Chapter 1: Our Trust
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.
Chapter 2: Our Faith
The hallway of the Jedi Temple is well lit by the large windows that let in the warm sun. It's an uncharacteristically warm and cheery day on Coruscant. From the window seat Obi-Wan sits in he can hear the sound of the initiates playing in the garden below. He remembers the joy he used to feel on days like this when the weather and their day off from classes would coincide perfectly. It felt like a wonderful gift from the Force.
Obi-Wan wishes he could be anywhere but here. Inside, Qui-Gon is speaking with the council. Privately. Obi-Wan was surprised when his master told him to wait out here while he goes first. Ever since Obi-Wan had become a padawan he's always gone into council meetings with Qui-Gon. He was adamant that he sees every part of being a Jedi knight-- including lengthy routine meetings.
Of course, these circumstances are less than routine. Padawans don't often return from missions with messages from the future. While still on the ship, he overheard a holo between his master and Mace Windu. Despite being spoken in hushed tones, he still picked up a few pieces of their discussion. Master Windu wanted him to wait a few days before coming before them since the entire council would be present then.
This all but confirmed Obi-Wan's theory that Qui-Gon is hiding the gravity of this situation. The Jedi Master has been careful to only reply to his questions in snippets of wisdom straight from the Jedi texts or vague answers that hardly qualify as answers at all. It's frustrated Obi-Wan to the point he stopped going to Qui-Gon for comfort over the issue. The only time Qui-Gon has brought up the issue since being in the Kath temple was when they returned to Coruscant and he handed Obi-Wan a small journal.
"Write down everything you can remember about the vision, Padawan. We won't be able to see the council for two days, so this may be helpful."
Obi-Wan wasn't sure how to tell him that there is no way he will ever forget any part of his experience. Every time he closes his eyes he can hear the screams and see that mysterious painting. It's like the Force has forcibly imprinted it into his brain.
He took the journal anyways.
Now it lies in his lap. Obi-Wan has half a mind to just leave it on the bench and go hide somewhere where he doesn't have to go through the entire ordeal of standing before the Jedi Council. He always finds himself feeling anxious in front of them, which only leads to Qui-Gon lecturing him about releasing his emotions to the Force. Quite frankly, he is in no mood to be lectured today. Sleep has been few and far between the last two days. Every time he tried to get some shut-eye his mind would erupt in vivid recreations of the vision. He would awake with a start, expecting to find himself laying on the floor of the Kath Temple with his Master holding him protectively. Somehow his own bedroom began to feel much less safe than a strange temple that gave him Force exhaustion. Every time it happened Obi-Wan would roll over, turn on his light, and document anything new he saw or heard.
Subsequently, the journal is now full cover to cover, but the bags under Obi-Wan's eyes have grown deeper and darker.
He's a mess. Obi-Wan knows his shields are still flimsy and his Force exhaustion fever has persisted at a low grade since he hasn't gotten a chance to actually rest in the last three days. Qui-Gon watched him make himself a cup of caff in the morning and only raised an eyebrow as he downed it in a few gulps before pouring himself a second. He didn't say anything. Didn't ask why he had suddenly switched from tea to caff. Didn't question why he spent all morning in his room instead of joining him out in the common space like he usually does. Part of Obi-Wan was thankful to not be pried on but another part of him wishes his master would just ask how he's doing. The comfort he had shown him in the Kath Temple was just a cruel glimpse of Qui-Gon's potential attentiveness. He's since withdrawn, leaving Obi-Wan feeling very small and alone.
Maybe he's taking a step back because I did something wrong and I'm going to be expelled from the order.
Obi-Wan blinks. That thought was not something that had occurred to him before but suddenly he feels himself getting wound up by it.
No, he didn't do anything wrong. The Force wouldn't lead him to something that would get him in trouble. And if it would... well he's seriously misjudged the nature of the Force then.
Unless he was supposed to find Qui-Gon and leave the Holocron alone like he initially thought. Maybe it was a test. Maybe he did fail.
He digs his fingernails into his palm. No. He's just tired. He needs sleep and food. He isn't in the right mind.
The door to the council room opens and a Knight steps out, waving to him.
"Padawan Kenobi, you have been summoned."
He better get into the right mind quickly.
Obi-Wan walks into the chamber and looks around. The entire council is present and sitting in their respective spots. Qui-Gon stands in the center of the room. He turns around when Obi-Wan enters, an unreadable expression on his face. Obi-Wan goes to stand beside him and bows to the council.
To his surprise, he feels warmth and comfort radiating from the council members rather than the usual aloofness that he has grown accustomed to feeling. This is definitely different.
"Padawan Kenobi, Master Jinn tells us you found something in the Kath Temple." Master Windu begins. Despite the formality of his words, there is a softness to his tone. Obi-Wan nods.
"Yes, Master Windu. A Jedi Holocron."
"Tell the council what happened," Yoda says, and Obi-Wan takes a deep breath before going into the story once again.
He watches their expressions. Most of them stay neutral as he talks of the paintings on the wall and the one that looked newer. They don't seem surprised when he loses Qui-Gon and finds himself in the room with the Holocron. It isn't until he starts recounting the message and the things he started to hear and see that he seems some semblance of surprise or curiosity from Adi Gallia and Ki-Adi-Mundi, and even Eeth Koth.
"There were soldiers, so many of them. But they all sort of looked the same and sounded the same. They were fighting... We were fighting."
"Who was fighting?" Eeth Koth asks.
