[FIC] The Adventures of Jolee Bindo
Be gentle. I've never written a fanfic before. :)
(see the finished version in the Jedi Archives (clicky) if you prefer the version without comments)
Set fairly shortly after the end of Kotor.
The Adventures of Jolee Bindo
As told to Jae Onasi
(Adapted from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
Chapter 1: The Assignment
I stood before the Jedi Council on Coruscant, trying to remember Master Zhar’s teachings of the Jedi Code to calm the nervousness that seemed to well up unexpectedly and unwanted. Today was the day I would find out if I would be able to continue my training as a Jedi. If I wasn’t selected by a Jedi as a Padawan, I knew I would either return to Onderon or be sent to Telos to help with the Restoration Project. I was already much older than any other apprentice. I had been living on Onderon when Master Kavar discovered my Force affinity and petitioned the Council to waive the age limit. However, that exemption wouldn’t last forever.
“You thoughts betray you, Apprentice,” growled Master Vrook, “Your fear radiates from you.”
“Mind your teachings, Jae,” Master Zhar said calmly, “Let the emotions ebb and the peace will return.”
I felt the encouragement from him. I took a deep breath and willed the emotions to subside. The anxiety would do nothing to help this situation, and so I let it go.
“You have made great strides in your training since I first met you,” Master Kavar said, approvingly. “Your healing and saber skills are much stronger and your mind control is more focused.”
Master Vandar added in his unique style of speaking, “Much progress have you made in your training. That is why before us you have come.”
“A Master has agreed to accept you as Padawan.” Master Vash said. I was elated, but my joy was short-lived when she announced, “Master Jolee Bindo has decided to take you as his student and teach you more of the ways of the Force.”
Master Jolee Bindo was a hero of the Star Forge Battle and recipient of the Republic’s highest honor, the Cross of Glory. He had left the Jedi Order some time ago, but after the defeat of Darth Malak, he decided to return. The Council gladly welcomed him back, and, deeming his skills worthy of any Master Jedi, they awarded him that title. He agreed to take Padawans for training. However, he had developed quite the reputation among us apprentices as a Jedi who rejected a Padawan as quickly as accepting one. The Padawans were usually returned summarily to the Council with such terse comments as “She’s more fearful than a Wookiee on his first hunt in the Shadowlands,” and “His pride is about to make his head explode. I won’t be responsible for cleaning his remains up after he aggravates the wrong person with his overbearing attitude.”
Master Vrook commented, “He is not as disciplined in training Padawans as I would like. Nevertheless, we feel Master Jolee and you complement each other in personality and skills. You and he could become a strong team as you grow in the knowledge of the Force.”
“The decision is also yours,” Master Zhar added. “You may accept or decline his offer. We do not force anyone to enter into a teacher-student relationship. However, the Council feels this would be best for both of you.”
I reflected on all this for a moment. There were no other Jedi I knew who could take on a Padawan at this time. I allowed my thoughts on Master Jolee to flow freely. I had no sense of turmoil telling me that this would not turn out well. I merely sensed strength and purpose in a merging of our paths—and a swirl of activity. We certainly wouldn’t be hermits meditating all day.
“Ah, serve you well your insight does,” Master Vandar observed, “and strong are you. Already you see how this path could be, but be mindful that the future is always in motion. Many paths you may yet follow.”
Master Kavar leaned forward in his chair and smiled, “You can see that it is the Force guiding your paths together, can’t you?”
I considered their words and made my decision. “I am honored that the Council has selected me for further training, and I am grateful for Master Jolee’s offer to take me as his Padawan,” I answered with no small degree of gravity. “I will work hard with him to learn the ways of the Force so I can become a worthy member of the Order.”
Master Vash noted with a nod of approval, “Yes, I do not sense that you will be the 11th Padawan that he abruptly returns to us.”
I raised an eyebrow at that one. I knew there had been several before me, but 10 others?
She continued, “We have also noticed that you have great knowledge of history, and we need to make use of that skill. Many of the records of Master Jolee’s adventures were lost when Malak destroyed the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine. One of your tasks, in addition to your training, will be to talk with Master Jolee to reconstruct these records. His contributions in and out of the Order are significant, and we cannot afford to lose that wisdom and knowledge.”
I nodded my agreement at this task. History was a pursuit I enjoyed.
Master Zhar followed, “Jedi I’iwi leaves tomorrow for the same sector, so you will have time to gather your possessions and say your good-byes to your fellow apprentices today.”
Master Vrook added, “You will find him at times abrupt and impatient, but he nonetheless deserves your respect. He’s a crusty old man, but has a good heart.”
I immediately quashed the thought that Master Vrook obviously would be more acquainted with that attitude than anyone else would. Apparently, I didn’t stop that thought quickly enough, however—I caught faint smiles on the faces of both Master Kavar and Master Vandar.
Master Kavar stood along with all the others, walked over, and handed me a light brown Padawan robe. “The Queen wanted to make sure I gave you this as a gift from Her to remind you of home.”
I had been in her service before leaving for Jedi training. The robe was well constructed of a sturdy material and had subtle detailing around the collar.
“It is exquisite. When you return there, please tell Her Majesty that I am deeply honored by Her gracious gift. I will always think fondly of Onderon and my Queen when I wear this.”
After I had donned it, he embraced me warmly, and said, “We welcome you to the Order, Padawan Jae Onasi!”
I debarked from the shuttle and squinted into the bright sun, enjoying the warm breezes on my face and the faint perfume of flowers in the air mingling with the other scents of the planet. Throngs of people bustled about, some focused and business-like, others loudly and excitedly greeting their arriving relatives or friends. I searched the platform for Master Jolee. Not seeing him, I stretched out in the Force to see if I could feel his presence.
I found him. He was standing right behind me. I turned around, not quite erasing my startled look. He looked taller in the holovids, but otherwise everything else was just as he appeared there—dark brown eyes and skin, bald, mostly gray beard. The holovids never quite caught the essence of the eyes, though—his showed intelligence, the weight of his myriad experiences in life, and a bit of crinkling at the sides showing he was no stranger to the humor in life.
“Well, it’s about time you finally noticed I was there,” Jolee snorted. “I was beginning to wonder if Vrook had sent me some kind of Force-blind idiot. Your first lesson: Always be aware of your surroundings. Sometimes things come from your blind side, and enemies certainly will exploit that.”
This was my introduction to the man who would both delight me with his wit and frustrate me to no end with his gruff ways.
I could only manage a rather meek “Yes, Master Jolee,” as I absorbed that lesson.
He continued, “Come, you’ve had a long flight. I’ll take that,” he said, taking some of my gear out of my hands. He noted my surprise. “What? Just because I’m supposed to be some master Jedi type, I can’t help a tired Padawan and carry a bag? Come on. If we’re lucky, we’ll catch good traffic back to our quarters and our dinner won’t have burned. And don’t stand there with your mouth half open. The flies around here taste terrible.” He screwed up his face in mock distaste. I couldn’t help but laugh, and off we went.
When we arrived at his quarters, he showed me my room and set my gear down. “It’s not big, but it’s comfortable. You unpack and I’ll finish dinner.”
“Thank you, Master Jolee, this is very nice,” I replied. It was indeed nice—larger than most quarters I’d lived in, with solid, comfortable furniture and a small office off the spacious bedroom. A large window overlooked a nature preserve, and the scene was very peaceful.
“Every time you say ‘Master’, it makes me want to look around for someone else like Vrook. I’d rather you just called me Jolee,”
“Yes, sir,” I replied.
Jolee rolled his eyes in mock dismay, “Well, granted I’m old, and I’ve certainly earned the title of ‘Sir’ and some respect, but if we’re going to be working together closely in tough situations, we can dispense with some of the formalities. I certainly know a lot more than you about the Force and I’m going to teach you a lot of about it, but we’re both Jedi. Unless,” he added with a bit of humor in his eyes, “we’re in front of the Council. I think Vrook likes to see the Padawans virtually grovel at the feet of their Masters. Play it up then.”
I grinned at that.
