The sun glittered brightly over the ocean as it set. My plan for peace and solitude for training was working. Maybe now Obi-wan could concentrate on mediating instead of jumping up and running errands ever two seconds. A light breeze brushed the hair off my forehead, but only for a moment, because another breeze pushed it back in my eyes. Irritated I shook my head. The rhythmic roaring of the ocean drowned out Obi-wan's voice. I was too far away from him to hear the young teenager as he picked up a shell and held it over his head.
The local government didn't want tourist to take any of the shells from the beaches. I remembered telling my apprentice early that morning not to touch any of the shells, but now days he barely ever listened to me anymore. Yoda told me that it was okay, 'all apprentices go through a rebellious stage'. I took off my sandals before stepping onto the warm sand. I had not planned on nearing any of the water; I learned how to swim at the academy but only barely.
"Master! Look what I found!" Obi-wan exclaimed excitedly holding up the largest purple pink seashell I'd ever seen. I was not impressed. Obi-wan was suppose to be mediating to the sound of the waves, not woolgathering and picking up seashells. I kept my face expressionless and said nothing.
It seemed to work; through our link I could feel my student's 'sudden' remembrance of the task I set. The realization was something so familiar I wasn't in the least angry. For someone who wanted to become a Jedi Knight, badly enough to leave his family, Obi-wan didn't act like he cared anymore. It puzzled me, but I remembered how bored I was at his age, always training and more training.
"Sir, I mediated. I swear! The tide came up and distracted me..." I let my mind go on autopilot, hearing the cadence of his voice, but not listening to his excuses. I watched the sun set over his head. Obi-wan was still much shorter. I turned my attention back to him when his voice trailed off.
"Come it's time for dinner." I said taking the seashell from his hand and carefully placing it back where Obi-wan pulled it from its nest of sand.
The Jedi built temples on every planet in the Republic, so that no Jedi ever had to do without shelter when they visited their homes. This planet was less populated. Therefore, the temple was less advanced but it was perfect for training a pupil, in self-management. In the one year we would be living here, I had to teach Obi-wan how to survive in the wilderness without any gear, and just his lightsaber. A more grueling two weeks I could not remember. I came back to the temple having lost twenty pounds. Besides, the survivalist training, I also needed to help him learn how to cook and clean. The main temple where all students trained until they were fifteen had servants for everything.
This was our first day on the planet Yulith, I hadn't even known it existed until I looked at my guide; it was one of the last planets on the list that could support human life. I don't know why I picked it, there were many more planets that had a better variety of terran, but there was something about the planet that drew my attention, maybe it was because I'd never been on a planet composed eighty percent of water. The population was small by galactic standards. The green sky had a few wisps of pinkish clouds floating in the distance; I could actually see a few of the brightest stars dotting the horizon. I doubted Obi-wan had ever seen stars in anything other than a classroom. I added astronomy to my list.
It didn't take long for us to reach the temple; it squatted in the distance ugly and sturdy for the seasonal hurricanes.
"What are we having for dinner?" Obi-wan asked breaking the silence.
"Tonight we are having our first cooking lesson." I said lightly.
"I don't know how to cook." He complained.
I knew what he really meant to say was, "But don't we have servants to do that?" That was the first thing that I thought when I learned I would have to cook for myself, which is why it was so important to take the students away from the luxury they grow up in.
`"That is why you are here, to learn."
This lesson was quickly turning into a disaster I thought grimly as I tried to cover the small tear in our raft, while Obi-wan bailed the water out with his hands. All our gear was lost and our raft was losing air. If only I had piloted Obi-wan to the deserted island for his training instead of taking a boat there...I thought for the thousandth time. Worse the waves were making me queasy and the rain was cold. The sky was also darkening as the storm picked up. I should have known better than to try and drop Obi-wan off during a storm. Everyone had told me how quickly these summer storms built up and I hadn't listened. I held my hand over the tear and frantically tried to think of anything I could use to tape it shut. I wanted to yell at my student for tearing the hole in the side but I knew I was responsible for everything happening now.
"Master! Look!" Obi-wan yelled practically in my ear. He pointed at something off in the distance. My eyes squinted trying to see but another wave came up and blocked the view. This life raft was much better equipped at staying a top the waves than our boat.
We crested the wave and the boat starting sliding down the side. I hung on to the rope and held my breath as the water crashed down on us again. I felt a tug on my wrist as Obi-wan was pushed by the water to the other side of the raft, away from me, his knuckles were white and his face pinched, as he hung on to the life raft rope for dear life. I had made sure to tie Obi-wan to me as soon as I realized the storm was only going to worsen.
I think I would want to die if anything happened to my student. The seventeen year old boy had grown both in height and maturity this last year. I tried to find my calm center but for all my experience, I couldn't. Fear for our lives made it nearly impossible. I heard rumors of Jedi able to control the weather but I was always one of the weaker Jedi Masters, my powers weren't nearly as great as Obi-wan's will be some day.
Hours passed and the raft continued to lose air, letting more cold water in, the storm continued it's assault, and we both clung to the ropes and lay across the raft to keep it from capsizing. I could feel the exhaustion creeping up on me, and I knew Obi-wan was close to passing out. I lost track of time. As the waves carried us further out to sea. It was pitch dark except for the lightning. I wanted to comfort my student and friend, but my fingers were frozen to the rope and the wind and lightning were too loud to yell over. The raft was small enough so that our knees touched. Obi-wan's eyes were closed, I saw with another flash of lightning.
