As I stated in my bio, I'm awfully sorry about all this…but this story has no end. It never did. I'm not sure why I started it. If you want to, feel free to take the plot and distort it all you want to make your own fanfic. However, I will not say I was sorry I ever started this. It's been a good experience for me to experiment with techniques and style. So, basically, it's been fun. I thank you all very much for your kind reviews. But don't despair…someday, I may return to this, and finish what I have begun, but for now I must say adieu to Jedi Dawn and move on.
Falcona Skywolf:Five out of ten? No, not shabby at all. (grins) Thankee.
Kynstar:Well, yes, but Vader leaving Palpy like that wasn't exactly HIS decision to begin with…bah. That was part of the plot, but it wasn't enough. You'll probably get the idea from the little I've included here.
kyer:Well…well. (sheepish grin) I guess this would be the "disappoint", then, eh? Darn it all. These plot bunnies sink their teeth in deep, and then they let go when one least expects it.
knbnnate and Jedi Nifet:If I ever do come back, I promise I will pop Qui-Gon in quite a few more times.
Eowyn Skywalker:Augh. Padawan, I just know you're going to plague me about this…believe me, I'm more put out than you probably are at the moment.
hewgleymom:Thank you for your concern! I really appreciated your questions. Those two reviews were really the only things that spurred me on to struggle this last little bit out.
Anyway, this is a very short last shot, without much of an ending, although Obi-Wan's very last thought at the end is sort of applicable as my own about Jedi Dawn. Eerie, no? Seeing as I wrote it a month ago.
He was pleased it had gone so well, really. Obi-Wan didn't mind spilling part of his soul out so much as another not being able to trust him. He was starting to connect with the irascible Captain Solo, for possibly the first time. Han had never seemed particularly choleric around the others; Obi-Wan supposed he'd made an unintentionally bad first impression.
It happens to everyone,he thought, no matter how friendly you put yourself out to be. At least that bad impression's in the mending, now.
He'd had more time to himself now that Luke and Mara were out to put themselves under Master Yoda's tutelage, and had been discovering an odd sensation within him. It wasn't vertigo, nor was it some sort of infirmity; rather, like an undefined but unshakeable certainty rooted deep into his mind. He had been moving with more confidence, lately, had had more control over situations, along with increased foresight. Obi-Wan wasn't sure when it had come, and didn't know if it would last, but he would use it to his full advantage. That had been one of the main principles at the Jedi Temple; to employ one's strengths, to use them as one could to further the purpose of the Jedi.
Every movement, he found exhilarating. Every conversation, he taught and learned.
Never did it occur to him that things might perhaps be going too well.
The footsteps of the harried man were loud in the otherwise quiet, dark room. He tried to catch his elusive breath as he came to a halt at the base of the stairs, daring to go no further. "Your Highness, the Moff Council is in turmoil…what are your plans to this situation?"
"Do you imply," cut in the cold, almost lifeless voice from behind the chair at the peak of the staircase, "that I have become, as yourself, frightened of the dark and uncertain of what to do?" The chair rotated, and the Moff at the base of the stairs barely managed to keep from flinching under the cutting, noxious glare. "You contemptuous fool," Palpatine spat. "If you wish to preserve your life you will leave your betters to manage the 'situation', as you designate it, by themselves."
The Emperor imagined that the air surrounding the Moff would have reeked with pungent fear as the underling beat a hasty departure.
The fools, unable to see the grander design. A disgustingly unpleasant smile stretched across Palpatine's pallid features. They believed that the present circumstances had not been foreseen by their Emperor.
Palpatine reveled in the idea, a near-silent cackle shaking his withered throat. The Emperor was by no means a mere bystander—he was the instigator of all these things, down to the petty details! Vader had seceded—yes, Palpatine had wished it so. Kenobi had discovered but not harnessed an ancient and incredible power—that was in the design. The Emperor's eyes and ears were everywhere, but more importantly his will and power as well.
Everything was moving along as planned.
I hope this is going to work out all right. I hope Master Yoda doesn't try another one of his patience tests on her. I hope these Aing-Tii are going to stay as friendly as this one seems. I hope—
"Skywalker," came her voice. "Wake up."
Luke snapped his gaze to Mara, who was looking over her shoulder at him.
