Author's Introduction to Land and Sky: Places Brothers Go

When I posted Land and Sky: Episode I--Happy Endings, my introduction mentioned that there would be a series of interconnected shorter pieces written between episodes. They're similar to the "missing scenes" that I occasionally do for One Path, although they are somewhat longer. Places Brothers Go was the first idea I had for a piece like that, but it is set before the movie saga. It deals with Obi-Wan's early life prior to his being identified by the Jedi and taken to the Temple on Coruscant. It's told from the point of view of his older brother, Owen, whom readers will meet again in Land and Sky: Episode II.

The story spans a period of about 3 years, from when Owen learns he's going to be a brother to when Obi-Wan is taken to the temple. Hopefully, this will answer some of the questions that readers have asked about the introductory quotes I use in Land and Sky. It will probably also lead to new questions as I write. All I can say is, patience, my young Jedi friends..

The characters of Obi-Wan's family and the pirate captain Tellenda are my original creations. They have no connection the Star Wars EU and are not supposed to have analogs there. There will be some discussion of events from Count Dooku's time as a Jedi which are loosely based on EU plots. Credit will be given in the chapter/story notes where appropriate. However, readers should probably not expect things to "match" very well with the EU.

The Faorrins are inspired by, though not identical to, Dee Dreslough's Arrallin race. Concepts from her novel Lost Waters are adapted here for Krir and Ierei with her permission.

For anyone who wants to know more about the Ka'andesi culture, check out the links on my profile page.

Lastly, I'm just getting back to fic writing after an 8 month hiatus. I'll be taking this slow, and I won't be posting as often as I used to for a while, but rest assured that, if I have committed to post something, I will finish it.

Chronicler's Introduction to Land and Sky: Places Brothers Go by Inalia Kenobi

It is a Chronicler's duty to carry all the stories of her people. Our stories make us who we are. They shape our lives and the lives of our children and their children. So, it is said that the Chroniclers of the Ka'andesi hold not just the history of our clans but the very souls of the clans.

A story is the greatest gift that one Ka'andesi can share with another. This is a story that my Uncle Owen gave me before he died. It is his, and my father's, and in the way of the clans, it is also the story of their children.

Above all, it is the story of Inal, our home-place.

The Ka'andesi say that the land whispers the will of the Force. Pay attention to the patterns of life and death all around you. What you will is the movement of the Force.

Collected Wisdom of the Ka'andesi Peoples, as told to Inalia Kenobi, Chronicler of the Ch'lliear

My name is Owen Kenobi. My brother is a Jedi Knight, but I spent most of my formative years as an only child. Only children are an oddity among the Ka'andesi. In the clans, the two biggest measuring-sticks for personal and filial wealth are children and productive land. Families tend to be large, sprawling affairs, with multiple generations and branches living in the same home. Brothers, sisters, and cousins all interact much the way that siblings do in outclan families. Parents, aunts, and uncles share childcare and disciplinary responsibilities indiscriminately, and in the case of stepfamilies, there is never a separation made between a person's natural children and the children of his or her spouse. In fact, the Ka'andesi languages have no word for "stepparent" or "stepchild." So, one way or another, a child of the clans is usually surrounded by other younglings—often to a claustrophobic extent.

Our family was unusually small anyway. There was only my mother, my father, my Aunt Sabiha—whom I called Aunt Bee when I addressed her in Basic—and Sabiha's husband, my Uncle Dannik. So, for the first ten years of my life, I was the sole occupant of our house under the age of twenty-five and the solitary keeper of all the secrets hidden in the rolling plains behind it. Of course, that also meant that I was the sole source of free labor, either in the herb orchard, the healing room, or on my father and uncle Dannik's occasional "freelance" activities.

Overall, though, I didn't mind. The solitude of the plains was never lonely to me. I learned to be like the grasshoppers: capable of remaining entirely still for hours, hidden in the waving tallgrass to watch the prairie muskrats and the black-tailed jackrabbits come and go. The bantha, pronghorn, and tri-horned antelope herds accepted my presence because I kept a respectful distance. For a while, I was befriended by a red fox kit, which my dad found amusing since it was the animal from whom he took his Ka'andesi name. After that, I was befriended by a large female skunk, which he found even more amusing.

