Snowan, feeling completely helpless, sat down on the couch, and the man sat down as well. Obi-Wan, clearly unbothered by the man's presence, went right up to him.
"Mother, who's this?" Obi-Wan said in his tiny, broken, baby voice.
"My name is Di-Mane Farr young one. Ane how might you be?'
Obi-Wan let out a big laugh and said "Obi Obi-Wan" and skipped out of the room, much to Snowan's relief. She then gave her attention back to the stranger.
He gave a little smile, then raised his head.
"I am Di-Mane Farr" he said.
"Yes, and I am Snowan..."
"Lars." He finished for her. "And this is your son, Obi-Wan."
Snowan's fear was now turning into anger.
"How do you know this?! Why are you here?!" She exclaimed.
"Madame" He spoke gently, "I am here as an ambassador for myself and a revered Order of many thousands."
Snowan didn't understand.
"What order?" She asked.
"The Jedi Knights", he said plainly, but proudly.
"The Jedi?" she whispered. She'd heard of this happening before. The cloaked masters rushed throught a home, taking away a child to become a subservient hermit. She became angered. One thing was certain in her mind: Obi-Wan was going nowhere. Would the stranger try to take her son?
"No" she breathed, more to herself than anyone.
"Madame," Di-Mane said, "I doubt you fully realize it, but your son is gifted. He is...different." Snowan didn't know why she was getting so emotional now. He hadn't actually yet said that he wished to take Obi-Wan with him. Still, a sob was breaking across her face.
"He is no different. I've never noticed anything", she lied. She frantically tried to push out of her mind memories of Obi-Wan handing her a spoon moments after she'd thought of needing one, of him amazingly catching dragonflies right out of the air, or how she could see a need written on his face before he could speak a word. She somehow felt as though Di-Mane knew all of this and that lying to him was hiding nothing.
"Please, don't be upset." Di-Mane comforted. "We must discuss this."
"Who says we must." Snowan snapped.
"You don't even know what I've come for, yet you already choose to be stubborn." Di-Mane said rather sternly.
Snowan was stricken by his blunt tone.
"I do know why." she blurted. "You want to take away my child to spend his life shut away serving in some temple. You wish him to become a..a..Jedi!" She said the word 'Jedi' as though it were some horrible disease.
Di-Mane sensed her distaste immediately.
"Madame, I believe that you are under some mistaken understanding of the Jedi and of my intentions" he said steadily and earnestly.
"I don't believe so." she retorted. "My grandfather was a Jedi and he was practically driven into madness by their harshness."
Di-Mane looked down at the floor. She won't be easy to convince, he though. Still, he had to try.
"You must allow me to speak." he said.
"You may speak," she said, "but I doubt I will listen.
Di-Mane only smiled and continued.
"Some of what you say is true. The Jedi Code is strict and not all those who attempt a Jedi's life succeed. And if they do, it is not an easy life and I won't try to tell you it is. However, we are not unreasonable and not uncaring. We protect everyone, from slaves to emperors. Knights are anything but shut away in the temple. While much time is spent there, most of a Jedi's life is spent on different missions. Jedi have a great knowledge of the entire galaxy and see and experience things most people will never get get to experience. We serve the populace and keeping the peace. We are guardians of justice. It is truly a unique life. Those who are fit for this service should not be kept away. "
Snowan was shaken to the core now.
"So you're saying my son is fit."
"Possibly. The Force is strong in him. That much is inevitable. But whether or not he has all the qualities remains to be seen. You must allow him to be tested."
Snowan had not been swayed by anything he'd said.
"No. I will not consider it. He is my son. I'm not letting a stranger take him away."
"Please" Di-Mane continued, "just allow him to be tested."
Snowan was exasperated.
"How can you possibly test him? He is so young. You can't possibly guage his abilities at this age. "
"It is possible. We have all the equimpent at the Temple on Coruscant. " Di-Mane said. "In fact, your son would be one of the older new inductees. Most children are admitted before they turn two years old."
Snowan was horrified.
"How can you steal children away from their mothers at that age? How?!"
"I assure you, good lady, we do anything but steal children. Each child we take is willingly given to us by the guardians. The parents of those who are fit to be an apprentice usually gladly give up their child for the greater good. When so much good can be done by one child, one cannot be selfish enough to deny the child and those who he would help the right for the child to be trained. Think of it. Your son, a powerful mentor, comforter, and protector. And even when the time came, a deadly warrior, ready to defend righteousness."
Even as he spoke the words, Snowan felt horribly guilty. Perhaps she was being selfish. Maybe the Jedi weren't hermits who studied all day and night. She'd never actually seen one at work. But giving up her son?
Di-Mane could see that he had touched her. He knew she had seen his point and was possibly having a change of heart.
