Sitting down in his chair as Anakin walked with his chest out and shoulders back. Anakin strode across the room and took a seat. He looked tired with deep-set, strained eyes and drawn features. It was obvious he was distracted. "What can I do for you? Is everything alright?"
Palpatine perched himself in his regal chair and waved his hand in a dismissive fashion, keeping his small smile. "I am very well, thank you. I know you were watching that mess but there's nothing for you to be concerned about." He leaned forward, resting his arms on the desk's edge as he steepled his fingertips together. "This is not official business. I have called you here merely to check on you, Anakin – such a compassionate young man."
The Jedi seemed surprised. "Check on me? I'm fine your excellency."
The Chancellor's voice was low and consoling. He nodded slowly. "I have heard about Master Kenobi. I know how close you are. What a terrible ordeal."
"If you'll pardon me, that is not common knowledge." Skywalker interrupted. "May I ask how you heard about Master Obi-Wan's situation? Did Master Naruto tell you?"
"I am not a common man; you should know this by now." There was the slightest edge to Palpatine's voice. He quickly reverted to his fatherly tone. "Master Kenobi has many friends here in the senate, many of whom I often share a drink with after a long day's work deliberating. I heard it first among my private guards, but the Jedi Council confirmed it with me last night at our annual meeting."
"I see." Anakin said leaning back. He closed his eyes, squeezing them tightly for a fraction of a second. It did not escape Palpatine's notice, he rubbed his chin studying the young Jedi's disposition.
"You look extremely tense, my boy."
Skywalker's jaw tightened. "It has been a very difficult last few months." He admitted begrudgingly.
"Have the Jedi provided you with the support you need?" Asked Palpatine.
Anakin gave a half smile that did not reach his eyes. "Yes, the Council has been very attentive to me and my Master. But Obi-Wan has been distant from me these last few weeks since he woke up."
Palpatine crinkled his brow and gave a distressed tut. "This is dreadful." He pushed himself back in his chair. "How did this even happen? Master Kenobi is one of the strongest and compassionate Jedi I've ever known."
Anakin's head dropped. "It has been exceedingly hard on everyone. I've tried to speak with Master Naruto, but he's been distant as well."
The Chancellor gave the Jedi a knowing look. "More so on you than anyone else I imagine, such a burden." He leaned forward again and lowered his voice. "Anakin, I know the Code forbids attachment, but I can see that you love your friend very much."
The young man shook his head defensively, his exhaustion leading him quickly to anger. "I know I shouldn't, but I can't really help it, he just – he's always been there, you know? Obi-Wan practically raised me, he's like my father." He leaned his elbows on his knees and pressed his palms to his eyes.
"It's alright." Palpatine soothed in soft tone. "Your feelings are completely natural and understandable, sensitive men like you and I are always prone to emotion, such is the reality. It's absurd that the Jedi believe master and apprentice should not share a connection."
"I just don't know what I'll do if I lose him." Anakin suddenly blurted out.
The Chancellor shook his head, adopting a look of deep concern. "Tell me, I heard rumours that Masters Naruto and Kenobi had visions in their unconsciousness. Is this the case?"
Skywalker looked desperate. "I really shouldn't be discussing this with you."
Palpatine sat up straight, his posture stately, his eyes piercing. "Anakin, I hoped that by now you would realise our discussions are private. Whatever you say in this room is guarded with the strictest confidence." He affirmed kindly.
"I know that. It's just - this is Jedi business, and it doesn't concern the senate." Retorted Anakin in a conflicted tone.
There was a long silence before the Chancellor spoke. "This is purely a personal conversation. I have no professional stake in your wellbeing. However, I respect your position. If you cannot talk to me about all these feelings then I do hope there is someone at the Temple with whom you can unburden yourself with. Perhaps Master Naruto could find time for you. Although, he is rather busy with his new apprentice." Palpatine looked genuinely worried for the boy.
The words hung in the air, and he watched Anakin's eyes widen with realisation. "They don't really ever have time for me." the Jedi said quietly looking down at his feet.
