Summary: Knight Kenobi is returning to the Jedi Temple from a series of missions but ends up taking a detour in order to save a beautiful Lady whose ship has come under attack. AU.
The blackened void of space glittered with near and distant stars, one point of light becoming rapidly clearer as it neared the atmospheric boundaries of the planet of Naboo.
The small red starfighter dropped out of hyperspace, veering away from the heavier traffic surrounding the planet's orbit.
Prosperity had come to Naboo. With the discovery of blue crystallique on one of its two moons, trade had increased along with its economy and popularity, evident by the vessels bartering for business, which had positioned themselves outside of the blue and green sphere's orbit.
The Republic also had taken notice of the planet's sudden wealth and valuable resource and had petitioned Naboo's government for consideration in joining its System of Planets, but the proud King of Naboo had refused. He wished to remain independent, choosing to pursue his own avenue of trade, outside of any influences of either the Republic or the equally powerful Trade Federation.
Pride can be a downfall, but can also be a useful tool that the King of Naboo used judiciously. King Qui-Gon was a fair and just ruler who had sat on the throne of Naboo for many years. He was noble, strong, and considerate, and his people cared for him deeply.
Under his rule, Naboo thrived, albeit slowly, up until the crystallique discovery, which abruptly ushered in a new era for its simple people. However, staying true to ancient customs and tradition, Theed, the capital city, appeared as it always had, its people coming and going to and from their work places to their homes in the usual fashion. Life on Naboo remained the same, and aside from the necessary increase in military power, no obvious changes were evident.
However, there was change in the heart of the maturing ruler. Having provided for his people a comfortable and prosperous existence, as well as ensuring their safety with increased planetary security, his worries were few, and the threat of war was distant.
But in light of fulfilling his duties, Qui-Gon discovered he was lonely.
The maidens of Naboo were beautiful women, and many of his governors and officers had found happiness in establishing their lives with them, but Qui-Gon had not found favor in any of them. When he lay down to dream at night, one girl in particular stood out in his mind.
She was the daughter of his best friend, long gone now. Ruwee Naberrie had been killed in a pirate raid while traveling back from the galactic city of Coruscant many years ago, leaving behind his daughter Padmé to rule the neighboring planet of Lonessa, her mother having died following her birth. Padmé was fourteen years of age at the time, and Qui-Gon had initially worried about her abilities to rule at such a young age, but her strength of mind, early maturity, and wisdom had quickly proved him wrong, and she had become a respectable Lady of Lonessa.
She would be nineteen now, the older man pondered as he sat in front of the fire in his private suite. It would be two years before she was officially crowned as Queen of Lonessa, and Qui-Gon would have waited until that time to offer her his hand, but circumstances had prompted him to act quicker than he had intended.
With the development of the mines on the Naboo moon, and the greedy and dangerous Trade Federation now infecting their system with their ongoing efforts to establish a trade agreement, Qui-Gon knew that it would only be a matter of time before more shady characters worse than the Neimodians of the Federation would be showing their faces on Naboo, along with its neighboring planets, including Lonessa.
Even though Lonessa was an independent and much smaller planet, its value lay in its people, who were known to be artistic and philosophical. They had virtually no military presence and had never needed any. They were a peace-loving and trusting people. But Qui-Gon knew that the development of the mines on the moon that stood between Naboo and Lonessa would inevitably put Padmé and her people in harm's way and he was determined to protect her.
What better way to do so than to offer the young woman his hand in marriage, thus providing the ultimate protection for her as well as her people? A marital commitment between the two leaders would automatically bring the quaint and beautiful planet of Lonessa under the sheltering wing of the much stronger and more developed planet of Naboo.
The offer was made, and to the older man's elation, it was accepted.
She would be arriving in the morning, and he was so nervous about the visit that he couldn't sleep. He continued to sit up late into the night, staring into the crackling fire slowly devouring the logs his servant had placed there over an hour ago.
He hadn't seen her in two years. Would she look the same? Would she be happy to see him?
Many questions filled the King's mind, but one stood out from the rest. Why was she coming? Was it merely to gain security for her planet, or could she possibly love him?
Qui-Gon placed a poker into the fire and stoked the dying embers, his brow creased with concern.
She was on her way. For whatever reasons she had decided to come, he would learn to be happy with them. Knowing that a sacrificial marriage on her part would never truly please him, he hoped that she loved him. If not now, then maybe some day she would.
Because he loved her so very much. He always had and he always will.