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The Lost One: Part Two

A slit of light came to him thought the darkness. Obi-wan cautiously opened his eyes. Everything was burly for a few moments then his vision grew clearer ,with the exception of the blue and purple spots that seemed to dance in the air. His head was pounding uncontrollably, his muscles ached, but for the most part he was all right. His mind cleared enough that was able to take in the surroundings and the situation.

He was in a mid-sized, dimly lighted room. He was laying on a sleep-couch, his lightsaber, belt, and cloak were gone. His mind fuzzed in and out. Where was he? Why was he here? Then he remembered. Remembered the pain. Remembered the darkness...
His thoughts were interrupted when the door slid open and four alien creatures strode in. Obi-wan sat up, looking at the them. They were mid-height, with glossy, gleaming skin and glittering eyes. All four held blasters pointed at his chest. Guards no less. Without a word, one of the guards motioned for him to stand. He did so quickly, ignoring his throbbing head. He was already forming a plan. ‘Four guards with blasters were still no mach for a Jedi, Apprentice or not, even without a weapon.’ Obi-wan thought. The nearest guard was moving around him to cuff his hands. Obi-wan was gathering the Force around him to rip the man’s blaster right out of his hand. However before he could complete his attempt, an onslaught of pain ripped though his mind. It felt as if someone was sticking him with hundreds of hot needles. The sensation almost sent him crashing to his knees. The guards took this opportunity to quickly cuff his hands behind his back and shoved him though the door.
The walked down a long corridor for what seemed like an eternity. The pain in Obi-wan’s mind subsisted some, enough to notice that they were in what looked like an ancient tomb of some sort. As they walked, he could feel a sense of doom drawing closer to him. He looked around him, all four blasters still pointed at him. No windows, no open doors, no where to run to, and for the moment, no escape. Yet he didn’t even know what he was trying to escape from.
Finally they reached what he assumed was their destination. They halted in front of a large and decorated door. When it swung open Obi-wan staggered back. The room before him was overflowing with dark energy, doom, death, hatred, the Dark Side. Obi-wan felt fear start to bloom inside of him as the guard shoved him into the room, and slammed the door shut behind him.
The darkness was overwhelming, there was no where to run from it. He remembered a lecture from Yoda which seemed like eons ago, “Places there are which are strong with the Dark side.” The master had said. “Domains of evil they are. Strong you must be to save yourself, and others.” Obi-wan tried to calm his mind and banish the darkness. His attempted to concentrate was broken when a voice cut through the room.
“Welcome Obi-wan Kanobi. I am glad to see you awake and well.” the man’s voice said.
Obi-wan could not see. He reached out with the Force to be his eyes. There, in the middle of the room. A man, human, as tall, if not taller than Qui-gon. Under any other circumstances he would have been able to get the entire picture of the man. However with the darkness swirling about his mind. He was finding it difficult to concentrate.
“Perhaps this will help.” The man said. And instantly the room became dimly lit by candles that flickered on around the chamber.
Now Obi-wan could see him clearly. His hair was dark brown which went down past his ears. His eyes were the color of Qui-gon’s lightsaber. He wore black, which was the color Obi-wan senses from this man.
“I am sorry for any discomfort I might have caused you, young Padawan. But it was important for me to stop your use of the Force.” He said with an amused, but seemingly vicious smile. Yet at least Obi-wan was getting some mild answers. But he needed more.
“Who are you?” Obi-wan said in a demanding voice. “What is” A coldness developed around him. Obi-wan wanted to shiver, but managed to push it aside.
“Allow me to introduce myself. I am Master Jaron Nien.” He said bowing toward the apprentice. “And you are on Randon.”
“Master?” Obi-wan sounded disgusted. “Master of what?”
“Why, Master of the Force. Just not the side you are familiar with I’m afraid.” Jaron said, taking a few steps in Obi-wan’s direction.