“While you’re at it, throw that Padawan robe in the refresher. It needs it,” he said. I quickly inspected my robe to make sure I hadn’t soiled it somehow. I must have looked offended, because he went on, “what, you think I’m complaining about some smell or a little dirt? I’m not making inferences about your hygiene, you know. I just happened to notice you’re scratching your neck a lot where the collar is rubbing. It’s a new robe, and if you run it through the refresher a couple times, it won’t be as stiff. We Jedi get into plenty of uncomfortable spots. You may as well have a comfortable robe. Now, when you’re done putting your stuff away, find the kitchen. You don’t need the Force for that—your nose should be good enough. A Jedi who depends just on the Force and forgets his own senses is a fool.” He walked off to finish the meal preparations while I put away my belongings.
After we had finished a good dinner, I told him about the project that the Council wanted me to do during my training with him.
“Why in the world do you want to talk history with me? Books aren’t going to teach you Jedi skills. You should be out making history, not standing around chatting up old men! You’re not getting any younger, you know.” Jolee protested at the request to chronicle his adventures as a Jedi.
“Well, a lot of people could learn a lot of things from your experiences,” I offered.
Jolee grunted, “Humph. A lot of people could learn a lot of things if they just opened their eyes long enough to look around and really see what’s going on in the world, too, and I don’t see that happening.” He leaned back in his chair and stroked his chin. “Well, if you’re willing to listen to an old man’s tales every now and then, I suppose I could humor you with this little project of yours. However, I’m going to do it on my timetable and talk about what I want to talk about. You can do that when you get to my age, and you’ll just have to deal with it.”
He sat down over at his workbench and proceeded to look over some project he was working on.
I was willing to go along with his decision, given that I really had no other choice. So I waited for him to start a story. And waited, and waited, and waited.
When I tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn, he looked up. “You still here? My throat is dry, and you need rest after a long trip! I’ll have something for you tomorrow.” “But, sir…” I began to argue. “Don’t give me that ‘Sir’ stuff. Out! Shoo!” and with that, I was dismissed for the night.
An excellent start. Nice to see a Fanfic on Jolee. Just as funny as KOTOR. Keep posting and I'll keep reading/posting. Please check out any of my Fanfics. Please.
Oh and Wookie is spelt Wookiee.
I like Jolee. Glad to see a fic about him. Keep up the good work.
A very interesting idea Jae. :) I like it, keep up the good work.
I liked it. I was giggling when I saw the dialogue for Jolee and I could hear his voice near the back of my mind. Well done Jae, I look forward to seeing more.
Chapter 2: The Story of Apprentice Sitor
The violet blade of Jolee’s lightsaber hummed perilously close to my right ear. I barely ducked out of the way as we battled through our fourth practice run. We both had shields on, but that didn’t alter the realism of the duel one bit. Jolee whirled the blade around to try to hit my left arm while I was still slightly off balance. I stepped out to regain a more stable stance and parried his lightsaber just in time, but he anticipated that move, and in the blink of an eye, was moving to strike my right leg. I dropped the blade down quickly to catch his. My turquoise blade hummed as I circled it up to gain control of his blade, nearly succeeding in making the saber slip out of his hands. He deftly slid his blade over the top of mine to escape that catch, and drove the blade straight in toward my chest. I brought my blade to center quickly to deflect the attack, barely in time, and our blades crackled as they struck each other. I kept my blade pressed against his, hearing the electric hiss as the blades touched, trying to find a weakness in his stance.
Suddenly, my saber gave way as he quickly pulled his blade down under mine while stepping left. With my blade too far over to my left, I realized my right side was wide open, and he slashed my right leg as quickly as that thought crossed my mind. Even with the shield on, the impact still smarted. I stepped back out of the practice ring, frustrated and breathing heavily. I found a towel to wipe the sweat out of my eyes and off my face. Jolee, with just a sheen of moisture on his forehead, looked like he hadn’t been doing anything difficult. I was drenched with the perspiration from all the fighting.
Jolee went over to the bench to take a drink of water, “Diluvian water,” he told me, “it’s the best kind in the galaxy. Of course, it means visiting an ice cold planet to get it, but some things are worth the sacrifice.”
I smiled weakly at that. He then walked back over to where I was sitting on the ground trying to stretch out my legs so they wouldn’t stiffen up from all the practice and the strikes where Jolee got through my defense. He sat down on the bench next to me.
“You’re getting better. At least I’m not nailing you in one shot without you so much as even starting a block anymore,” he noted, approval in his voice.
I thought I had learned some decent lightsaber skills at the Jedi Academy. That was until I sparred with Jolee the first time and got repeatedly tagged on the very first shot. Sometimes, to my chagrin, I got hit before I even was able to get out of the ready position.
He continued, “You still aren’t allowing the Force to guide some of your strikes, though, and you’re on the defensive too much of the time. If you let the Force flow through more, you’ll be able to anticipate my moves better. Of course, that just means I’ll have to get sneakier in my attacks, you know.” He patted my shoulder and got up off the bench. “Come on, let’s take a break from this and work on those shooting and lightsaber throwing skills.”
We went to the shooting range, and I picked up a blaster pistol, as did Jolee.
“I can understand being familiar with a ranged weapon, but why do you want me to develop an expertise?” I asked.
“My master told me when I was a Padawan, ‘Your lightsaber is your life, and without it you are defenseless.’ I think he was right. But you never know when you might need a backup,” he answered with a mischievous grin, as he hefted the blaster.
“Has anyone told you that you’re just ornery sometimes?” I replied, smiling.
“I was born ornery. I never gave my mother a moment’s rest, I’m sure. Probably one of the reasons she sent me to the Jedi,” he retorted, “You need to get on with that shooting. You think you’re so young that you can waste all day doing nothing? Go on now!”
I sighted on the target and started the practice.
Once Jolee was satisfied that my marksman skills were, as he called them, sufficient for that day, we worked on throwing lightsabers. I tossed out my saber, guided the blue-green blade around the target, and directed it neatly back to my hand. I was pleased that my throw equalled Jolee’s in length.
“Nice throw, good control. Always keep your eye on that saber, Jae. The moment you take your eyes off of it is the moment it’ll fly back and cut your head off.”
He nodded for me to keep going, and then proceeded to do just about anything to distract me while I continued throwing my lightsaber. At one point, he actually jumped in front of my line of sight. It took all my Force ability to deflect the lightsaber and then will it back into my hand before it sliced both of us.
I felt a flash of anger at what appeared to me to be an incredibly stupid maneuver. I tried to calm that burst of rage, silently repeating to myself the words of the Jedi code before I said to him, “Jolee, jumping in front of a flying lightsaber is not exactly what I’d call an intelligent maneuver.”
Jolee looked amused. “You have to be prepared for the unexpected in combat. And, if you really believe I was in any danger from that, you have a lot to learn, missy. I’m a master, remember? While that doesn’t make me invincible, it does mean that I’ve learned a few tricks. I was dodging weapon attacks long before someone ever put the first diaper on you.”
He went on, “Battles are very unpredictable things. They’re noisy and full of distractions, and nothing is going to be static long enough for you to study it in detail like a dejarik game. Sometimes you’re just going to have to trust your instincts and feelings and review the details later. Do you know anyone who’s going to say to themselves, ‘hey, there’s a Jedi throwing a lightsaber my way. I think I’ll stand still to make it easier for her to hit me!’? Well, OK, maybe Gamorreans might be dumb enough to do that, but everyone else is going to scatter, create mass chaos, and get in your way. Jedi or no, when the battle ends, you’ll be standing there recovering from the adrenaline rush and marveling that you survived the fray. Now throw that blade a few more times before we find some dinner.”
As I tossed my lightsaber out and then caught it on its return, Jolee commented, “You know, all this saber-tossing reminds me of this apprentice named, what was it--Sirot? No, that’s not it. Sotor? No, no…Sitor, that’s it, that’s the one. Well, here we were on Coruscant, and I got saddled with teaching this green apprentice Sirot some lightsaber skills. He grew up on T’lon, where they all cut their teeth on blasters, and he just thought his souped-up Baragwin disruptor pistol was the greatest thing since sliced tsookie worms. We’d been practicing the throw lightsaber technique, and he decided after one lesson that he was now an expert. Do you think he listened to me about always watching for the returning lightsaber? Well, we ended up over in the Eloni cantina--great food, better Juma juice, they need a new Bith accordian player--and we walked in on just the biggest cantina fight I've seen in a decade. Blaster bolts flying, bartender ducking, people getting tossed over tables, heh-heh, good Juma getting wasted--good challenge for an apprentice Jedi to deal with. Well, about 4, maybe 5 Rodians saw us and decided we were going to ruin their fun and they started shooting. Junior Jedi threw his saber--beautiful distance, nice arc, got about 3 of those Rodians, not bad for an apprentice. But then the blaster-brain thinks he's got enough time to shoot the other 2 with that crazy disruptor while he’s waiting for his darn lightsaber to return. He got a few rounds off, and forgot about the saber for a moment. Suddenly, it was flying around crazy, and I had to duck and roll to get out of the way. He didn’t see it return til it was in his face. He ducked, but not quite fast enough, and managed to cut off the tip of his nose. Vandar, of all the Jedi, chewed me out for letting that happen. Actually, I think it improved Sitor’s appearance. Made him more distinguished looking. He never shot off a blaster while carrying his lightsaber again, I guarantee it.”