"They still don't trust you." Palpatine shook his head in disbelief. "I can empathise with that, my Master – he was a very private, very secretive. Eventually, his paranoia led to an untimely end."
"I'm sorry." Replied Anakin in a remorseful tone.
"Oh no dear boy, don't feel sorry for a second. It was a hard lesson but an important one. Do not hold your feelings so close to your chest, do no repress or try and control them. Let them flow." An intense rush of emotion washed over Anakin.
"No!" The young Jedi jolted up waving his hands in a panic. "That's not how it is."
"Relax young man. It's okay to say how you feel – you've been doing it tough. Weren't you the one that told me that you thought that Obi-Wan was purposefully holding you back, withholding information from you."
Anakin looked embarrassed. "Well, sometimes it feels like that. He doesn't trust me with the full story." He admitted. "They're very secretive…..
"I know you're drawing distinctions from what I've just share with you. But I can assure you – it was different. I am confused, what do you mean by the full story?" Enquired Sheev leaning back in his chair. Anakin went to speak but shook his head and the words died in his mouth.
"You're sure?" Asked Anakin in a worried tone.
"I'm sure my boy. Master Kenobi would never lie to you Anakin. I'm sure he's not told you for your own good." Palpatine assured.
"I'm not so certain. I find myself wrestling with a lot of mixed feelings." The conflict in Anakin was growing by the second. "If I'm honest I'm ashamed to tell anyone at the Temple that I'm having a rough time with things."
"My boy." The Chancellor said calmly. "You may not agree but you still are unwise and not ready to take up the mantle of Master. I believe that Obi-Wan is correct. You must be patient –you will find out about these visions when you are ready. We must accept the way things are, it is what it is."
Anakin snorted. "It's funny; that's what Obi-Wan would say."
"Well, he would be right. He's a remarkable man." The Chancellor stood, indicating their meeting was over. "I have known Master Kenobi for many years. I have faith that he will have his reasons." He walked Anakin to the door. He put a comforting arm around him.
The young Jedi nodded. "You're right. I should have more faith in Obi-Wan and his teachings."
Palpatine took Anakin by the shoulders and squared him up, looking directly in his bright blue eyes. "Your loyalty and skill is a credit to your Master. I know you are struggling, but I also know you are capable like no other Jedi I've ever known. If you need anything at all, please, do not hesitate to come to me. My door is always open."
Anakin smiled, touched by the older man's kindness. "I do. Thank you, sir."
Arising in his tent Naruto stepped out onto a small camp site, situated in the forest moon of Endor. He had taken Ashoka on a training trip – using his superior force sense he located her a few 100 metres out of the camp site. He sat on the log – seeing that she had prepared a pot of tea for him. Reaching into his pant pocket, he pulled out a small piece of paper and a pen. Unfurling this piece of paper he placed it on tree stump – acting as a makeshift table.
I'm so very sorry Padmé, it seems that I've miscalculated about a great deal many things.
I haven't been in contact as usual, and I did not mean to worry you.
This game of political chess that I see the Jedi and the senate playing will only end badly. Honestly, things seem so ineffective that were once like a rushing stream.
I'm perplexed at the idea of your fixation or passion on politics. I can't tell.
Just remember, not everyone will share your opinions or agree with you, your overconfidence can still get you into trouble. But I believe you should follow your ambition and be happy.
It's good to hear that you're taking the time to work on yourself – don't diminish your victories, that's wonderful. I always enjoy hearing about them, they motivate me to continue my studies.
Obi-Wan and I have been training underneath another Jedi Master, Kakashi as part of our new station.
Seeing as we're sharing our victories. I've finally ascended to the rank of Jedi Master and taken on an apprentice of my own.
A young girl named Ashoka.
She's rough around the edges but she's very perceptive for someone so young.
She's made some decent tea – believe it or not. I've been training her the best I can – I'm no Obi-Wan though, he's so patient and it's a weakness that has been a shortfall of mine.
PS: You'd have my vote.
Currently we're a few years out from Episode II and we're going to continue to build the field.