Obi-wan believed this. He had never felt so much dark power before. He shuttered at the thought. “Why have you brought me here?” he asked.
struggling to meet Jaron’s gaze, who was only a few feet away from him now.
“Quite simple really.” He said, looking down at the Padawan. “Your coming here is somewhat of an invitation to your master.”
‘Which is a nice way of saying I’m bait.’ Obi-wan wanted to say aloud, but decided against it. This meant that his master was in danger, and he had no way of warning him. “What do you want with Master Qui-gon.” Obi-wan asked, his voice icy.
“We were friends, long ago. Yet he betrayed me. In the worse way a person could be betrayed.” Jaron’s voice was bitter, with fragments of hatred.
“I’ve heard that line before.” Obi-wan spat, remembering his Qui-gon’s former apprentice. Who had tried to turn him away from his soon to be master. “It didn’t work then and it wont work now.”
“I thought as much.” Jaron said, a smile beginning to crawl up his face. “But I do wish you to hear my side before you close your mind to me. After all, isn’t that what your master has taught you? To hear both sides first, then make a decision.”
“Take your time.” Obi-wan said with more than a hint of sarcasm. “It doesn’t look as if I’m going anywhere anytime soon.”
Jaron laughed , “Now I can see why Qui-gon chose you for his apprentice.” He said, cupping his hand around Obi-wan’s chin. “You are just as headstrong as he once was, so many years ago.”
Obi-wan jerked his face away from the man’s grip and lost his gaze, not really wanting to return it.
Jaron smiled , “They had a name for Qui-gon and I when we were children in the Jedi temple.” He began. “They called us “The brothers.” for we were as close as any blood brothers, friends till the bitter end. We were never far apart from each other. Where one of us was, you could bet the other was not far behind. Some said we even looked the same, and could only be told apart by our lightsabers.”
The man said. Obi-wan turned his head back and looked at the man, but this time the cold gaze of the man was not on him. He was looking beyond Obi-wan, looking back toward the past.
“We were taken on as Padawan learners at the same time. Even though we were unable to see each other all the time we were still friends. I had thought we always would be...but I was wrong.” The voice was filled with what Obi-wan thought was sadness and regret, Obi-wan continued listening.
“He became a Jedi Knight before I did. I remember being there to wish him well on his first solo mission as a full Jedi. Reminding him that if he needed me, if he ever needed me, I would be there to help him.”
Jaron’s said, the last of those words become harsh. “While he was on that mission I was here, on Randon with my Master. Trying to settle disputes with the near by system of Mandor, who were on the verge of attack.
“The Randonians believed that the appearance of two Jedi would be enough calm the neighboring system and allow them to reach a compromise. But they were wrong. Our coming here only enraged the Manorians further, and there was to be no compromise.
“But my master did not give up. He believe that a settlement could be made, and arranged to have a meeting with the Prime Minister of Mandor, alone, in a neutral place.” He circled his hand in the air, “In this place.” he grew quite now, but continued speaking. “As much as I advised against it my master came to this place to discuss peace, ordering me to stay and protect the Randonians. It would be the last order he would ever give me.”
He closed his eyes and slowly walked toward the center of the room. Then he turned back to Obi-wan and looked in the boys eyes.
“Even a Jedi Master can only hold off thirty well trained Mandorian guards firing at him at point blank range for so long, young Kanobi. As I’m sure Qui-gon has told you, we are not invincible.”
‘We? Meaning We Jedi?’ Obi-wan thought. ‘How could he still consider himself a Jedi when he has become everything a Jedi is not.’ He pondered this silently and listened on.
“I knew when it happened. I ran here as fast as my legs could carry me. Hoping that there was still something that I could do, but it was to late.”
He gestured to the spot where he was standing. “I found him laying here, cut down but a storm of blaster fire. My great master, who had been closer to me than even Qui-gon, was dead.”