"The Jedi," Obi-Wan says like it isn't a preposterous thing to suggest for an order of self-proclaimed peacekeepers to be fighting on the front lines of what appears to be a war. "But not against the soldiers. Alongside them."
Master Windu leans forward. "How do you know it was a war?"
In his mind flashes the familiar scene. Blaster fire whizzing past him, a few getting a little too close and scorching his robes. The heaviness of armor resting on his shoulders and the metallic and salty aste on his tongue-- the mixture of blood and sweat. Like an echo in a large rotunda, he can hear the distant calls of obedience. "Sir, yes sir!" T
The sound of metal tearing apart and droid voices screeching in protest cut through the silence of the council chambers.
"Padawan?" Windu says, and Obi-Wan snaps back to reality.
"How do I know it's a war?"
Windu nods patiently.
"I saw the battlefields. Many of them on many planets." He looks at Windu with a hollow expression, hoping he won't question him much more. Master Windu stares back at him, finally nodding and allowing him to continue.
"I couldn't see anything but darkness for the last one. I heard myself scream and I felt... I felt fear. And anger. But it was my future self feeling these things but I too was experiencing them. There was a horrible pain in my head. Like I was being torn in two. I think I was watching someone die. I mean... be returned to the Force."
"How do you know this padawan?" Adi Gallia asks.
"I don't really understand how I know. I just do. It was like I could feel the Life Force growing dimmer. And... I started crying."
Next to him, he can feel Qui-Gon staring at him. Some of this he hasn't even told his master since they were revelations made in his dreams the past few days.
When he finishes the council is uncharacteristically silent for a long time. Obi-Wan shifts from foot to foot, trying to ignore his body's plea to sit down. After a few moments, Master Yoda clears his throat.
"Confer on this, we must. Something else you have brought for us?" Obi-Wan looks down at the journal he's been clutching in his hands. He walks forward and hands it to Master Yoda. The Grandmaster gives him a warm smile. "Dismissed, you and your master are. Call you back when we are ready, we will."
Obi-Wan bows, and follows Qui-Gon out of the chambers. When they reach the hallway he feels a hand on his shoulder and looks up to see Qui-Gon looking down at him with a mixture of pity and concern.
"You did a good job, Padawan," he says softly. "The council will likely ask you questions soon."
If he were capable of getting whiplash by his master's moods, he's sure his neck would be nearly broken at this point. He practically ignored him for two days and now he's offering comfort? While Obi-Wan wants to be mad or show him aloofness just to be petty, he doesn't. Instead, he offers his appreciation for the gesture, leaning into his Master's touch.
"How long will it take?"
Qui-Gon sits down on the window seat that Obi-Wan had claimed earlier and gestures for him to sit down as well.
"I'm not sure, my padawan. In the meantime, we should meditate."
Even meditation sounds tiring, but he sits down next to his master and crosses his legs in front of him in a lotus pose. As he closes his eyes he can still see the images that have haunted him the past few days, but somehow they feel less substantial. Maybe telling the council has alleviated the burden, even if it's just a little bit.
The door shuts behind Padawan Kenobi and Master Jinn but the tension in the council room remains. Mace looks around and begins to see similar expressions of concern and shock on the faces of his fellow colleagues.
Plo Koon is the first to speak.
"Padawan Kenobi doesn't look well. This vision has taken a toll on him."
"Qui-Gon warned us his Force exhaustion was severe but I didn't imagine it would still be this bad after a few days." Adi Gallia adds.
Yoda hums in agreement, not looking up from the journal he's been rifling through since the master and apprentice left the chambers. "Reliving the vision, Obi-Wan has. Very strange the nature of this."
Depa Billaba shakes her head. "It's abnormal for padawans to have such vivid visions. Kenobi has not had them in the past either which makes this situation especially strange."
"Mysterious ways the Force works in. Very important this must be."
"But why Kenobi?" Mace asks. "He's a good padawan but he's never been particularly gifted with the Force."
"He did say it was his future self speaking in the Holocron," Plo says.
"How does he even know that?"
Yoda looks up from the journal. "Introduced himself he did." He hands the journal to Mace. Windu's eyes widen when he looks at the pages covered in the crude handwriting of a teenager.
"This is Master Obi-Wan Kenobi." he reads the first line of the transcript the padawan had written out, and then turns the page to find a drawing. "I'll be damned. From his drawing, it does appear to be Obi-Wan as an adult." He runs his fingers over the lifelike sketch. The man in the picture is older with thick facial hair and evidence of aging, but Mace can make out the features that closely resemble the padawan.
"We know of the nature of visions, though. They are easily manipulated over time. And if this one is as far in the future as it appears, then it is very likely things will change." Depa says.
"This feels different," Adi says. Other members nod in agreement.
"The Holocron is also an interesting aspect. It was not part of the vision itself." Mace says, looking through the journal in more detail. "The Temple led Kenobi to the Holocron but the vision started happening while he watched it. A lot of this is out of the ordinary... I don't like it."
"We should question the padawan." Eeth Koth says. "He told us what happened but we should hear more of his interpretation."
"He could hardly stand. He needs to see the healers. We have his journal which is no doubt detailed enough." Plo protests.
"What does it say, Mace?"
Windu hears Eeth's question and opens his mouth to answer it but he stops as he comes upon a page that is filled with a large drawing. Obi-Wan mentioned it was a mural painting that caught his eye in the first place, and it seems the boy was able to draw it out in his journal.
