Loyalty of a Padawan
Obi-wan could not sit still. He paced his elaborate room tirelessly. Every now and again he would stop at the window and look out across the city. Then he would begin his pacing again.
He had gotten no sleep. He lay in bed for hours staring at the ceiling. When he just began to doze off visions and words of horror sprang before his eyes. He then heard the word “Padawan!” spoken in his Master’s voice. The word cut though his mind like a gust of wind, and then died away. He sat up in a start and rushed to the window, sweat streaming down his face.
Whether his Master was in pain or there was pain soon to come, Obi-wan could feel it. And there was nothing he could do but wait.
When the morning hours came the those in the capital building began to stir. They had brought him breakfast, which he only picked at. He could not bring himself to eat. All he could do was sit and think. When he grew tiered of sitting he began to walk.
Obi-wan walked the length of the room more times than he could count. The visions of he and Qui-gon fighting the guards and Qui-gon demanding that he leave came to mind again. His Master had known that without Obi-wan to help him he would have had no way of escaping from the guards. Yet, he told his Padawan to go anyway, while he became a prisoner.
Obi-wan had obeyed his Master by leaving when he was told. But was it the right thing to do? The Padawan began to think of loyalty, honor, and trust. He had left his Master because he had asked him to. But should he have gone against his own feelings to keep his pledge of loyalty? These questions repeated themselves over and over in the Apprentice’s mind until he thought he could go mad if he got no answers to them.
He stopped at the window as one of Yoda’s teachings suddenly came back to him. “Reflection there must be in times of need.” The voice of the old Jedi master said inside his mind.
Obi-wan did not know what any amount of reflection could do to help his situation or answer his questions. But, he would try. He closed his eyes and centered himself within his mind, bringing the Force around him.
“Obi-wan?” His Master asked concerned.
Obi-wan was sitting on their couch in their apartment in the Jedi Temple, looking rather troubled. The young Apprentice glanced up at him, but looked back down at his hands again, saying nothing.
“What’s wrong, my young Padawan?” Qui-gon asked as he sat on a chair across from the boy.
The newly turned 14 year old opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out. However his Master was patient and waited until he was ready.
“A man on the streets said something to me today that I don’t understand.” the young Apprentice said softly.
“Look at me Obi-wan.” His Master said, and Obi-wan met his eyes. “What did he say?”
“He said that he felt sorry for me. That he knew that I was an Apprentice to a Jedi and that soon I would not have a thought of my own in my mind because I will have to obey my master.” The young Padawan stated as if the man who had said this had stabbed him. “Why would he say that?” he asked puzzled.
“People don’t always understand the ways of the Jedi, Obi-wan.” Said the older Jedi. “They hear what they want to hear, and believe what they want to believe. Never bothering to find out the truth.” Qui-gon could tell that his Padawan was still disturbed. “You are your own person Obi-wan. You are loyal to me, yes. But I am loyal to you as well. Such is the way of the Master-Padawan bond.” He comforted.
“But,” Obi-wan said, with widened eyed. “What if you give me an order and I know in my heart its wrong. What do I do then?” He paused for a moment, then added softly. “I don’t want to betray you.”
A soft smile crept up the face of the Jedi Master. “You will know what is right Obi-wan. If you truly think something is wrong, even if it is something I tell you, you will know what to do.” He placed a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “But, you must know that any order that I give is simply because I care and I am trying to do what's best. It is something which is based on trust. Will you trust me Obi-wan?”
The look on the face of the Padawan looked at ease. “Yes.” he said with a nod. “I will always trust you Master.”
“And I you Padawan.” Qui-gon stated softly. “Now, lets go to lunch shall we?”
“Sure!” Obi-wan replied happily as jumped to his feet and headed toward the door. Before could get but a few feet a hand seized him by the hood of his robe and stopped him in his tracks.
“Right after you clean up that mess you call, a room.” Qui-gon said while he pointed his Apprentice in the direction of the apartment.
“My room isn’t messy.” Obi-wan said innocently.
“No, it isn’t messy. It’s chaotic.” The Jedi Master laughed. “Come Obi-wan. It wont take you long once you get started. Then after lunch we can go find Master Windu and exchange stories.”
“Can we?” The sullen Obi-wan said, suddenly excited again. He always enjoyed hearing Master Windu and his Master tell stories about each other. Especially the once which made his Master turn red.