The hurt in the man’s eyes made the Apprentice’s heart wrench. Obi-wan had never lost anyone that close to him. All of his friends had become Padawans, farmers, or healer Apprentices by now. True he did not see or talk to them as much anymore, but they were still there, they were still alive. And to lose his master. Obi-wan could not even begin to consider what would happen if Qui-gon were dead. The Jedi Master had taken him as his apprentice, although it took a bit of convincing. And even if they didn’t agree all the time, Qui-gon was still his best friend, mentor, and family. His heart went out to the pain that Jaron must have felt.
Then Obi-wan remembered that his hands were chained behind his back. He gave himself a mental shake. ‘Stop it.’ He told himself firmly. ‘This man has kidnapped you, filled you with darkness, and is using to lure your master here, no doubtedly to try and kill him. So stop feeling sorry for him and start trying to figure out a way out of this!’ His musings were interrupted by Jaron, resuming his story after a long, reflective pause.
“Never will I understand why my master trusted the Mandor. I told him not to go, I warned him of a possible trap, I told him not to trust them. But he told me that if there was to be peace there must be a certain amount of trust. I don’t know if he senesced the ambush before it happened. Perhaps he did, or perhaps he didn’t. But what I do know is that his death left a hole in me, that never healed.” He paused, then began again.
“And, adding insult to injury, the ones who did this could not be brought to justice. After my master’s death the Jedi Council and the Republic got involved. But there was no evidence to link it to the Mandarians. It seemed, coincidentally, that the speeder they were using to reach the temple from their camp in the outskirts had technical problems and never reached the destination.
“And the death of my master, why it could have been a group of smugglers who had taken refuge in the ancient temple and didn’t like an unexpected visor dropping in. There was no evidence to confirm or deny, so the courts had no choice but to drop the case.” Jaron’s brow curled, his eyes glaring. “But I needed no proof. I didn’t need a court to tell me what was and what was not. The Manorians like to use fear to manipulate. They knew that if they could show their power by killing a Jedi Master, that Randon would bow to their wishes. Perhaps they did not think that the Republic would get involved as they rarely do.”
He spat out the words.
“And they got away with such a crime. For awhile at least.”
“I begged the Jedi council to bring justice by allowing me to track down my master’s murderous. But they told me no. Their old Jedi ways thought it better to move on from the past then to make a wrong right. Yes it was a terrible tragedy that my master was gone, and he would be missed by all Jedi, they told me. But there was peace in Randon and Mandor again, perhaps because of my master. And he died nobly doing what a Jedi does, trying to bring peace.” His voice was full of disgust. Obi-wan still wasn’t seeing how his master fit into all of this. All of this was quite unfortunate, but what of Qui-gon and his “supposed” betrayal? At this thought Obi-wan got his answer.
“Because the Council denied me I went to the one other person I knew I could trust. I asked Qui-gon to help me. I wanted to avenge my masters death, and I new I couldn’t do it alone.”
Jaron returned his gaze at Obi-wan now, but it was different, as cold a night on a planet with a far way sun. It sent a shiver up Obi-wan’s spine.
“The last person in the galaxy who I thought would refuse to help me did. He agreed with the Jedi council and told me to try to move on. I don’t believe I had ever felt so alone in my life. I told him that I would bring justice to those who deserved it, and to those who refused to help me would one day suffer. At that I left the Jedi and came back to Randon.”
“I helped them settle some lingering disputes, and rebuild their planet which was almost lost.”
“But not without cost.” Obi-wan spoke up for the first time in what seemed like forever. What he said was not a question. Jaron smiled at him amused.
“Very perceptive of you, young one. Yes there was a cost. I was in no mood to do anything out of the kindness of my heart..” He told the Padawan. Obi-wan wondered if the man had any of a heart left.
“The cost of my service to them was only two things. This place,” he gestured around the large room. “I meditated here, for hours on end. Focusing on my anger and want of revenge,”
‘Dark meditation.’ Obi-wan thought silently. ‘No wonder this place is crawling with darkness.’