The ground stopped moving. I realized as I struggled to wake up. My robes were sodden and tangled in my legs. I tried to sit up, but a weight on my chest held me down. I opened my eyes. Obi-wan was asleep still using my chest as a pillow. There were a few clouds in the sky, and a warm breeze drifted across my face. I tasted sand in my mouth, a horrible gritty taste. I pulled on Obi-wan's ponytail, too tired to try moving the 160 pounds of student.
He blinked and slowly sat up pushing off of my chest. His robes were a mess too. He stumbled to his feet and tripped over the side of the raft. We were half on the beach and still somewhat in the water. I climbed to my feet glad we were still alive and off the turbulent ocean. I had never been so happy to see land in my life. The green leaves of the palm trees never looked greener. The brown sand, hated at the temple, was now a wonderful sight. I stood up straighter, glad to feel the strength returning to my legs.
"Come on, we need to pull this out of the water." I said bending down to grab the rope on the inside of the raft. Only now, in the daylight could I really see how much air the raft had lost. There was no way this would take us anywhere again on water. The bright orange color hurt my eyes. Obi-wan walked back over to me and we pulled it up the shore to the tree line.
"Do you think anyone is here?" Obi-wan asked scanning the dense foliage with his eyes and the Force.
I hadn't even thought to check yet. I hoped someone was here. I hoped we weren't trapped on an island. On the mainland, we would eventually hit a city if we walked in one direction, long enough. "I'm not sure." I answered and opened myself up to the Force again. I felt quite a few large life forms, but not enough to make up a city of thousands of people.
"What do you feel with the Force?" I asked because I knew he needed the practice and just because we were shipwrecked, didn't mean we had to give up on training.
"I think there are people here. I can feel large life forms and I don't think animals have emotions..."
"I think you are right." I said sitting down on the raft to pull off my wet boots.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the cove we washed up on. The turquoise water sparkled, showing no hint of the violent storm the night before. The sandy beach made walking easy, but at the end of the cove the rocks were too sharp to walk over without cutting our feet so we headed back. I didn't talk much, I didn't know if I should be more upset at myself for trying to save money or the poor boat captain who went down with his ship. I was the one who wanted to save a few markers and hired a smaller boat to take us to the island. A smaller boat not designed for twenty-foot waves.
I tried to keep my spirits up, Obi-wan used the Force and found water. My lightsaber still worked, as did my student's. We reached an island; just not, the one I marked on the map for pick up. Two weeks from now, a boat will arrive at that island and find it deserted. After that a search would start. The Republic could not afford to lose two Jedi Knights without a fight.
We didn't see any signs of people.
"Qui-Gon! I got it!" Obi-wan yelled excitedly holding up a spear with a fish impaled on the end. His face was dark from the sun and his brown hair had turned more blond than brown. His body had grown into its muscles and remained lean. I told him to stop calling me master one month ago. Before I was his teacher, but now I felt like his friend.
I didn't know how much I changed in the last three months on the island but I knew it was a lot. I was always in good shape, but now I could feel the muscles and see my ribs. I had stopped wearing the Jedi robes not two weeks after landing on the island; they tangled up with my legs too much.
Obi-wan had just started learning how to spear fish, I used to do it, but after I twisted my ankle and couldn't run on it, I realized that if I died Obi-wan would not know how to catch his only source of protein. So now, he was in charge of fishing. I knew that if the worst happened, Obi-wan would survive, alone.
I don't know why on the first day we sensed life forms, we'd explored the island and now knew every nook and cranny, but we never did find any traces of aliens, humans, anything. In the distance, we could see another island. Obi-wan speculated that the people we sensed were on that island. It made sense. I stood up and walked over Obi-wan, I had my makeshift knife, lightsabers are great but overkill most of the time, and useless for anything but cutting wood.
"Good job." I said smiling at his enthusiasm. I had already foraged for fruits and berries. The fire in our camp was always at low. I found myself watching the glide of Obi-wan's muscles. He has been my only company these last three months and yet I still don't know him. We've both tried to keep our spirits up, and for the most part its worked. At first, we were too busy building our shelter to wonder about what we were missing. I felt like we were in limbo.
That night we cooked the fish and ate it, just like the last three months. We talked about home, explored ideas for rescue, and tried not to worry if we'd ever be rescued. It took me a long time to fall asleep that night.
A twig snapping jerked me out of my restless sleep. I automatically stretched out with the Force, and felt life forms again. I sat up, wide-awake now. "Obi-wan." I whispered. The teenager rolled over still asleep. "Obi-wan. Wake up." I tried again. It didn't work, so I nudged him with my hand. "Wake up." I said again.
He sluggishly opened his eyes and sat up. "What is it?"
"Someone is here." I whispered, quietly standing up to grab a weapon. Everything was spread out all over the camp. Our lightsabers were by the life raft; our fishing spears were leaning against the tree that held our clothes line. I didn't know what to go for first, so I got the hunting spears. These were probably native islanders and I didn't want any accidental deaths or panic that the lightsabers would cause.