Just looking at the page sends a chill down Mace's spine. He can feel the Force around him shudder as he gazes upon the Jedi kneeling before the Sith. Mace doesn't recognize him, but he looks young. Maybe even a padawan despite the longer hair. The desperation on the faces of the other Jedi running to reach them is evident. It looks as if Obi-Wan had gone back to this page many times, tracing over the lines time after time. He can practically feel the anxiety of the padawan dripping off the page.
It's like the Force is torturing him with these images of destruction. There's certain darkness surrounding it that Mace can't quite put his finger on, but he can definitely tell it's there. Whatever that padawan experienced is far greater than any of them will be able to understand. He could tell by the way Obi-Wan spoke of it and the way he writes in his journal that there is something deeper that even the boy may not be aware of.
When he looks up, Mace sees the rest of the council looking at him in anticipation of his verdict on the boy's journal.
"Plo is right. He needs to see the healers," his own words surprise him as well as visibly surprising numerous other council members. When Eeth first proposed bringing Obi-Wan back in for questioning he had agreed but after reading through the charged words of his journal that he encouraged in the first place he remembers that the padawan is still a child-- a sick child at the moment. "There is something deeper-- that I know for sure. But I have a feeling Kenobi is in no shape to be able to handle that line of investigation."
"We could look into his mind--"
"No," Depa interrupted Even Piell, shaking her head. "Master Jinn said his shields are damaged. It is also abundantly clear he's weak at the moment. It would make him feel out of control and could hurt him more."
"He will go to the healers," Mace says more forcefully this time.
Plo leans back in his chair, his tensed shoulders relaxing. Eeth seems fairly satisfied as well. Mace can feel Yoda watching him closely, though.
"Dismiss him for today, we shall. Meditate on this, we all will."
The council members start to file out, leaving Mace alone with Master Yoda. Somehow he knew the old Grandmaster was keen on speaking to him, so he stayed in his place.
"See something in the journal?"
Mace nods. "Felt something, actually. The picture Obi-Wan drew of the mural."
"Darkness surrounded it."
"Yes. I didn't feel darkness around Kenobi, though."
"The will of the Force it is. Trying to tell us something."
"By hurting a young boy? This is not the usual behavior of the Force."
Yoda chuckles. "Predictable the Force never is. Wise you are, Mace Windu, but emotion still clouds you."
He grimaces. "You saw the boy. He's suffering."
"Like it, I do not. Agree with you to send him to the healers, I do."
Mace closes the journal and places it on the arm of his council chair. He has much to still go through-- the padawan is more thorough than any knight he's ever known. It doesn't surprise him at all that his vision showed him as a Master. Kenobi has come a long way since becoming Jinn's padawan... even despite the influence of his characteristically maverick master.
Qui-Gon is surprised when the council members start leaving. He expected the attendant to come to get Obi-Wan once more, but rather, they give him polite goodbyes and head on their way. Obi-Wan opens his eyes, also confused by the development.
Depa Billaba comes out, her intense gaze as penetrating as ever, but Qui-Gon notices a certain softness when she stands in front of his padawan. Obi-Wan of course scrambles to his feet to bow in front of the Jedi Master.
"We have further questions for you, but we want to see you stronger, Padawan Kenobi. We have already contacted the Healing Halls and informed them you will be coming."
Obi-Wan's eyes widen but he doesn't protest like Qui-Gon knows he wants to. The boy hates having to go to the Hall of Healing, but Qui-Gon can't help but agree with Master Billaba and the council on this one. He hadn't really noticed it before he saw Obi-Wan come into the chambers, but the child looks absolutely horrible. His eyes are glossy and face flushed with fever, he constantly looks like he'll topple over into a heap, and his cheeks are sunken in from what he can only assume is lack of sleep and sustenance. Come to think of it, the only thing Qui-Gon can recall seeing Obi-Wan eat is half a ration bar and large quantities of caff-- he didn't even know the boy liked caff. He's never reached for it before.
Guilt starts to creep in, but he pushes it away. For now.
"Yes, Master." Obi-Wan replies, bowing again as she bids him a good night. She nods at Qui-Gon as well and then heads off in the direction of the other members. Qui-Gon looks down at his padawan who has turned off his respectful mask to reveal his actual displeasure. "Do I have to go?"
Qui-Gon puts his hand on the boy's shoulder. "Yes, Obi-Wan." His thumb rubs against Obi-Wan's neck and it takes everything in him to not let his face show the horror he feels at the heat radiating off his skin. "You are still clearly suffering from Force exhaustion. We've tried to let it run its course, but I'm afraid when Jedi remain sick for this long its smart to at least get it checked out."
The boy doesn't seem overjoyed by this, but he knows better than to argue when presented with a logical reply. Together they walk to the Hall of Healing.
Vokara Che greets them, her eyes immediately falling to Obi-Wan. She frowns after giving him a once over.
"The council called ahead," she says, looking back at Qui-Gon. "I'm surprised I haven't seen the two of you sooner... or am I?"
Master Che is more than aware of Obi-Wan's aversion to the Halls of Healing. Apparently he was notorious in his initiate days for avoiding them until he was physically forced to. Obi-Wan is a rule follower for the most part, but he's also stubborn-- especially about select things such as this.
"I just need rest," Obi-Wan says softly. Master Che rolls her eyes.
"You're going to get more than rest, Padawan. Now come." She gestures for Obi-Wan to follow her. He walks forward toward the exam room. When Qui-Gon goes to follow she places a hand on his chest, blocking his path. "Just Padawan Kenobi."