“Once I felt I was strong enough I left for awhile. A few days later the Prime Minister of Mandor was found dead. With no one to link to the killing.” He peered at Obi-wan, smiling evily.
“After that I stayed here, for many years. All the while becoming stronger and more powerful. Now my power is at its peek. I am ready to make the others suffer.”
“And the other part of your deal with the Randon people?” Obi-wan asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.
“A favor.” Jaron said simply. “To be called on whenever I needed it.”
“And that was for them to help you with your plan to make Qui-gon suffer. Is that it?” Obi-wan said assertively.
“Quite right. But don’t flatter your Master to much.” He said mockingly. “I plan to go against all those who refused me. The entire Jedi Council if I must. However Qui-gon is first, because his betrayal of me hurt almost as much as my master’s death.”
There seemed to be real hurt in his voice.
“Why are you telling me this?” Obi-wan asked, genuinely curious. Jaron apparently didn’t expect Obi-wan to live much past today. He had just told him that he was going to move against the Jedi Council. He wouldn’t risk Obi-wan’s being able to warn them. Or perhaps he would try to turn the Apprentice against his master and over to the Dark side, which was a fate worse than death. ‘But he’s not going to get the chance to do either.’
Obi-wan thought.
“For your own benefit.” he said, sounding truthful.
“Qui-gon cannot be trusted. I found this out the painful way. After all I had done for him, and all we had been through together. Always with the talk of being there for each other no matter what. But the one time I asked for his help he refused me. Don’t place to much trust in him Obi-wan, you are likely to regret it in the end. And be hurt by it as I was.”
Obi-wan shook his head. “There was no way Qui-gon could have done what you asked of him.”
He said, with a voice that was almost respectable...almost.
“You were asking him to go against his training, his own master, and everything that he believed and knew was right. Maybe if things were turned around you would have made the same decision. I would have, and I would stand by it. As I stand by my master.”
Jaron gave him an icy stare, yet the Jedi Apprentice caught the gaze and kept it. After moments that seemed like hours, Jaron’s look on Obi-wan softened, and he smiled.
“As I said, I thought as much. I would have stood by my master till the bitter end as well, were I given the chance.”
He walked back over to where Obi-wan was standing.
“Yes I must say I admire Qui-gon’s choice in his Padawan.” He smiled, then strode to the door.
“I must bid you farewell for now, young Kenobi. It is becoming late and I must prepare for my friends arrival.”
Obi-wan felt his jaw drop. He was going to leave him here, in this place full of darkness? Then his thoughts turned to Qui-gon. How would he warn him of the dangers that awaited him?
“Don’t strain yourself with the attempt, Padawan.” He smiled at Obi-wan’s thought. “Something tells me you will be needing your strength.”
He laughed, and as the door shut, the candles went out at once.
Obi-wan was alone, in the darkness.
He forced himself to remain calm, dispite the dread he felt. Then he saw something out of the corner of his eye. He turned quickly, but nothing was there. ‘Don’t panic.’ he told himself. ‘It wont do you any good. Stay calm!’ he focused his energies on the cuffs that bound his hands.
He managed to bend the Force enough to remove them. He rubbed his wrists, glad to have his hands free. Now he tried, with all his might, to send a warning to his master. But as before with the guards, a shot of pain went through him and he could not complete his thought.
Again he thought he saw something, a form in the darkness. His eyes grew wide.
“No!” he said aloud. “Its not true, its not real.” He said into the void. Things were crawling at him now, on his skin, in his mind. And this time, the pain would not go away, not allowing him to focus, try as he might.
It was overwhelming now. Between the pain and the darkness, he groaned and sunk to his knees. Trying desperately to remember the light, and call on it. But it was no use, and the darkness kept crawling around him.
Just outside the room, Jaron was smiling.

Part Three

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