Once I had a weapon, I pulled on my cotton pants and shoes. Obi-wan was also dressing. I tossed him a spear once I saw he was ready. "Follow me." I said. I was as ready was I would ever be for a confrontation.
We tried to walk quietly following the people, but it was nearly impossible in the dark. They surrounded us quickly. Dark skinned people with five more spears than us. This was our first contact with anyone other than each other. Communication was not encouraged as they led us at spear point through the jungle. Someone held on to our two spears. They kept Obi-wan and I separated. We probably could have fought them off but they were the first people we've seen in such a long time. I was curious about them and I knew Obi-wan would rather become acquainted with our island neighbors, than fight with them.
Reaching the boats took forever, and I was glad to sit down on the bottom. I tried not to worry about Obi-wan as they led him to another boat, but it was hard, he was my responsibility, and I had already let him down, stranding us on the deserted island. However, already he was trying to speak to the natives, who were curious about
Obi-wan's blond hair and pale hairless skin. The men looked at me just as much because I had so much chest hair, at least I thought that is why they kept pointing at my chest. Their curiosity was mutual. These people looked human, but by the slant of their eyes and the length of their arms suggested otherwise, they were very long and slender. Almost spider like. They were also very short. None of them even reached Obi-wan's shoulders in height.
The sun had started to rise in the two or three hours it took the men to row back to their island. They talked to each other a strange clicking language. I doubted I could emulate their language. I could see Obi-wan's blond head peaking out the top of the long boat. It looked like he was trying to catch another hour or two of sleep. I tried earlier to shut my eyes but it was impossible. I kept wondering what was going to happen to us.
I didn't have to wait long, just as the sun hit the horizon; the long boats made it to the sandy shore of another beach. Men and women stood waiting in a silent half circle, two young boys rushed out into the water and helped pull the boats to the beach. The women had long black hair and wore some sort of material that bound their breasts closer to their chest, they had the same type loin clothes the men wore.
Obi-wan stared at the native islander's with fascination, I knew he wanted to ask questions and just talk to someone other than me. But he held his peace, waiting to see what the islanders had in mind for us. A slight stirring in the crowd focused my attention on the new person entering the group. Obi-wan gasped in shock, I had more experience at hiding my surprised, and studied the man whose presence I now felt as clearly as I felt Obi-wan. A fellow Jedi Knight, I hoped, judging by the man's strength in the Force. What shocked us both was the man was not a native to this planet, in fact, he might very well be Corellian, but how he ended up here, I could only guess.
"So these are the Force users I sensed." The man swathed in black said. He was still a young man, probably in his early thirties or late twenties. He towered over the islanders and was broad of shoulder. I couldn't tell if his hair color was black or brown.
He spoke to the natives in their rapid clicking language and they prodded us to our feet and over the side of the boat. Without the Jedi robes to hinder our movements, we managed without falling on our faces. "Who are you? Are you a Jedi Knight?" I asked as soon as my feet his dry sand.
"A curious one I see." The man said stepping closer to us. We weren't bound, but I was conscious of the spears pointed at my back. I fought the urge to step back, sizing up my potential opponent. We had about the same build, except this young man had more muscle and broader shoulders. Startling handsome if I leaned that way.
"My name is Tanock, you're the first offworlders I've seen in five or six years. It's a pleasure to meet you. And no I'm not in the order of the Jedi Knights." Then the man smiled and held out his hands, seeming genuinely pleased to see us. Except for the spears still pointed at my back, I would have felt perfectly at ease. I noticed that he didn't tell us where he learned how to use his Force talent.
I gripped his hand and gave a firm handshake. "I'm Jedi Master Qui-Gon, and this is my student Obi-Wan Kenobi." With continual rising of the sun, I could now see more, like how dark this man Tanock's eyes were, matching his sun dark face. Tanock's eyes darted towards my student with barely a flicker of interest, but then as he was turning his attention back to me, they paused on my student. Not long, but enough so that I noticed.
He smiled broadly as if happy with what he saw. "Welcome, to this island. It doesn't have a name that is translatable to Standard. Since I crashed here I have no idea where here is. I was hoping when I saw your smoke a last week that maybe you'd know where we were and how to get off the island." Tanock sounded hopeful, and I hated to disappoint him.
"I'm sorry, it seems we are in the same situation. We've waited three months for rescue..." I kept my voice even and calm, through force of practice, what I really wanted to do was shake Tanock and demand to know why he had us dragged here at spear point.
"Well, no matter, maybe I can catch up on what I've missed over breakfast. If you are willing to share the news." Tanock didn't show his disappointment, but I knew it from the way his voice dropped and the darkening of his eyes, and how his fists clenched. The smile still plastered on, as to appear harmless. The Force was telling me something was off, but Tanock hadn't done anything yet.
With a few commands in the islander's language the villagers melted back into the jungle and we followed Tanock up a path. Obi-wan stayed close to me tense and wary. I felt his apprehension.
However, throughout the rest of the day and following weeks, our host was nothing but kindness and polite words, and questions. He drew Obi-wan out of his initial shyness and I saw them together frequently. Talking, laughing, Tanock casually brushing his hand against Obi-wan's hands. I don't know what Obi-wan thought about staying in the village; we were both learning the islander's language and I spoke at length with the elders of the village. The few times I remembered Obi-wan's training, my student was nowhere to be found and usually came back late, with Tanock and some of the other young men.
