and the Castle Slrig Naf
Timeframe: sometime between AOTC and ROTS
Genre: Absurdist humor :D If you don't like Monty Python, you just might want to avoid this fic.
Characters: Obi-Wan, a little bit of Anakin, Yoda, and Mace, and a whole lot of nameless OCs. Oh! And Qui-Gon. :D
Summary: What seemed like a routine mission turns out to be much more than Obi-Wan ever anticipated. (cue horribly dramatic music)
Notes: An absolutely huge thank you to NiennaNarmolanya for not only being my cheerleader in this (it was at her urging that my insane idea finally became a fic), but for taking the time to beta it even when every time we turned around I was sending her new stuff. hugs the crud out of Nienna I couldn't have done it without you, make no mistake!
And to every single person on the Obi-centric board in Resource; the antics of that thread is what really helped inspire me. May it continue to be as random and as wacky as I've come to enjoy!
One last thing, I swear! This fic was born from too much Monty Python one evening (I've since shut away my DVDs to protect myself) and too much of the board mentioned above. It's sort of a Star Wars meets Castle Anthrax crossover. (I have to mention this so I don't get some irate reviewer telling me my idea is not unique…)
This, Obi-Wan decided, had to be one of the absolute worst missions he'd ever been assigned to.
He was trudging through some kind of dense forest, it was too dark to tell much other than that, and he was cold, wet, and miserable. He'd crash-landed on this awful planet a few hours ago after a nasty run-in with possibly the tightest planetary defenses he'd ever encountered, the turbolasers shooting him out of the sky before he even had a chance to blink. His ship lay scattered in pieces across the land, and by some miracle, he was still alive.
The moment he'd been certain of his landing, he'd hopped out of what little was left of his cockpit, his lips twisting briefly in annoyance. Nothing, save him and his lightsaber, had survived. His droid lay skewered in one of the trees, his supplies had been lost in the fall, but he had consoled himself with the knowledge that he was alive and his situation couldn't get much worse.
Then it had started to rain.
It wasn't anything like the rain on Coruscant, which was contrived purely for aesthetic purposes. This rain was heavy, like a pure curtain of water that bore down on him and nearly blurred everything in sight. Obi-Wan had stumbled towards the vague direction of the forest, heading blindly for the dark blur in the distance, hoping against hope that he would be granted some relief there.
The canopy did serve as sort of an umbrella, albeit not a very good one, but it was certainly better than being out in the open. Obi-Wan had intended to weather the storm at the edges of the forest, but eventually the chill and the gnawing pit of hunger in his stomach forced him to follow the muddy yet well-beaten path through the trees, part of him praying fervently that it led to civilization.
The mud was awful. It sucked at his feet with every step he took, and he thanked the Force he had boots on. He was up to his ankles in muck every time he moved, clutching his robe around his shivering form tightly, but the rain continued to leak through the branches overhead, making the ground even more difficult to walk on. He'd slipped a few times, nearly twisting his ankle when his foot caught in the mud and refused to turn.
He couldn't decide which was worse, the rain or the mud.
This is just wonderful, he thought with a particularly nasty flash of bitterness when his foot caught in the mud again. He tugged, heaving himself forward, and a loud squelching sound echoed through the silence as he worked himself free.
So not only was he cold, wet, hungry, and tired, but the ground was conspiring against him, and there was no end to the path in sight. If he ever got back to the Temple, he was going to kill Mace for this. The mission had been the Senior Jedi's idea, sending Obi-Wan to this planet in hopes of contacting a group of people with extensive data on General Grievous and Count Dooku, but Mace had neglected to mention the powerful defenses or the awful climate.
You'd think, Obi-Wan thought as he trudged around a corner, that he and the rest of the Council enjoy seeing me come back a complete wreck. Especially when you consider the number of times I've been subjected to these kinds of situations.
At least Anakin wasn't with him. The young man didn't have the knack for keeping his mouth shut when he was irritated, and any bitter complaining at this moment would've destroyed Obi-Wan's last nerve.
Relief made Obi-Wan dizzy as the path broadened suddenly, the forest thinning to reveal a great set of steps leading up off in the direction of a bright shape he tentatively identified as a fortress. It radiated warmth and light, burning through the chill that enveloped him, and he began to race up towards it, hope giving him newfound strength.
It was quite a while before he found himself before a huge set of wooden doors, huddling under the small awning that offered much-wanted protection from the storm. After a moment of searching for some sort of door chime, he began knocking, seeing no other way to alert the people inside of his presence.