My mother taught me how to avoid the sprinters, mountaincats, and other nonsentient predators. Working with my aunt in the herb orchard taught me which plants were harmful and which could be eaten or harvested for medicines and other necessities. About the only being which could sneak up on me on the plains was my friend Ierei Avardi. She was Faorrin—a wolf-like species who had inhabited our planet long before the Ka'andesi clans settled there. Ierei's den was about 30 kilometers west of my family's home-place, at the edge of the savannah, where the tallgrass of the plains and the thick western forests had formed a sort of compromise.

The trek from my house to the den was far too long and arduous for me to make in an afternoon on foot, but on her repulsorboard, Ierei could cover the distance in a little more than an hour. I could always see the glint of the sun off the board's silver surface long before I even made out a physical shape. It was fairly easy to track her progress across the open plain, but as she came closer, she would duck into the grass to hide her approach. Since the board never touched the ground and she was far more adept at the art of stealth than I was, she usually managed to spring at me and bowl me off my feet.

The whole thing became something of a daily competition between us. If I wasn't pounced on and sent rolling across the plain, I could be fairly certain that Ierei was mad at me. Like most young Faorrins, she was largely motivated by the needs of her stomach, and she timed her daily arrival to coincide roughly with my family's noon meal. Guests were almost always welcome, and even on the few occasions when another might not have been, Ierie had a special dispensation, since her father had been partners with my dad and Uncle Dannik.

On the day we learned of my brother, Ben's impending arrival, Ierie and I were actually getting along. As a consequence, we were late to the table, having discovered an active hawk's nest in the wedgewood trees that comprised the windbreak of an abandoned homestead. It was rare to find a nesting pair of hawks on the plains. There were few trees or rock outcroppings that the birds could use. Most trees that did exist had been planted as windbreaks like this one, and the hawks were extremely sensitive to human activity near potential nesting sites.

It looked as if this place had belonged to wheat farmers who were driven into the city for work during the last big drought. I was five when that drought came, and all I remembered was a vague sense of worry and tension that began to pervade the clans. It even touched my family, who were not entirely dependent on the land for their survival. Five years would have been just enough time for the birds to feel that this place was safe to build a home in.

It was early spring, and we knew that the hawks could produce eggs until midsummer. My aunt's duties as a Weaver of the Ka'andesi included keeping ecological records. Each birth and death on the plains was important to her, especially when it came to species with low birth rates like the hawks we'd spotted. Getting to help with this sort of cataloging was one of the real pleasures of growing up close to a Clan Weaver. Partly, we were excited about the chance to report a find that would undoubtedly be of special interest in the district record. Mostly, we were curious and eager to have a look for ourselves—eager to say that we had seen hawk's eggs with our own eyes.

We had to lay in the grass for most of an hour before both birds flew off. That in itself excited us, since it was a strong indication that there would be eggs in the nest. Once the adults were gone, we picked ourselves up off the ground; rubbed ourselves down with handfuls of grass, dirt and wild herbs to mask our scents; and took the repulsorboard as high as Ierei could coax it. Then we carefully slipped into the branches beneath the nest and eased ourselves upward.

Faorrins were lupine, but they had long, prehensile tails and opposable thumbs which curled under their paws when they walked, so Ierei never had any trouble keeping up with me in the trees. Both of us were fairly adept climbers, since there was a similar windbreak around my own home. This climb, however, took twice the normal amount of time, because we had to take excruciating care not to upset the nest or do anything that would cause the parents to abandon any unhatched offspring that might be inside. The wind constantly rattled the branches, adding to the challenge, but we kept on, determined to have a look. Finally, we were high enough to peer up over the edge of the nest and found a single white egg covered in brown splotches.

"Aren't there supposed to be more?" Ierei asked, her wet, wolflike nose twitching and flaring with half-confused interest.

"Usually at least two or three," I nodded, frowning. "Maybe it's too early yet. I'll ask my aunt."

At the mention of my family, Ierei's stomach rumbled loudly. She nodded in agreement. "Okay. C'mon, I'm hungry."

I rolled my eyes to the expanse of bright, cloudless blue over our heads. "You're always hungry."

"So what?" she challenged.

"Nevermind," I sighed, beginning to shinny my way back down. "We're late already. We're probably going to get in trouble."

"They're still going to give us lunch, aren't they?" she asked, only half joking.

"Yes, Ierei…"