“You must be joking,” I said incredulously.
“Do I look like a comedien? Sometimes there’s more humor in the truth. I don’t plan on giving you made-up stories for that little task of yours, you know. Now, it’s time for something to eat. I know a fine cantina around the corner. It’s a hole in the wall place, but it has some of the finest food this side of the planet. Let’s go.”
I smiled as I hooked the lightsaber to my belt and put on my robe. I left the pistol on the gun rack.
Great Chapter. I like how you described the training. I didn't think the Jedi had a shooting range. I liked it when Jolee said.
A wonderfully written chapter Jae. You seem to have a real knack for capturing Jolee's personality. Keep up the great work!
I'll try to space the paragraphs--I wrote it on Word before posting it, and some of the formatting didn't transfer, sigh.
Capturing Jolee's personality is a lot of fun. When I play Kotor, I usually pick him up as quickly as possible just to see what he's going to say in any given situation. The scene on Korriban where you have to 'entertain' the Sith students was hysterical--one of the Sith says something along the lines of "do you know how many Sith there are on this planet?" and Jolee exclaims "Twelve-no, wait, thirteen!" I just died laughing at the way it was said, too. The voice actor for Jolee did a fabulous job bringing his character to life.
Yes and you have done a marvellous job in brining Jolee alive. Every bit of dialogue that you give hime sounds exactly like something he would say because he's old dammit and e's entitled to ramble and ...whatever. I really got a kick out of the line that Pottsie mentioned as well the one:
I like it, great story.
Chapter 3: Jolee’s First Mission
We had been hiking in the nature preserve for our exercise that day when Jolee stopped short.
“Did you feel that?” he asked quietly.
“I feel the creatures around me, and I can feel a small disturbance, but I can’t pinpoint it.” I replied in hushed tones.
“Well, it’s about time you started noticing those things. Young people never notice the tiny details, but I have hope for you yet,” he said, not unkindly. He continued, “The disturbance is over a ways in those bushes.”
“Ah, I can sense it now. It’s a small animal—a bird, I think, that’s been injured,” I stated, stretching my Force sense more.
“Good, your Force sense is improving. That sense can save you a lot of trouble one day, because it’ll give you a little warning before something attacks. That bird is an Arkalian warbler, to be precise, and those birds are very rare. We need to save this one if possible,” he noted.
“I didn’t know you could identify specific species through the Force,” I said, a bit surprised.
“If you know the specific fauna of the planet well, usually you can. In this case, I happened to use my ears. You have 5 others senses besides the Force, you know, and I’ll remind you to use them, thank you very much. I heard the warbler call over in those bushes. The Arkalian warbler song is unique, and it stopped the same time as the disturbance started. Nothing magic about that,” snorted Jolee. “See if you can find it without terrifying the rest of the creatures, please. I could do it, but then you wouldn’t be learning anything, now, would you?” and then he sat down on a log. “I’m going to sit here and meditate or whatever a Jedi’s supposed to do when they’re waiting around for something to happen. Now go, and don’t kill anything in the process.”
Right then, I swatted a fly that had bit me on the neck. I grinned at the timing while Jolee rolled his eyes in mock dismay and made little ‘shoo’ motions at me with his hands.
I walked as quietly as I could to avoid disturbing the other animals and tried to radiate calm as I approached so that I wouldn’t startle the bird. As I came near the bush where it was perching, I stretched out my senses more, and I could feel it’s pain and terror. I surrounded it with feelings of calm. Realizing the bird would be better off if it was sleeping while I approached and handled it, I ever so slowly entered its mind and carefully willed it to sleep. When I located it on a branch, its eyes were closed peacefully. I picked it up gently and brought it over to where Jolee was sitting. I sat down on the log next to him and began examining the beautiful bright blue and green bird.
“What a gorgeous bird. The coloring is incredible,” said Jolee in a hushed voice, “nicely done putting it to sleep, Jae. Your compassion serves you well. Not to mention if it was awake it’d probably have a bird heart attack at all our handling.”
I inspected its broken wing and cuts; it must have been caught briefly by a predator. I closed my eyes to start the healing trance. As I ‘looked’ inside the warbler, I could see the ragged edges of the bones and tissues. I started healing from the deepest layers and then worked my way out, beginning with the wing bones. I knit them together as best I could, trying to make the edges smooth. I felt the muscles and other tissues heal, and then finally the skin. After inspecting the warbler for any other wounds or illnesses, I handed it back to Jolee.
“Kavar was right when he said you had a gift for healing. It takes some masters and most Jedi a lot longer to accomplish the same type of healing, but it took you only a few seconds,” he commented, as he looked the bird over carefully, “you did a good job finding all the injuries and caring for them. I’d smooth the bone just a little more to optimize his flight.” He closed his eyes for a moment, and I sensed the bone edges smooth out even more.
“That was fast,” I commented.
“I’ve had a lot of practice over the years. Too much practice, I’d say,” he retorted.
When he was satisfied, I returned the bird to a safe branch and slowly started to wake it up as I backed away.
While returning to Jolee, I saw a shadow start to creep over me, and I suddenly felt the ravenous hunger of a creature. His hunting instincts were active and he had his prey in sight…I turned suddenly and saw the Terrien mountain cat crouch on his powerful legs and launch himself at me. He was a huge cat, probably several hundred pounds—much larger than most of his species. He was easily 12 feet long, and had the sharp claws and rows of 4-inch long needle-like teeth typical of his kind. In less than a heartbeat, the turquoise blade of my lightsaber flashed, lighting up the shadows under the trees. Remembering Jolee’s admonition not to kill, at the last moment I enveloped him in the most powerful stasis field I could create and then jumped to my side with all my might. When I looked back, the cat was frozen in mid-attack, claws extended, mouth wide open for the kill, only inches away from where my head had been just moments before.
Jolee came running as I tried to catch my breath. He grinned, “You got him just in time, I’d say, or I’d be pulling pieces of you out of that stomach of his.” He circled the still-frozen beast and peered into its maw. He touched the tip of one of the teeth. “Still sharp,” he noted, “and this one needs some dental work. Talk about bad breath, whew!” he shook his head in distaste as he finished his inspection.
Before the mountain cat could recover from my stasis field, Jolee stunned the cat into a deep unconsciousness and then called the nature preserve rangers to inform them of what had just happened. “We’ll wait here for you then,” he replied to them and then signed off.
He nodded at me, “they should be here in about 10 minutes or so. We’ll stay here to make sure kitty doesn’t get any ideas about waking up, though he should be down for a good few hours or so.”
We both sat down to wait.
“You know, this reminds me a bit of when I was in the Sith war. I was a Padawan, and another Jedi, Elorri’ani, was assigned with me. The war had just started, and it was my very first mission. Our job was to locate as many temples as possible on the surface of a moon, Yavin IV. Exar Kun had these Dark temples hidden so well in the forest that the only way to find them was through the Force. Once we marked them, the Republic could bomb the sites. Elorri’ani was great at easing by guards and slaves. His skill with stealth was amazing, and sometimes I lost him myself. However, he had the worst luck with the creatures on that moon. Kind of like you and the cat here. I don’t know if he just smelled yummy or what it was, but the animals always seemed to sense he was there and then attack the poor man thinking he was an easy lunch. I don’t know how many times he got attacked there and how many times I had to heal him, but I sure got a lot of practice,” he chuckled, “By the time I was done with that mission, I was able to heal as well as my master.”
He went on, “We managed to sneak by a couple of guards, not that they were that observant, mind you, since they were convinced they couldn’t be found. We were working our way down a narrow hallway of the stone building to set the final locator beacon. We made it to the center of the temple and entered a large room when a Dark Jedi finally spotted us. I knew right away we were going to have trouble—that Dark Jedi virtually oozed Dark side power. If he wasn’t a Sith Lord, he should have been. He sauntered over our way, smugly looked us up and down, and said ‘Today is a good day to die,’ or something equally inane. I’ll never understand why the Sith can’t get more creative with their threats.
