This is my personal adaptation of the Jedi Apprentice novels. As they are young reader novels, they can be rather short at times, and lacking deep explanation. I will be adding to that. Much of the original text from the novels by Dave Wolverton and Jude Watson will remain the same, though a lot will be added, and slight story elements might be changed.
Remember, all storylines belong to Dave Wolverton (for this one) and LFL.
Jedi Apprentice: The Rising Force
Twelve-year-old Obi-Wan Kenobi desperately wants to be a Jedi Knight. After years at the Jedi Temple, he knows the power of the lightsaber and the Force. But he cannot control his own anger and fear. Because of this, Qui-Gon Jinn will not take him on as a Padawan apprentice.
Now Obi-Wan is about to have his first encounted with true evil. He must face off against unexpected enemies--and face up to his own dark wishes.
Only then can his education as a Jedi truly begin.
The red blade of his opponent’s lightsaber hissed through the air, its wielder attacking and defending in a steady rhythem. Obi-Wan Kenobi was not able to see the red gleam of the blade through the blindfold that was impeding his vision. His ally in this battle was the Force; telling him at which moments to attack, block, and duck.
The searing heat of his opponent's blade nearly burned him as it slashed overhead. The air had the aroma of lightning.
"Good!" Yoda called from the sidelines of the room. "Let go. Let your feelings guide you."
These words of encouragement spurred Obi-Wan on, his techniques sharpening and his focus being more on the battle than ever.
Because of his height and strength for a twelve-year-old, many assumed that he would have an excellent advantage in battle. But strength and size meant nothing where agility and speed were needed, and they did not have any affect on a person's ability to use the Force, something that Obi-Wan was still trying to master.
Obi-Wan listened intently for the sound of his foe's lightsaber, for his breathing, for the scrape of a shoe against the floor, for any sound that would give away the next move of his opponent. The chamber they were battling in was small but with a high ceiling, and sounds echoed loudly, aiding in a contestant’s perceptions during the battle.
A random jumble of blocks and other obstacles littered the floor, adding another element to the already difficult battle. The Force had to be used to sense these blocks as well, making the battle dangerous if you are not paying attention. With such uneven footing, it would be easy to lose balance and take a potentially fatal fall if it were a real battle and not a training duel.
Behind Obi-Wan, Yoda warned, "Keep your guard up, you must, Obi-Wan!"
Obi-Wan immediately raised his lightsaber to a defensive position, and then dropped and rolled to his right as his foe slashed his lightsaber into the ground where Obi-Wan had been moments before. He took a leap back over a pile of blocks, and heard the swish of his opponents lightsaber once again hit the spot where had he just been.
His opponent’s strikes started becoming clumsy, motivated by irritation and fatigue.
The sweat trickling under Obi-Wan's blindfold became more abundant, causing his eyes to sting. He blocked it out, and also tried to block out his pleasure at his opponents clumsiness. Focusing on the battle itself should be foremost, not his emotions caused by the battle.
He did, however, begin to imagine his opponent as a Togorian, and himself as a fully trained Jedi Master. For Obi-Wan, things like this helped heighten his skills, and raise his confidence in battle. In his mind's eye, he could see his opponent as the Togorian, his fangs as long as Obi-Wan's fingers, the armored creature glaring at him through eyes that were nothing more than evil green slits, the enemy showing off its claws that could easily rip a human's skin from his bone.
This vision gave him renewed energy and determination, helping him diminish his fears. Within moments, his every muscle was tuned to the Force, every thought focused on battle. The Force moved through him, giving him the agility and speed that he so needed.
As his opponent’s blade slashed down, Obi-Wan swung his blade up to block the blow. He leaped up, then in mid-air turned the leap into a somersault that took him over his attacker's head, and he thrust his lightsaber down where the Togorian's heart would be.
"Aagh!" The other Jedi student howled in surprised rage and pain as Obi-Wan's blade struck his neck. For training purposes, they were using lightsabers set on a very low power, so the impact would only cause a minor sizzle instead of a killing blow. Usually the healers did not even need to tend to the wound, though from time to time it was needed.
"That was a lucky blow!" the defeated apprentice cried.
Until that moment, Obi-Wan had not known who he was fighting. He'd been led into the room blindfolded, and neither he nor his opponent had been allowed to speak. But now he recognized the voice. It belonged to Bruck Chun, his rival, and one of of the oldest trainees in the Temple.
"Bruck," Yoda said calmly. "Leave your blindfold on. A Jedi needs not his eyes to see."
It didn't stop him. Obi-Wan, blindfold still on, heard Bruck's blindfold be thrown to the ground. "You clumsy oaf!" Bruck yelled at Obi-Wan, his voice filled with anger.
"Calm yourself, you must!" Yoda warned in a tone that he rarely had to use.
Every student at the Temple had a personal weakness. Obi-Wan unfortunately was all too aware of his: each and every day was a constant struggle against anger and fear. For him, the Temple was just as much a test of character as it was of skill and knowledge.