"You wouldn't lose him. He would come to visit you. He'll have a good life at the Temple. It is bursting with humans his age with whom he could befriend. I assure you. He won't be lonely or unloved. Ever." He looked deep into Snowan's eyes, piercing them with his hazel ones.
"I just don't know." Snowan said. "Giving up my son."
"I understand. " Di-Mane said. "It won't be an easy decision."
"Perhaps I should consult my husband. He is away on family business." Then she thought better of it. She knew that Obidan thought just as she did. Bringing him into this would only bring more emotion and make it harder for them to make a decision based on logic.
"I was hoping for you decision now." Di-Mane admitted. "The Council is waiting for word as we speak. The aquisition of new apprentices is always heralded with much joy and anticipation. If you agree to my wishes, I'll need to leave with him immediately for testing."
"Immediately?!" Snowan said. Now she was letting her emotions cloud her thinking.
"Yes, immediately", he said. "I'll need to notify the Council to begin to prepare a test so that we may start promptly upon our arrival."
Snowan sat in complete silence. A million thoughts ran through her head. Would Obi-Wan be happy there? How would she feel once he was gone? Would he miss her? What would Obidan say we he returned? What would Owen think?
Suddenly her thoughts were invaded by the door buzzer. She jumped up and ran to it to find the lady who'd brought in the torn poncho.
"Hello" she said warmly "I am here for my poncho."
She took Snowan's hand and filled it with coins.
"Your poncho?" Snowan repeated mechanically.
"Yes" the woman said, a little confused. "I brought it here yesterday and you said you'd mend it. Have you not finished?"
Snowan's mind, too clouded with thoughts of Jedi and Obi-Wan, suddenly snapped into gear and she began to apologize.
"Yes...of course...the poncho."
The woman smiled.
"Just one moment and I'll get it for you. " She pockedted the change and reached to the side of the door, just out of the woman's site, to where she'd dropped it upon the arrival of Dimane.
"Here you are, good as new. "
"Thank you very much. " the lady said and she smiled and walked away.
Snowan closed the door and took a deep breath. She turned around and walked back into the den. There she found Obi-Wan, sitting in Di-Mane's lap, laughing and toying with the strap on the Jedi's tall boot. Di-Mane smiled down at him. He acted perfectly at ease with her little son. He now seemed very fatherly. She stared in amazement. Obi-Wan acted as though he'd known Di-Mane all of his life. He sat contently with the Jedi and made no move to escape. Di-Mane looked up at Snowan and gave her a comforting half smile. Obi-Wan grinned at him and sat there in his lap looking as content as he ever had. Snowan just stood there. In her mind, it seemed, everything fell into place and one decision presented itself. "Take him." she said.Chapter Seven
Snowan had packed all of Obi-Wan's belongings in several chests, but told by Di-Mane that only the bare essentials would be needed. And besides, should Obi-Wan fail the test, he would be home in two days. She felt a flutter of joy at the words, but then scolded herself. She would never wish her son to fail.
"Is there anything else I need to know, about anything. I beg you, Di-Mane Farr. Don't conceal anything from me. He is my son. " Snowan said earnestly.
"I would never do that." Di-Mane said. "Nothing other than if he passes, he will be brought back here within a week for one final visit before he is officially assigned a room and a schedule. "
"May I ask you something?" Snowan said.
"Of course. Anything." Di-Mane said.
"Did you sense power in my son that day on the street when I caught you staring at him?"
"I did." he said.
"Then why have you wait so long to come to me." she asked.
"It is a matter of procedure. That is how long it took me to complete my mission, return to Coruscant, and request to the Council that I test a prospective Padawan."
"Yes. A Padawan is a Jedi-in-training."
Snowan nodded solemly. How would she ever explain all this to Obidan. How could she tell Owen that his brother was gone?
Di-Mane sensed her dilemma.
"If you wish, one of our Masters or myself personally could inform your husband. That is, if it would bring you any comfort. "
Snowan smiled at his kindness. Perhaps she had been wrong about the Jedi.
"I would greatly appreciate it. The hol-board is down the hall to the left. The correct number is set, you have only to send the message." she said.
Di-Mane nodded graciously and strode down the hall, his robe flaring out behind him.
Snowan knelt down on the floor and played with her son, maybe for the last time. She held him and kissed him and told him how much she loved him. Her tears flooded down and ran onto his face. She wiped them away, but there were fresh ones to take their place.
"Mother" Obi-Wan said, carefully pronouncing his words "Why are you crying?"
She just luaghed at hugged him again. She heard Di-Mane coming and tried to recompose herself. She stood up, stilll holding Obi-Wan.
"Well?" she said.