"Anyway, he ignited his lightsaber for the battle, and we got into our ready stance. He attacked, and we battled for several minutes, lightsabers flashing furiously. He was powerful, I tell you, and we were having a tough time keeping up. Neither of us could get any advantage. The best we could hope for was to wear him down enough for one of us to slip through his defenses to hit him. Then he started to hit us with Force Lightning. My shield absorbed some of it, but it threw me back and I couldn’t move for a few moments. Elorri’ani did better, and deftly bounced the lightning straight up off his blade. Unfortunately, the lightning bounced off a large hive of Yavin bees high up near the top of the temple. Normally, Yavin bees are innocuous, and I tell you, they make some of the finest honey in the galaxy. We’ll have to pick some up next time we’re out in that sector.
"Well, these bees didn’t take too kindly to having their home fried, and out they flew in a huge angry swarm. Elorri’ani looked up briefly, saw the swarm coming, gave that ‘oh no, not again’ look, but gamely kept fighting. That Sith Jedi was so arrogant he didn’t even bother to glance at what Elorri’ani had just looked at. Elorri’ani and I managed to get a field up around ourselves just in time. The bees flew down and started stinging everything in sight—us, guards, this Dark Jedi, maybe even tried a droid or two. When the rest of the hive fell down from the top of the temple on top of that Sith Jedi, the bees really got unhappy. If we hadn’t been fighting for our lives, it might have been funny—picture an evil Jedi covered with honey and pieces of hive, dancing around trying to get the bees out from under his armor and robes. Suddenly he started choking and wheezing, and collapsed right in front of us. Turns out this mighty Dark Jedi happened to be terribly allergic to bees. He was dead before we could do anything.
"We set the beacon and ran out of there, passing I don’t know how many guards swatting and running away from the bees themselves. The Republic hit that temple dead center a couple hours later, and they gave us both some kind of medal for heroism for ‘maximum utilization of available resources’. I think they should have given the bees a medal while they were at it. Somehow some general noticed this and decided we needed more responsibility in the war—oh, the rangers are here.” He got up and explained the entire story of the Terrien cat to them.
One of the rangers spoke, “This is the cat we’ve been trying to catch for awhile, and he’s eluded us every time. He’s attacked several people, and we needed to get him out of the preserve. We appreciate you notifying us right away. We’re going to transfer him to a zoo so he can’t attack anyone anymore.”
The rangers sedated the cat so that he’d be unconscious for some time, and placed him in a containment field for the transfer.
“Thank you again, Master Jedi,” the ranger said, “you’ve saved others from serious attacks and maybe even death.”
“Padawan Jae here did most of the work. She’s the one who really deserves the thanks.” Jolee replied.
“We’re very grateful, Padawan,” he said, turning to look at me thankfully. I smiled and nodded pleasantly to acknowledge their gratitude. They left in the transport.
“Now where was I again?” Jolee asked.
“You’d just finished the story about the Dark Jedi and the bees, and how a general was going to give you more responsibility,” I answered, helpfully.
“Well, that general’s boring anyway, and I’m hungry. Let’s go back into the city and find a bite to eat. I’ll tell you more later about how I got more involved in the war,” he said, turning onto a path to hike back out of the preserve.
When we returned to our quarters, there was an urgent message waiting for us.
“This should be interesting,” Jolee said as he called up the holovid.
I watched as the figure of Master Vandar appeared on the projector.
“Master Jolee, the Council requests both you and Padawan Jae to return to Coruscant at your earliest convenience. We have a matter of vital importance to discuss with you.” The message was short and Vandar’s figure disappeared from the projector.
“I wonder what that’s all about,” I mused. I could sense the swirl of activity approaching.
Jolee looked at me with a smile and a touch of excitement playing in his eyes. “We’ll find out what it is soon enough, but I suspect we’re not going to have any quiet days for awhile. Gather your gear, we’re leaving immediately.”
We left for Coruscant on the very next transport.
Excellent fic-tacularness, but I noticed a little things that happen to defy Star Wars lore: Yavin 4 is the moon, not the planet. ;)
And go to Korriban and with Jolee and Canderous, they say something funny when you try to entertain the sith.
Keep up the great work!
This is the best Chapter you have wrote so far. And Hallucination was right about Yavin IV being the moon and not the Planet. I could imagine Jolee's voice through that Chapter. Keep up the good work.
PS. I like your new Avatar.
Yeah, I had mixed the moon of Endor thing in with Yavin IV accidentally. I love the edit feature--makes it an easy fix.
I like that new avatar, too. JF66 and I found the image, and he was sweet and cropped/resized/uploaded it while I was working on the fic and MacLeodCorp's mod. :)
Edit: Thanks much, everyone.
I loved it Jae. The chapter had me thinking of Jolee talking and saying those exact words. This is great I hope you keep posting.
^ I don't have as much free time as I'd like to do a ton of writing, sigh. However, Jolee, being 'old, darnit', has plenty more stories to share. ;)
I understand. I have two papers to write for school and they are making me turn grey. Well at least my brains are turning to mush.
Bravo! Bravo! Great job Jae. You did an excellent job on this chapter and have done so on this whole story so far. I am surely going to be voting for your fic as one of the most original at the end of the year. :) Keep up the great work.
I'm hoping to have another installment sometime this week.
Waiting patiently though I'm turning into a crotchety hermit like Jolee :lol:
Alright folks, here's Chapter 4. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
EDIT: See Jae grinning at JM12's comment above.... :D
Chapter 4: The Lesson on Feeling Surroundings
As we settled into the plush seats of the transport ship to Coruscant, I asked again about Jolee’s experiences with a general after his first mission.
“If I’m going to work yapping my lips for your little project, you have to work feeling the Force on this ship while we travel. A Jedi gets soft sitting around doing nothing,” he ordered, shaking his finger.
I grinned my assent and went to work feeling the ship and her passengers while Jolee told his story.
“Well,” he mused, “our little mission caught the eye of General Motani. She had a keen eye for finding talented people to handle special missions. Why she felt Elorri’ani and I fell into that category after the bees did all the work, I’ll never know. Nevertheless, she arranged for us to be assigned to her command. My master agreed the military experience would be most beneficial, so off I went to a cushy assignment as some general’s pawn, or so I thought until I hit her training center. I felt like I was in boot camp all over again. There’s nothing like an Echana general to really make you feel like a complete idiot in the duelling circle.”
“The Echani are incredible warriors—I can only imagine what it was like sparring one of their generals,” I commented with just a bit of wonder.
“Well, you know how those master chefs can dice up a 3 foot long Manaan tuna in about 45 seconds? Let’s just say I felt like one of those tuna for a very long time. A dead tuna. After our first duel, she declared that I’d be a worthy opponent—for her seven-year-old daughter.”
I couldn’t suppress the chuckle that escaped, picturing a tiny Echani girl besting a Jedi.
“I see I’ll have to put you in your place with some Echani stances at our next sparring practice,” he snorted in mock annoyance. “We’ll see if you can even get one hit in after that.”
I smiled. He would do just that, too, and I’d be healing more than a few bruises after those sessions. While I continued to listen to his story, I concentrated further on the ship and the people around me—a tendril of darkness curled around the edges of my awareness. There was no way to track it because it was too faint, so I decided to be patient and let it reveal itself. Instinctively, though, my hand reached for my lightsaber Whatever the threat was, it wasn’t ready to strike just yet, so I willed myself to relax until the moment arrived and serenely placed my hands back in my lap.
My movement did not escape Jolee’s notice, but he went on as if he saw nothing. “Her weapons skills saved my behind more than a couple times, but the time I remember best was when we infiltrated the hidden base on Ossus.”
“Wasn’t the planet destroyed, though?” I asked.
“This was before that sun went ‘poof!’” Jolee replied, waving his hands out to mimic an explosion. “It wasn’t all that long ago, you know.”
The darkness continued to creep deeper into my consciousness, and slowly its form started to coalesce. It was one or two men, planning something, but I couldn’t yet determine who they were or what the plan was. I discreetly scanned the crowd but could not see anything amiss. I noticed Jolee scanning the group as well, but he made no indication that he found anything.
