So, I thought I'd go ahead and post a preview for my upcoming story 'Prophecy: Beyond Good & Evil' if anyone out there is interested.
It's pretty lengthy, so it will probably still be a little while before it's finished. However, I do have most of the plot thought out already. Since I'm such a flake and I have a history of not following through with my fics, I've altered my writing process a bit to give it more structure; therefore, I'll have more motivation to get it done. As many of you probably know (assuming you write as well, and don't just read), the blank page can be an intimidating thing…
PROPHECY: BEYOND GOOD & EVIL
Genre: Adventure/Romance (AU)
Rating: T, M
Synopsis: After learning the truth about the Tusken massacre on Tatooine, the Council had no choice but to expel Anakin Skywalker from the Jedi Order. Years later, following the Jedi purge and the demise of the Old Republic, an exiled Skywalker may be the galaxy's last hope for salvation…
MOS ESPA, Watto's Shop
Padmé led the way toward the small, modest shop while Obi–Wan cautiously followed in tow. Luckily, the commuter transport that they had caught from Mos Eisley hadn't taken too long to reach their destination. Padmé, for one, had felt a great sense of relief the instant they had put the dreadful spaceport behind them. The short time that she had spent rubbing elbows with its roving cutthroats and wanted felons had been more than enough to last two lifetimes.
But now, as she drew closer to the familiar secondhand shop and past memories began to flood her mind, she found herself grappling with several conflicting emotions. In a way, she almost would have preferred to return to the vile cantina and face its limitless horde of conniving scoundrels over fighting a battle that she knew she couldn't win; for it was a battle against an adversary that wasn't of flesh and blood, but her own inner turmoil. This place evoked an overwhelming nostalgia and melancholy sentimentality in her, but above all else it represented a time of not so distant tragedy, loss and pain. It was in this very shop that she had first met a kindhearted little boy with dirty–blonde hair and shimmering, blue eyes. But it was also in this shop that the boys' life had been forever changed, and possibly even destroyed.
Doing her best to clear her racing thoughts, Padmé stepped through the threshold and was immediately greeted by the shrewd, unscrupulous proprietor of the simple shop.
"Welcome, welcome!" the gruff Toydarian bellowed as he eagerly flapped his wings and hovered across the room in her direction. "What can I do for you? What will it be today, huh?"
"That depends…" Obi–Wan answered, entering unnoticed until he spoke up from his place just inside the doorway and made his presence known.
The craggy–toothed merchant intently studied the Jedi Master for a moment before turning back to Padmé and skeptically looking her up and down. "You have a familiar look about you, eh? If you're here to get your money back, you can forget it! All transactions are final – no refunds!"
"We're not here for money," Padmé stated in a calm, even tone.
"No?" the Toydarian questioned, still not entirely convinced. "Then what do you want?"
"What do you have in terms of transportation?" Obi–Wan asked with a faint smirk of amusement. "We need something inexpensive and low–maintenance, but dependable enough to take us where we need to go and back. Does that sound like anything you might have?"
"You want a lot out of your investment, my friend," the scruffy Toydarian cackled; his initial suspicion somewhat abating, but not completely. "I think maybe we can help each other, huh? The name's Watto. And you are?"
"Ben Kenobi," Obi–Wan introduced himself while respectfully inclining his head. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Watto."
"Yes, well… why don't we go out back and take a look around, eh?" Watto replied as he whirled about in the air and drifted toward the shops' rear exit. "It's your lucky day, me thinks. I have just the thing you need!"
Exchanging uncertain glances, Padmé and Obi–Wan tentatively followed suit and vacated the shop. Once outside, they found themselves standing amidst a treasure trove of discarded machinery and spare parts. The accumulated wealth of assorted odds and ends was exactly as Padmé had remembered it. Remarkably, not much had changed over the years. Walking through the cluttered junkyard, she could still picture the small, generous boy who had so selflessly elected to risk his own safety and endanger his life in order to help a desperate trio of stranded visitors. She had returned with the boy a decade later, only to learn that his enslaved mother had been sold and freed by another. No longer a slave himself, but a young Jedi padawan, he had soon after discovered her unspeakable fate… and sought retribution.
"Aah, here it is!" Watto boasted, proudly sweeping his arms across the surface of an old, run down landspeeder as if he were putting it up on display. "It doesn't look like much, but it'll do the trick. So, whad'da ya say? Do we have a deal, or not?"
Obi–Wan thoughtfully stroked his chin as he circled and painstakingly inspected the poorly maintained vehicle. "How much?"
"Hmmm…" the Toydarian murmured, tapping a single bluish–gray finger against his knee while he mulled over and weighed his options. At last, he gave his response. "I tell you what, eh? Why don't you give me a number, and I'll tell you if I find it acceptable. And I suggest you make it a nice, round number. This speeder is one of a kind, you know?"
"Yes, we can see that," Obi–Wan wryly commented. "Unfortunately, I'm afraid that we don't have any form of payment other than Republic credits. But if you would be so–"
"You outlanders are all the same!" Watto scoffed, shaking his head in exasperation as he waved a dismissive hand and started back toward his shop. "Find something worth trading, then we can talk. Until then, why don't you go and waste somebody else's time?"
"Wait!" Padmé called out, reaching into her cloak and retrieving a long, silver cylinder. Just as she had anticipated, the metallic object piqued the merchants' interest and halted him midair. "We do have these to bargain with…"
Sliding the cylinder cap open, she dumped a handful of precious stones and sparkling jewels into her outstretched palm; having obtained the hodgepodge of exquisite gems from her native Naboo before embarking on her journey to Tatooine. She had learned during her first trip to the desert planet, along with Master Qui–Gon Jinn, that the ways of the Republic held little sway over its locals and their dealings. With this knowledge in mind, she had come fully prepared to encounter the same problems and difficulties as before without having to rely solely on Obi–Wan's Jedi mind tricks. And judging by the captivated expression on the Toydarians' face, her foresight had paid off; much to her relief, for she knew that he himself was immune to such tactics.
"Weeeeell, how 'bout that!" Watto was all but drooling as he zealously flapped his wings and hovered back over to his two customers.
Padmé slightly withdrew her hand once he returned. "I'm sure this will suffice?"
"Eeh…" Watto trailed off, his transfixed gaze never straying from the jewels. "On second thought, maybe we can work something out, huh?"
To Be Continued…