Force Heritage: A Prelude To The Kenobi Way is part of my One Path universe. It takes place during the Kenobi Family's exile on Tatooine after the Clone Wars. I am considering it to be a lead in to One Path's upcoming sequel series called The Kenobi Way. It fills in some gaps during the family's exile that we couldn't cover adequately in One Path, and it will set the stage for events in The Kenobi Way Book 1: The Path of Peace when members of the family return to Tatooine.
Force Heritage tells the story of how Anakin Kenobi became a Jedi Knight and deals largely with the relationship between Ani and Luke. The character of A'sharad Hett, whom the brothers meet over the course of the story, is based upon but not identical to the comic character created by Timothy Truman.
Events in Force Heritage are not meant to mirror or closely follow events from the EU. We acknowledge and give credit to the comic writers who created the character who inspired our A'sharad, but the life experiences of the two characters are somewhat different. As such, motivations and behaviors may be completely unlike what was depicted in the comics.
The twin suns were sinking past the desert horizon. As they went, they stained the sky and the sand below it with rich hues of red and purple. Seventeen-year-old Anakin Kenobi still did not like watching sunsets, but he made himself stand atop the dune as an exercise in facing his feelings. Behind him, Obi Wan and Luke were practicing with lightsabers. The clash and hum of the weapons dug deep into Ani's brain, adding force and immediacy to the memories that the setting suns evoked.
He wanted to shut out the noise. Using the Force to block or dull his physical senses was not particularly difficult. However, to do so for no other reason than his own peace of mind felt uncomfortably close to the Dark Side. Those sounds were the unwelcome score to all his nightmares, and yet he knew that they would always be part of his life. Just like red skies. Red blades. Red rivers swallowing the heroes of his childhood. As much as he wanted to run from these things, he stood impassively, kept his breathing even with effort of will, and held his body still until the sparring session ended.
Then he listened as Obi Wan praised Luke for his performance and walked back inside the old hermitage to stow the lightsaber that had once belonged to Anakin Skywalker. Luke shuffled wearily up the dune to stand beside Ani. The older boy waited without turning, but when the sand-covered twelve-year-old reached his side, he smiled. Letting his right hand drift up from his side, he rested it on Luke's shoulder.
"I wish you wouldn't do that," Luke told him with a frown.
"Put my hand on your shoulder?" Ani asked, raising a quizzical eyebrow.
"No, stand here and stare at the suns. I know you don't like it," said Luke.
Ani's smile tightened a little, but he modulated his voice so that it only conveyed mild distaste as he replied, "You can't always avoid what you don't like. Sunsets are everywhere. I might as well learn to look at them."
"You've been doing that my whole life. If you were gonna get used them, you'd have done it by now," Luke sighed.
"Maybe so," admitted Ani. "But that doesn't mean I should stop trying."
"If you say so, Ani," Luke gave another sigh, disapproval mingling with resignation in his voice. He knew that nothing he said could dissuade his brother from the practice of watching sunsets when Ani clearly didn't enjoy them, but he made no bones about his opinion on the matter.
"Thanks," murmured Ani.
"Uh-huh," Luke nodded. Then he half-turned to peer toward the old, weather-beaten house where their father had disappeared. "Dad! You're gonna miss your contact!"
Ani let out a quiet snort of amusement.
"What?" Luke glanced back at him.
"You don't care about his contact from Alderaan," Ani shook his head. "You're still hoping he'll let you come into Mos Eisley with him."
Luke's mouth curved upward in an unrepentant grin. Ani tried to stare back at him with a stoic expression that he felt would be worthy of a Jedi apprentice, but Luke's smile didn't waver for an instant. Finally, the older brother's resolve cracked and both of them began to laugh.
"What's so funny?" asked Obi Wan as he ducked through the doorway and joined them in the desert.
Luke pressed his lips together, concentrating very hard on the need to stop laughing. Ani cleared his throat and glanced at their booted feet, needing only a few seconds before he could meet Obi Wan's gaze. Obi Wan arched an eyebrow gently.
"Nothing, sir," was Ani's calm reply.
"Right…" nodded Obi Wan. He eyed them both for a few seconds, blew out a soft sigh, and then waved them toward the waiting speeder. "Come on, then. Luke's right. I'll be late."
He walked off without further comment, and the two boys followed him to the vehicle. Both of them avoided eye contact and spent most of their time staring at their feet so that they didn't risk an unexplainable fit of laughter. Ani let Luke take the front passenger seat and climbed into the rear of the vehicle where he could think.
It was unlikely that Obi Wan would allow either of them to go into the spaceport with him, but if anyone could find a way to charm—or whine—the older Jedi into letting him tag along, it would be Luke. Even Uncle Owen wasn't entirely immune to the effects of the younger Kenobi brother's impish smile, and Obi Wan was a much softer touch than the grizzled moisture farmer who had given them refuge from the Emperor's Jedi hunters. Luke had already managed to improve Ani's mood this evening, and he hadn't even been trying to do that.
He didn't see any harm in letting Luke go along, either. Granted, he wasn't the most disciplined student, but he was learning the ways of the Force, and he would be going to meet one of Bail Organa's men, not a smuggler or someone from the Empire. Sooner or later, he was going to find his way into a spaceport, and it might be better if his first experience in a place like that was with Obi Wan instead of with his friends.
"Are you sure you don't want Ani and me to come along, Dad?" Luke ventured after a minute or two.
"No," said Obi Wan flatly.
"You're not sure…?" even Luke's tone was surprised.