“I don’t see why not.” Qui-gon said, amused. The Jedi Master was caught off guard as his Padawan embraced him in a tight hug.
“Thank you, Master.” Obi-wan said. Qui-gon knew that he did not mean for the invitation of a story swap with his Jedi Master friend.
“You’re welcome, Obi-wan.” Qui-gon said with a smile as they pulled away from the embrace. “Now hurry.” The Master stated. He couldn’t quite muffle the laugh which came from his throat when Obi-wan entered his room, almost tripping over his pillow which had somehow managed to end up in the middle of the floor.
Obi-wan found himself smiling at the long ago memory. It had been the first smile which had escaped him since he arrived on the planet. He believed he was to overcome with frustration and confusion to be able to think of a good memory. Yet, one again, the teachings of Yoda proved him wrong.
He had learned about loyalty that day, and what it meant. But, he also learned about trust. The trust runs deep within the Master-Padawan bond. He was beginning to rethink his Master’s order. If he had stayed there was a good chance that they still could not have gotten away. In that event he would have been killed and his Master would have no hope of escape. At least with the Apprentice alive there was hope of a rescue and of completion of their mission. Obi-wan now trusted Qui-gon’s decision, as he had always trusted Qui-gon. And his Master trusted him as well. Therefore he would not let him down. He would find a way to come to his Master’s aid. There had to be a way.
There was a knock at Obi-wan’s door. He turned to face the front of the room.
“Enter.” He called.
The entryway slid open and the woman who had greeted him upon his arrival, the Prime Minister’s second chair, stepped though.
“Jedi Kanobi,” she said with a slight bow, her pale hair falling about her shoulders. “Forgive me for coming to you so early, but I must speak with you.”
Obi-wan nodded, “Please, have a seat.” He said, directing her toward a chair. He sat opposite of her.
“I apologize for not truly introducing myself before. I am Counselor Noela Tanmhin.” She gave her name, which was as formal as the purple robes she wore.
“There is no need to apologize, Counselor.” The Padawan stated. “I am honored to meet you.”
“But, I believe there is great need of apology, Young Jedi.” She said. “The Prime Minister told you of his message to Coruscant and the troubles on the planet?” She asked.
“He has.” Obi-wan replied, attempting to keep his voice neutral and not show the bitterness which he still felt over the deceit of the Prime Minister.
“You must know that it was not suppose to be this way.” The counselor said regretfully.
“You knew of the transmission to the Jedi Temple.” Obi-wan’s statement was not a question.
“Yes,” she said softly. “The council of MaraTa all agreed that we were in dyer need of assistance. Yet, it was not until after the call was put in that I was made aware of the lack of information which the Prime Minister gave the Jedi Council. I advised him to send a communication to them again and give them the information they needed, but it was to late. We no longer had control over the transmissions.” She bent her head down. “I am truly sorry, Jedi Kanobi.”
“I believe that you are, and I thank you.” Obi-wan replied to the regretful counselor. “However, I’m afraid your apology will not change what has happened.”
“This I know.” She said with a certain amount of confidence. “Which is why I wish to help you.”
“How so?” The Padawan asked, hoping she could tell him something which would aid him in his search for his Master.
“I was told by one of our spies that Kai-shia has ordered all to gather in the center of Tanhimm to witness her greatest triumph.” She stated.
Obi-wan’s eyes grew wide. The plans for his Master which the Prime Minister spoke of. “I must go.” He said quickly. “Will...”
“The force field will be lowered to grant you passage to enter the city.” Counselor Noela stated. Obi-wan rose to his feet and was almost out the door when the counselor called him back. “Jedi Kanobi!” she called. Obi-wan turned toward her. “I warn you know, what you will discover when you reach your destination will not be pleasant.” She said painfully. “The center of Tanhimm is where Kai-shia and her forces torture the citizens of MaraTa. You must be prepared for what you will find there.”
The visions of Qui-gon in pain surfaced again, but he pushed them down for the time. He had to concentrate on the here and now.
“Thank you Senator Noela.” Was all the Apprentice could think of to answer. He bowed and swiftly ran though the capital building, knowing that whatever he was to find in this place, he would definitely find his master.
Qui-gon was led onto the platform by three guards, two at his sides and one at his back with a blaster pointed at his head. He was weak from his injuries and the conditions he was being held in. He was hardly able to walk, much less call on the Force for help.