"You're falling behind," she elaborated as he quickened his pace accordingly.
Heray gave a quick glance back at them, then his crest shifted to a burnt orange and he kept moving along ahead of the pair. His opinion on the strangeness of humans was magnified—their legs were quite substantially longer than his, but it was clear to him they would never be able to match his speed when it came to a dead run. He speculated, as he trotted along before them, that the slowness was perhaps due in part to the thickness of their legs, and not affected so much by the length.
Mara had to give her grudging fascination to the architecture of the marvelous Hall. Rarely did her eyes stop wandering over the strangely beautiful compositions. She nudged Luke, pointing her chin to one of the pillars, over which were hundreds of fabulous hieroglyphs. "What do you think they say?"
He turned his head to get a bit of a longer look at it as they passed, then shrugged. "It's a mystery to me. Although I almost don't mind."
She silently agreed as they passed far beneath the twisting, winding crystal that danced without motion near the ceiling, ceaselessly converting voices into its music.
"We're taking action."
"Leia, please, it's senseless to make an abrupt move when—"
"What's senseless is to sit here until they begin moving. By then it could be far too late to get anything done right. I thought acting on instinct was something Jedi could handle."
Obi-Wan sat back and shook his head. "That's the sort of thinking that can get a person killed."
"So," she said, eyeing him, "you're telling me you act on instinct while pretending to use your brains. Is that your secret? It's not very impressive."
He couldn't hold back a wry smile. "Some Jedi I once knew would likely have made most of their decisions that way, but that's not my point. Making this sort of decision is a little more complicated."
Leia tapped a fingernail against the mug enclosed within her fingers. "All right, what are your suggestions? How am I supposed to approach this?"
He smiled, an easy expression, and leaned forward until his elbows both rested on the tabletop. "You aren't."
"We're taking more of a roundabout advance on this problem," he explained. "The main thing is to think without thinking, to anticipate without anticipating. Leave all doors open: many ahead of you, and a few behind just in case an obstacle crops up. Eventually we'll see something down one of the doors, and…" He raised his own mug and took a long draught.
"And then we begin to think," she finished as he set the drink back down. "Then what?"
"Then we do what is required of us then." He twisted his features into a faint grimace. "This caf has a terrible aftertaste."
"I have reason to believe it's almost a day old. So what you're saying is, we'll fly that canyon when we come to it."
"Precisely." He nodded. "That's no excuse for procrastination, of course. But at the moment, it's all we can do. It's what many a soldier does, especially in a war—you live from day to day, committing yourself to only the tasks that lie from waking to sleeping again. It becomes a way of life; I'm sure you're familiar with it."
Leia smiled tentatively. Of course she was familiar with it. Though political plans had often stretched to much longer-term aspirations, the duties of daily life were enough of a strain on their own.
He took a long, deep breath through his nose, letting it out likewise. "Now you see what I'm aiming for, I hope."
She clasped her hands upon the table, staring down at where her fingers intertwined. "Tell me what I should do."
Obi-Wan's eyes snapped to her face. "Do? No, we do nothing. Well," he corrected at the look she gave him, "not to the extent of simply floating around and waiting for something awful to happen. What we do is act in the hope for guidance. Stepping off the cliff, if you will, and trusting that there will be something to hold you up until you know how to keep going."
"And that," she remarked quietly, "will probably be the most difficult part of all."
"Yes," he conceded. "The most difficult. But almost never impossible. That fact must be foremost in your mind."
A sparkle flickered in her dark eyes. "I thought you said I wasn't supposed to think at all."
He raised an eyebrow, a smile tugging at one of the corners of his mouth. "Didn't Bail ever teach you anything about the connected polarities of paradoxes?"
"No. I guess I was too busy annoying him about it." Leia tried to smile, failed.
"Hm. As I recall, he was something of a paradox himself. Ruthless pacifist, humble archetype… It was difficult giving you up for hiding, but your father made it much easier."
Her eyes focused at some infinitely distant point beyond his shoulder before coming back on his face. "He was my father. I'll never have any other." Where a different person might have uttered these words with a wistful voice, her words were firm and stubbornly resolute.
She might accept the fact,he thought, but she'll never accept the idea. I don't suppose I can blame her.