Bruck struggled with more intense anger; anger which could easily ignite into rage. He was usually able to keep it under control, so that others only rarely got a glimpse of it.
Bruck also held grudges. About a year before, Obi-Wan had tripped in a Temple corridor, which caused a chain reaction and tripped Bruck as well. It was, of course, an accident, caused by the fact that both boys were growing too fast to properly adapt to their changes, but Bruck remained certain that Obi-Wan had done it on purpose.
Bruck's dignity was very important to him, and he was constantly seeking approval from the other students. So, he turned it into a joke on Obi-Wan, calling him an oaf--then Oafy-Wan. And, unfortunately for Obi-Wan, the name had stuck.
Obi-Wan felt that the worst part of it was that it was true. Obi-Wan often felt that his body was growing too fast, and he couldn't seem to catch up with it. He knew a Jedi should feel comfortable with his body, but Obi-Wan still felt awkward. Only when the Force was flowing through him did he feel sure of himself.
"Come on, Oafy," Bruck taunted. "See if you can hit me again! Come on, do it one last time before they chuck you out of the Temple, Oafy!"
"ENOUGH!" Yoda yelled. "Learn to lose as well as win, a Jedi must, Bruck. Go to your room, you will."
Obi-Wan tried not to let Bruck's words anger him. In four weeks, he would turn thirteen and have to leave the Temple; it is standard procedure for all apprentices. If they didn't have a master by the time they turned thirteen, they were sent away from the Temple to do service work. As Obi-Wan's birthday drew closer, Bruck's taunts became more and more common.
He hadn't heard any rumors about Masters coming to the Temple to look for apprentices, which was a very bad sign--he may never have another chance to prove himself to the Masters before he was sent away from the Temple. He was afraid that he would never become a Jedi Knight, and that fear caused him to be angry--enough so for him to speak without thinking.
"You don't have to send him away, Master Yoda," Obi-Wan said. "I'm not afraid to fight him without his blindfold, and with mine still on!"
Bruck's cheeks turned red, and his eyes narrowed. Yoda nodded, showing that he heard Obi-Wan's words. Deep down, Obi-Wan hoped that Yoda would send them both back to their rooms to get some rest, as he was exhausted.
However, after a long moment, Yoda said, "All right. Continue. Use the blindfolds you must. Much to learn, you both still have..."
Obi-Wan sighed inwardly, cursing himself for speaking too quickly and condemning himself to more lightsaber combat. And, he realized, Yoda was doing this to help teach him a lesson.
Obi-Wan tightned his blindfold, readying himself for battle. He swallowed his fatigue and forced his muscles to obey, tapping strongly into the Force to give him strength. He tried to enter the battle as though he wasn't fighting Bruck, as though his chance to become a Jedi Knight was almost up, and as though there was nothing wrong in his life. He once again visualized Bruck as the Togorian.
Obi-Wan felt the Force flowing through him and around him, the light Force caused by all the Jedi in the Temple, and the dark ripples in the Force coming from his opponent. His instincts told him to match that anger, to increase that anger and use it against his opponent, but his Jedi training told him otherwise. Anger is the path to the dark side, and should be avoided at all costs in combat.
He shifted into a defensive stance as Bruck lunged toward him, blocking his opponent's strike, allowing the Force to guide his motions. He blocked the next blow just as easily, and jumped up to avoid a low sweep, landing slightly off balance. This allowed his opponent to strike harder at him, but Obi-Wan got his lightsaber up just in time to block the blow, and then attack his opponent.
For several minutes, their blades clashed and separated, burning the air around them, the energy of battle being the sole focus in the room. They fought together as if in a long practiced dance, each blocking the other's attacks, pulling back, moving, striking, and repeating.
Let him see that I'm not clumsy...let him see that I'm not stupid...and let him remember it for years to come...
Obi-Wan's robes began to become drenched with sweat, his muscles burned and ached, he was out of breath, panting for air, but he still refrained from attacking in anger and desperation. He tried not to concentrate on the fight itself, but instead on the flow of the battle. He lost himself in the flow, and soon he could not even sense his weariness.
Bruck continued to slow down, his attacks becoming slower and slower. Obi-Wan no longer had to jump away from Bruck's attacks, but instead could merely block them, until finally Bruck gave up out of pure exhaustion.
"Good, Obi-Wan," Yoda said. "Learning, you are."
Obi-Wan deactivated his lightsaber and hung it on his belt. He tried to wipe the sweat from his face with the blindfold, but it was too soaked to do much good. He glanced over at Bruck, who was doubled over, panting, and avoiding eye contact with Obi-Wan at all costs.
"You see," Yoda said, "to defeat an enemy, perfect skill you do not need. If defeat the anger and rage inside your opponent, you do, your enemy he is no longer. Rage, the true enemy is."
Obi-Wan understood what Yoda meant: if you wear down your opponent, you won't have to fight them any longer. And it is not your opponent who is the enemy, it is his anger, rage, and hatred that is the enemy. If you can wear those emotions out of an enemy, then he is no longer your enemy.