I had never seen Obi-wan smile so much in three weeks, when I saw him that is. With nothing to do except help fish and repair roofs, I found myself watching Tanock and Obi-wan, trying to figure out why I couldn't trust Tanock. Was this jealousy? Or did I just not trust the way Tanock stared at Obi-wan, when my student wasn't looking, how the other men only spoke with Obi-wan after asking Tanock for permission. Slowly, I could see Tanock taking possession of my student. My innocent student felt flattered and uplifted by all the attention, I'm sure. He swaggered through the village with an arrogance I never saw in him before, and I knew Tanock had something do with it.
A month after our forced visit, I finally caught Obi-wan by himself. He had stayed up late drinking the local brew and had overslept when the hunting party left earlier that morning. I knew because I was awake and watched them prepare. Tanock stomped from one hut to the next, waking everyone up with growls and sharply issued orders, furious with Obi-wan for overdrinking, but I knew the next time they saw each other, Tanock would be nothing but kindness to my student.
"Obi-wan." I said kneeling down beside him. Not sure, what else to say my student had changed much in the one month I had let him run wild with Tanock and his group. I couldn't even remember why I let this happen. One month ago, making it back to our island and lightsabers was important, but now I realized I had let myself be manipulated by Tanock's implied threats to destroy any foreign objects found on their sacred island.
Instantly, Obi-wan became defensive, his eyes shuttering close, hiding his emotions, his body tensed. "What is it Qui-Gon? I'm busy." Those eyes flashed at me with annoyance. I tried to ignore how much it hurt.
"When was the last time you practiced using the Force?"
He was sitting on a fallen tree braiding the tree bark into a rope, he glanced back at his hands before looking up at me and answering. "I can't remember." His jaw tightened and his arm muscles tensed as he pulled the braid tighter than necessary.
"Don't you think you should practice?"
He didn't answer for a while and I was afraid he wouldn't, but finally he looked up, and said, "No, we aren't ever going to be rescued so why bother." I could hear Tanock in Obi-wan's bitterness.
After all, Obi-wan idolized the older and very handsome man. "You don't know that." I said probably more harshly than I intended, because Obi-wan flinched and glanced at me with mute surprise. I continued. "You are wasting your gift, by not using it. Running around with Tanock and his crowd won't help you learn how to harness your powers, or learn control. You can barely lift anything larger than a pebble. I've tried to get your attention, but you claim you are too busy. Let me tell you, ten years from now, when you need your abilities at full power you'll regret having not practiced enough. And someone may die, maybe even you."
I sensed him touching the Force, I don't know what he intended to do, but it fell flat as I shielded myself. I felt a slight tug against my loincloth then the air stilled inside my shield. I could feel him straining to use the Force against me, the sweat slowly starting to run down the sides of his face and stand out on his chest. If I didn't have my emotions under such tight control I might have broke down at this betrayal. My student's powers had weakened considerably, since the last time I checked. He must have realized this at the same times because he released his hold on the Force and slumped back against the tree, exhausted. He glared at me but wisely kept silent.
"You shame me, Obi-wan. Once I was proud to have you as my student, but now you are as worthless as those arrogant pricks you spend so much time with. Tanock is using you, stupid fool." With that I stood up and walked away before I said anything more. I was a Jedi Knight we weren't suppose to let anger or fear control our actions and I was afraid that if I stayed any longer I would lose control.
However, I couldn't get the image of Obi-wan's hurt expression out of my mind. The next day I noticed a change in my student's behavior, instead of running off leaving all the chores to the older women and men, he stayed and helped clean up the fires. Tanock stood in the shadows of his hut watching angrily. But smiled when Obi-wan finished helping and went to join the older man. Gradually as the days passed, Obi-wan continued to spend more time with the elders, and helped with fishing. The group he hung out with taunted him and I saw one trip him on purpose, but Obi-wan didn't lash out like he would have done the week before. He avoided me, and Tanock shot daggers at my back with his eyes. I could sense the intense hatred emanating off the younger man, and I wondered what caused this animosity.
A few evenings later, while I sat by my small campfire, staring at the flames and thinking of home, a shadow fell over me. I knew before looking up that it was my student. "Master." He whispered the pain and uncertainty in his voice obvious to me. "I'm sorry. There is no excuse for my behavior. Will you ever forgive me?" He knelt by my side his head bowed. I felt a watcher and found Tanock watching us anger still the uppermost emotion on the man's face.
I reached over and touched my student's shoulder. I knew he was sincere with that one touch, I was so attuned to my student's emotions, I would have sensed any falseness. "You'll have to work extra hard to make up for lost time. We'll start first thing tomorrow morning." I said. Smiling because I could feel how relieved and happy Obi-wan felt, glad he hadn't screwed up too much. I knew that after this one lapse Obi-wan would probably never do it again.
"Yes Master." He said jumping to his feet, smiling broadly, looking tanned, healthy, and happy.
That night I had trouble sleeping, Obi-wan slept across from me in the same hut, for the first time in weeks. I tried not to think of where else he might have slept all those other nights, or whom else he might have slept with. Maybe I was imagining too much. Because I was still awake I sensed the danger before Obi-wan. I sat up quickly, ignoring the sense of deja vu, but it was too late, the war cries started and masked men poured into the hut and grabbed Obi-wan by the hair and around the neck with one arm, though these natives were shorter they still had power. I used the Force to push the spears away from my chest but then Tanock stepped into view, in full command of the Force. I was outmatched. I let the islander's bind my wrists together. Obi-wan struggled against the hands holding him, but with no luck. "Take them to the boats." Tanock ordered.