"But I... I usually come with him."
Vokara flashes her intimidating stare, but Qui-Gon fights past it. Finally, she sighs, stepping forward to speak in a low tone.
"He's going to be seeing the mind healer. I can't have you there unless he requests you to be. You know the rules, Qui-Gon."
"I understand. I'll come back in a little while to check up on him then."
"I'll call you when he's finishing up."
Qui-Gon turns and grudgingly exits the Halls.
His mind whirls with questions. Qui-Gon thought it was only a physical exam they were conducting. The boy looked horrible, that was clear as day but... Does the council see something wrong with Obi-Wan's mind too? More than the Force exhaustion?
He suddenly feels a tad lightheaded. Obi-Wan had been locked up in his room a lot. Not eating. He could hear him thrashing and yelling in the night too, but he convinced himself the fifteen-year-old wouldn't want his master to come running like he did when he was younger. He convinced himself that Obi-Wan has gone through Force exhaustion before and he knows what to expect. He convinced himself of a lot of things that suddenly seem insipid for him to even rationalize as being normal.
Added to the things Obi-Wan revealed in council chambers... Force, how did he not see how much his padawan was struggling? He knows that Obi-Wan was underselling the things he saw too-- it's in his nature to downplay to make others more comfortable... a trait that Qui-Gon takes advantage of far too often. The boy heard screams of terror and felt someone returning to the Force and what did he do? He told the council he tried his best to push past it and pay attention to the Holocron since he thought it was important for them to know exactly what it said. He put duty before his emotion. Qui-Gon should be a proud master for that so why does he feel so guilty?
He reaches his quarters but when he enters he doesn't go to his own bedroom. He goes to Obi-Wan's, pushes open the door, and stands in the doorway.
The padawan is usually quite the neat freak. His bed is always made and his room always tidy. But now... his robes from when they got back from Kath are discarded in a pile in the corner. All around the room are crumbled up papers. Qui-Gon picks one up and unfolds it.
On the paper is an incomplete drawing of an older bearded man. He is clad in a Jedi robe and has a forlorn look on his face. Even only half-shaded Qui-Gon can recognize the resemblance. This is who Obi-Wan saw in the Holocron. This is the man Obi-Wan will become.
Seeing the image of Obi-Wan as an adult hits Qui-Gon in a way he doesn't expect. There's a heaviness in his chest that makes him feel like the world around him is slowing down. He tries to imagine the shock of seeing his own older self on a Holocron... he can't even conceive the confusion that would be coursing through him. This man-- Master Kenobi looked at Padawan Obi-Wan and told him horrible things of the future. He told him that the world he knew would crumble and the Force supplied him with examples of such. It's a large burden to be placed on anyone, let alone a padawan who is still early in his training.
The reality hits Qui-Gon like a lightsaber to the gut. He wasn't there for Obi-Wan. He stood back and gave him space before considering whether or not the boy wanted space.
"How is he?" A voice pipes up behind him and he turns quickly to find Tahl, his good friend and fellow Jedi Master standing in the common space. He hadn't heard her come in, but her presence is a welcome one.
The Noorian nods, her green and gold eyes watching him carefully. "The council is keeping things surprisingly hushed. The rumor mill is quite dry so I thought I'd come to the source."
"You obviously still have some sources, though." Qui-Gon chuckles. Tahl smiles softly.
"You know I always do. Where is he?"
"Halls of Healing."
"I'm sure Obi-Wan is thrilled," her head cocks to the side. "I'm surprised you're not with him."
"I should be," Qui-Gon says bitterly. "Not that I deserve to be." Tahl looks surprised at Qui-Gon's admission. She walks closer, looking past the tall master into the padawan's untidy room. "I failed him, Tahl. He needed me and I didn't see it."
She places a comforting hand on his forearm. "What happened, Qui-Gon?"
They go to the couch in the common room and he takes a deep breath before recounting the incident at Kath-- this time without the formalities he gave the council.
"We were walking through the Temple on Kath. He was quite intrigued by the artwork, which I didn't think much of until I turned around and he was gone. That didn't worry me. -- you know how the Temples are."
"Exactly. So I finished the walk-through and started heading back to the main entryway. While I was walking I suddenly felt this panic and fear through our training bond. I tried to connect with him but it was like I was being blocked. I couldn't reach him and then I felt... I knew he was alive-- I could feel him but something was wrong. So I ran to the entryway and found him collapsed on the ground, all the color gone from his skin, and breathing heavily."
"Perhaps. Honestly, I'm still skeptical about what in the worlds it was. If it was a vision, I've never seen anything like it. His shields were practically destroyed and he has been sick with Force exhaustion for nearly three days. The council wouldn't even attempt to question him further; they ordered him to go see a mind healer."
Tahl takes in everything Qui-Gon is saying, still keeping her hand on his arm for support. "What happened to Obi-Wan is strange and probably traumatic for the boy, but I don't see how you failed him."
Qui-Gon looks at his lap.
"When I lost the connection with him, I didn't feel nothingness. I felt... darkness. Anger. Fear. Even Obi-Wan admits to feeling it."
She squeezes Qui-Gon's wrist tightly. "Obi-Wan won't betray you. He won't fall. There is too much light in that boy."
"I know that but..."
"It brought back memories." she finishes his sentence in a far nicer way than what he initially set out to say. He just nods with her adjustment. Before Obi-Wan, he had another padawan. One that turned to the dark side. For a long time, Qui-Gon didn't think he would ever take a learner again. Obi-Wan, of course, changed his mind on that vow. Tahl is right. His padawan is strong in his convictions. Qui-Gon can't even imagine the boy as anything else but a Jedi through and through.
