The planet Kath is much less exciting than Obi-Wan expected it to be. When Master Qui-Gon described the mountainous terrain and mysterious bogs that covered most of the planet, Obi-Wan envisioned a great adventure ahead of them.
Instead, they've spent the entire mission trekking up a mountain to check up on a Jedi Temple that hasn't been inhabited in years.
"With all due respect, Master, I don't see why the council is so interested in this temple," his footing slips and he stumbles forward, catching himself on a rock. "It's no wonder it was abandoned, the location is not exactly accessible."
Qui-Gon looks over his shoulder at the young padawan, an amused smile on his lips. "Jedi Temples are not meant to be tourist attractions, my padawan. This terrain is purposeful. And Jedi Temples, inhabited or not, are places of great value. The council likes to keep tabs on the sanctity of even the empty ones."
Obi-Wan tries to suppress his opinions on this particular mission, but as the day drags on and he grows more tired and cranky he can't help but let them slip. The ration bar he brought was certainly not sufficient to stifle his rumbling stomach. Luckily, Qui-Gon appears to be in a decent mood and is more amused by his musings than annoyed.
They finally reach the top of the mountain and Obi-Wan is absolutely drenched in sweat. He's reached the point where he can smell the putrid odor coming off himself. The things he would do for a sonic shower right now...
"Look Obi-Wan. We've reached it." Qui-Gon says and Obi-Wan takes his attention away from his moistened robes to the entrance of a large cave.
"This is a Jedi Temple?" It doesn't look like a temple. At least, none that Obi-Wan has ever seen. While many of the others are physical buildings, clearly identifiable as a temple this is just... a cave.
"Indeed. Shall we?"
Qui-Gon starts walking into the cave, and Obi-Wan trails close behind him. As they enter the cave Obi-Wan can see that it's surprisingly shallow and there doesn't seem to be anything in it besides a few stalagmites.
"I don't understand, Master."
"Hush, my padawan. Just have faith."
Qui-Gon takes out his saber and shines it along the walls of the cave. By the light of the saber little symbols appear on the wall. Obi-Wan's eyes widen and he follows in suit. The symbols look like directions, little figures showing specific positions. As he reaches the back wall of the cave Qui-Gon has put his saber away and already has his hands raised.
"Join me, we need both of us to open it."
Obi-Wan mirrors the position of his master and together they follow the series of three positions, ending with pressing their hands against the wall. A low rumble suddenly begins, and Obi-Wan watches in amazement as the floor they stand on begins to rotate, swallowing them into the other side of the wall.
As the rock sets, Obi-Wan waits for Qui-Gon to remove his hands and then turns to take a look. The cave has opened up into a large room that actually looks like the interior of a Jedi Temple. Tall columns, torches illuminating the room, and tiled flooring replace the dark cave.
"This is... incredible!"
"The Kath Temple dates back to the times of the Sith, which is why it's so hidden. Much like a Holocron, only a Jedi can open it. In this case, you need two Jedi."
"Makes sense. So, what do we have to do here?"
Qui-Gon looks around the room quickly. Obi-Wan spots another opening on the other side of the room. When he looks back at his master, Qui-Gon seems to also be looking there.
"We will just take a look around. Ensure there is no evidence of anyone else here. But stay close Padawan. Jedi Temples have a habit of having some fun of their own with those who enter."
They cross the large main room and enter the smaller tunnels. Obi-Wan sticks close to Qui-Gon, but he can't help but keep losing himself in all the artwork on the walls. They depict detailed illustrations of massive war scenes. Vibrant paints make the lightsabers seem to glow on the wall as if they were real. While Obi-Wan is usually quite good at not getting distracted on missions, he finds himself losing his focus more easily.
A particular painting catches his eye enough for Obi-Wan to stop and get a better look. This one looks different than the others. Newer. Rather than the large landscapes of thousands of Jedi versus thousands of Sith, this one looks to be zoomed in more on a particular scene. A hooded Sith holds his hand out to a man kneeling before him, his red saber held at his side. On the ground lies a blue saber, unclaimed, but appearing to belong to the kneeling man. Behind the man are a bearded Jedi holding a blue lightsaber and a Togruta woman wielding two smaller sabers. Both are clad in Jedi robes and look quite horrified. Obi-Wan leans in close and can see that behind the Sith there is a window revealing a fire burning in the distance.
