Title: Reliving Shattered Dreams
Disclaimers: Owning Star Wars would make me incredibly rich and powerful, it would also mean I am now a man with a beard who always wears flannels. I guess it's a good thing I don't own it after all. Beards can be very itchy (so my hubby says.)
Summary: This is the sequel to Forsaken and Begotten, a story I wrote from 2002-2004, in which Obi-Wan was taken by Togorian Pirates on his way to Bandomeer. Five years later, Obi-Wan returns to civilization where he has faced a Republic trial for his time with the Pirates. This follows shortly after that one ends. So I do suggest you read Forsaken and Begotten first.
Author's note: I can't really believe it's been five long years since I finished Forsaken. I never meant it to go this long. However, there was much going on in my life and I had little inspiration to continue my epic. Although I will admit it nagged me often to complete my story. And every time I felt the desire to write something would pop up and stop me before I could really get going. It was a struggle and I felt at a loss on how to continue. At the beginning of this year, I vowed to begin posting this story by year's end. I was tired of it floating around in my head and wanted it out. I just didn't know how I was going to do it.
Then from February to April, two important things happened in my life. First, I lost my job. And second I took a class that helped me rearrange my thoughts and goals into a positive and more productive process. And suddenly, my muse returned and I found the words flowing out of me. I have managed to draft a number of chapters, so I am hoping that I will be able to post with minimal interruptions. At this point I am planning to post twice a month on the 15th and the 28th. Wish me luck on keeping to that schedule!
Lastly, I wanted to thank everyone who has reviewed, added me as favourite author, my stories as favourite stories, to C2s, and alerts. The constant reminders that my work has made people happy has meant a great deal to me. And I thank you all very much!! I also wanted to thank you for your patience! Five years is a long time to be waiting on a cliffie. And for that I am sorry! Please accept this long first chapter as a way of apology. Enjoy it! And as always, please review, I love hearing from you!! – Ari :D
- SW – SW – SW -
Chapter 1: Nightmare into Nightmare
For the light of day that
Cannot still the trembling of your heart
And the black of night that
Does not bring a blanket of comfort
Forever shall the nightmares consume you
Obi-Wan had been there for almost a week and the bruises were no longer visible. It wasn't exactly his fault, although he should have had better control – at least he would have if not for the infernal collar. It was then that he noticed that his hand lingered on the smooth metal that still wrapped his neck. It was an unconscious habit that he only recently became aware of when lost in thought.
At first he hoped that with good behaviour he might convince them to remove it. Regrettably, he supposed his initial entrance did not offer a good enough impression of him. Not that he believed they would have removed the collar anyway. Sometimes, it is that little glimmer of hope that sees one through the darkness.
It was heading into after midday now and he had managed to remain reclusive amongst his fellow inmates even during mid-meal. After everything that had happened recently, he needed time to think and recover. While the Sensory Deprivation Cell did give him solitude, it took everything he had in him not to go insane. With the collar on he just didn't have the full resources he needed to deal with the situation adequately. It had only been a few days since then and he had finally been allowed to rejoin the regular populace - once the Facility Healer cleared him. However, it appeared as though his luck had run out. He felt a sharp jab in his leg.
"Get up, Jedi-boy." The former pirate ignored the dull throb from where the other boy kicked him. Obi-Wan continued to stare off at the small garden fountain. He was perched on a very low partition that sectioned off this area from the rest of the extensive room. This was the closest place in the R&R room that he could find that barely resembled anything close to the Fountain room in the Temple or even the lake by his home on Togoria.
"Come on, Jedi-boy. Get up," the tall boy sneered.
Long ginger bangs hid his lackluster gaze as the corsair sighed. He was hoping to avoid this kind of confrontation, but he should have known it wouldn't be possible. Obi-Wan already heard about this young leader and his little brood at mid-meal. A few of the other 'residents' were talking about their experiences with Kwok's gang and warned everyone around them that was new to Ashua, including Obi. And if he was any judge, he knew that such repetitive banter meant that there was some validity in their comments.
Each one of the group had been in and out of a number of correctional detention centers and were finally placed here in Ashua. That was over a month ago and soon Kwok gathered some followers and became the top dog here. The young man was tall with tanned leathery skin and dirty blonde hair. His eyes as yellow as the sandy planet he was from. All scowls and scars his features were. For many he was a rather imposing figure, which he used to his advantage. Frankly, Obi-Wan wasn't impressed as he had met far worse individuals in his travels. Having nothing else better to do and needing to expend their pent up aggression, Kwok's little gang would terrorize anyone it could.