"I let myself withdraw, Tahl. I didn't do my duty and make sure he was processing this correctly. I gave him a journal and basically told him to put his feelings there. What kind of master am I?" He lays his head in his hands as Tahl moves closer and snakes her arm around his shoulder. Her touch gives him comfort but honestly, he's pretty sure the only thing that would truly make him feel better would be to have his padawan here.
"We make mistakes. We try our best to teach these kids, but sometimes we mess up. Obi-Wan is still here and you have the chance to make things right with him."
She's right. Tahl is always right.
He sits back up and picks up the crumpled wad of paper he had in his lap. He hands it to Tahl and she smooths it out on her thigh.
"Who is this?"
"Obi-Wan. The Holocron he saw was supposedly from a future version of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi."
She smiles while gazing upon the sketch. "Facial hair suits him." She hands the torn journal page back to Qui-Gon. "He will be okay, Qui-Gon. He always gets back up."
Chapter 3: Our Friendships
We're getting real loose with the capabilities of the Force in this chapter, but in classic Star Wars fashion: if it drives the plot, it's okay... Right?
He's stood here many times now. The edge of a massive cliff looms just a few centimeters from where he stands. If Obi-Wan were to lean over he's absolutely positive he would topple over and fall a hundred meters down to the rocky waters below. He watches the waves crash against the cliff violently, erupting into a cascade of foam and water droplets. Many times he's stood here and gazed out onto the endless horizon of rough waters. Every time he's turned around and walked away from the cliff, ignoring the melodic cadence of the rolling waves. Come, Obi-Wan, it beckons him. It's time to rest.
"No," he says to the wind that howls in his ear. "I won't do it."
You mean you can't.
Seaspray bites at his cheeks.
There's always a moment he gazes down at the water below. The seas like to calm at that moment, and for a split second, the sun comes out from behind the clouds and shines a warm beam upon the waters. It sparkles and reflects a gorgeous deep blue that attempts to seduce him with promises of a safe landing in the soft embrace of the sea. Tempting as it is, Obi-Wan always steps back. He turns away from the siren sound and the violent nature of the waves pick up again.
The land behind him is just as endless as the sea but at least it's solid ground. He will walk until he wakes.
"... don't think it's such a good idea."
"It's been nearly thirty-six hours Qui... need answers."
"That is... you could harm his already unstable..."
Obi-Wan drifts in and out of light sleep. There are people standing at his door it seems, and despite their attempt to talk quietly-- so he assumes from the way someone keeps shushing the others-- they are doing a poor job.
"I don't support this." he hears the familiar voice of his Master.
"I'm well aware of that, Master Jinn, but you know how important this could be."
He rolls over to get a better listen. The voice is definitely that of Master Windu.
"Important enough to undermine the health of a child?"
This surprises Obi-Wan. Usually, Qui-Gon is quick to remind Obi-Wan that he is a Jedi before he is a kid. While he may get certain passes because of his age these will not last for long. It's not often he emphasizes Obi-Wan's age, let alone use it as an attack against Master Windu's orders...
"Listen," Master Windu huffs, his voice dropping to a lower tone. "I understand your convictions. But I wouldn't do anything that would put the boy in harm. Vokara signed off on it already. His shields are better and his Force exhaustion is healed."
"I believe he is ready. I assure you I will be there to monitor him the entire time." the voice of Master Che says.
There's a lull. Obi-Wan doesn't need to see Qui-Gon to know he must have that I'm-not-pleased-and-I'm-not-responsible-for-anything-that-goes-wrong look that he often displays when dealing with council affairs.
The door opens and Master Qui-Gon enters followed by Master Windu, Master Che, Master Yoda, and Master Billaba. Obi-Wan tries to look surprised to see the group.
"Masters," he says in greeting, bowing his head in respect.
"Padawan, how do you feel?" Master Windu asks, stopping at the end of his bed.
"Much better," he replies. He's telling the truth, too. After an IV and some medicine that Master Che gave him to help him sleep, Obi-Wan's fever has broken and he's finally gained enough strength to repair his faulty shields.
"The council members are here to follow up with you, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon says, not hiding his displeasure. "Are you up for it, my padawan?"
Obi-Wan nods. He really just wants this to be over. To find relief.
Master Billaba steps forward. "Have you ever had anyone look into your mind, Obi-Wan?"
She pulls a chair up and sits next to the bed. "It is quite simple if you are open to it. We will meditate first and once our minds have reached a relaxed state I will enter carefully into your mind. I assure you I will not see anything that you do not offer to me of your own free will. It is simply a way to get another set of eyes on your vision. I may see things that you may not think important. Do you understand?"
A bit of nervousness still itches at the back of his throat, but he knows Master Billaba, while a bit intimidating, is respectful and good.
"Will Master Jinn stay here with me?"
She looks at Qui-Gon, who is staring at Obi-Wan with a look of visible relief.
"Of course, my padawan." He says, coming round to the other side of the bed to stand opposite to Master Billaba.
Obi-Wan looks back at Master Billaba. "I am ready, then."
The meditation began as most sessions do. Deep breathing, honing in on the life that surrounds. The light and the dark. Cosmic and living forces intertwining and feeding into one another. The world around him melts away until he's only barely aware of the Force signatures of the powerful Jedi surrounding him. He reaches within himself and takes the nervousness that he once felt, lifting it up to the Force and watching as it fades away in a mist. Peace spreads through his body.