He went on with his story, but I could sense he was also thinking about the impending problem that we would have to face, “Exar Kun had set up a hidden base on Ossus in an attempt to spy on the Jedi. The Republic found it. Our job was to infiltrate the base, find any information and Force-users that we could, and destroy the base if necessary. Even General Motani was involved in case we could find anything on Exar Kun or Ulic Qel-Droma. We suited up in camouflage, and we were inserted near the outskirts of the base along with Motani’s Elite Forces team members. Motani and I had to take out a couple guards while some other soldiers cracked the code to get inside. We then were supposed to go in, do reconnaissance, download whatever information we could, take out or incapacitate any Sith we could find, and get out as quickly and quietly as we possible.”
“You make it sound like it didn’t go quite as planned,” I interjected. There was a heavy sinister anticipation in the air around us, now. It was definitely two men, somewhere forward of us, planning some kind of attack.
“Shush! Didn’t anyone tell you not to interrrupt your elders? You’re right, it didn’t go as planned. No military plans ever stay the same once they feel the heat of battle. Anyway, Motani and I made it in the base, along with another pair of the Elites. They split off from us to go look for the energy and shield generators, and we went to look for the central control for the computers to see if we could break in and download any intelligence. Motani had seen more than a few battles—you could see it in the way she walked, scanning everything and maintaining a heightened awareness of her entire surroundings. I kept searching out through the Force, and we made a pretty good team that way. I learned a lot about feeling my surroundings just by following her around.
"We found the main computer, cracked the security codes, and while Motani downloaded the information, I kept an eye out for any strangers trying to give us a warm welcoming blaster bolt. Thinking she had a few more minutes, Motani elected to upload a spy program, piggy-backed to one of their mundane systems so no one would be able to find it. One of their Jedi found us and tried to make his way by us in stealth mode, but I caught him at the last moment. I guess he must have had some smarts because he elected to try to escape instead of face a Force user and an Echani general. I know _I_ would have been a little uptight facing an Echani general. Well, Motani wasn’t quite done uploading the program, so I chased after the Jedi. That was my mistake.” Jolee paused and took a sip of his Diluvian water.
“How was that a mistake?” I inquired, “when it was one-on-one odds?”
“It was one-on-one odds, at least until I rounded two corners chasing the guy and ran right into a nice little nest of soldiers. There were about 10 of them and just one of little old me. I powered up my shield, but they had some pretty heavy duty firepower,” Jolee answered.
“That’s not good odds even for a Jedi. What did you do next?”
“I did what any self-respecting new Padawan would do in that situation. I turned and ran! Never go for one-to-ten odds when you can skip back to your buddies and even things up. I figured an Echani general would about cover it in the odds department. I just about flew back to her. I don’t know if she was just done uploading the program or heard me coming with what sounded like a herd of banthas behind me, but she was ready. We teamed up, and swords and blaster bolts started flying. It was like a regular fireworks show! Heh-heh! I managed to make pretty quick work of two of them with what I thought was pretty good lightsaber technique—it only took me a couple strokes to deflect the blaster bolts and close on them, and then a few more swings of my saber finished them off.
"That’s when I noticed that Motani had already gone through five of them without so much as breaking a sweat. She carried an Echani double vibro-sword, and it was a sight to behold. She didn’t fight with that sword, she danced with that sword. Another four soldiers had her surrounded. The blade whirled faster than the eye could follow, and in the next moment she attacked one soldier in front of her, whirled the blade a little and caught the guy behind her, and then rotated it quickly to get the last two. Talk about efficiency of motion. We got out of there fast after that. I would have been a little bit of scorch on the floor if she hadn’t taken out all those fighters,” Jolee concluded.
“So, did the upload program work?” I asked.
“Worked like a charm for the longest time. We got a ton of information on where Exar Kun and Ulic had bases along with their plans for continued conquest. We even programmed in a few fake bases, and then took out their troops when they arrived thinking it was one of our real bases. It was a fabulous deception. Once one of their computer gurus caught on to what had happened, I ran the ‘mother’ program.”
I inquired, “what did the ‘mother’ program do?” with a smile playing across my face.
Jolee answered, “well, it shut down the failsafes and overloaded the reactors. The place went up in one giant lovely fireball, and that was the end of that spy base. Too bad Exar Kun wasn’t conveniently visiting the facility right then. That would have changed the history books for sure. But just as their computers all locked up, the display on every single screen read ‘Your mother is a schutta and your father is bantha poo-doo.”
I could barely keep from guffawing. Only the brewing darkness quelled my mirth.
Jolee sniffed the air faintly, “Yep, I can smell the anticipation and fear, they must be about to attack.”
“I haven’t been able to figure out what they’re going to do, yet.” I stated.
“Most of us can sense things well, but it takes time to get enough of a handle on thoughts to predict their future plans in detail,” Jolee replied, and then added almost silently, “I’m going to head towards the front. Play along, and hopefully we’ll be able to stop this before it starts.”
Jolee dropped into what I called his ‘best old man imitation’, hunched over a little and shuffled into the aisle, following the 2 men up front who had gotten up. They were striding purposefully towards the pilots. Jolee walked right up behind one of the men and asked where the refresher was. I shook my head at his daring. The 2 men were obviously military-trained—they walked with a certain confidence and held their arms away from their bodies as miltary men used to carrying weapons often do. In fact, I thought I detected a small bulge of a weapon under each of their dark jackets. The look on their faces was battle-hardened and not pleasant. Suddenly, I realized they were smugglers or hired assassins, bent on taking over the ship.
I searched the small group of travelers. There were a couple of Twi’lek men, dressed in business outfits and preoccupied with their work. A large family sat nearby, relaxed and chattering happily about the vacation that they were just starting. They were debating vigorously and loudly about whether to go on amusement rides first or swim when they arrived at their destination. A second small family sat away from the others. This family was quiet, nervous. The mother’s eyes darted everywhere in fear, and the father sat tensely upright. The small girl played at their feet with her doll. A couple seats away from them were 2 men in dark suits, but they also must have been military, with their short hair, muscular build, and alert eyes. They sensed the disturbance only moments after Jolee and I did. It occurred to me abruptly that they were guarding the family, and their full attention was now on the thugs that were talking quietly with the pilots. I decided enough time had elapsed so that I could join Jolee up front and hopefully put a stop to what had to be the planned abduction or assassination of the little family.
“Jolee? Jolee? Where did you go?” I asked, making my voice carry through the small transport.
Good, I thought to myself, I now have the attention of both of the family’s guards and one of the thugs up front. I got up and walked towards the front. As I approached, I could see the other thug with a small blaster pistol discreetly pressed against one of the pilot’s heads. The pilot’s hands were frozen above the controls.
“Eh, what was that?” Jolee said, emerging from the refresher and pretending to have not heard me calling.
“I was beginning to wonder if you had wandered somewhere you shouldn’t, Jolee. I wouldn’t want to disturb that nice little family over there,” I said, nodding in the direction of the family and the two guards. Jolee’s eyes showed that he caught my meaning that they were the probable targets.
“I’m going to go say hello to the pilot. We pilots have to do that, you know,” he replied in his best doddering voice, and shuffled over towards the pilots.
The thug who had been watching me slipped his hand under his jacket and sauntered over as Jolee approached.
“You both ought to go sit down,” he said, coolly but with a faint tone of menace in his voice.
Jolee pretended not to notice the undertone. He beamed at the thug, and said cheerfully, “I came to see if one of these fine pilots flew with me in my squadron.” He clapped the thug on his back, startling the man, who obviously expected Jolee to take notice of the hint of the blaster peeping out from under his jacket and obey his order.
The other thug was not so subtle. He looked at Jolee with his dead eyes, and sneered menacingly, “Old man, I think you better listen to my friend before I decide to shoot you. This fine pilot decided he had a hearing problem, and I really don’t like that.” With that, he fired a shot into the pilot, who immediately slumped forward against the controls, throwing us off course wildly.
“Get down!” ordered one of the family’s guards, blaster in hand and targeting the thug who had just killed one of the pilots. Jolee and I ignored him and ignited our lightsabers. We pressed towards the assassins as the guards started shooting at the thugs.
“Deflect those bolts down, Jae, or we’ll be sucking space when the hull gets breached,” Jolee yelled over the noise. “I’m taking ‘Ol Meany here” he said, motioning towards the man who had just killed the pilot. “Call me old man, huh?” he muttered, swinging his lightsaber swiftly into action.