Unfortunately, Obi-Wan now found himself the object of such attention. Attention he was making an effort to avoid. "What's wrong Jedi-boy? Too good fer us poc'sers*? Think yer better than us?" The kid kicked him in the thigh again, much harder this time. Obi-Wan knew he would have to respond or he was going to have to add more bruises to his recently healed body. Another aspect he was seeking to avoid.
Not very interested in the real purpose behind their visit, Obi-Wan felt compelled to correct one thing. "I'm not a Jedi," he said simply. It was amazing how quickly and easily one little thing could get on one's nerves. Moreover, how fast someone could poke at a sore topic, an old wound still bleeding and festering, without even knowing enough to be deemed dangerous. And yet, Kwok did so immediately.
"Don't give me that kron. We heard all about you, Jedi-boy."
"I'm not a Jedi." Obi-Wan answered again, his tone lower and colder than before. The constant jab was just like pouring salt on a fresh wound. With each mention his weary countenance tensed further, slowly stretching his patience thin. Why can't they just leave me alone?
A deeper insidious chuckle echoed in his inner ear and he stiffened immediately. Punishment. Repayment. That foul baritone hissed. For an instant he wanted to bolt, get as far away as he could from the voice, but he found his path blocked.
"Fine, Jedi-boy," taking his silence for something else, Kwok changed tactics, "if that's the way ya want to be, how 'bout I just call you filthy pirate?"
Glaring up at his antagonist, Obi said, "I don't care what you call me, just leave me alone."
Alone? Is that really what you want? His instinctual need to run and fight and break free increased exponentially. His whole body turned from weary teen to taut and deadly muscle. If he didn't escape soon, he feared what would happen.
Unfortunately, Kwok had no idea what he was getting himself into or the turmoil in his seemingly weak opponent. Taking a step forward he invaded Obi-Wan's space. "And why would I want to do that?"
Dropping his head ever so slightly he allowed russet strands to hide his gaze. Cultured tones became an icy growl. "Because it would be better for all of us if you did."
"Who says?" The lanky teen questioned. Kwok was getting exactly what he wanted out of his prey. The delinquent youth enjoyed taking people from their pedestals and showing them who was really boss in the playground. He just had no concept of what he was really unleashing. Mockingly, Kwok added as he glanced quickly at his posse, "Besides, I'm just here to welcome you to Ashua. I'm just trying to be friendly."
Don't listen to him. You know what he really wants.
Obi-Wan glanced hard at the blonde through copper bangs. "I doubt that."
The boy laughed and his followers echoed the sound. "Come now, if you get caught fighting, you get sent to SD. From what I heard you only just got out. I don't think you'd want to go back so soon now would you?"
The rational part of Obi-Wan's mind knew his rival's plan. The blonde intimidates by his appearance. If that isn't enough to make one quake in their boots, the number of ugly characters behind him would normally suffice. On the rare occasion that didn't work, subtle to outright threats would be used. And lastly physical force. All this for the simple purpose of proving who was king of the hill.
Such petty needs didn't interest Obi-Wan any more. Once, long ago he had met that kind of mentality head on during his bouts with Bruck. But all that got him was a life of regrets and pain. No. He didn't want to fall into those paltry traps anymore. He needed to concern himself about other things. Not these cowards.
Cowards. Yes. Show them what fear is. Show them what power is. You know you can do it.
No! I won't. You don't own me any more.
Are you so sure, Bauudi? If you truly believed that, then why am I still here? Why do I still haunt you?
The collar… he argued weakly.
Liar! I was always here. Always in your mind. You just managed to lock me away for a while. The collar just gave me the means of breaking free of the prison you put me in. Now I'm free. Free to rule you once again!
No! Please. Just stop. stop.
You can't stop me now any more than you could in that room. All you had was me. I own you!
"No! Leave me alone!" He shouted as he sprang up from the bump of a wall. His only desire was to run. Suddenly, there were hands on his chest pushing him back, denying him his only wish.
"Who says you can go?" Kwok demanded, enjoying the fact he had finally managed to rile his prey.
Obi-Wan just knocked the boy's hands away from him. "I'm leaving," he announced in a voice that brooked no room for argument. Stepping aside, he only managed two steps when more hands hindered his departure. They weren't there long as battle instincts kicked in and he soon heard cries and shouts of pain around him. Within moments he had half the group lying on the ground grabbing at broken and twisted limbs. He was about to leave when he heard someone shout behind him.