"Obi-Wan," a soft voice says, and he turns to find Master Billaba on his meditative plane. She smiles at him. "Are you ready?" He nods and she approaches him, lowering herself to the ground across from him. Master Billaba leans forward, gently pressing her thumbs to his temples. "Take me to Kath."
Suddenly he's staring at that painting again. The one with the kneeling Jedi and the Sith standing over him. Obi-Wan looks to his right and finds Master Billaba beside him, looking upon the landscape with great curiosity.
"You see, this one is newer than the rest."
Her head snaps to him and he can feel a tinge of shock through the Force. "You can see me, Obi-Wan?"
"Should I not be able to?"
She stares at him for a moment before reaching out and touching the wall. She seems surprised when her fingers run along the smooth stone.
"This is... it's just been a while since I have entered another's mind. I have forgotten the feeling."
He can sense unease in her but he attributes it to the dark hallway.
"Come this way. This is when I lose Master Qui-Gon." Obi-Wan says and turns to walk down the hall. He can feel Master Billaba close behind him. Just as he remembers, his master is gone and the hallway gives way to the room with the Holocron. He walks straight to it, stopping in front of the small table to show the councilmember.
"This is a Holocron, right?"
"Indeed, Padawan. This is."
"I have to pick it up and open it now."
"I will try and pick it up with you. Is that okay?"
Obi-Wan's eyebrows knit together. "It's painful," he says, his voice small. "And scary."
"Do not worry for me, Padawan. All will be okay."
Obi-Wan raises his hand and Depa Billaba mirrors him. Together they reach out and open the Holocron. Just like every other time the cube twists and opens and a hologram appears.
Depa Billaba has been in the minds of many, so it takes quite a feat to shock her. Usually, she goes beyond the shields of the Jedi and is able to passively view their thoughts, feelings, and memories. Passively, being the keyword.
But this... this is different. The Force is impossibly strong. Everyone on the council could feel that Padawan Kenobi's situation was out of the ordinary. Visions are one thing, but to find an artifact that apparently belongs in the future is... it raises many questions, to say the least. Even so, she expected to see a particularly vivid vision in the mind of a padawan not... not have him give her a guided tour of his memories.
When her fingers touched the solid rock she nearly withdrew herself from his mind. To be honest, it scared her. This is nothing she's ever experienced before and she doesn't want to cause this young boy further harm.
But she saw the way he walked the hall in a relaxed state. Like it is familiar-- she recalls Master Yoda mentioning he believes Obi-Wan is reliving this memory over and over again. It seems it has practically become palpable in the few days since it happened. She looks down at the boy. He doesn't look afraid.
She follows him to a larger room where he takes her to a small table with a Jedi Holocron hovering above it. When he expresses that the vision is painful and scary she resists the urge to take his hand in comfort. The look on his face reminds of her of his youth.
Together they open the Holocron. Depa is struck with the Force swirling around them as it hums to life and a hologram of a middle-aged man appears.
"This is Master Obi-Wan Kenobi 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."
The man says, his Core accent identical to Obi-Wan's. She looks down at the boy, who has fallen into a trance-like state as he stares at his future self. His body sways side to side until he tips, and Depa reaches out and catches him before he collides with the floor.
The moment her skin comes in contact with his, she feels it. The Force saturated around them, but it feels... off. Darkness chills her to the bone and the room seems to spin as she clutches the padawan tighter. She tries to find the light. It's there-- she can feel it pushing against the cold tendrils of darkness on its threatening conquer, but something is wrong. The light has faded, and every moment it seems to fade further and further away. Voices cry out in pain and agony and Depa realizes what she's feeling.
And then all is still.
"And in time, a new hope will emerge."
Depa is sitting on the ground with Obi-Wan cradled in her lap. His eyes are open and forehead slick with sweat, but he doesn't react to her as she moves to place her hand over his heart. It's beating rapidly.
The light Depa has come to expect to feel in the Force is restored, but she can feel the anxiety growing in the boy in her arms. As though he's entranced he suddenly reaches out with his hand.
"No," he says softly. "Master, no."
Then the world feels like it's crumbling once again, but this time is different. There is only a small amount of darkness that she can sense and it's all prodding at Obi-Wan. She can feel the conflict, grief, and anger coming to fruition within his mind and Depa takes his hand as the Force lets out a sigh of anguish and Obi-Wan's body goes limp. Depa hadn't realized she was holding her breath until she lets out a shaky exhale, surprised by her own unease. The Holocron still glows blue in front of her and she finally turns her attention back to the Jedi Master. He seems to be staring at her with those tired, sad eyes-- something she thought Obi-Wan had over-dramatized in her drawings but now she can truly see the war-torn Jedi looks just as broken as the padawan had indicated.
"What happened to you?" she says to the hologram, knowing full well that it can not possibly respond. How can this man be the same boy that lies in the Halls of Healing?
"May the Force be with you, always."
Obi-Wan's head hurts when he awakes. A lot. When he first opens his eyes the lights make it feel like everything around him is exploding and he squeezes them shut once again. The outline of someone standing at the end of his bed flashes in his vision.
The light turns off. Obi-Wan slowly opens one eye, testing the waters. His master is the one at the end of the bed, looking at him with a mix of amusement at his obviously overdramatic expressions and concern. He's not sure what the concern is for yet, but he's sure he will find out.