Peering over to the other would-be killer, I sensed a conflict—he didn’t want to hurt that family’s little girl, I realized. I said to him, “You have a choice to do the right thing right now and put the weapon down.”
“Shoot them all!” screamed the other assassin. Shrieks erupted from both families and the Twi’leks, and there was a flurry of activity as they all dove towards the floor trying to escape the imminent danger.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Jolee trying to ease himself in front of the remaining pilot to try to shield him. I took up a position between the killers and the family, hoping to protect them from any stray shots. The family’s guards recognized us as Jedi, but must have been too excited to stop their own attack on the killers. One of the guards fired towards the thug I was challenging, but missed, and the bolt flew towards the remaining pilot. Jolee deftly deflected it down and returned to his standoff with the killer. The other guard fired towards the killer as well. The thug shot at me, but my deflection skills held firm, and the bolt bounced harmlessly down off my saber blade. I made a tight circle with my blade, and suddenly the hand holding the blaster was severed. The thug grabbed his arm as the pain lanced up it. He howled with the agony, eyes screwed shut.
“Hold your fire! We’re handling it!” I yelled over at the guards, who either didn’t hear me in the excitement or chose to ignore me.
Jolee deflected some more blaster bolts they fired in the direction of both their opponents and us. The killer saw Jolee occupied momentarily and looked over at the family. I followed his eyes and saw with horror that he had a bead on the little girl, who had stood up when she heard all the commotion. I could see her large brown eyes wide with fear and her mother trying anxiously to pull her down out of harm’s way. The killer fired. I saw the bolt flying, and willed the speed to intercept it before it could hit the child, almost making it.
My jump provided an opening for the guards, who wasted no time taking advantage of it. They fired, and the thug I had been fighting dropped to the ground, badly wounded. One of the bolts blasted off of his armor and hit the remaining pilot, who collapsed in pain. Jolee neatly deflected a shot from the killer before cleaving him in two. Both parts and the blaster dropped to the ground in a steaming heap.
“Blasters down, now!” Jolee’s voiced boomed through the small ship. With the would-be assassins now laying on the ground, the guards complied and started checking over the families.
Jolee looked over at me on the ground and ran over, with great concern in his eyes. “You’re hurt, lass,” he murmured sympathetically. He found a medpac and applied it.
The medpac helped the pain but only slightly. My leg felt like it was on fire and I grit my teeth, trying to will the pain away so I could enter the healing trance I badly needed. It was incredibly difficult to concentrate with the knifing pain and everyone else’s fear swirling around like a thick fog.
“I think I’ll be OK. I tried to jump and deflect the blaster bolt that nut shot at the little girl. I misjudged a little, and the bolt hit my saber hilt and then bounced off of it into my leg,” I grimaced and continued, “Is the little girl all right?”
“The girl’s just fine, but she’s scared, like everyone else. One pilot’s gone, and the other pilot’s injured, but I should be able to heal him enough so we can finish the flight to Coruscant—we’re almost there. The families look fine, if scared. One of the Twi’leks took some collateral fire but it’s very minor. I took out the killer, and it looks like one of the guards got this other one after you, uh, disarmed him.”
“Geez, Jolee, I can’t believe you just said that. That’s sick.” I groaned and laughed and immediately regretted the action because the pain became agonizing when I moved.
“Someday you’ll be that irreverent. Use your healing skills. The healing trance won’t work as well right now because of your injury, but it should hold you until we get to the planet. I have to go do some healing on the pilot so we can bring this transport in safely,” he got up from his crouch and went up to front of the ship to do just that.
The world faded out as I entered the meditation state for the healing. The bleeding slowed and then stopped, and some of the tissues started to close around the wound, when suddenly I felt the flicker of life in the assassin that I had fought. My concentration broke and I leaned over to examine him. Indeed, he showed faint signs of life.
“Jolee,” I called out, “he’s still alive, but I don’t know if he’ll make it.”
Jolee came quickly with another medpac, the last one, and applied it to him. “I don’t know if he’ll make it either, Jae. I don’t have enough energy to keep the pilot and ship going and heal this one, too. I have to go back up front right now or we won’t be able to land this thing safely,” and he returned quickly to the pilot.
There was the flicker of life, and something else—a faint touch of goodness that still lit his heart and had to be saved. I knew he couldn’t kill the family. I rolled over slightly to his side, biting off a cry of pain so that I didn’t disturb Jolee from his concentration—we would need every bit of his attention if we were going to land safely. The roll dislodged one of the clots in my leg and it started to bleed, but I thought it would be slow enough that I could expend some of my energy to keep him alive as well. I closed my eyes in meditation, and concentrated on keeping the faint light of his life glowing….
Sounds wafted through the darkness. Doors opening. A little girl, crying. Jolee yelling, “we need medics, now!” Dozens of feet running, equipment clattering, many voices suddenly speaking all at once. “Her condition is critical. We need the life support equipment now!” “I don’t know how she did it, but he’s going to make it after all.” I smiled at that last one as the sounds faded to nothingness.
Wow! What else can I say? My patience paid off. :D
Good job again Jae. Sounds a bit like Bastilla and Revan with the preserving of life and all. I can't wait to see more.
Very good fic-tasticness, I can't wait to see where it goes. :)
The redemption theme/saving people is big in the SW movies--Yoda saving Anakin and Obi-wan when he could have struck down Dooku, Luke saving his father, saving the twins, and so on.
I'm betting Jolee was a bit of a scoundrel in his young days, eh? ;)
Again, keep up the freat work.
Another great Chapter Jae. Jolee sure has some interesting stories.
Fantastic job Jae! Superb storytelling mixed with some good descriptive action in this chapter. I can't say enough good things about your Fic. I really laughed out loud at the "Disarmed" comment by Jolee. :) Keep up the great work!
Hey Jae, I think it's a great story so far and very well written you have a very good literary "voice".
I liked the beginning where Vandaar speaks more like Yodo, I could hear that croaky little voice in my head :)
My only real criticism would be from a readability point of view, although your formatting has improved from the beginning. I would just break up the paragraphs more and try and keep dialogue separated as it makes it more effective to the reader. Use more line breaks especially between different speakers. That's it really.
I can't wait to read more!
Yep, the formatting is making me a little nuts--how it looks in Word and how it looks on the forum can be two very different things. The story's very dialog heavy since it's in first person, so I'll have to space just about every line. :xp: :) However, it shouldn't be a problem to go back and edit these to improve it, and I'll try to take care of that tonight. Chapter 5 should be out in a few days, too. It's moving along a little faster than I expected. :D
I know the feeling I recently posted Ch 3 to Heart of the Guardian. First person is not an easy thing to do because there is this tendency to switch all the way to the third person. Still I like the work you are doing Jae.
Don't be too hard on yourself Jae, it's just really different reading on a computer or actually in a browser to reading word, then it is to say reading a book or a newspaper.
You also don't have to do exactly like everyone else, I for instance tend to use a lot of line breaks and very short paragraphs and try to seperate dialogue out almost completely which isn't really the way a book, for instance, would be formatted necessarily. I do it though because I am trying to make sure the impact of what I want to get across isn't lost to someone skimming with a browser.
Actually posting my fanfics is all new too me anyway so I should probably just shutup :)
:) Oh, I didn't see your comments as complaining at all. You're right, the spacing will improve readability, and that's A Good Thing. I was grousing more about not being able to have it format the same in my word processing as it does online--hubby can attest to the fact that I like to be as efficient as possible, so in my ideal world the format would look fabulous in both places with me only having to format it once. I didn't mean to make it sound like I didn't appreciate the constructive criticism, because I did appreciate it. :D
JediMaster12--yep, 1st person is a challenge, and kind of fun to work in. Most of my writing has been for my history major or reports, and those are never 1st person. I've caught myself more than a few times trying to write 'Jolee thought this...' and then having to figure out how to turn that around into 1st person mode. It certainly makes the creative process interesting. :)
I don't know why I took so long to read your fic, Jae Onasi. You're writing some great stuff here!
Looking forward to more "Adventures" and thanks for sharing.