"Stop, Jedi-boy and face me!" Obi-Wan paused only slightly before continuing. "Don't think yer getting' away with this!" With an angered cry, Kwok lunged for his prey and rammed into Obi-Wan's side, crashing them both to the ground.
Obi-Wan struggled against the weight above him. Throwing an elbow back he heard the satisfying sound of a gasp and the weight fall off. He managed to twist around and get to his knees by the time his opponent recovered. Once again the firm figure of Kwok collided with him. Arms and legs battled for domination.
That's it, fight for me.
"No!" He ground out between gulps of air. "Not again."
Always! Forever, you will do my bidding. Mine, Bauudi, mine!
A shout of frustration rang out around them. A beacon for others to follow. Soon a gathering of delinquents built the walls for an arena. The crowd goading on two combatants - fighting for supremacy. Some hoping the underdog could usurp their tormentor. Others encouraging their leader to victory. Kwok had renewed vigor to win now. Diving back into the fight, he swung at his prey.
Lost in his own struggle, Obi-Wan had higher stakes than pride to deal with. His frail sanity was on the verge of collapse. His body only mirrored the desperation of his mind. No, I can't. I'm a Jedi. He thought frantically.
Were. You were a Jedi. Now you're mine. My bauudi.
And if you want to live, you'll do what I want. Now fight. Fight or you will face a punishment worse than death.
no, he begged. He could feel the tears stinging his eyes. If only he could find a way to escape.
Meanwhile, beyond the trappings of his mind he struggled with his current nemesis. As he fought all he could see was sandy blonde hair swaying in his face, feel the ground beneath him, and the onlookers cheering them on. The shouts and screams echoed in his ears, merging with memory. Taking him to a time where the Beast lived outside his mind. A time when he was a slip of a boy caught in a dark and dangerous world clinging to the hope of life. Forced into a status that was even below slavery.
With a surge of energy he pushed the weight off him once again then rolled to the side. A different time, a different place. Collecting himself, he stared at the image of a boy not much older than himself with sandy blonde hair. The gaunt lanky figure bore scars of previous battles. He wondered if he would end up looking the same.
His thoughts were disrupted as the boy charged him. He easily sidestepped out of the way and the boy ran past him. The thrum of the crowd rose momentarily. The frustrated boy swung around and charged again. He shouted as he ran, "Fight me, damn it!"
"I won't. I can't." He said evading the second charge. But the boy anticipated his move and spun with a vicious kick to the chest. Young Obi-Wan fell back with a huff. His opponent automatically pounced on the downed figure and began swinging.
"Fight. If you don't fight, we both get punished. So Fight, damn it! Ahhh!!!" The other boy screamed as he locked both hands above his head preparing to hammer the figure beneath him.
Obi-Wan saw the blow and immediately shifted his weight, throwing his captor off him. But the boy was undeterred. He rolled and sprung back to his feet. Lunge, duck, swing, dodge – they fought. Neither gaining nor losing ground. His opponent lacked training but garnered enough experience to be a worthy foe. Whereas, Obi-Wan had training but had little experience, still he knew that if he truly wanted he could end this fight quickly. He fought defensively not wanting to hurt this boy. His rival was probably thrust into this life just like he was. If he could only figure a way out for both of them.
Suddenly, there was a jolt of fire that ripped through his body. He crashed to the ground trying to overcome the pain. After he took a number of deep gulping breaths he peeked out through a squinted gaze and saw the other boy lying in a similar position. Apparently they both received the jolt. An unfamiliar and cold voice echoed over the room. "This is your only warning. We are paying for a fight. Now you will fight or face punishment and death."
Slowly, the pair recovered, getting up on their feet again. Two tired gazes locked, each one trying to determine their next move when a buzzer sounded. Glancing around, they sought out the source. Finally, they found it. Off to one side a small whole opened up and a long thin pole rose up. Both stared at it curiously until it finally dawned on them what it was – a weapon. A mad dash was made to procure the pike.
The other boy, having been a little closer and faster, grabbed it and immediately spun around to attack Obi-Wan. The former initiate managed to duck and miss it by a hair's breath. Tucking into a ball, the would-be-Jedi rolled behind the boy and kicked out. The unexpected retaliation did the trick and the boy found himself flat on his back. The cheers from the crowd swelled. Loose once more the pike rolled away. Automatically, Obi-Wan scrambled over and grabbed it. Arms wrapped around his waist and pulled him back down. The scuffle lasted moments only.
