A Fork in the Road: Chapter 1--Denial of the Force

"Master Jinn? You may enter the chambers now," Melin Nadik, a timid, young Padawan addressed the elder master standing in the reception area just outside the Council Chambers. The acting Padawan aide to the Council shifted slightly from foot to foot as the imposing Master before her continued to look out the window, seemingly having not heard her announcement. Unsure of whether or not she should repeat herself, or if she just needed to be patient, the girl fidgeted again, pulling at the sleeve of her tunic. Normally, the young aide would not hesitate to speak up again; however, the man before her seemed weary, as though some great burden rested on his shoulders. She truly wasn't sure if she should interrupt his reverie, but the Council did need to be kept on schedule. Finally, just as she was about to repeat her announcement, the venerated Master turned slowly from the window and gave a quick nod to the girl before heading towards the chambers.

Halting briefly before the grand doors of the Council chamber, Qui-Gon took a deep breath and braced himself for what he knew was going to be yet another battle with the twelve Jedi just beyond the doors. Granted, it would be nothing new: he had been branded a maverick long ago for his spats with the Council. Yet, something told the tall Jedi that this was not going to be like any argument he had ever had before. His feelings were confirmed when he finally entered the chamber.

Qui-Gon stopped just two steps inside the great doors when he noticed that instead of a full assembly, he was only facing Yoda, Mace Windu, Adi Gala, and Yaddle. Mace noticed the hesitation of his long time comrade and motioned for his friend to come and take his normal position in the center of the large domed room. As he stepped forward, Qui-Gon felt a lump form in his stomach. Something was not right. Not only was this situation unnerving to the older Jedi, but the Force itself seemed to be screaming at him about something. It was almost like his life-long ally was angry at him. It was a feeling the Jedi Master did not like at all.

"Young Obi-Wan, with you he is not?" Yoda asked suddenly, taking the tall Jedi Master completely off-guard. Why were they asking him about the boy? Wasn't he sent to Bandomeer to start a career in Agri-corps? Why would Qui-Gon have him with him here at the Temple?

"No Master, he is at the Agri-Corps academy on Bandomeer where the Council sent him." Qui-Gon stated in slight confusion, the feeling of wrongness in the Force grew stronger at his declaration.

"You did not choose him as an apprentice, despite the circumstances you both endured on the planet?" This time Mace Windu spoke up from beside the ancient master. He moved forward in his seat, his face deadly serious. At this point, the situation became clear to the Jedi Master standing in the middle of the room. He had been set up. Qui-Gon's primary reason for being sent to Bandomeer was not for a mission, but to give him one last opportunity to accept Obi-Wan Kenobi as his Padawan, something that apparently this small portion of the Jedi Council had expected to have happen.

"I have told each and every one of you many, many times that I will not be taking another Padawan ever again. Granted, the boy was of a great help on the planet. His skills are admirable and he conducted himself in a manner that would make any Jedi proud; however, he was assigned to the service corps for a reason. So, no, I did not choose the boy as my apprentice. His destiny will be fulfilled on Bandomeer." Qui-Gon scolded the assembled members.

"A fool you are, my Padawan's Padawan." Yoda reprimanded harshly as he ambled down off of his chair. Then without so much as another word, the eldest Jedi Master left the Council Room. Qui-Gon watched in shock as the doors to the chamber shut behind his Grand-Master. He then spun back around and shot a questioning look over to his long time friend, Mace.

"What is going on?" The tall master asked in confusion. Never had he heard of a council member leaving a session, even an informal one like this. An eerie silence fell over the assembled members, and for a brief moment, Qui-Gon did not think anyone would answer his inquiry.

"Master Yoda is going to retrieve his newest Padawan. We can only hope that he is not too late." Adi Gala spoke up forebodingly from beside Mace, drawing Qui-Gon's attention. It did not take the Jedi Master long to figure out that the beautiful Master was speaking of Obi-Wan. Another stretch of silence followed that cryptic proclamation, and, this time, the Jedi Master in the center of the chamber knew that he would receive no more information unless he requested it of the Council Members.

"I ask again: what is going on? It was the council itself that sent the boy away. Do you truly mean to tell me that his assignment to the Agri-Corps was nothing more than a ruse, that he is so worthy of training that Yoda himself is going to get the boy and claim him as an apprentice?" Qui-Gon demanded, his voice warring between anger and disbelief. Before anyone could answer him, he continued, somewhat surprised at how strongly he felt about what was done to both himself and Obi-Wan.

"Why were you so determined to have this boy be my Padawan that you would set something like this up? Do you realize that you are playing with the emotions of a young boy? What could possibly justify those means? That boy was absolutely heartbroken to know he would never be a Jedi. Before this conversation I questioned why Obi-Wan had not already been placed with a Master. Now that we all know the answer to that question, again I ask: why? Why crush a young boy's hopes and dreams?" The tall Jedi Master finished, true confusion coloring his every word.

"I do not believe we have to justify ourselves to you Master Jinn," Mace stated coolly, and Qui-Gon felt his ire rise again to hear his friend dress him down. "We were merely following the will of the Force on this matter, something that you are clearly denying. For someone who does not want the boy, you seem pretty concerned about his welfare. Perhaps you should look inside yourself for the answers you seek." The slightly younger Master recommended in a clipped tone, before his voice took on a more ominous timbre. "For your sake, I hope what you find truly justifies your dismissal of the boy. If you cannot justify your actions, and we are unable to recover young Obi-Wan, I am fearful that you may not be able to bear the consequences of what you have denied."

"And what have I denied, aside from the Force and an idealistic twelve year old boy?" Master Jinn asked exasperated, his patience gone with this session and the roundabout answers he was being given. However, that annoyance quickly dissolved into utter disbelief as Yaddle spoke up for the first and only time that day.

"The Chosen One."

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this first chapter! Let me know what you think. I only have myself editing these chapters, so let me know if there are any obvious mistakes. I already have other chapters finished, but I truly do not want to post if there is no interest. I accept all sorts of reviews, and constructive criticism is always appreciated. Thanks for reading!