"You're husband was brave, but he isn't taking it too well. It would be best for you to contact him yourself later on."
"Daddy!" Obi-Wan squealed.
Di-Mane looked serious now. "We must be off now."
Snowan heart caught in her throat. The moment she'd been dreading had come. All she could do was nod. Any words, she knew, would bring a flood of tears. She didn't want to lose control in front of Obi-Wan. She'd put off actually telling him he was leaving because she'd hoped that something, anything, would go wrong; Di-Mane would get an emergency call and have to leave alone at once or he'd change his mind and say he'd contacted the wrong child. But none of that happened, and she must tell Obi-Wan what was happening.
"Obi-Wan" she called.
He strolled up to her, completely unaware.
"You're going to go on a trip."
He smiled. "To where?" he asked, wide eyed.
"You're going to go to Coruscant with Master Di-Mane and he'd going to teach you there. You'll stay there until you learn to be a Jedi Knight."
Obi-Wan just slightly nodded and stood there looking at her. Whether he just didn't understand what was happening or wheather he was conciously willing to go wasn't clear. But something told Snowan that he was aware of exactly what was going on.Chapter Eight
Only an hour had passed since Obi-Wan had left with Di-Mane, yet it seemed like weeks ago. Would the rest of her life be like this? she wondered. She'd talked to Obidan through a hologram and they'd both cried together. Maybe they'd made the wrong decision. Still, something told her they hadn't.* * * * * * * * *
Obi-Wan was fascinated by everything he saw: the gleaming transport he'd gotten on with the Master, the way Cress looked from space, the bustling Coruscant landing platform, and the man he now took company with. He now found himself standing in the middle of a dimly lit room , surrounding by people he'd never seen. Some of them were different species that he'd never seen before. He was particularly curious about the one who spoke to him first, the small green creature who'd been introduced to him as "Master Yoda." He'd been introduced to the twelve people around him. He was frightened for the first time when Di-Mane stepped out of the circle and left the room.
"Don't be afraid" said the man who'd been introduced as "Master Windu"
"Yes sir." said Obi-Wan
"Concentrate. " said Master Yoda. "Tell us. How feel you."
"Fine. " said Obi-Wan quietly.
"Are you ready to begin?" said Master Windu.
"Yes sir." said Obi-Wan again. He knew he was about to be tested. Di-Mane had begun to explain that to him on their way there.
"Begin, we shall." said Master Yoda.
Master Windu, known to his fellow Council Members by the name of Mace, produced a small hand-helf veiwscreen and concentrated on it for a moment.
"Tell us, Obi-Wan Lars" he began "What do you see. Not in this room, but in your mind. Concentrate. What is in your mind." He knew he had to be a little more explanatory with younger pupils.
All of the Council Members knew the correct responses. The image little Keel should be seeing was a landspeeder.
"A landspeeder." Obi-Wan whispered, perhaps a little surprised at this random image he'd called into him mind."
"Good." Master Windu said. "Now, clear your mind. What else do you see."
"Continue, Obi-Wan. Keep telling us what you see in your mind." he promted again.
"Another speeder. A bird. A cup. " He did not seem to be tiring. "A chair. A ship. A face. Another ship." he continued.
Master Windu nodded and lowered the viewscreen. He looked at Yoda, who nodded also. They all knew; he'd gotten everyone right.
Master Windu then reached inside a satchel and produced a piece of wood with many pictures and designs on it. He flashed it before Obi-Wan's eyes. He did not see it for more than a second.
"Tell us, young one" Yoda began, "What saw you?"
"I saw a piece of wood about as big as your hands. It's old wood sir. I know it was because I saw the termite holes on the bottom sir. Somebody had painted a picture of a big green tree on it. Lots of red fruit were in the tree and a pretty purple bird was flying next to it. Something must have happened to it sir, because a section of the wood was splintered off at the top. Did you drop it?" Obi-Wan finished his amazing analisys of the wood with a simple, innocent, childish question. Mace Windu smiled.
"That's exactly what happened, Obi-Wan." He smiled at the boy. Obi-Wan smiled back. He wasn't afraid anymore. Not in the slightest. He did feel watched. Every gaze was upon him and he could feel eyes probing him.
"You're feelings, Master Yoda." Mace Windu prompted.
"Clear, his mind is. Angered he is not. His fear is in control."
"My thoughts exactly, Master Yoda." Mace said.
"I ask you now then, " Yoda said, "Agree does this Council that this boy, Obi-Wan Lars, is to be admitted into the Temple as an apprentice and candidate to a Padawan Learner be?"
One by one, the Council members nodded their heads in agreement.
"So it is decided, then." Yoda concluded. "A Jedi Apprentice Obi-Wan will be."