// denotes mind thought or mind speech.

No beta and I am not that versed in English. Blame it on the good looking boy that sat beside me in English class.

Will try to post once or twice a week. ENJOY Ewen

Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Xanatos Crion opened the door to the little inn. They sought shelter for the night out of the downpour of rain which had already soaked through their heavy Jedi robes into their tunics.

"Maybe we have a room please. Just for one night."

"Of course. Not a good night for man or beast out there. That wind makes the rain feel like ice hitting your skin. You are in luck. We have one room left. Here just pay two credits and sign this. You be Jedi am I right?"

"Yes but we are just passing through."

"No trouble in these here parts that brings ya here?"

"No not here."

Qui-Gon never liked to divulge to much information about any mission they were on.

"Well I have a boy who will carry your things to your room."

"That won't be necessary."

"Sure it is. If you don't mind he can take your stuff upstairs and you can sit by the fire and dry off. We are just about to serve last-meal. A hot cup of tea for the boy and a pint of brew for you will do ya good."

The idea did sound good to Qui-Gon and even better to his apprentice, who thought he was starving to death.

"Kenobi come here. I can't keep up with that boy."

From one of the back rooms, a little scrawny scruff of a boy with ginger hair and blazing coral blue eyes, immerged. His clothing was no more than rags, with no shoes on his feet. Master Jinn wondered how the boy kept from freezing in this weather.

"Here take the Jedi bags up to room twelve then get back here. I need you to help serve the gentlemen."

"Yes Master."

With the words spoke Jinn froze. It seemed natural to hear the boy say "Yes Master". However it almost made Master Jinn angry to hear the little one call this grossly obese unclean man, "Master". He did not understand the feeling but heeded it no further. He turned to go to the fire hearth when he noticed the metal collar on this Kenobi boy.

"May I be so bold as to ask why is that collar on the boy?

"Oh, I should have mentioned since you two are force sensitive too. He be blessed or in his case cursed with the force. No Jedi ever came to this planet looking for one so special. That is our way of keeping him under control. Otherwise, you might say, he could literally bring the house down. He has that much power. Now with the band and a good cane though, he minds pretty well."

The innkeeper raised his hand as if he planned to backhand the boy.

"Best be on your way boy, or you'll get what you just got earlier."

Qui-Gon took that to mean the boy must have just been punished for his dallying or lack of work.

The Jedi master thought the boy's handsomely strong face features were that of the Gaelic tribes. But it was hard to see all of his face with streaks of dirt mixed with fluid that now Qui-Gon assumed just might have been tears from the flogging he received earlier.

Qui-Gon could not help but watch the boy as he served their drinks and last-meal. He was spellbound by this little waif who looked like he needed to be the one to sit down and eat. He had to be ten or fifteen pounds under weight. Jinn was spellbound by the boy. His hair seemed to sparkle as if it had glitter in it when his back was turned to the fire and the flames cast glints of highlights on the matted ginger locks that was in dire need of a cut and combing.

Qui-Gon noticed that Kenobi never looked directly in the Jedi's faces. It was evidently a servant thing to keep one's eyes down to the ground.

Master Jinn had never felt an aura of the force as what this boy could cause with a force collar on. What agitated Jinn most was that there seemed to be connection between he and Kenobi. All of the boy's force energy was being directed at him.

Qui-Gon tried to think of something else. He started to eat. The Kenobi boy left and returned with piping hot bread fresh from the oven.

//That smells delicious.//

"Oh it is sir."

The boy stopped. He was forbidden to talk to the customers. He was forbidden to speak anytime without permission. He looked to the front desk quickly to see if the inn keeper had heard him. His "master" had gone to the back to fix him a plate of food.

"Please sir I am sorry. I just agreed with your words, without thinking. I was out of line."

Xanatos looked at his master.

"Is he crazy master? You didn't say anything."

Qui-Gon knew the boy had not been looking at him when Jinn made the comment. He also deep down knew that Kenobi answered to the mental comment made by him.

"Maybe you heard the wind howling son, for I did not speak, but we don't mind if you speak to us."

Obi-Wan lowered his voice to a whisper and dared to speak again. He liked this big man.

"No, I mean I am not allowed to talk to the customers. If he finds out I spoke to you, I will be punished."

"Have no fear child we have no wish to get you in trouble. We will not mention it"

From the front desk, the Kenobi child heard a thunderous roar.

"Kenobi get your lazy behind over here and get me some coffee."

Kenobi bowed to the inn keeper's guests and dared one quick peak at the big man before him. Then he scurried off quickly to meet the demands of his cruel owner.

"Oh Master you are such softie when it comes to pathetic life forms."

" Xani, I have a feeling that if given even half a chance in this life, that boy, Kenobi would not be as pathetic as he seems……………………..."

Qui-Gon sat by the window in the silence of their room. Xani had long since gone to bed on one of the cots provided them for sleep.

Jinn studied the raindrops as they fell from the lightening lit skies. He hoped the weather would break before they had to leave first thing in the morning. He thought back on what happened downstairs between him and the boy.

//How could he have known what I was thinking. We have never met, let alone share any kind of bond. I can't, I have a training bond with Xanatos.//

Jinn shook his head in wonder. He would not question the force.

//Besides we will be on our way first thing tomorrow. I will never see the boy again.//

His comm linked buzzed and brought the master out of his thoughts.

"Well you are Padawan?"

"Why yes master why?"

"Felt it through the force you did not Master Jinn? Believe you I do not because concerned you it did. Was your master for fifteen years and not know where the force directed its power."

"Well I did have an unusual meeting with a boy here. An indentured servant that lives at the Inn we have taken shelter at. The rain is horrid out there."