Separating, the pair stood staring at each other. Obi-Wan tightened and relaxed his grip on the smooth pole. Now that he had the weapon he didn't want to continue the fight. All during his training, they emphasized disarming the opponent and then opening up negotiations. But what is there to negotiate now? This isn't a land dispute or trade rights or anything. The boy he was pitted against didn't have a grievance with him per se, maybe against his owner or whoever forced him into this life but that's it. This wasn't even like his bouts with Bruck or for bragging rights. They had been put here specifically to fight to the death for the enjoyment of others.
His thoughts were interrupted by a cry from the boy as he charged him, crashing them back to the ground. However, this time while they struggled, the boy hissed in his ear, "I will not be punished for you. If you don't fight I will kill you now." And the intensity of his punches and jabs strengthened.
But Obi-Wan didn't want to die. Not yet. There was still a chance he could go home. All he had to do was figure out a way to escape. If he got in touch with the Council they might send someone to get him. Facing only two options – fight or die – he finally gave himself fully to the former. It was the show the crowd had been waiting for. He pushed the boy off and got to his feet. Another buzzer sounded and this time a vibrowhip came out. The lanky boy snatched it up and smiled. Unfurling it, he lashed out with confidence. Obi could tell immediately that the boy knew how to wield this particular device.
After that their movements were fast and deliberate. Victory their goal. As the whip flew threw the air, the staff spun. Deflecting each other's blows, the fight turned into an intricate dance. A prelude to death. Beauty within a gruesome tango. Gradually the enthusiasm built to crescendo.
Until at last both combatants tired. The boy's movements were clumsy now, leaving openings more often. The crowd was calling for an end. To finish this contest and give them blood.
And as simple as that, the fight ended – at least for Obi-Wan. Exhausted and wanting an end himself, the blonde boy struck out with his whip, wrapping it around the middle of Obi-Wan's pike. Easily Obi-Wan yanked and knocked him off his feet. The boy went down with a grunt and lay there. Following through with the motion, Obi-Wan spun and stopped with the tip of his staff millimeters from the other boy's neck. Standing there, the former Jedi waited for the match to be called. To his dismay nothing happened. The crowd called for death and no one was curbing such desire. The boy had managed to roll onto his back now, brown and gold stripe eyes begged for something that Obi-Wan could not fathom. Taking in a shaky breath, the scared and lanky boy pleaded, "Finish me now. Do it!"
"I can't." Young Obi-Wan could not believe what he was hearing. There was fear in the other boy's eyes and a tremor in his voice. Still he could not fully comprehend it all. His Jedi-trained mind could only see a child like himself pleading for death. It was wrong, so incredibly wrong.
Yet not long ago he would not have lamented joining the Force - if not for Tuuvu. The Togorian had genuinely cared for Obi-Wan helping to revive him enough to endure Drrov's demonic demeanor. The First mate had shown him that even the smallest glimmer of hope is enough to keep the spirit alive. And that was why he was here now. Not that he wanted to fight but because there is the hope of escape, the hope of finding a way out of this and going home. The hope that somehow he could still be a Jedi despite everything that has happened. And right now, the hope that both of them could get out of this alive.
The boy's begging broke his thoughts, "Please, kill me."
"I can't!" He said as he threw away his weapon and sank to his knees. The adrenaline draining away along with the last of his strength. The thought of ending another's life terrified him.
At last, the overseer of these fights spoke. "The terms of this match have been set. It is not over until one of you is dead."
The blonde boy desperately reached out and grabbed at Obi-Wan. "Kill me. You must kill me. Do it now. Quickly, before it's too late."
Shaking his head, he turned up to the voice. "I will not take another's life. He has fought for your enjoyment."
"What are you doing? You're going to get us punished!"
But Obi-Wan ignored his protests. "He has been a worthy opponent, giving you your money's worth."
"Stop it! They don't care about that. All they want is blood, so give it to them!"
"He should be allowed to live."
"No. I can't live like this anymore. Kill me!"
"Please, show mercy." Obi-Wan stared up, scanning the crowd for any indication that his plea may be answered. Even the boy clutching at him stopped unsure of what was to come.
There was a pause. The crowd was silent as it also awaited the decision. Seconds seemed like hours to the two weary fighters, but that was all that passed by the time the overseer spoke again. "One must die." Doors on the side of the arena opened. The lanky boy cowered back, panic written across his face. "Since neither is willing to finish, both will be punished with the inferior's death following."