"Hey Master, did you see--" Obi-Wan starts, but when he turns to ask Qui-Gon about this painting, he finds that he is alone in the passageway. "Kriff," Obi-Wan curses to himself, taking off down the hall. He only stopped for a moment, how could Qui-Gon have gotten so far?
When he turns the corner he doesn't find his master. Instead, he is met with a dead-end in the form of a room. It's smaller than the first room they entered, but still has the similar architecture of columns. Obi-Wan carefully enters, scanning for any sign of Qui-Gon. He couldn't have lost him in a dead-end... so where is he?
The Force hums around Obi-Wan in a strange way-- it indicates neither danger nor safety. The neutrality puts him on edge, and he slips his lightsaber into his hand.
"Master?" he calls out, his words bouncing off the walls back at him.
There is no reply, but he does feel a pull forward. Like the Force is guiding him somewhere.
The tinge of fear suddenly enters Obi-Wan's headspace. He doesn't want to be afraid, but the large room and the disappearance of his Master make him feel lost. Obi-Wan has only been a padawan for about two years. His relationship with Qui-Gon is still finding its way, as well as his Jedi skills. He's a decent swordsman, but the connection to the Force isn't exactly a natural talent of his. This sudden onset of Force activity is already beginning to nauseate him.
He follows the feeling anyways, the pit of his stomach growing in unsteadiness as he progresses. It feels important though. He's not sure how he knows that, but he does.
As he walks past the center of the room he can see a small table with a glowing blue cube just a few paces to the side.
Obi-Wan picks up his pace, approaching the cube that appears to be hovering just above the stone table. It looks like... a Holocron? Obi-Wan has never seen one in person but he's seen pictures of them in his textbooks. The Force is practically singing as he reaches out toward the Holocron. His own actions surprise him, as he usually isn't so impulsive. He should find Qui-Gon so he doesn't accidentally see something he isn't supposed to...
Then the other part of Obi-Wan's brain tells him that the Force led him here for a reason. It separated him from Qui-Gon and if he doesn't look at the Holocron he may lose the chance forever.
The latter part of his brain wins this decision.
Obi-Wan concentrates, calming the fear that sprouted earlier and meditating lightly like his books described. He can hear the Holocron begin to rise even higher, and the parts start to turn. When he opens his eyes, a hologram bursts out of the center, revealing a Jedi Master with blue eyes and auburn hair and a beard. He looks tired, Obi-Wan observes, and... familiar.
"This is Master Obi-Wan Kenobi."
The hologram man says, and Obi-Wan freezes, his heart suddenly racing. The master in the Holocron is... him?
When he looks at the hologram closer he can see the same eyes he sees when he looks in the mirror. The same nose, and similarly colored hair. His voice is deeper but his Core accent is pretty much the same as well.
Obi-Wan suddenly feels faint. The room around him begins to spin and his vision tunnels.
"I regret to report that both our Jedi Order and the Republic have fallen with a dark shadow of the Empire rising to take their place."
Obi-Wan's legs give out and he drops to his knees, but he keeps his gaze unwavering on the hologram of what he can only assume is his future self in case it decides to suddenly cease to exist. The near memory of the painting he saw on the wall flashes in his mind. The Sith standing over a fallen Jedi. The two others running with desperation in their eyes.
"This message is a warning and a reminder for any surviving Jedi."
Obi-Wan can feel the temperature of the room suddenly rise to an unbearable temperature. It feels as though it's on fire, but he refuses to look around and give in to the temptation of looking away from this Holocron.
"Trust in the Force."
In the distance, it's like he can hear yelling. Screaming, rather. Agonizing screaming like someone is being torn apart.
"Do not return to the Temple. That time has passed."
The clammer of heavy footsteps sounds like it's approaching. Like someone in battle armor. Obi-Wan can make out the distant sound of someone speaking, but it's not in basic... Mando'a?
"And our future is uncertain."
The hologram Obi-Wan seems to look straight Padawan Obi-Wan like this message is for him.
"We will each be challenged. Our trust. Our faith. Our friendships."
There's wetness on Obi-Wan's hand. He realizes he's crying as another tear drips off his chin and lands on the floor.
"But we must persevere."
The sound of blaster shots rings out around the room. More yelling and the sound of plastoid armor plates rubbing together grows louder.
"And in time, a new hope will emerge."
A horrifying scream tears through the room of someone crying out in horror. It chills Obi-Wan to the bone, causing a visceral reaction of fear and anger to fill his body-- emotions he isn't quite sure why he's even having.