Hello folks! Chapter 6 may take a bit--I have to do my taxes and write a long report by the end of the month, and that's going to eat up some time. In the meantime, I'm leaving Chapter 5 for you, because I can't stand waiting for the resolution of cliffhangers any more than you all can. :D
Thanks Hai Wan, and I'm glad all of you are enjoying it. When I started writing ch. 3, the bees weren't even a thought. I was musing about Elorri'ani's penchant for attracting wildlife, and I think hubby and I got into a discussion briefly about beesting anaphylactic shock (we're in the med field, yes, that's normal conversation for us. :D ), and all of the sudden I could picture poor Elorri'ani looking up, seeing a swarm of bees, and saying to himself, "Oh, sh--, not _again_!". That image plus the irony of something so small taking down something so powerful was too good to pass up. :)
Here you go!
Chapter 5: Talin Kayl
The darkness completely enveloped me. I drifted weightlessly through it, and saw a light far away. It seemed to beckon to me, warm and inviting. Far away I could hear faint voices through the silence. I couldn’t understand them. They sounded so strange, like murmurs of a river. One voice seemed to carry a little farther, and I strained to hear it.
“Jae, it’s me....” it faded in and out. Confused, I moved towards it. Another voice joined the first, drawing me closer.
“Jae, come to us you must. Not ready are you to merge with the Light.”
I knew those voices, my mentors….
“That’s right, Jae, we’re your friends. We want you back with us. We need you here. Come back to us, please.”
Jolee! My friend, my master. I heard other noises intruding urgently and it irritated me.
“The life signs are still very unstable, but she responded positively to you both. Keep talking to her. It might be our only chance to save her.” I wanted to hear my friends instead.
“Back to us now you must come. Care for you we do. Wish for you to be with us we do.”
Suddenly, a shimmering figure appeared before me. I had never seen him before, yet I felt like I always knew this man who obviously was a Jedi Knight. He was taller, but height was hard to tell in the murkiness. His hair was dark, but his eyes were a piercing blue that lit up his face. There was a strength in his countenance and form that showed even in his spirit self.
“I thought you might be a little lost in all the dark,” he said, gently. His caring spirit radiated out around him.
“The man still lives, doesn’t he? I didn’t feel him joining the light,” I said.
“He lives,” he answered simply.
The news released the burden that weighed on my soul. I felt free again. I asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m Talin Kayl. I’m here to help you find your way back. Take my hand, and I’ll lead you out now.” He warmly stretched out his hand, reaching for me in the shadows.
I looked longingly at the warm light, but knew in my heart that my destiny was not leading me there now. I put my hand in Talin’s. There was controlled power in his hand, yet he did not grip mine to coerce my compliance. He would respect my decision if I let go of his hand, but I held on. Together we walked back to the world we knew.
“Life signs are starting to stabilize, Master Vandar, Master Jolee. Now the kolto will be able to do its work.” I saw Talin’s form start to fade.
“Don’t leave me!” I called to him, fearing that the darkness would overtake me.
Talin smiled. “I’ve been here the whole time. We’ll be near when you awake. Rest, now.”
Finally, I felt a blissful sleep come over me.
The noise was not loud, but brought me gradually out of sleep. The kolto was starting to drain from around me out of the tank. I sank down with it, too weak to stand.
Two 3MD droids came to assist. “Your strength will return as the effects of the kolto wear off. It should only be a few more days,” one of them said. I could hardly lift my arms to put on the fresh dry robe they brought, and one of the droids helped with the soft, tan clothing before they carried me over to a nearby bed.
One of the droids inspected my leg where I had been hit while the other droid reviewed some of the monitors on the bed. The extensive wound had completely filled in, and there was fresh skin entirely covering over the wound. Only the pink color of the new skin and the fine lines marking the edges of the injury gave any indication that anything amiss had ever occurred. I slowly moved my leg for 3MD as it requested, feeling the stiffness but no pain. I was amazed that such a simple action could be so exhausting. I laid my head back down on the pillow, my auburn hair still damp from the kolto.
“You did a nice job healing the wound,” I noted, my voice hardly more than a whisper from the weakness. “It doesn’t look like it will even have a scar.”
3MD commented, “Thank you. Your wound has not caused any permanent damage and your leg should recover full function shortly. It is important for you to rest now. You lost a great deal of blood when the damaged large artery re-opened and the wound started to bleed heavily. It will take a few days more for you to recover.”
It finished its examination and pulled a light blanket up over me. My eyes felt heavy, and I gave way to sleep once more.
After some unknown time had passed, I heard the 3MD droid speaking quietly. “She will recover fully, Master Bindo. She is awakening now, if you wish to visit briefly.”
Jolee peeked his head around the door, and seeing I was awake and waving for him to come in, smiled broadly and walked through the door. “You’re up! I didn’t want to disturb you if you were still sleeping.”
“I’ve been sleeping so much, I think I’ve slept half my life away. How long have I been here?” I asked him, trying to sit up a bit. Even that little effort was tiring, frustrating me somewhat.
“About 10 days. Lie back. I’ll pull a chair over so you don’t have to crane your neck up.” He brought over a chair and sat down. “How are you feeling?”
“Better than when I got out of that tank. I’m just very tired, and I still can’t get that awful taste of kolto out of my mouth,” I answered, making a face and swallowing against the dryness. My mouth was still parched, which didn’t help get rid of the taste, either.
Jolee grinned, “Yes, it is rather like having a mouth full of tach fuzz, isn’t it?”
I made a mental note to ask him later about his apparent personal experience with both kolto and tach fuzz.
His demeanor changed and became more serious. “Your injuries were a little more extensive than either of us thought when we were on the ship,” Jolee stated, the concern of the last week and a half crossing his face, though he tried to suppress the feelings quickly.
“The people on the ship—they’re all OK?” I inquired.
Jolee recounted the story to share the details he had learned. “Everyone is fine except for the would-be assassins and that one poor pilot. The Twi’lek recovered nicely; he was only slightly injured. The large family is fine—none of them were hurt at all. The pilot, Inali, came out of the kolto tank about 4 days ago and should be going home tomorrow. I didn’t know if he was even going to make it to Coruscant because of how bad his injuries were, but he has a strong spirit and so he pulled through. He’ll make a good Jedi, actually, if cranky old Vrook can be convinced to take in another older apprentice. He’s strong in the Force.”
I smiled at the thought of Jolee and Vrook verbally sparring over the possibility of taking on an adult apprentice.
He went on, “The two men who tried to seize the ship were merceneries hired to take out the smaller family. Apparently, that family was being transferred to Coruscant on the same charter as us so that they could testify against a particularly vicious Exchange boss on Telos. That boss is bad—practically eats children for breakfast, and with the family’s testimony, the Republic should be able to step in and do something about it finally. The authorities are still trying to figure out how these two assassins managed to slip by all security to board the transport. The man I took out was beyond hope.”
“That explains why the family was so nervous,” I said. “You know, the hunter I was fighting couldn’t kill the girl. He carried the blaster like a seasoned warrior but the good in him wouldn’t allow him to murder a child. I just couldn’t let him die.” I declared, rather emphatically.
“You won’t get any arguments from me on that—I understood what you did, even if some of the other Jedi here don’t necessarily agree—they think you risked yourself unnecessarily.” Seeing the incredulous look on my face, he held up his hand to forestall any arguments. “Never mind them, you did the right thing. I just wish I had the strength to keep you from all this, but if the pilot wasn’t conscious to help me bring in the transport, we would have crashed,” said Jolee, the regret spilling out.
“Jolee, you had to save the pilot and the ship. There was no other choice or we wouldn’t be here having a nice little chat. I didn’t think the injury was this bad, either,” I observed, patting his arm lightly to show I understood.
“The blaster bolt hit one of the large arteries in your leg, but you had healed it enough that it had stopped bleeding when I went over to see how you were. When you turned over to help heal the merc as well, you started bleeding again heavily. You lost a lot of blood before I realized what you had done,” he added, a bit apologetically.
For a moment, I thought his eyes glistened with tears. The sight of a fellow Jedi laying unconscious in a large pool of blood must have been very painful, even for someone who had seen as much of life and death as Jolee.
“There’s nothing to be sorry for, Jolee. You had to save the pilot and the rest of us on the ship. I had to save that man,” I stated, simply.
Jolee swallowed back the lump in his throat and changed the subject, saying, “Well, it’s a good thing you did save him. His name is Miron, by the way. He came out of the kolto about 3 days ago, and he’s here under guard. He was a hired gun for that Exchange boss—Miron’s Republic ex-military from the Mandalorian Wars. Once he realized what the Exchange wanted to do to the little girl and her family, he thought better of it. He’s decided to become a witness against this boss. He knows a lot about the Exchange on Telos that can seal the case for the Republic.”