He was led to the middle of the platform where there was a device which bound his arms high above his head. He looked out over the crowed of people. Their faces held many different expressions. Fear, terror, and pity, pity for him.
Then Kai-shia, wearing gold and silver robes, made her way onto the platform. A silence fell over the crowed as she stood before them.
“Citizens of MaraTa!” She called out to the people. “I bid you welcome, and thanks that you have come to witness my greatest triumph.” She walked over to where Qui-gon now stood. “The Jedi,” she said. “The defenders of the Galaxy. They stand for what is just and good. They have the ability to bend the Force to their will, and use it in ways beyond our imaginations. They can never be stopped, and can never be killed.” she paused, then added. “Or can they? As this Jedi Master found out, as will all of you, they can.” She smiled at Qui-gon, who looked back at her with eyes that felt confident which he could not say he felt. Kai-shia then motioned for her guards. She moved and the guards took her place, ready.
Qui-gon braced himself, calming his mind, preparing for what was about to happen, accepting it, like a Jedi.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw a figure standing in the mists of the crowed. Although the hood of the cloak was pulled far down the face, he recognized his Padawan regardless. He did not dare look strength at his young Apprentice for fear of giving away his location to Kai-shia’s guards.
He would not have had time anyway, for that was when they started.
Obi-wan attempted to keep his head up. However, there were times when he could not bear to look and he turned away from the site of his Master’s torture.
However, even with all Qui-gon was going though at the moment, with the horrible pain that Obi-wan had to block out of his mind so he himself would not feel it, there was an amount of confidence his Master had about him. Qui-gon would not cry out. Even at times Obi-wan thought that he must, he did not make a sound. This caused the crowed sock and wonder of how someone who was feeling so much agony would not cry out in his pain.
Obi-wan had not yet learned all the tricks to the fine art of healing. But, because of the bond he held with his Master he was able to keep a steady stream of energy flowing to Qui-gon. This eased some of his Masters pain, but none of his.
How can this be happening? He asked himself over and over. This can’t be happening to his Master, but it was. And he was forced to watch! ‘I can’t just stand here and do nothing!’ he screamed in his own mind.
‘But you must, my Padawan.’ Qui-gon’s voice said through their link.
Obi-wan’s head shot up to look at his master, who’s eyes were closed tightly as if sending the few words was taking all energy he had.
His Master was correct. What would he do? The guards were everywhere. On the platform, on the roofs of the buildings, and in the crowed, some in uniform and some disgusted as citizens. If he were to attempt to save his Master he would fail miserably. Then there will be no hope left.
‘Patient, Obi-wan.’ His Masters voice came to him again.
Obi-wan clenched his eyes tightly. He kept the Force strength flowing through their bond to Qui-gon, and waited.
They finally stopped. They had hit him, burned him, cut his body, causing both the fabric on his tunic and his flesh to rip. Now there was nothing more they could do. And they so stopped, at least for the time being. There were still devices sitting untouched on the table. Qui-gon could not even begin to imagine what they did, and he didn’t want to.
The Jedi Master was weak and exhausted. He could feel the coolness of his blood trickling from open wounds. Yet, despite the pain he was in he could still feel the depth of concern from his Padawan. The strength the Obi-wan had sent him had helped him more than the boy probably realized.
The guards released his hands from their bindings and he slumped to the ground below. They took him by his arms and brought him up to his knees.
Kai-shia knelt in front of him. She brought her hand behind his head and grabbed a handful of his hair, yanking his head upright to face her.
“Your pain, my Jedi? Your fear?” She asked smiling.
However, Qui-gon’s eyes answered her question. Although his body was in pain, his spirit was strong. His eyes held no fear.
Kai-shia saw this and became unamused. “It is no matter.” She spat at him. “In time, Master Jedi.” she said. Kai-shia gestured with her hand and the guards half carried, half dragged him away.
A voice came though the darkness of Qui-gon’s mind.
‘I’m sorry, Master.’ Said Obi-wan’s pain filled voice.
‘It is no fault of yours, my Padawan.’ He replied.
‘I will not fail you, Master.’ The boy said to him.
‘I trust you Obi-wan.’ Qui-gon answered him. Saying those words to his Padawan would be his last for a time. His energy had been eaten up, he had nothing left. Now it was his turn to wait.