In the dead of the night we made the trip back to our island, Tanock sat next to Obi-wan, constantly laying his hands on Obi-wan's shoulders, arms, and chest. Obi-wan now had spears aimed at his back and put a token effort into shoving Tanock away from him. I could feel the confusion rolling off my student. The boats made it to shore without incident and we were forced out and led at spear point up the beach and through the jungle. I tripped a few times and Obi-wan stumbled over the terrain, but Tanock's arm kept him upright.
"What's going on Tanock?" Obi-wan demanded struggling to keep up with Tanock's longer stride. "This isn't funny."
"You'll find out when we get there, and this isn't a joke. The gods demand a sacrifice tonight, and in a way, you determined who it would be. After this is finished, I'll punish you."
I went cold at those words, but by then it was too late, we entered a clearing, lit only by the full moon outside. I remembered this clearing, Obi-wan and I avoided it. The altar stood in the middle rising out of the jungle.
"Take him to the altar and secure him." Tanock ordered thrusting Obi-wan towards his followers. Obi-wan landed on his knees, but was no match against the five islanders', who grabbed him and dragged him up the stone steps, laid him flat on his back and his head pointed towards the ugly stone statue rising above the altar. One of the men had bark rope and quickly tied Obi-wan's wrists to the stone statue, before wrapping the rope around his ankle and securing the rope to the smaller statues at the foot of the altar. In effect leaving Obi-wan spread eagle and completely helpless. He pulled at the rope and tried yanking his legs up, but the bark rope was strong.
I struggled against the three holding me, ignoring the pain of the spears jabbing into my sides. Tanock didn't immediately go to my student as I had anticipated. Instead, he came to me. I was unprepared for the punch and my breath whooshed out. "Don't worry, Qui-Gon, Obi-wan isn't the sacrifice, I desire him too much. He was coming along rather nicely learning the dark ways of the Force until you interfered, he would have been my perfect mate and now I'll have to retrain him, thanks to you. And he's going to suffer, but I think adjusting to his new life will be so much easier if you were out of the picture. Unfortunately for Obi-wan, the gods demand a virgin to sacrifice their virginity before we move on to the main sacrifice. Don't worry you'll get to watch." Tanock patted my cheek before heading for the altar, casually stripping off his clothing.
Dread and horror and worry filled my body as Obi-wan started screaming and yelling, yanking at the bonds. I knew the only way to rescue my student was to make it back to where we left our lightsabers. I wasn't strong enough to defeat Tanock on my own without my weapon. I relaxed my body hoping the islanders would loosen their grip it didn't work. I had to watch as Tanock used his hands to rip off Obi-wan's loin cloth; the moon illuminated everything.
I felt my eyes tearing in frustration, waiting for the perfect moment to escape. Tanock climbed on the altar and knelt between Obi-wan's stretched thighs. "I'm going to have so much fun fucking you." Tanock said in Standard and quickly thrust inside my tense student, friend. The surprised scream surely echoed over to the other island. I winced inside and turned my head. So I wouldn't have to watch Tanock rising like a demon, greedily possess my Obi-wan's body, whispering obscenities.
"Please Tanock stop, I can't breath." Obi-wan's harsh racking sobs filled the clearing. I remembered Obi-wan was only seventeen.
Those words tore into my soul and a cauldron of anger filled my heart, until I felt it reach my head. I couldn't hear Obi-wan anymore over the roar of blood in my head. Quickly before I gave away my intentions I shot to my feet at the same time pushing out in all directions with the Force, all the extra power coming from pure unadulterated righteous anger. The smaller men went flying and Tanock paused, his eyes shooting to me, standing near the shadows of the jungle. I didn't wait for the men to regain their feet I took off running still able to hear Obi-wan's pain filled sobs in my mind. I ran embracing the Force to help me leap over any obstacle in my way. I still remembered much of the layout and headed back towards our old camp, hoping that my lightsaber and Obi-wan's still worked. I could sense the men following me, but they didn't have the Force to help guide them.
I almost missed our camp completely it was completely destroyed by one of the numerous storms that rushed over these islands like violent nightmares, gone in the morning. A glint of silver in the moonlight guided me to our lightsabers. I snatched it off the ground just as a spear flew past my shoulder. I thumbed the power switch while I grabbed the other lightsaber. It lit up bright green scaring the young man behind me into running off into night screaming of demons. I switched it off again and started running back to the altar. I met a few more men on the way there and destroyed the spears thrown at me. I didn't want to kill anyone, but these men were responsible for my Obi-wan suffering at Tanock's hands. Most of them ran when I turned on my lightsaber, but one brave soul stood up to me and died. I decided not to care until after I rescued my student.
Tanock was sitting on the altar waiting for me; Obi-wan was still stretched out painfully I could see his shoulders shaking with silent sobs. "So you came back for your student? I was beginning to think you had abandoned him." Tanock said in his normal voice. "Look I can see you have the weapons and I don't. Why don't we make a truce? I won't sacrifice you and I'll let you fuck Obi-wan. He's used goods now, but I'm sure he's still tight."