“Miron’s a marked man whether he testifies or not—I’m glad he’s doing the right thing,” I responded.
“Protected he will be,” said Master Vandar, entering the room and walking over to my bedside, “Testify he will, and from the Exchange, hidden he will be.”
Jolee made a move to vacate his seat for him, and Vandar made a motion with his hand indicating Jolee should stay seated. Behind Master Vandar was the man I had seen in that terrible darkness--Talin Kayl. He was indeed tall, perhaps a good 8 inches above my own height, and I wasn’t a short woman. His dark brown hair was nearly black, and those same piercing blue eyes I had noticed in the nether world studied my own light blue ones. He wore the plain brown robes typical of many Jedi Knights, but it did not hide his muscular form. He stood with an air of confidence, almost superiority. I tried again to sit up to greet both my new visitors. My body betrayed me, and I could barely raise my head up, much less achieve a sitting position.
“You don’t need to get up for us. Your recovery will take longer if you don’t allow yourself time to heal.” Talin said. His voice was carefully controlled, neither too loud nor too soft, and there was an underlying power in his speech. However, I sensed a faint condescension in his manner, and a touch of displeasure about something, though I could not identify it.
“You were the one I met in the darkness. I appreciated your assistance,” I thanked him.
“I wasn't sure if you'd remember after all you've been through, but my name is Talin Kayl. It's a pleasure to meet you finally. I’m honored I was able to help,” he replied formally with a slight bow.
“Quiet you all must be,” Vandar commanded, holding his hand up to silence us all. He placed his hand upon my forehead. His green skin was well wrinkled and slightly rough, but his touch was gentle. He flexed his hand one time to adjust his fingers into a comfortable position on my head, closed his eyes, and began to concentrate. I felt a wave of warmth pass through me, and abruptly, some of my strength returned. He removed his hand, gave a small sigh, and with a little smile, opened his eyes again. “Better you feel, no?” he asked.
“Much better,” I replied, now able to push myself up to a semi-sitting position.
“Good. Here you must stay several more days. When recovered you are, before the Council you and Master Jolee must come.”
Jolee raised his eyebrows in question. Vandar turned to him, saying “Master Jolee, have you join us in meeting the Council wishes. To us come in one hour. Information you will give and receive then. Come, Jedi Talin, and leave Padawan Jae to rest now.” Vandar smiled at me once more, and then he turned and left.
“Hopefully, we will meet again soon under more pleasant circumstances, and certainly less risky,” Talin said smoothly, with a slight smile.
His faint tone of disapproval, though carefully masked, was unmistakable, almost as if he were chiding an apprentice for getting into trouble, and I viewed him curiously. His tone and attitude seemed at odds with the person that I met in that murky other-world. I sensed our next meeting would occur soon.
“Thank you again for your help,” I stated, not having the energy to take offense. Indeed, I was very thankful for his rescue.
“You are welcome,” he replied, leaving the room.
Jolee watched both of them leave. He sat back in his chair and pensively rubbed the beard on his chin. “Well, that was interesting,” he said, finally. I tilted my head a little in question, and nodded for him to continue.
“Talin reminds me a bit of Andor,” he mused.
“The same Andor you told me about whose arrogance caused him to get himself killed and yet alter the political course of an entire sector for centuries to come?” I asked.
“Will wonders never cease!” Jolee exclaimed with a grin, throwing his hands up in the air and waving them around as if he were rejoicing. “A young person who actually takes time to listen to her elders! You make me proud, Jae,” Jolee pretended to wipe tears of joy from his eyes.
Chuckling, I waved a hand, motioning for him to go on.
“Yes, that Andor. Talin has that same supreme sense of self-confidence that Andur had. If he’s not careful, it’ll be his downfall, too. Andor had a way of making you believe that he knew the right path without a shadow of a doubt. I remember one little story,” he said.
I shifted a bit in bed to make sure I had a comfortable position and settled down to listen. No one ever knew how long Jolee’s stories could be.
Jolee pretended to be offended. “I’m hurt! I said it would be a ‘little’ story,” he sniffed, holding up his finger and thumb close together to indicate it was indeed supposed to be very short.
He went on, “Andor and I were apprentices about the same time, and during our lightsaber construction class we both were assigned components and crystals for our lightsabers. Well, Andor dozed off briefly during the instructions—he’d been out a little too late the night before romancing his then-girlfriend Nomi. He woke up in the middle of the lecture, but he didn’t realized he’d missed anything. Well, he missed the most important part, which is how to set the central crystal properly so the blade extends out straight. I knew what steps he had missed while he was inspecting the inside of eyelids, and I tried to tell him how to place the crystal. Andor was true to his personality, though, and set the crystal according to how he felt it should be. Then, rather than having one of the masters double check it to make sure the blade wasn’t going to shoot out sideways and kill him, he decided to ignite it. Well, he got his first lesson on humility that day. Just as I was walking over to him to tell him to hold off on igniting his saber, I suddenly saw the blade come out at a diagonal. Actually, that was pretty good considering he'd missed three-quarters of the instructions. The edge of the blade hit the emitter, and it made the emitter overload. The entire lightsaber just about exploded in his hands. He tossed it away instinctively, and it fell under a window. The sparking set one of the curtains on fire, and suddenly all we could hear were the fire sirens. Then the sprinklers went off and water poured down all over us. Andor had a fantastic head of hair—thick, brown, and wavy, and he liked it arranged just so. However, that beautiful head of hair was no match for the fire suppression systems, and the next thing I saw was Andor running around in frustration in his soaked robes, with his hair just plastered to his head. It was an amazing sight, I’ll tell you.” Jolee chortled.
“It’s a wonder he didn’t get expelled from the order for his pride,” I noted.
“He probably would have, but the masters sensed his destiny swirling around him even then and knew he had to stay. However, he had to do some penance, and ended up cleaning all the apprentice dorms for the next 2 months. His pride calmed down, at least for a little while,” Jolee finished.
“Do you think Talin is in danger of following in his footsteps?” I asked, still amused at the idea of the proud Andor scrubbing floors.
“Like Andor, he has a great destiny,” Jolee declared. “I just hope it doesn’t involve falling into reactors and blowing up ships again.”
Jolee got up from his seat and put the chair away. “I suppose I should go see what the Council has for me now. I’ll come bore you with more history tomorrow.” He stood by the side of the bed and gave me a gentle fatherly squeeze on my shoulder. “I’m glad to see you’re doing better. I was worried for a bit there, and I’ve grown rather fond of you, you know.”
I briefly laid my hand on his to show the fondness was mutual and said, “What do you think the Council is going to say?”
“Hopefully nothing annoyingly effusive about how ‘great it was’ that I’ve ‘changed the course of history on Telos by saving the pilot and delivering the family safely.’ Sometimes they just go overboard when a simple thank you is more than sufficient,” he responded. “Now be a good Padawan and rest,” he gave a little wave as he left the room.
Feeling suddenly very tired, I laid down to sleep off the rest of the kolto effects. The image of the self-satisfied Talin Kayl crossed my thoughts briefly before I dozed off.
Another great Chapter. I think Jae was in a dream before wasn't he? Great as always.
1. Jae is a girl. ;)
2. Excellent job Jae. Your writing is so beautiful. It just flows so well and always has a point to it. I could definitely stand to learn a thing or two from you. You really do capture Jolee very well by the way, actually I would say perfectly. This Talin kayl has me interested. I am going to go out on a limb right now and say that he is a Sith in disguise. :) Can't wait for your next chapter!
I love how you took Jolee's account of Andor with his Force-swirling destiny from KotOR and incorporated it into your story. I'll patiently await the next chapter since you took the time to set expectations that it will be a little while.
Taxes--does look like we'll get a refund, which is always nice. In the ideal world we'd pay just enough so that we wouldn't have to pay or get a refund (that way, we aren't loaning the gov't our salaries), but getting a refund is always nice just the same.
Yep, Jae's a girl. :)
We'll see where Talin goes in the story, eh? ;)
RenegadeBore, for me, anyway, I think the best way to improve writing is to do it a lot (and I did a ton of writing for my history major :) ) and have fun with it. That's something you're already doing here so you're ahead of the game, too. :D Writing non-fiction doesn't always transfer over to creative writing, but it helps. I still have a lot to learn, too!
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