He wasn't sure how long he'd been pounding on the wood, calling out occasionally and listening for a response, but it caught him completely off guard when the doors finally opened. He found himself lurching forward when they gave way and he was dumped unceremoniously on the ground, wondering why he hadn't been able to sense the approach of whoever had opened them.
"Oh dear!" came a soft, breathy voice. "Are you hurt, good traveler? We never expected visitors at this hour of the night!"
Obi-Wan blinked a little, shaking his head and pushing himself up as the doors banged shut behind him. He peered up at the owner of the voice and blinked.
She was a surprisingly tall Human female, dressed in a simple pure white gown, her long brown hair drawn back into a thick braid. Her green eyes shone with deep concern as she knelt beside him, her slender hands coming to brush against his arm.
"You must forgive me," he said, wiping at the mud and water on his face as she helped him stand. "My ship crashed out beyond the forest and I've been struggling through the storm for quite a while now. I hate to impose, but would it be possible for me to remain here until the weather dries up?"
"Of course!" the woman exclaimed, sounding stunned that he would be hesitant to ask. "We at the castle of Slrig Naf never turn away those in need of our assistance, and you, kind sir, certainly need it. I shall have a set of rooms prepared for you, as well as a change of clothes brought up. Am I correct in assuming all your supplies were lost, Sir…?"
She tilted her head slightly to one side, lifting her sculpted eyebrows gently.
"Ah, forgive me for not introducing myself," he said, dipping his head a little. "I am Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi."
He never expected the gasps his name would incite. The woman at his side leapt away as though burned.
His head jerked up, startled by the furious whispers that swirled around him, and he found that the woman was trembling, her green eyes large with something he could only describe as awe.
He frowned inwardly at that, but dipped his head again. "You must forgive me if I have ventured to a place where I am unwelcome," he said. "If you would be so kind as to direct me to another establishment, one where my presence would cause no pains to its inhabitants, I will leave at once."
"Oh, no!" the woman breathed. "You have misunderstood, dear Jedi!" She stepped forward then, her face alight with joy. "We are most honored to have you here! Please, come, and I will explain everything."
Obi-Wan couldn't help the puzzled frown that rose to his lips as she slid her arm through his, drawing him away from the door and down the wide, brightly-lit hall. He looked around as they walked, his confusion growing as he saw females of every species, though most were Human, peer at him from behind pillars, peep through windows to different rooms, and all would giggle and vanish the moment he caught them staring.
"What sort of place is this?" he asked as they entered a true main hall, with hundreds of doors and many levels. It was circular, the ceiling high above constantly shifting to look like different skies, and he could hear girlish squeals as they caught sight of him and went fleeing into the depths of the castle. "Is it some kind of boarding school?"
"No, dear Jedi," the woman said as she herded him towards a set of doors easily twice the size of the rest. He could see a few others like it and assumed they led off into various wings. "This is a haven of sorts, for women of all ages."
"A haven?" he asked as the doors began to open. "From what?"
"I shall explain," she murmured, "though it may come as a shock to you."
Obi-Wan quirked an eyebrow as he glanced back to his guide. "You'll find that little can shock me."
Her lips twitched suspiciously as she shot him an oblique glance. "I'm sure, Master Kenobi," she began, her eyes twinkling, "you'll find that nothing you've encountered will prepare you for what I'm about to impart. Before I begin, I must ask. Why did you come to our planet? It is rather remote and completely devoid of sentient life, save for this castle and another."
"It was a mission," he said, frowning at her words. "The Council received a message informing us that there were a group of people on this planet that could tell us anything we wished to know concerning the movements of General Grievous and Count Dooku."
The woman's eyes darkened slightly and she pressed her lips together for a moment.
"Is that not true?" Obi-Wan asked after a moment of silence had passed between them.
"No, it is quite true," she said with a sigh. "You see, Master Kenobi, the women in this castle are rather… ah, devoted to major figures in the galaxy. Each woman has her favorite and they band together to follow the happenings concerning that certain person. There is an entire chapter devoted to Count Dooku and his general, and I would be more than happy to give you the information you seek."
Obi-Wan smiled, pleased that his mission wouldn't turn out to be a complete waste.
"However," she began, her tone hardening, "I'm afraid that after tonight, you must be sent on your way, before your chapter has a chance to get their hands on you."
Obi-Wan stopped dead.