The calmness of Tanock's voice infuriated me, which is probably why the man said it, I told myself trying to stay calm. "Fight me. I won't kill an unarmed opponent." I demanded and threw the extra lightsaber at him. It was mine. I wanted to kill the bastard with Obi-wan's blade.
The fight was no contest. I was out of practice by two months. Tanock hadn't fought in six years. I felt no satisfaction when his head rolled from his body, just drained. I stumbled over to Obi-wan and severed the ropes; he curled on his side sobbing, keeping his face hidden with his arm. I kept watch over the clearing until the sun rose. By that time, I knew all the islander's had left this island, probably to go back to their village and talk of demons.
"Obi-wan." I whispered, slowly waking my student up. Sometime during the night, he had fallen asleep. His eyes blinked open, bloodshot, scared and ashamed. I didn't need to use the Force to feel his shock or pain. "We need to leave this place."
"Okay." He said, letting me help him down from the warming stone altar. He shuddered when he saw Tanock's dead body and severed head lying five feet away, but he didn't cry. I tried to find Obi-wan's loin cloth now that it was daylight but what piece of it I found was damaged beyond repair. I debated on stealing Tanock's clothes, but I didn't think Obi-wan would want to have anything of Tanock's. Our old robes were still at our campsite buried under the piles of fallen leaves and trees. I led Obi-wan to safety, not sure how to apologize to my student for failing him. Although, how I could have known this would happen...would stay a mystery.
I cleaned the remnants of dried blood and sperm off of my student's thighs and found my old robe; sandy but dry, shook it out and let Obi-wan drop it over his head. I wished I had pain pill tablets for Obi-wan, but if wishes were flyers no one would walk anymore...Silent tears fell down his checks that I would see him like this.
That night after forcing Obi-wan to eat the crab like creature I caught and cooked, we lay side by side staring at the stars peering through the thick canopy of tree leaves. I was afraid to sleep for fear of the retribution from the other island. Obi-wan I don't know what he thought, but I could still feel his confused jumble of thoughts running in circles around his mind. It gave me a headache trying to sort out the conflicting emotions.
I wanted to give him words of comfort, but didn't know where to start. That night Obi-wan had a nightmare. I held him and used the Force to help calm his mind. My link to him was as strong as ever. One day passed into the next, but neither of us smiled or talked easily. A week after Tanock's death Obi-wan came back from fishing once again half naked he seemed more at peace and didn't walk hesitantly anymore. I was remaking our shelter; it was much easier this time.
"Master?" I could hear the questioning nervousness in his voice.
"Yes." I tried to make my voice as steady as possible.
"Can we talk?" He was holding dead fish on the strings we made out of our robes.
"Why don't we clean the fish and eat a early supper, then talk." I suggested. I wanted to find out what Obi-wan was thinking right that minute, but I didn't want to get so wrapped up in the problem that our food spoiled.
"That's fine." He said sighing.
We ate in silence in front of our small fire. The sun hadn't set just yet, but it was close. It reflected off the ocean in reddish pink starbursts, blinding anyone who stared directly at it. It was warm and the breeze felt good against my bare chest. Compared to me, Obi-wan still looked like a boy. His sat hunched over; dark circles surrounded his eyes. I knew he slept poorly. Maybe at the Jedi Academy a healer would have helped Obi-wan overcome the nightmares, but now we had to help ourselves.
I didn't know if I should bring up the topic or wait for my student. He must have made up his mind while waiting for me to say something. "Master, are you ashamed of me?"
"No of course not!" I exclaimed, completely taken by surprise.
"Then why won't you touch me, like you used to?"
So Obi-wan did treasure my reassuring pats on the shoulder, and the hugs. "I thought that after what happened you wouldn't want anyone to touch you for awhile," I said truthfully.
He looked into my eyes questioning, "I thought so too, but I miss feeling like your student. I keep having these nightmares and when I wake up, you turn your back on me."
I could hear the anguish in his voice. I thought I was giving him privacy to collect himself and he thought I didn't love him anymore. I stood up and moved around to his side and wrapped my arm around his shoulder and hugged him close to me. "I'm so sorry. I thought that you wanted to be left alone more. I didn't know. I keep trying to imagine what *I* would want in your circumstances, but I forget that we aren't the same. I feel so damn guilty about not stopping him in time to save you from that indignity. I keep wondering why you aren't angry at me, or blaming me for what happened." I stopped suddenly feeling like I had said too much.
His eyes were wide staring at me from his thinner sand smudged face. "You thought I blamed you?" He shouted loudly, then he laughed, one harsh bark, for the first time since it happened. In his eyes, I saw the dark side of the Force. "I'm blaming myself. Master it was my fault, I must have led him to believe that I would return his interest..." Obi-wan's voice cracked and his eyes reddened. I could sense how hard my student was fighting to keep from crying in front of me.
I lost my calm control, I didn't know if Obi-wan brought out the best or worst in me. I got to my feet looking down at Obi-wan's startled face. Then before he could react I swooped down, my knees hitting the sand and soft palm tree leaves, and swept him into my arms, and hugged him as I hadn't hugged my student since he was a young boy of ten. He trembled in my arms and held himself stiff, but I knew he needed my contact and strength. I sent my reassurance and love for him through our bond of Master and student.
