Forcestone: Guardian of Light
Summary: The stone Qui-Gon Jinn found in the River of Light is as remarkable as the men and women destined to bear it. It begins with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
This is a novel-length Obi-centric AU that begins during Episode 1 and spans the gap to Episode 2. This is the first part of my Forcestone series, which will continue all the way through to the original trilogy.
Genre and rating: Mainly drama. Rated PG/K+ for moderate violence and mild language. Contains no sexual content or slash.
Characters: All the main Star Wars characters will be touched on, but my focus will be on Obi-Wan Kenobi, with supporting roles by Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin Skywalker, an OC to be introduced, Siri Tachi, Padmè Amidala and Shmi Skywalker.
Inspirations, disclaimers and thanks: I drew from many official Star Wars sources for inspiration, including George Lucas' six films and their novelizations, Jude Watson's "Jedi Apprentice" books, Greg Bear's "Rogue Planet," and several comic books. Since this is AU, my story may or may not contain spoilers to these works. I, of course, do not own the rights to any of these works, including the characters and plots therein, and I swear on my lightsaber that I gain no profit from my story. This is a hobby for me and I've enjoyed every moment of it! I hope you do, too.
Dedication: This story is dedicated to my husband, who is not only my first beta reader, but also my own personal knight in shining armor.
Hanna walked slowly toward the dim outline of her husband standing on the banks of the starlit river behind their home, taking care not to disturb the sleeping infant in her arms as she moved.
She had gone into the house to put the baby in his crib, but when she had him dressed warmly, fed, and wrapped in a blanket, the moment came and she found she could not bear to put him down, not even for a few hours to sleep. Because she knew that the end was drawing near.
In the morning they would give their son away to a stranger, never to see him again.
Ben-Jiro turned slightly as Hanna came to stand with him by the water, and he saw that she was still holding the baby. He said nothing, but cleared his throat gruffly as he took the edges of Hanna's cloak and wrapped it more tightly around her and the baby, and she thought she saw his eyes glittering suspiciously as he tipped his face back up toward the starry sky.
A long silence stretched out between them, but it was a comfortable one. They had always been enough at ease with one another to enjoy silence together, even before they married. It was one of the reasons Hanna had known Ben-Jiro was the one, although their parents had been concerned about how young they were to get married. But that was nearly two years ago, and they were still as happy as ever - more happy, in fact, since they found out their family was going to grow from two to three.
And now they were going to tear their family in two- but Hanna cut herself off from that line of thinking. Their decision was made. It was the right one. No sense in spoiling their last hours together with tears. That was what Hanna told herself, although she had to wipe her eyes on a sleeve as she did so, and then she was angry at her heart for not listening to what her mind had to say. She laughed a little at herself. She had always prided herself on being the logical, steady type. Not prone to emotional outbursts. But that had all changed the day they were told their son was... different. Special. Hanna had thought at first that it was a euphemism, that it meant there was something wrong with little Obi-Wan, and cold tendrils of fear had twined around her heart. Then, when she understood more, she realized that something was wonderfully, gloriously, tragically right with him, and that if she and Ben-Jiro chose to do their duties as good citizens of the Galactic Republic...
They would have to let him go.
"It should be visible in a few minutes," Ben-Jiro said, breaking gently into Hanna's thoughts. He pointed at the dark shape of the mountain to the east.
Hanna nodded, and hugged the warm bundle against her chest a little more tightly as a cool wind blew against them. It was late spring, and the nights were still a little chilly. She had been looking forward to the summer, when it would finally be warm enough to take Obi-Wan out on their early-morning excursions. It was a tradition in Hanna's family for everyone, young and old, to go out in the early morning and paddle their boats in the river before the heat of the day hit and they all went back to the daily routine of working and teaching and caring for children. It had been a tradition in her family for as long as they had lived here on Otaku, and that had been for generations beyond count.
And now she would be coming with empty arms, to watch her sisters and cousins play with their little ones in the shade by the river, while her own child was raised in the grand, austere Jedi Temple on Coruscant, knowing nothing of his homeworld or his family and all their traditions.
Oh, Hanna knew it was a great honor, that Obi-Wan would grow up to give great service to the Republic, and she knew that she and Ben-Jiro could not help him develop his gift like the Jedi Order could. Her mind knew these things, but her heart didn't feel them. Not yet. Maybe someday, but not today.
"There it is," Ben-Jiro whispered.
Hanna looked up toward the mountain. Yes, there it was, just emerging from behind the mountain: Inori, the comet that crossed paths with Otaku every century. As they stood and watched, it appeared to be sailing straight up into the heavens, a great pulsating sphere of light with a tail of glittering dust trailing down to touch the peak of the mountain.
Most Otakuns only saw the comet once in their lifetimes, and it was said that if you made a wish, it would come true before the comet returned.
Ben-Jiro moved closer to Hanna and put his arm around her shoulder, and together they watched the comet burn in the black night. Hanna wondered what her husband would wish for. That they would see their son again, if only for a moment on the HoloNet as he earned some award for a heroic deed? That Obi-Wan would have a long life? That he would be a good Jedi? A great Jedi? Or even just a good person?
For that matter, what should she wish for? What was the one thing she wanted, more than anything else?
Hanna looked down at little Obi-Wan, his eyes shut tightly so that his eyelashes stood out against his fair skin and his tiny warm body utterly relaxed in her arms. She gently brushed the wispy hair on his head with her fingertips and blinked back the tears that threatened to come again. She leaned into Ben-Jiro's embrace and, suddenly resolute, she looked up at the luminous comet and directed her thought at it with all the strength that she had:
Wherever he goes, and whoever he becomes, let him be loved. Let him love, and be loved. That's all I ask.
The comet streamed across the void, and the debris it left behind sparkled and shone like a trail of tears across the midnight sky.
Hanna bent down and kissed her son's forehead, his nose, his dimpled chin, and felt his soft breath against her cheek.
Just let him love, and be loved.
TO BE CONTINUED