The woman turned to him, watching him curiously. "Your chapter, Master Kenobi. When I said each major figure had their own, surely you knew it included you as well?"
"But… but I'm…"
He was opening and closing his mouth uselessly, trying his hardest to wrap his mind around the piece of knowledge just thrown to him.
"As a matter of fact, it's one of the largest chapters we have. The girls who run it are rather harmless and sweet, but I've seen what happens when they're faced with a simple holo of you. I don't want to even think of what would happen should they find themselves with a live version," the woman was saying as she tugged him forward.
Obi-Wan gulped, chills of apprehension dancing down his spine. He cleared his throat before daring to voice the question in the forefront of his mind.
"How do they react?"
"The same way, I suppose, any normal female would, when faced with a handsome man," the woman said and Obi-Wan's brain stumbled.
"You are much too modest, Master Kenobi," the woman said with a giggle. "Even I've heard tales of your humble nature, and we all find it rather endearing. Now come. We'll stop off to get the information you require and then we'll get you to some nice, secluded quarters where you won't be bothered."
Obi-Wan could only nod mutely as she pulled him down the corridor, chattering on about when the castle was built, how large it was, what a pain the defenses had been, etcetera, etcetera.
He hadn't noticed it until then, but the Force was strangely silent in this place. He could feel it, certainly, and a quick test with one of the vases lining the hall told him he could still manipulate it, but none of the inhabitants seemed to register strongly. It was rather disconcerting to be unable to really sense the woman he could see standing right beside him, as all of his brushes with the Force were merely diverted gently.
"Erm," he ventured at last, breaking her train of sentences. "I'm not in any danger, am I?"
He thought it best to ask, seeing as he was unable to tell if a female was going to suddenly come flying down the hall.
"Oh, no, Master Kenobi," his guide replied, smiling brilliantly. "None of the women here could bring themselves to hurt you. Even those who are devoted to the more… evil ones, you might say, won't harm you, lest they bring the wrath of your chapter down on their heads."
He swallowed. "That's awfully reassuring," he murmured, and the woman seemed oblivious to his sarcasm as she stopped before a door.
"You wait here, all right? These doors lead to our main control chamber. I'm going to get the information you requested, and then we'll find out where your quarters are," she said, smiling as she opened the door. "I'll only be a moment!'
Obi-Wan shifted a little as the door shut, unable to help the pit of dread that had opened in his gut. There was a faint creak off to his left and he jumped in spite of himself, his head snapping in the direction of the sound.
Nothing, he thought, huffing at himself and shivering in his wet clothes.
"You must be Master Kenobi."
Obi-Wan swore he jumped a meter at the sound of the new voice, inwardly cursing his inability to control himself. He spun around, coming face to face with an eager-eyed Human female, who peered up at him with naked awe.
"I am," he said rather stiffly, the gleam in her gaze only making his apprehension grow.
"I thought so," she said. "You're rather dirty, but even grime can't disguise your eyes. They've got the most distinctive shade; I've heard many arguments over their true color."
"Really," he murmured, backing towards the door his guide had disappeared into. "And you are?"
"I've been sent to take you to your quarters for the night. It's taking Millie longer than expected to get the data she needs; Dooku's chapter is up in arms over the situation. They don't want to give up the information," the girl said and before he could stop her, she'd latched onto his arm.
"If it's all the same to you, I'd like to wait for her," he said, frowning when she was able to drag him down the hall. He dug his heels in, but to no avail; the girl was shockingly strong.
"Nonsense," the girl said, waving a hand as Obi-Wan tried prying her off discreetly with the Force.
His anxiety spiked; she wasn't letting go.
"You're cold, wet, and hungry, and Millie wasn't about to be a rude host and let you catch your death in our halls," the girl continued, her grip tightening, and Obi-Wan had to wonder if she'd somehow sensed his intentions. "We've got a nice set of robes waiting for you, as well as a feast prepared. You are more than welcome to bathe before you eat, as I'm sure you want to rid yourself of any lingering chill."
"That is very kind," he began, frowning as two more girls rushed forward, their gazes fixed on him hungrily.
"Master Kenobi!" one of them breathed, and to his horror, both knelt before him reverently.
"We were just informed of your arrival, so you'll forgive us if the rooms are not to your liking," the other said in hushed tones, both not even daring to glance at his boots until the girl latched to his side hit them both on the shoulders.
"Up, up!" she exclaimed, shooing them out of the way. "You are delaying us!"