I don't know how long I held him, listening to the waves lap at the shore and the wind rustle the leaves, before with a slow shudder, Obi-wan relaxed into my arms and sobbed. I could feel his hot tears against my bare chest and rested my chin on top of his head, smoothing my hands down his back. I let him cry until the fire died, leaving us in darkness, with only the moon to illuminate our surroundings.
Smoothing my hand down his back one last time, I said gently, "Come, we're both exhausted, we need to sleep."
He didn't fight when I led him to our shelter and lay next to him. It was warm enough to sleep without blankets so we used our robes for pillows. I stayed awake a long time after Obi-wan fell asleep, still not sure what to do. I was an adult but felt as lost as a child.
The next morning, Obi-wan woke up more clear-eyed and alert since the incident. I stayed on my side and watched him move to grab a fishing spear, then he was gone. I sat up more slowly, Jedi powers or not, sleeping on the ground was hard on me. I could feel every year pressing on me that morning. I wondered down to the fresh water pond and drank my fill before returning to the camp. I decided to fish that morning as well. I tended to hide in the shade for most of the day; my skin was more prone to sunburn than Obi-wan's, but this morning I needed the physical activity.
Our days passed in lazy solitude, with no more trespasses by neighbors across the water. I prayed for rescue and continued to live and watch over my student. I had started his training again; we cleared out a small section of jungle to practice our lightsaber duels. I worried about injury, but necessity ruled over caution. Obi-wan's manner was quieter than normal, but after that night by the campfire he's slept better and was calmer, more at peace. I wish I could take away that scar, and bring back my defiant brash student, but Obi-wan had never been so diligent in his study. His skills grew over the months until they far surpassed mine.
One startling day, a year after we landed on this island, Obi-wan discovered what I had known all along.
"Why can't you do this?" Obi-wan asked lifting six large stones at one time, and balancing his body on one hand, while making those stones circle him like he was the sun.
It took tremendous concentration and power to do what he was doing now, there was an equivalent test at the Jedi Academy, but I worked with what the island had to provide. My student was now 18 and a Jedi Knight, but would anyone know besides him and me?
I decided to answer his question, "Well for one, I am thirty years older, and two I can barely make two rocks float and rotate them around my body. I barely passed the test, when I was your age." I don't know why I answered him truthfully; maybe it was because I stopped hiding things from him months ago.
Still balancing everything, Obi-wan called out, "What you mean I'm better than you?"
Sweat was pouring off Obi-wan's face, but the young man was smiling tightly. "I'm more experienced." I answered vaguely, still keeping count. Five minutes, very impressive. Just as I reached fifty-five, all the rocks fell and Obi-wan sprawled onto his back, panting exhaustedly.
It took a few moments before my student had the air to ask his question. "But Master why wouldn't they let someone stronger in the Force teach me?" I had outgrown regret and envy of other's more powerful gifts, but it took me a moment to push aside the irrational hurt of rejection and think objectively. My student didn't ask why he was stuck with me; he wanted to know why the more powerful Jedi didn't teach. Or at least that was how I was going to look at his question.
"Obi-wan, when you were tested, Master Yoda gained a sense of your personality and matched you up with the most compatible teacher at the time. I just happened to be average in strength, but I make up for it in other areas. I can't mind call over the same distances you can, but I know how and that is what I taught you, the skills. You determine how strong those skills will be, by practicing and working hard. The strongest Jedi Master cannot force you to use your abilities to the fullest, only you can. When you are older and someday in charge of your own student, remember what you learned here." I started heading back towards our camp; it was mid-afternoon and lunch time.
I heard Obi-wan following behind me, and I knew he was seriously thinking about what I had told him.
That night around our campfire, I felt content and happy with my student's company. We've had our moments of anger and lashing out, but managed to patch things up time and time again. I was proud of my student. I didn't tell him that though, I showed it in other ways.
"Master," Obi-wan began after he finished picking at his fish, "have you tried mind-calling for help?"
"Yes, of course, but I didn't get very far. You probably have a far greater range, and I can help you boost your power." I said quietly, knowing the day would come when Obi-wan would have the knowledge and skill to mind-call over three hundred miles.
I continued speaking, "You can't try tonight, you'll only hurt yourself. But tomorrow evening, if you don't try showing off during the day, you'll be ready."
That night I slept poorly worried about our chance of success. Obi-wan slept like a log.
The next night I had Obi-wan lay down on his back and relax. I guided him, letting him fall into a deep trance, which was needed to contact someone over the distance we were reaching for. We had discussed the message, and it only had to reach one person. I didn't tell Obi-wan that his mind would be automatically drawn to someone with Jedi powers. We stood out like beacons to those strong in mind-calling. I held his hand and fed him my strength. I felt his strain and determination, but his breathing remained slow and steady. I had a key phrase ready to bring him out of the trance the minute anything went wrong, which it sometimes does. We stayed like that over an hour, before Obi-wan shook out of the trance, groaned in pain and rolled on his side clutching his head.
"Did you contact anyone?" I asked after it looked like the worst pain was past.
"I think so, I don't know. Whoever it was sounded surprised to hear me and wasn't very skilled mentally. You know what I mean?" Oh, I knew, that's how Obi-wan sounded for years before hours upon hours of mediation raised his mental discipline. "I don't think I got the message across." Obi-wan finished his voice hollow with despair.