Masters Yoda, Windu, Billaba, and Che are gone. He wonders how long he's been asleep.
"Six hours," Qui-Gon says, walking to the chair stationed to the right of Obi-Wan's bed. "Your shields are down again. Not as bad as last time, though."
Obi-Wan blinks, feeling that his mind is indeed as good as open.
"I thought I fixed those," he sighs, putting up a few weak ones until he has more time to better construct them later.
"You did, my padawan, but the session with Master Billbaba was not kind to you."
Obi-Wan can remember a few parts of the session, but it turned into a blur after they opened the Holocron. There wasn't much different that happened anyways.
"Did the council get what they wanted?"
Qui-Gon winces at his question. "Obi-Wan..." he says softly, trailing off like he doesn't quite know what to say.
He's being too careful. Too gentle. Qui-Gon doesn't talk to him like this. Not unless he's sick and even then he doesn't give him much leeway unless he's sick-sick. He's looking at him like he's a stray loth-cat and Obi-Wan hates it but he's also terrified of what will come out of his mouth next. Did he do something wrong? Is his vision going to make him weak like this forever? Has he been tainted by darkness?
Qui-Gon looks at Obi-Wan with alarm. "Obi-Wan, breathe, my padawan." He places a hand over his chest and Obi-Wan realizes he's been hyperventilating. Qui-Gon looks behind him like he's searching for Master Che, but Obi-Wan puts his hand over his masters.
"What did they say?"
Qui-Gon stares into his eyes for a long moment before exhaling shallowly. "Master Billbaba did not just look into your mind. The Force was so strong and so insistent that she was brought into the vision with you."
Obi-Wan's eyes widen in surprise. He'd never heard of such a thing.
"You were in meditation for about twenty minutes. You were too exhausted to come out of it so Master Che helped you transition to sleep. Even Master Billbaba had to be taken to another room to rest after the encounter."
"But why? What's wrong with me?"
Qui-Gon frowns. "Nothing is wrong with you, padawan. Nothing. This is not your fault. This is the work of the Force. Why the Force is showing you such upsetting images is beyond me and even Master Yoda. But we will figure it out. I promise you that."
Obi-Wan takes in Qui-Gon's words. Still, he can't help but feel like something is missing. "You aren't telling me something."
His master looks surprised at Obi-Wan's words, but he nods in confirmation. "You are young, Obi-Wan. There are things you don't understand because you have not lived through it. Master Billbaba was able to identify some of these things that may have been unfamiliar to you in your vision."
"These are not things you need to know, Obi-Wan. Not yet."
Frustration bites at Obi-Wan. Something he has always appreciated about his master is that Qui-Gon is good about treating Obi-Wan as a mature counterpart rather than a mere child. Yes, he's his apprentice and he follows his master's orders, but he does so out of respect. But to not explain what in the worlds he is seeing in his own head?
"I have to see these things every time I close my eyes, Master. I believe I'm past the point of you protecting me from whatever horrors they truly represent. I will be haunted either way, but you could at least grant me the benefit of being able to put a name to the things I am feeling."
Qui-Gon blinks in surprise. Maybe he expected that Obi-Wan would just accept that reply. Maybe he doesn't know his own padawan as well as he thinks.
"You described in the council chambers that you felt someone returning to the Force. Depa felt that too, but it wasn't just one person, Obi-Wan. It was thousands."
"Yes," his voice is soft and careful. Obi-Wan can feel him scanning over his face every few moments like he's waiting for him to break down. "She felt great darkness overtaking the Force."
"And the light?"
"It was there but diminished."
"What... what does it all mean, Master?"
Qui-Gon shakes his head. "We don't know yet. There is still so much that the council needs to riffle through, but your duty is done now. You did a good job, Obi-Wan. You've been through a great ordeal."
Obi-Wan smiles, but he can't help but feel... a little unsatisfied. Qui-Gon reassures him that the council will continue to discuss the meaning of his vision and he's been told everything they discovered but his mind still nags at him. He's missing something. He's also well aware that the council isn't telling him everything-- they likely aren't telling Qui-Gon either. He just feels like there is something else prodding at his mind and he can't explain what it is.
"I think I will sleep again, Master, if that's okay with you."
Qui-Gon nods. "You certainly need it. Rest well, my padawan. I will be here when you awake."
Obi-Wan lays back and closes his eyes.
He soon returns to that place. The cliffside seems higher and more jagged. The waves are raging even more violently if that could even be possible. But Obi-Wan knows he is here for a reason. It must be the thing he's missing.
Like every other time, the sun comes out and the waves calm.
This time, he doesn't peer over the edge and contemplates jumping.
This time, he leaps.
Mace Windu has a headache. He sits in the council chambers with the lights off. Only the lights of Coruscant illuminate the room in an array of neon shades.
The council met for nearly four hours. They could have gone on for longer, but Yoda insisted they recess until the next day. The tone of the room was heavy, and there was already too much to meditate on.
War. Death. Too much death. The Order falling while darkness rises. The Sith. All in the mind of a padawan.
A shiver runs down his spine.
Depa told them what she saw. The things she felt. He can't get the image of the look on her face when she came out of Obi-Wan's mind out of his head. Depa was always a levelheaded padawan and an even more put-together Jedi Knight and Master.
Tears were streaming down her face. She looked ready to collapse.
He waited by her bed just as Obi-Wan's master sat by his. When she finally had enough strength, she looked at him, this faraway look in her eyes.
"He saw his Master die," was the first thing she said. "That was the person he felt return to the Force. The one he screamed for."
