"Daddy, daddy! Tell me a bedtime story please!"
Bail Organa looked his daughter's earnest face as the shadows danced in the dimly-lit bedroom. Her brown eyes widened a bit more as she pleaded with him. Those eyes conveyed so much feeling – hope, determination and charm. Force, she grows more and more like Padmé each passing day, thought Bail.
"It's past your bedtime sweetheart," he said softly.
"Just one daddy please. I've tidied my toys, brushed my teeth and braided my hair. I’ve been ever so good all day. One story and then I'll go straight to sleep, I promise!"
Negotiation. Despite trying to be a firm parent, he found himself smiling. She would make a fine politician one day, if she wanted to. At such a young age she was already a force to be reckoned with.
Bail relented. "Okay, but just a short story. Which would you like - the one with the little lost shaak or the Twilek who wanted to dance or...”
Leia rolled her eyes. "Those are so old. Please tell me one of your true stories. With a princess...and a knight."
Bail scratched his head. The only knights he knew about were Jedi Knights. And the only story he knew about that featured a Jedi Knight and a princess involved Obi-Wan and Padmé. Would it be alright to tell her something of her real mother’s life? Probably, if he left out a lot of the tragic details. Bail tried to recall the details of the Trade Federation blockade, so many moons ago now.
"Once upon a time, in a planet far far away, lived the Princess of Theed. Even though she was young, she became the Queen of Naboo and all the people adored her. She was wise beyond her years, brave and just.”
"Was she beautiful?"
"Oh yes. Very much so."
Leia grinned. This was shaping up to be a thrilling bedtime story already.
"But she was sad because one day tragedy came upon the planet of Naboo - they were invaded by greedy Neiomoidians wanting to claim the planet for their own. The people of Naboo were peaceful people and could not fight against the droid army the Neiomoidians controlled. So the Neiomoidians enslaved the Nubians and tried to force the Queen to sign a treaty handing over her power to them."
Leia's eyebrows furrowed. “Where’s the knight?”
“I’m just getting to that part. The knight…actually he was an apprentice at this point…I believe he was knighted by the Jedi council after this adventure…”
Perplexed, she asked, “What’s Jedi?”
Bail considered carefully before answering his question. He needed to word his explanation very carefully as “Jedi” wasn’t a word to be bandied about these days.
“The Jedi were a group of Force users gifted with special abilities. They were the guardians of peace, serving the Republic before the Empire. I was privileged to know some – they were wise sages and brave warriors who helped people. Unfortunately the Empire wiped out most of them.”
Leia nodded her head slowly. If Padmé had lived and the Empire hadn’t risen, would Leia be a Jedi initiate now? He could picture her in a simple sand coloured tunic with a lightsabre in hand, composed and stoic, able to do fantastic things like levitate objects. His heart ached to think that she wouldn’t have been his daughter in that life, that she wouldn’t know the love of her family. But at the same time, she wouldn’t have been living in a fearful time, hidden from the sinister Sith that ruled the galaxy.
Leia’s voice roused him from his introspection. “And the Jedi knight – was he handsome?”
Bail coloured slightly and fumbled. “That’s not something I’ve really considered…men don’t really…I mean he could be charming when he wanted to be…in fact, yes he was sweetheart.” Considering Bail was a skilled orator, he certainly wasn’t being eloquent at this moment. His audience however was captivated by his story and did not judge him too harshly on his inarticulate speech.
"So thankfully two Jedi came to rescue the Queen – Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi. They escaped off planet, flying into the unknown reaches of the galaxy."
"Wow! Were they attacked by space pirates?" asked his daughter eagerly.
"No...they had to crash land on a desert planet called Tatooine which was ruled by villainous gangsters called the Hutts.
“The Hutts are really scary monsters! I’ve seen holos of them,” said Leia, gripping the covers of her bed and hiding slightly under them.
“Thankfully they managed to avoid the Hutts. With the help of a local slave boy they managed to fix their ship. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn managed to free the slave boy and they took him with them to train as a Jedi. They travelled to Coruscant where the Queen stood in front of the entire Senate and pleaded with them to help her people.”
He recalled seeing her speech. He was just a senatorial aide then, yet he remembered how much presence she had despite her young age. Her speech was legendary in Senate history, not just because the Vote of No Confidence in Chancellor Valorum.
“But the Senate were slow to decide to help…”
“Is that why you spend a lot of your time there daddy?” asked Leia.
He smiled grimly. “Yes princess. It has a lot of faults but you give a voice to those who can’t be heard. Fighting isn’t always done on a battlefield.”
He could see the cogs turn in Leia’s head as she absorbed all these little details despite her tired state.
“So the Queen took the brave decision to go back and fight the Neomoidians with what she had. The Jedi Council sent Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan back with her to protect her. She made peace with the Gungan natives who lived on Naboo and they helped raise an army to battle the Neomoidian’s droids. It was an epic battle but the Queen, the Jedi and the Nubian people won at the end of the day. Obi-Wan was knighted and there was a big celebration in all the land.”
Little Leia was almost asleep. "And the knight and queen got married," she said sleepily.
"Well actually the Jedi were forbidden to marry. She ended up marrying the slave boy ten years later."
Leia's eyes opened and widened in dismay. She sat up in bed and actually shouted, "NO! I want the Knight to marry the Queen! I want them to live happily ever after!"
Bail looked at his little princess defiantly crossing her arms and sighed. It was after all a bedtime story, not a lesson in Nubian history. So he relented and gently stroked her hair whilst tucking her in again. "Okay sweetheart. They fell in love and with the Jedi Council's permission Knight Obi-Wan married Queen Amidala on her eighteenth birthday. And they lived happily ever after. The end."
Now satisfied, Leia returned to her previous sleepy state. "That was a good story daddy. Tomorrow tell me about the Knight and Queen's romantic adventures together."
"Perhaps princess. Goodnight sweet girl." Tenderly he kissed her on the forehead, and then turned out the light.
Leia's dreams were filled that night with twin suns dancing across the sky, the twirling of flashing blue lights and the voice of a warm, loving voice seemingly familiar and yet strange. She had visions of a beautiful woman so kind and yet so sad. Somehow she seemed to also be touched by this sadness, as if a small part of her was missing something. Yet for tonight she was comforted by that voice, a lullaby in her slumber.
Bail shook his head. His daughter was asking him to make up a fabled romance between her biological mother and the most Code bound Jedi he had known. What would Obi-Wan have to say about that?
Bail smiled to himself as he imagined Obi-Wan's expression – a cool look of derision or outward shock at such a notion. Yet it wasn't as far-fetched as he had first thought. There was a time when Bail had wondered if Padmé and Obi-Wan were in love with each other. How had she described their relationship? "It's complicated..." she had once said. They certainly were close and trusted each other immensely. It seemed she could call and get him to come running. Even though she was married to his apprentice, Padme was always highly concerned for Obi-Wan’s wellbeing too and worried for him immensely as well.
If only Padmé had married Obi-Wan after all, instead of Anakin, thought Bail. He had no doubt that Obi-Wan would never have let attachment turn him to the dark side. Bail wished he could rib Obi-Wan about this new amusement his daughter was brewing. Unfortunately communication with the old Jedi Master was strictly at an emergency only level - chit chat would not qualify as such. He would have to be content with the delight this was bringing his precious Leia.
He waited till Leia’s breathing became even. He loved sweet moments like this where his galaxy stood still as he watched her sleeping peacefully.
“Watch over her Artoo,” he whispered before exiting her room. The blue and white droid beeped in response and settled down to watch over Padmé’s daughter for the night.