"May the Force be with you, always."
Then the world goes dark.
"...i-wan. Padawan... wake up."
The distant sound of Qui-Gon's voice stirs Obi-Wan. As his eyes flutter open he realizes that he's propped up in his master's lap with his head cradled in the crook of his arm. Qui-Gon's worried expression shifts to relief. Obi-Wan tenses up suddenly, remembering the Holocron and the things he saw and heard. He sits up quickly into a sitting position, trying to push past the nausea and lightheadness that follows, but only succeeds in rolling harshly onto his side.
"Peace, my Padawan, you must rest," Qui-Gon says softly, pulling him back onto his back and resting his head on his lap.
"But Qui-Gon, the Holocron! I need to get it before it disappears."
Qui-Gon's relief turns to alarm.
"Yes, the message. About the Jedi and the Empire! It's right--"
Obi-Wan looks to where the table was, but he isn't in the small room anymore. No, he's back in the entrance room of the Temple lying in the middle of the floor. The Holocron is gone. Dread and loss flood over him. He needed to keep that safe so he could show it to Qui-Gon and even the Jedi Council. Though his future self was vague he made it sound like something horrible was going to happen! How will he ever convince the council that--"
"Obi-Wan!" Qui-Gon says loudly, clamping a hand down on his shoulder. "Stay with me. Tell me what happened."
Obi-Wan blinks in surprise. He hadn't noticed his body had gone limp once again. He ignores the exhaustion that has spread through his body and sits up slowly. Qui-Gon adjusts his position to support his back with his knee.
"I... I lost you. And when I tried to find you I found a Holocron."
"A Jedi Holocron?"
Obi-Wan nods. "It was a cube glowing blue. I... I'm sorry Master, but I opened it."
Qui-Gon looks surprised. "You saw it?"
"The Force was just so insistent and strong that I felt like I had no choice. I know I shouldn't have--"
"Hush, Padawan, it's okay. What did the Holocron contain?"
Obi-Wan bites his lip, remembering the eerie words of his future self.
"It was... me."
"Yes, but older. I was a Jedi Master. I had... a beard."
Qui-Gon's eyebrows knit together. "What did... you say?"
Obi-Wan breathes deeply, hearing his deep adult voice in his head like a recording.
"He... I was delivering a warning to all the Jedi that the Temple had fallen. That it was taken by darkness and the Empire took over." Qui-Gon is quiet. He looks away from Obi-Wan and stares off at the far wall. "And I... I saw things. Felt and heard things I've never experienced before. Fire. Pain. Agony."
Qui-Gon finally looks back at Obi-Wan. He can tell his master is trying hard to keep the face of stoicism like a good Jedi Master should, but Obi-Wan can see the swirls of uncertainty and concern in his eyes.
"The Force was showing you something, my Padawan. A vision of a possible future."
Obi-Wan has never had a vision like this. He's actually never really had a vision before at all.
"Only a possible future? It felt so real though."
Qui-Gon smiles weakly. "Visions tend to feel that way, but the future is not pre-determined. There are limitless outcomes that we can't begin to predict."
Suddenly Obi-Wan feels protective of his experience. The way Qui-Gon is talking about it sounds like he's putting it off as a wild dream and not a vision of the rise of darkness in the galaxy. Is this not important? Is this not alarming?
"I'm not discounting your vision, Padawan. I just don't want you to fear what you've seen because you think it's inevitable. Rest assured, we will be returning to Coruscant at once to discuss this with the Council."
Did I think that out loud? Obi-Wan wonders in horror. Qui-Gon gazes down upon him with pitied amusement.
"Your shields are a bit bare right now and you're projecting. Force exhaustion can do that. Visions take a lot out of Force-users, especially those who are young and still learning like yourself."
Oh. If he weren't already flushed from the fever, he's sure he would be blushing in embarrassment right about now.
"I messed up, Master. I shouldn't have touched the Holocron."
Qui-Gon shakes his head. "No, Padawan, you trusted the Force."
"Trust in the Force."
Obi-Wan can hear the Holocron echoing in his mind.
"I did tell you these Temples have a mind of their own. Now we must return to the Temple on Coruscant and figure out what the Force was trying to tell you."
"Do not return to the Temple. That time has passed. And our future is uncertain."
Despite the hologram implying the warning is meant for the distant future, Obi-Wan still feels anxious. He can still hear the screams of people he doesn't recognize ringing in his ears.
Obi-Wan has a very bad feeling about this.