Mace took a deep breath to keep his calm. To watch another Jedi return to the Force is a horrific thing, even to experienced Masters. But to be a padawan watching one's Master... It is no wonder his mind protected him from identifying the Force signature.
"We mustn't tell the boy or his master this. It would cause too many anxieties in their training."
Depa nodded, though he could feel a tinge of disagreement from her. If she had any reservations she doesn't say.
"That wasn't all. I also felt more return to the Force. More Jedi."
"Master Windu, I believe the meaning of the vision is to warn us that thousands of Jedi are going to die."
Her assessment made sense. Mace looked over the handwritten transcript of the Holocron message again. Depa confirmed it was correct word-for-word. I regret to report that both our Jedi Order and the Republic have fallen... This message is a warning and reminder for any surviving Jedi.
Any surviving Jedi.
It all makes sense and yet he can't stand to even think about that kind of future. The Jedi have never taken too much stock in any vision before. The future is ever-changing. Mace has to continuously remind himself and his fellow council members of this. The Jedi won't fall. The Order and the Republic are secure.
He closes the boy's journal.
Does this vision that is so strong in the Force scare him? Maybe a little bit. He's ashamed to say so, but it's an emotion he must meditate on and release to the Force. The worst thing they can do is succumb to fear of this child's vision. That will only cause weakness in the Order and make the vision come true. He won't let that happen.
The details of the boy's vision won't be known outside the council chambers. Mace will make sure of that. There will be no talk of fallen Jedi and Sith Lords. There will be peace in the galaxy.
As he falls, he can feel his padawan braid whipping straight behind him. The water is quickly approaching and Obi-Wan's mouth is open in shock but no screaming comes out. He just feels the wind slicing against his cheeks and blowing his robes around violently.
He hits the water but feels no pain. The sea swallows him, and despite him trying as he might to swim back to the surface it pulls him down. His lungs burn. His arms and legs thrash as his panic grows, but the sunlight grows dimmer and the water gets colder.
Obi-Wan calms his body, ignoring his screaming lungs. He closes his eyes and finds his center. If he is to return to the Force, he will do so in grace.
When he opens his eyes, the blue, cloudless sky lays above him.
Obi-Wan sits up and finds that he's not at the bottom of an ocean, but laying on a rock next to the water. The waves are serene, gently rolling up and licking at his feet. When he draws his legs in he finds that his boots aren't even wet. In fact, even his robes are dry.
"You came." A deep, voice says behind him, following by mechanical gasping. Obi-Wan flips around, jumping to his feet. Before him stands a... man? From his voice, it seems to be a man, but the modulator is so distorted he's not entirely sure. He's tall, clad in all black and wearing a bell-shaped helmet. Obi-Wan can't see beyond the visor. In fact, he can't see any skin that would give him an indication of his race.
"Who are you?"
"You got my message. I had to go through many of your journals to figure out when you would be in the right place at the right time."
He looks at the masked man in disbelief as the pieces fall into place. His eyes widen. "The vision... the Holocron was a message? From you? You're from the future of my vision?"
"It was no vision. I used the Force to contact you. There are many ways of the Force the Jedi do not understand."
"Then what did I see?"
The mechanical wheezing breaths fill the air. "Memories."
Obi-Wan takes this in. It would explain why he could see himself in some parts of the vision. And why they were so vivid.
"So there is a war. And the Jedi do fall?"
Obi-Wan can feel eyes on him even though he can't physically see the eyes of the mechanical man. Through the Force, he feels waves of regret and restraint.
"I made many mistakes, Obi-Wan. You will say you've failed me, but in truth, I have failed you."
There is a thread of familiarity when the man says his name, but Obi-Wan isn't sure from where. He's sure he would remember someone like this if they've met before. Then again, if this man truly is from the future... He is reminded of the painting of a young man kneeling before a hooded figure. I made many mistakes. Maybe...
"You fell to darkness."
"I was weak. It was too late."
"What happens? What is the meaning of the vis... the memories? I saw a war! And felt death. It was... it was horrible. Please, I must know so I can warn the council."
"Always focused on duty." the man mutters, shaking his head. "Even in your youth, you were the proper Jedi."
Obi-Wan steps forward. The man is only a meter or so away now, but he doesn't recoil at his movement. "At least tell me who you are."
"I know this will hopefully change our futures, but I do hope I still get to know you, Obi-Wan.
"Please, I must know!"
The man shakes his head. He steps forward, his cape flowing behind him in the wind. The man moves as mechanically as he sounds-- maybe he is a droid? But droids don't breathe...
"Don't let darkness rise. Protect her. If anyone can save the galaxy it is you, my old friend." He reaches out and places a hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder. Beneath the glove, Obi-Wan is surprised to feel the heat of flesh and the feeling of a human hand. He tries to remain as still as possible. "May the Force be with you, Obi-Wan."
Obi-Wan gazes up at the man. The Force is incredibly strong and turbulent around him, but Obi-Wan feels... secure. He smiles, peace spreading through him. He's not sure why, or what any of this means, but somehow this person from his future has done all of this. For what, he's not sure fo that either. Duty? Repentance? Guilt? Whatever the case, Obi-Wan can't help but feel this strange admiration that almost doesn't seem like he's the one expressing it. It's like these emotions are disjointed from himself, being felt through the Force. They feel right though. He can feel the Force singing around them.
"May the Force be with you," Obi-Wan says softly, and the man steps back as everything fades into a bright light.