"Melt you will not under the rain. Now tell me about this boy you will."

Jinn told of the boy Kenobi, his force, the collar, and lastly but most importantly the connection that was made between the two when the boy could hear his thoughts in his mind.

"Perplexing this is. Have a padawan you do. Take another you can not."

"I don't want another apprentice master. I have only conveyed to you what happened."

"Sounds like a bond forming it does. What kind or how I do not know."

"My old master you have been a Jedi for seven hundred years if you don't know then don't ask me what happened for I do not know. I don't think the boy suspects anything though and we will leave in the morning. I will never see him again."

"Easy to say it is Master Jinn. If the force for some unknown reason deems a bond formed with you and this boy then it will form. For whatever purpose I do not know. The force will avail the truth to us in time if its plan for you includes this child. Think you do you can run and hide from this."

"I have no plans to run or hide from anything Master Yoda. I plan to get up and leave to continue our journey and mission. That is all. To ask the boy to come with us was never in my mind."

"No bad it is. Boy too old to train as a Jedi he is. Tragic enough we did not find him in time.. I fear great his powers are and go to waste they will. Shame it is. Not enough masters to patrol all the planets to search for the force sensitive children. Missed out on this one we did. Never to be a Jedi his fate is."

Jinn clicked the comm link off and thought for awhile longer about the boy. To him it did seem sad that he would never get the opportunity to experience the power of the force especially when it was used for good. Jinn went back to thoughts of his mission. He reasoned there was nothing he could do for the boy.

//It's best to leave him without the knowledge of his great Jedi potential, than to tell him what he missed out on in life. //

That was how Jinn felt about any potential Jedi that missed their calling. He thought is was not only a duty but an honor to serve the force and that anyone who missed their calling indeed missed out on the most important thing in their life.

Qui-Gon turned in for the night but still his thoughts would go back to the pathetic little boy with so much potential. His destiny seemed to be little more than an indentured slave handed from one owner to another because of no training to hold a job.

The next morning brought with it clear and sunny skies. Their clothes dried, the Jedi went downstairs to the smell of fresh meats and hot biscuits just coming out of the oven.

"You must give your wife our compliments. The food last night was delicious. And now the aroma coming from you kitchen is even more tantalizing."

"Well break-fast is included in your night's stay. Have your meal with us before you leave."

The innkeeper liked the compliment to his wife and he truly liked these Jedi. They were the most important people to have stayed at his little rundown inn. He would have something to talk about for some time.

Jinn was at first reluctant to stay. Xanatos convinced him they needed a hot meal for their long journey's walk. Qui-Gon hoped the child, Kenobi was out feeding the stock or in the garden. He did not want to see him that morning. But he gave into Xanatos' whining for a hot meal. If they didn't eat there, they would have dry bread and a piece of stale cheese on the road.

Jinn thought they had succeeded in not seeing the lad. They had just got up to leave when from the back door, the boy came in. Qui-Gon noticed his face immediately. He was freshly washed and his hair in place as best as it could be for probably not having a comb or brush. Jinn threw in a breath and held it as their eyes met. The boy had a very large bruise on his face and a black eye just starting to show its discoloration.

Jinn walked over, took the boy by the chin, and tilted the his face so he could see it.

"Did you fall?"

Qui-Gon knew very well he did not.

Just then the innkeeper came in when he heard the question.

"Oh that. He is a clumsy boy. Aren't you Obi-Wan."

It was the first time Qui-Gon had heard the slave's full name.In his thoughts he had always referred to him as "Kenobi".

//Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Why does that name almost seem soothing to my ears, like I have heard it before, but in truth I have not.//

The innkeeper nudged Obi-Wan very hard in the ribs to get an answer out of him.

"Yes sir I am very clumsy. I.. I stumbled out back when I went to feed the horses and I fell."

There, the Inn keeper was satisfied with Obi-Wan's lie to the Jedi and he hoped they were too. He did not need trouble with authorities with accusation of abuse on the boy.

"Yes, I suppose a fall on the cobblestones out there would create such an injury. Tell your wife thank you for the wonderful break-fast. It will make our travel tolerable."

Jinn knew in his mind and heart that the boy lied. He knew it just as strongly had it been Xanatos with their training bond and had tried to lie his way out of trouble.

//How can this link be, with no encouragement whatsoever.//

"Master Jinn did you hear me?"

Jinn had been in such deep thought he didn't know what the inn keeper had said.

"Excuse me, what?"

"How far do you have to go today?"

"About fifteen miles by foot I'm afraid. We are to check on the hill people. See that things go well with them."

Normally Jinn never told anyone what he was doing. He didn't know why he did it now."

"Well be careful up there. I have heard of some fights between the two factions up in the mountains. If you come back this way stop and spend the night. It's not like we won't be here."

The oily man nauseated Jinn. He knew he had harmed this little boy and did not care for it. It was not his job to intercede though. The Jedi never interfered in anything unless they were asked too. Had there not been such an eerie link between he and the little slave, he might have questioned the injury or at least lectured on innkeeper on using such strong arm tactics to control Obi-Wan. However, he wanted no more dealings with the strange force user. He did not make an attempt to defend he slave before him.

"If we come back this way we will certainly stop in for a visit."

Master Jinn meant what he said. In fact, he knew in his mind and most importantly in his heart that he would find a way to come back after their mission and check on this little boy, even though he could not bring himself to say anything now.

This connection was too new, too strange to deal with until after his mission. He did not know if the force demanded his intrusion, but he knew without a doubt, his conscience did……………………………

PEACE ewen