Obi-Wan was shaking his head unbelieving that they would kill a child. His gaze dropped to the blonde boy, whose face had suddenly transformed from terrified to enraged hate. And it was all directed at him. He fell back under such loathing.
"Damn you!" The boy shouted. "Why couldn't you have just killed me?" A string of words followed that Obi-Wan couldn't understand, yet the meaning of which was all too clear. A curse filled with every ounce of hatred the boy could muster.
Desperately, Obi-Wan wanted to beg forgiveness. He never wanted this to happen. But he never got the chance. Pain erupted throughout his entire body. Time lost all meaning in such agony and everything seemed to happen in a blur. The only clear memories he had were the tears running down his face and the echo of tormented screams in his ears. And eventually, the blonde boy's last gurgling sound before death finally – thankfully – claimed and freed him.
Regret would haunt the former initiate for years to come. So many regrets, the disheartening decisions that led him down this path of pain. But the one that would stick out most for some time to come, was the fact that he never knew the boy's name.
Why does that matter? He was no one. His constant tormentor laughed.
It matters to me! He has a right to be remembered. He was someone's child once. Just like I was. It wasn't fair that his life ended so horribly.
A meaningless life.
It was not meaningless.
How would you know? You knew nothing about him.
That's irrelevant. No life is ever meaningless. The Force guides us all.
Another insidious chuckle filled his ears. If that is so, then that means that your Force gave you to me. Wanted me to torture you. The Force wanted your pain!
No! That's not true!
Yes, it is. It wanted your Jedi to abandon you. It put you on that ship for me to take you and make you mine. It handed you over to me for me to do with you what I please. It knew who I was and yet your Force gave you over easily. It wanted you punished.
No! Please, Force, don't let it be true!
Your Pain. Your anguish. Your tears. Your Screams!
Desperately, he tried to shut out the voice. His mind a twisted jumble of confused thoughts and emotions. Part of him wanted to deny it all. Everything in his upbringing spoke of a Force that was good and kind. But the doubts in his mind argued asking for a better explanation for all that he had suffered. And the worst part was that he couldn't find one. He shouted out his frustrations, which only seemed to incite the voice.
Yes, my Bauudi. Yes, that's it, scream. Give it what it wants. Not enough. No, it needs more. More!
Pain! So much pain. His body was on fire. His mind just as agonized by images of suffering flickering across the vast landscape. Every doubt and fear given life. Every nerve bursting with agony. An overload of senses with darkness skirting its edges. Escape came just in time. When he thought that he could take no more, the blackness of oblivion came crashing down around him.
It was a slow and arduous journey back from the abyss. Senses numb from pain, gradually began to feel again. His body felt heavy and unwilling to respond to his commands. The leaden weight was cushioned by the soft mattress beneath him. A fact he thought odd but couldn't quite figure out why. His thoughts as languid as his body. His finger twitched and he felt the gentle material beneath him. It was silky soft, like something out of a dream or memory. He took a deep breath. A mixture of fragrance brought him closer to the surface. He knew if he broke down each smell he could name it. They were all familiar to him even though he had not experienced them for a long time.
The dark void in his mind slowly gave way to the light that surrounded him. From deep black to grey haze beneath tired eyelids. He knew that if he opened them he would regret it. Instead of giving in to curiosity, he decided he should stretch out with his senses first. He focused his mind and drew the Force to him. He was alone in a small room. There were people near by, Force sensitive people. But they were not familiar to him. They were not Togorian.
It hit him then. Memory came flooding back. The last thing he remembered was being put in the SD cell in Ashua Correction Facility. He was put there because he had fought with Kwok, almost killing the gang leader. This was not SD. There was light around him. But more than that he could feel, he could smell and touch. Even more incredible was the fact he could reach out and touch the Force, call it too him and embrace it. How could this be?
Instinctually, his hand shot up to touch his neck. He was surprised when his fingers caressed pliant skin. No metal. No collar! The smells that now permeated his nose, a mix of medications and bacta. There was also a hint of flowers, the same mix of flowers in a garden by a pond. He knew exactly where he was! Realization popped his eyes open only to be blinded by white light. Slowly his eyes adjusted, gradually revealing what he already knew. He was in the Healing Ward of the Jedi Temple.
- SW – SW – SW –
I hope it was worth the wait. There's a lot more to come, so hang in there. Thanks for reading and reviewing! It's great to be back again. See you all on the 28th!