I tried to keep my hopes up that night. But after the fifth imagined motorboat engine I heard, I forced myself to stop thinking about it.
Another three weeks passed, they were miserable, as we both came to realize that we might very well be stuck here the rest of our lives. I remembered when we first landed, Obi-wan still had baby soft checks, with no hint of mustache or beard, now he had a scraggly, gold glinted brown beard hiding his lower face and lips. We were whipcord lean from starvation and malnutrition. I could barely find any hint of the boy Obi-wan was in the man I sat across from every night when we ate whatever food we caught during the day, or scrounged up on the island. If it weren't for the occasional seaweed, we found on the shore, I'm sure we would be a lot sicklier.
I tried not to feel depressed when another month passed with no rescue. I knew Obi-wan had given up all hope, and I was close. I kept myself busy trying to construct a better shelter, Obi-wan refused to help for the longest time when we first arrived, convinced that someone would come and rescue us, but now he believed in the project. I never mentioned going back to the other island with the natives, or of making a boat to sail out into the ocean. I knew there was too much ocean; our odds would have been 1000/1. I wouldn't risk Obi-wan's life on those type of odds, and I wouldn't leave him here alone.
It was early morning and I was on the beach picking looking for driftwood, when I heard the sound of a motor, coming closer. I heard screaming and shouting from above me and there was Obi-wan jumping up and down and waving his arms, screaming ecstatically over whatever he saw over the side of the rocks blocking in our safe cove. I didn't want to think of what he was doing up there. One false move and my student would find out quickly how slippery and treacherous those rocks were. I dropped the few half decent sticks I found and ran towards the rocks, completely at ease running in the sand.
I scrambled to the top to see who or what was coming for us. A large yacht with two Jedi standing on the deck slowly approached our island. I could tell by their traditional brown robes. In a strange way, I had never been more relived and devastated at the same time. It had been so long since I've talked to anyone other than Obi-wan, in a way I had a teacher's fondest wish, their student's undivided attention. But it was a double edge sword, I realized as the boat navigated off the shore of our cove, I watched as Obi-wan scrambled past me, still whooping with joy.
Only now did I realize that I loved him, my student, but he wasn't really my student anymore. I had taught him everything I know. I climbed down more slowly, and went to stand beside my student, watching as a smaller boat was lowered into the water and the two Jedi climb down a ladder. It was slow going with their robes. I couldn't move my body paralyzed with fear and loss. I knew they would take Obi-wan away from me for blundering so badly, I would never see his intergalactic affairs training through even the first stage. Never be able to explore what might have been if we stayed here the rest of our lives. Selfish of me, I know.
Obi-wan must have sensed some of my uncertainty, because the smile faded from his lips, and his eyes stared at me, using his powers. I knew he could feel me, through our link, if he chose to. He didn't say anything, but he reached for my hand, comforting me.
A few minutes later we were in the water leading the boat that looked very much like our raft, up to the shore. I didn't recognize the Jedi standing before me, and I wished I had grabbed my lightsaber, just in case they were hostile dark Jedi. But then the older white hair man smiled.
"You must be Qui-Gon. My student got your mind-call during his survivalist training, and thought it was his imagination playing tricks with him until I started teaching him mind-calling. It took us a while to find your signatures."
"It was Obi-wan who made the call." I murmured still feeling shaky by the new people.
"Well your call reached Ralac who was four hundred miles away. I'm Jedi Master Yaben, most people call me Ben."
"I had assumed it didn't work. We waited and waited..." Obi-wan trailed off. I think he was now started to feel the same as me, shaky and shocked.
The younger man, a teenager still, stared at them with sympathy. "Master, maybe we should let them get their stuff so we can get out of here."
"Oh of course..."
Twenty minutes later, they were standing on the deck of the yacht. It was nicer than the one they rode on over a year ago. Ben found soft robes for us, but I couldn't bear to feel the material against my skin. Obi-wan grimaced and held the robe in his hands. I stared at the island that was our home; Obi-wan stood next to me, by my side like always. I tried not to think of the future. I wondered what Obi-wan was thinking I knew he felt confused. We were leaving our home. Could I sleep anywhere else without the sound of the surf, or Obi-wan next to me? I didn't want to find out.
"Qui-Gon don't worry, I won't leave you." Obi-wan said too quietly for anyone but me to hear. It was the first time, since the beginning that he has called me my real name.
"I'm surprised you're still willing to be my student...the Force only knows what mess I'll get us into this time."
"You still feel guilty over that...Master, Qui-Gon, I'll follow you anywhere. You're my Master, my best friend, and I don't think I can sleep without you, I love you." Obi-wan refused to look up from his hands, clutching the brown student robes, given to him. I couldn't see his blush through the tan, but I knew he was bright red under the dirt and beard.
I reached over and pulled him into a quick normal hug. I wished I could tell him how I felt, maybe someday when I'm not his teacher. I settled for second best, "I'm so proud of you Obi-wan, so damn proud to be your teacher." I stopped before I said too much. I think he understood me, because his arm tightened around my waist. He smiled knowingly with the wind whipping his longer hair around his face. I felt like we were lovers sailing off into the sunset, and maybe for a time we were.