I began writing this at TFN a few years ago, but had to take a break when DRL reared its ugly head. Since I don't know when I will be able to continue over there, I am going to start posting over here from the beginning.
The young man pulled his long, dark coat more closely around his body against the chill of the winter day as a gust of wind blew across his body. While Coruscant's temperature was for the most part artificially regulated, it still had cold seasons. It was fortunate today was colder as the wait would have been longer in warmer seasons. He shuffled a few more steps forward, keeping up the movement of the queue until he finally reached a kiosk. After handing the droid inside the necessary credit chips, he took his place with a small group waiting to the side.
Though he perceived no danger from the others in the group, his keen eyes dissected the crowd out of habit for anything out of the ordinary. Although he was alone and well-dressed - not exactly a tourist - no one seemed to pay any attention. He smiled warmly at a shy little girl watching him, who grinned before scampering back to the protection of her mother's arms.
After a short time, a petite woman came forward and asked the group to follow. They pressed through the main entrance of the structure before them into a foyer with vaulted ceilings and bright, glistening marble floors. There was a reverent silence about the room filling the young man with a sense of comfort and peace as though it were home … or should have been.
"Our tour begins here." The woman raised her voice above the random whispers of appreciation and squeals and yells of young children that echoed through the spacious room. "Please gather around." She lifted her hands above her head and waved her fingers towards herself as though she were imaginarily pulling stragglers towards herself. The taps of shoes echoed throughout as each person closed around her. She waited until there was silence to begin.
"You are now standing in the main foyer of the ancient Jedi Temple. For many years, the Jedi knights served the Republic as guardians of peace. As most know, over a millennia ago the Jedi Order went through a time of war with its enemy – the Sith."
The man tuned out the trite recitation. He knew history well enough to know the words were racked with inaccuracies, and besides, that wasn't why he was here.
"The war with the Sith not only nearly drove the Jedi to extinction, but also devastated much of the galaxy. After the Sith were destroyed, the Jedi Order was disbanded. During the reformation that came after the Battle of Ruusan, it was deemed too dangerous by the Republic to have such a large number of highly trained Force sensitives. The Temple closed its doors and fell into ruins. Restoration began over 20 years ago through the work of several historical societies and it now stands as one of the most ancient structures on Coruscant."
The young man shuffled through several more stops on the paid tour, straying near the outskirts of the group to avoid questions. The Room of a Thousand Fountains, its foliage and peaceful, bubbling pools re-created as accurately as possible from available records, was always a favorite of the crowds. The crèche, with its small beds and tables and chairs, was empty. In the silence, he could imagine the voices of dozens of younglings playing and learning. They finally came to the door of a large room with stacks of data storage devices. Desks and chairs with ancient terminals lined the corridors. This area was roped off – no one was allowed to enter.
"This is the Temple archives. At the time of the Sith wars, the Temple had the most complete archive of information anywhere in the galaxy. Most of this information was transferred to the Senatorial archives after the Order was disbanded, but much of the information on the Jedi still remains in these walls."
The group shuffled on and the young man allowed himself to fall behind and become separated from the rest of the tour group. He felt a sentimental tug to continue to the heights of the Temple spire and set foot in the grand Council chambers where the most respected of the ancient Jedi Order had led with wisdom, but he had other matters needing attention. After making sure he hadn't been seen, he doubled back, slipping behind the roped off area and disappeared into the former Jedi archives.
He made his way deep into the stacks, finally finding the objective of his search. The older man was seated cross-legged on the floor against the stacks. His long, graying chestnut hair was completely pulled back behind his head to keep it out of his face.
"I am really beginning to despise that tour."
"Did you bring it?"
The younger man tossed his companion a datachip. "I'm going to go broke if I keep meeting you here."
"That's very unlikely." He placed the disk into a very sophisticated datapad. "There is just so much information here," he murmured. "If they would legally allow me access, I could actually look through the Archives' database instead of having to weed through all of this manually."
"I guess even members of the Republic Historical Society have limits." The young man ran his hand along the stacks, his gaze becoming somewhat distant. "At least it wasn't all lost." He looked back down at the man sitting on the floor. "You know the other elders wouldn't approve of you being here. They think we risk being exposed."
"That's why I come instead of asking it of others. I have the most plausible cover."
"True." An impish grin played across the young man's face. "I still find it ironic that I have an esteemed history professor constantly reminding me to live in the moment."
"The past is important. We can learn much from it, but we shouldn't dwell there. It is, after all, the past."
"Speaking of the present, doesn't Professor Jinn have a lecture soon?"
Qui-Gon looked down at his chronometer and blinked. "I completely lost track of time. Thank you for reminding me." He hurried to collect his things, stuffing them into a bag. "Do we still have a lesson tonight? I haven't been able to make heads or tails out of your schedule lately."
"That makes two of us Master." Obi-Wan tipped his wrist to look at his chronometer. "I have a meeting with Senator Kitab in two hours. He sent me to represent him at a Judicial Oversight meeting and probably just wants to be briefed. I don't expect to be long." He stopped abruptly. "You're staring at me, Master." Obi-Wan regretted not being able to call his mentor by his honorific title more often.
"If it were in Ancient times, you would have a braid hanging down from behind your ear marking your padawan status. You are becoming a great Jedi, and I wish that I didn't have to keep that a secret. I know it hasn't been an easy path."
Obi-Wan reached up and brushed his fingers against the short reddish-brown locks behind his ear.
"I had a dream a few nights ago. You and I were dressed like our predecessors and I had the braid you spoke of just now. It hung down near my waist."
"That makes sense. You are nearly a knight," the older man murmured. "You didn't tell me you had another dream?" Qui-Gon was often bothered by his apprentice's dreams. Obi-Wan was quite gifted in the unifying Force and it was often difficult to determine what was dream and what was vision. "What did you see … besides us dressed like ancient Jedi?"
"There was a creature dressed in black. He looked to be zabrak, except his face was tattooed with black and red." Obi-Wan spoke softly and drew his arms around his body. "His eyes continue to haunt me. They glowed red and I could nearly sense his rage, his hate."
"A Sith." Qui-Gon closed his eyes. He hadn't told Obi-Wan what the elders said about the darkness, although he probably sensed it also. They knew the darkness was growing and he felt a tugging in the Force to pay attention to what his apprentice was saying. He would need to tell the other elders.
The younger man nodded his head. "He ignited a crimson saber. Blades came out of both ends of the hilt, if you can imagine that."
"One for each of us – that's nice. You're imagination is getting more creative all the time." Qui-Gon used humor to disguise his concern as he picked up his bag and swung it over his shoulder. "What happened?"
"I don't know." Obi-Wan shook his head. "I woke up."
"I wish you wouldn't hide your dreams from me, Padawan."
"Yes, Master." Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow at his mentor. "Your lecture?"
"Yes, of course," Qui-Gon replied hurrying toward the corridor. "We will talk more this evening."