"Forgive us!" they chorused, bowing repeatedly as the girl dragged Obi-Wan forward once more, heading towards the largest set of doors yet.
He gulped as they began to grind open, the loud creaking sound grating on his ears, and it took every shred of control he possessed not to run full tilt in the opposite direction. He was a Jedi, after all, and they faced their fears on a daily basis. Surely whatever was through those doors was nothing compared to the dangers he'd encountered on past missions.
The girl pulled him through the doors and Obi-Wan stopped dead at the sight that met him.
The room was gigantic, with arching, cavernous ceilings, and was lit brilliantly with thousands of candles. He could hear the faint trickle of water fountains, though he couldn't see any, as the entire area was crowded with hundreds of women.
They were all watching him, their eyes shining with an expression that exacerbated his desire to flee. He'd never seen such a predatory gleam in eyes before, yet there it was, present on each and every face that stared at him.
"Ladies of the Court of Ibonek Naw-Ibo, we have a very special guest for the night!" the girl at his side said, her voice ringing through the chamber. "Please welcome Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi!"
"Welcome, Master Kenobi!" they intoned, and a woman pushed her way from the crowd to kneel in a graceful bow.
"Master Kenobi," she breathed. "It is my pleasure to welcome you to our court."
She stood and spun before he could say anything in response, turning to face the collective of women. "Ladies, you're dismissed to your duties! Senior members of the court, you may stay!"
Obi-Wan watched silently as practically every woman in the area shot him with another, hungry gleam before they reluctantly left. Only a handful remained, and each came forward to kneel as the first woman had done.
"We have prepared a set of beds for you, and I have taken the liberty of having a bath drawn, Master Kenobi," the first woman said as the others stood. "Surely you would care to bathe before you eat?"
But Obi-Wan wasn't listening. Now that all the women were gone, he could clearly see the rest of the room, and it was utterly disturbing.
The entire room was covered with life-size holos of him doing every task imaginable and at every age as well, from his early twenties to the most recent. He caught glimpses of himself running through katas, smiling at a fellow Jedi, laughing at something funny… How in the world they'd managed to obtain some of them made him wonder, especially when he saw a few of him washing his face in the morning.
His gaze continued to drift around the room, from the holos to the large fireplace directly across from him, and when he saw the absolutely huge holo above it, he nearly fainted.
It was a moving one, as most of them were, but this must've been created by one of the women. It caught the motion of him walking, as seen from the back, and then he stopped and glanced back over his shoulder. He smiled then, and turned to face whoever he had seen; in this case, it turned out to be the viewer of the holo. The impressive thing about it was how he morphed through his various ages at a steady interval. At times he was a teenager when he smiled, others, he was his current age.
I've fallen into the very place my guide wanted to keep me out of, he thought with steadily mounting horror. Now that they've got me, I doubt they're going to let me go…
"Master Kenobi?" someone asked and he nodded distractedly, glancing over his shoulder at the doors, which were still open.
"Ah, yes, a bath would be fine," he said, finally shrugging the grip of the girl beside him. He had to get out of here, before they shut him in. He had no intention of finding out what they really had planned for him, but the moment he moved towards the doors, he heard them bang shut.
He gulped again. Trapped…
"Oh, what awful hosts we are!" someone exclaimed as he stared at the sudden obstruction to his freedom. "You're standing here, absolutely soaked! We need to get you out of those clothes before you get sick!"
And before Obi-Wan could register the words, they were upon him.
"Ladies, please!" he exclaimed, struggling against the sudden, pawing hands, and doing his best to control the panic steadily rising in his throat. "Simply show me to the bath; there is no need to remove-ouch!"
"Oh, forgive me, Master Kenobi! Your hair had several twigs knotted into it! I just couldn't allow them to remain!"
He shot a glare at the girl in question, who was on her knees, bowing and scraping.
"Heavens, look at all this mud! Who was so callous to make you trudge through our forests with no protection against the elements? Rest assured, Master Kenobi, that we will do all in our power to ensure this does not happen again!"
"I thank you," he said through clenched teeth, fighting off the hands that struggled to relieve him of his clothing. "But it is hardly necessary. I am a Jedi. These sorts of things tend to happen."
"But they happen to you a disproportionate amount of the time! I think it's high time we had a chat with your Council; we've longed to give them a piece of our minds! You've been tortured, kidnapped, been in more comas than any Jedi! Force, you even have a wing in the Healers named for you!"