"No, you can't go," Obi Wan corrected.
The boy sighed. "Come on Dad…"
"I'm taking you and Ani home first," insisted their father.
Luke slouched in his seat and planted his chin on his hand without replying. He stared out the windscreen for a while, but Ani knew he wouldn't give up that easily. A few more minutes passed with no noise except the drone of the speeder's engine, and finally Luke came up with an angle for his next attempt.
"You know, Dad, you could just take me with you if you don't want to take Ani," he suggested.
Ani covered his face with his hand.
"How does that make sense?" asked Obi Wan incredulously.
"What?" Luke tilted his head to one side.
"Luke," began their father with admirable patience, "If I don't think it's a good idea to take you and your older brother, why would I take just you?"
"I'm a lot smaller than Ani," explained Luke. "I'm less conspicuous."
"He's got a point there, Dad," Ani piped up.
Obi Wan shot a quick glance toward the back seat. The expression on his face was a curious mix of disbelief and resignation. Ani frowned a little, not sure what to make of that.
"Don't you start too, Anakin," Obi Wan told him.
Ani blinked back in feigned innocence. The expression was lost on his father, who had already returned his attention to the desert road in front of them. Since they were still driving toward the Lars homestead, he assumed that Obi Wan was less than convinced.
"What happens if you run into trouble?" asked Luke.
"I'll run out of it again," replied Obi Wan easily.
"It'd be easier if you had somebody backing you up," Luke pointed out.
"I'm not expecting any trouble," Obi Wan assured him.
"But you always say we should be prepared to meet it even if we don't expect it," Luke reminded him.
"Well, don't you think I'd have taken my own advice and gotten prepared already?" asked Obi Wan.
"I would have thought so, yeah," nodded Luke.
"Would have," Obi Wan echoed.
"Well, come on, Dad, here you are turning down help from your own students! How prepared can you possibly be?" Luke reasoned.
"The logic of this argument escapes me," Obi Wan declared, shaking his head.
"What do you mean?" Luke asked.
"Never mind," Obi Wan told him dryly.
Thus it went. All the way back to the farm, Luke attempted to convince Obi Wan that it was vitally important for him to go to Mos Eisley. Ani chimed in with supporting commentary from time to time, but he knew that if he tried to lay it on too thick, their father would end up being annoyed, and that would ruin Luke's chances of going all together. There were just some things a twelve-year-old boy could get away with that his nearly grown brother couldn't.
Then again, there were a whole lot of things Luke could pull off with their parents that Ani would never even have tried. Some of that was simply due to the differences in their respective ages. The boys and their sister—who had been away on Alderaan for the last four years—shared the same birthday, but the twins had been born five years after Ani. That was just enough of an age gap for their parents to work out all their disciplinary strategies on Ani so that, by virtue of trial and error, Luke and Leia got all their permissive leanings. At least, that was Ani's theory on the subject. Padme and Obi Wan had never been harsh with him, but he had observed that their standards seemed to be slightly more elastic for Luke.
In this case, though, Obi Wan never gave in. Ani guessed that even elastic standards could only be stretched so far. He was a little surprised that their father remained so staunchly determined that neither of the boys could go with him. When they'd left Alderaan eleven years before, Bail Organa had arranged for an annual meeting between Obi Wan or Padme and a representative of the fledgling organization that was then being called The Alliance to Restore The Republic.
Even now, when it was being referred to in some quarters as The Rebel Alliance, Ani had no sense of increased worry or impending danger from his father. His particular gift in the Force was empathy, and while he was not yet officially a Jedi Knight, his senses were sharp and well-attuned to Obi Wan. If there had been a legitimate reason for Luke not to go, he thought he should have picked up on it.
They reached the homestead's south range, where the Kenobis had made their home since Padme had found the tiny house in the Jundland Wastes unsuited for more than a place they could train future Jedi away from prying eyes. It was full dark, but to his surprise, the house shields weren't up yet. As they pulled into the courtyard, though, he understood why.
Their mother stood waiting for them dressed in a thick gray peasant's cloak. Her hood was drawn up against the chill of the desert night, and she carried a small bundle against her chest. She hurried over to the speeder as Ani and Luke scrambled out and passed whatever it was to their father, who casually turned to place it in the back.
"We'd better hurry!" she told Obi Wan. "We're going to…"
"Miss our contact. Yes, I've been told already," he said ironically.
"Wait a minute!" Luke cried. "Mom's going?"
Padme frowned with a mixture of amusement and surprise. "Why shouldn't I go, son?"
"Because…uh…" stammered Luke.
"Nevermind, kid," Ani patted his shoulder.
In the light of the speeder's high beams, Ani could see their mother's frown deepen, but Obi Wan chuckled, "Darling, we are going to be late."
"All right, Obi Wan," she nodded. Then she leaned down to press her lips against Luke's cheek. "We'll be back in the morning. Stay in the house and listen to your brother. Ani, if we're late getting back…"
"I know, Mom. There are still chores to be done and Uncle Owen won't brook with any loafers," Ani said, his lips twitching in amusement.
Padme smiled back and stood on tiptoe to kiss his cheek. Then she hurried to the speeder and climbed into the seat Luke had recently vacated. The two brothers stood watching their parents disappear into the desert night. After a minute, Luke tilted his head up at Ani.
"Why didn't he just say Mom was going?" he asked.
"Kid, sometimes with them, even when you have an answer it doesn't make sense," Ani shook his head. "Come on. We'd better get the shields up. There are Raiders all over the place."