Obi-Wan started at that. "How the blazes did you know?"
He received an exasperated look. "We are the Ladies of the Court of Ibonek Naw-Ibo," was the reply. "We have sworn to uphold all things Ibonek and have devoted our lives to following your adventures. We know all about you, from your off-key singing in the shower to your inability to cook a piece of toast properly."
Obi-Wan was staggered into silence, his mouth falling open, and the women pounced on his state of shock. His robe was gone in a heartbeat, along with his tunic and belt.
Force help me!
"Ladies!" he exclaimed, lurching away and clutching his pants tightly.
"Master Kenobi, we're only thinking of your well-being!" one of the women said, he couldn't tell who, as he was rapidly searching for which one held his utility belt. "Please let us remove the rest of those soaked garments so we can get you clean and dry!"
Obi-Wan found himself tackled from behind, hands grabbing at his boots.
"Stop!" he exclaimed, wriggling as they managed to get his shoes off. "Ladies, please! I am quite capable of undressing myself!"
Hands reached for his pants, and he began swatting them away. "I do not need your assistance! Leave the rest of my clothes alone!"
Several cries of pain answered him when he slapped away more hands.
"My lady, he's being stubborn! What should we do?"
"Hold him still! Go for his feet!" one of the women cried and hands flew to his shoulders, pressing him against the floor. Several more fastened around his ankles, and his eyes went wide when fingers brushed his bare soles.
Obi-Wan started laughing and struggling even more furiously when the assault on his bare feet began. Nimble fingers danced across skin, tickling the life out of his poor feet and successfully preventing him from fending off the attack on his pants.
"S-stop!" he gasped out, his back arching as he squirmed. He knew his movements were only helping them in their efforts to remove the clothing, but he couldn't stop. His feet had always been his most vulnerable place; leave it to these women to know that!
Obi-Wan cried out when he felt hands fisting around the top of his pants; he couldn't let them do this! He was a Jedi Knight, not some doll to be toyed with!
"Ladies," he struggled to say, "I'm giving you fair warning! If you do not desist this instant-"
A particularly vicious attack on his feet rendered him incapable of speech, his sides aching from the laughter, and he'd had enough. These women were not going to be reasoned with, no matter what he said.
Summoning the Force, Obi-Wan threw them all off.
Rolling upright, he barely registered the cries of shock that his actions elicited. He spied his belt and tunic lying near the door and began racing towards them. He snatched them from the ground and forced the doors open before fleeing as fast as his legs could carry him.
He threw himself out into the hall, his head whipping around in an attempt to find an exit. It was no good; he couldn't remember which way he'd come from.
"Master Kenobi, come back!"
He couldn't help the blast of fear that filled him and he picked a direction at random. Holding his pants up with one hand and clutching his recovered clothes in the other, he began barreling down the hall, oblivious to the startled gasps that followed in his panicked wake.
Calm down! Part of him was urging repeatedly. He was a Jedi, he couldn't forget that and start fearing a group of slightly deranged (well, more like utterly unbalanced) women who were determined to strip him. He'd faced worse things, right? What about that latest mission with Anakin, with the group of enraged beasts? Surely that had been terrifying, yet he'd remained relatively calm throughout the entire experience.
And what about the mission to Teala V, where he'd nearly died of food poisoning? Granted, he had been more concerned with the symptoms of his malady and hadn't had the capacity of thought to be frightened, but the point was he wasn't afraid of death.
So why did this group of women scare the living daylights out of him?
"Master Kenobi, wait!"
Force help him, they were gaining!
He ducked down a corridor at random, throwing open another set of doors and rushing inside.
Surprised gasps met him and Obi-Wan stopped dead, his eyes going wide.
He gulped as he looked around, taking in the opulence of his surroundings. The floor was covered with rich, deep green rugs and plump, oversized pillows, which countless Human women lounged upon, clad in sheer, white gowns. They all turned to stare at him and he was about to start backing out of the room when his gaze landed on the only male figure in the area. He was reclined on a large chaise, dressed in green silks, a nearby woman feeding him some sort of fruit while another massaged his feet.
Obi-Wan's jaw dropped when a familiar pair of deep blue eyes turned to look at him.
"Qui-Gon?" he squeaked, his head suddenly spinning, and watched the man blink in surprise.
"Obi-Wan? What in the world are you doing here?"
But Obi-Wan couldn't respond. The spinning had grown worse and he did the only thing he could do when faced with his current situation.