However, Bruck's gaze told Obi-Wan that he had not defeated his anger, and had just tired him out. He could tell that this battle was not yet over, even if it was for the moment. In the long range, it would be ongoing for a long time, until both of them could come to a compromise.
Both of them turned to Yoda and bowed; the standard end of duel ritual in the Temple. "Enough for one day," Yoda said. "Tomorrow, a Jedi Knight comes to the Temple. Seeking a Padawan, he is. Rest you will need."
Obi-Wan made an attempt to hide his surprise. Usually, he would have heard a rumor by now of a coming Knight or Master, but he hadn't heard even the smallest whisper of his coming. The rumor in advance allowed the trainees to get prepared both physically and mentally if they were hoping to be chosen as an Apprentice.
"Who is coming?" Obi-Wan asked casually.
"Seen him before, you have, Obi-Wan. Master Qui-Gon Jinn."
Obi-Wan's spirit lifted a little, as he had always heard good things about Qui-Gon. He had been to look for apprentices many times, but had always walked away empty handed, as if he were looking for the perfect apprentice.
Then Obi-Wan remembered other rumors that he had heard about Master Qui-Gon. Rumors that Qui-Gon had lost his old Padawan in battle, and had vowed to never take another one, rumors that his old Padawan had fallen to the dark side, rumors that his Padawan simply left the Jedi for his own personal gain. Many were not sure which was correct, and only few knew for sure, none of whom would share that information.
Qui-Gon came to the Temple at least once a year, looking at trainee after trainee, never choosing one, always leaving to fight the darkness alone. Obi-Wan's hopes felt dim again. Qui-Gon had rejected so many trainees before, so what made him think he would be the one lucky enough to be chosen?
"He won't want me," Obi-Wan said in defeat. "He's seen me fight before, and didn't want me then, and won't now."
Yoda squinted at Obi-Wan, looking at him seriously, contemplating what to say to Obi-Wan to make him feel better. "Hmmph! Always in motion, is the future. Too sure, one can never be, Obi-Wan."
Something about Yoda's tone and choice of words made Obi-Wan curious. "Will he choose me?" he asked.
"On Qui-Gon that depends--and you, especially," Yoda replied. "Come back tomorrow and fight, you will. If your ally the Force is, perhaps choose you, he will." Yoda stood up and looked thoughtfully to Obi-Wan. "Either way, it matters not. Leave the Temple soon, you shall, no matter which path you take. Sorry to lose such a talented pupil, I am."
Obi-Wan was surprised but pleased, and he looked at Yoda. A compliment from the old master was very rare, which is what made Yoda's opinion so valued by all. For the moment, Obi-Wan felt that he had earned Yoda's respect, and that meant a lot to him.
Yoda turned and walked slowly from the room, the sound of his cane hitting the floor echoing in the small chamber. Bruck began to laugh, the sound startling Obi-Wan; he had forgotten Bruck was still in the room.
"Don't get your hopes up, Oafy. Yoda is just trying to make you feel better. The Masters won't be able to force you onto any masters. There are plenty of other better candidates than you."
Obi-Wan stiffened in anger, trying not to make a stupid move. He knew that Bruck was trying to provoke him, and did not want to fall victim to temptation. Obi-Wan really wanted to point out that Bruck wasn't one of those better candidates, but managed to keep his mouth shut.
Obi-Wan had only taken a single step when something hard, sharp, and metal hit the back of his head. The sound of it hitting the back of his head echoed in the chamber. Once Obi-Wan was able to get up, he realized Bruck had thrown a training probe. As Obi-Wan turned to face Bruck, his oppenent powered up his lightsaber, its red light dully illuminating the room.
"Ready for another round?" Bruck asked.
Obi-Wan looked into the empty corridor. Yoda was gone, and no one would see if he gave Bruck the beating he deserved. Bruck was often cruel, but never so bold as to call Obi-Wan out for a battle like this. Obi-Wan realized that he was still being provoked, and Bruck was trying to get him to lose his temper. But what Obi-Wan couldn't figure out why... Then the thought came to him.
"You knew all along that Qui-Gon was coming to search for a Padawan, didn't you," Obi-Wan asked, as the suspicion hardened and he was certain that Bruck was trying to get him kicked out of the Temple. Obi-Wan was the oldest of the trainees at the Temple, and therefore is the next one to leave if not chosen by a Master.
Bruck laughed. "I made sure you didn't find out, Oafy. If I'd had my way, you wouldn't have found out until after he had left."
It was obvious to Obi-Wan that Bruck wanted to become Qui-Gon's Padawan. But then again, why wouldn't he? Bruck was almost as old as Obi-Wan, and therefore would be leaving soon too. But he wanted to make sure Obi-Wan didn't end up with a Master.
So now Bruck was trying to fuel Obi-Wan's dark emotions, trying to bring Obi-Wan to give in to his anger, to strike out at Bruck. Obi-Wan knew that his own impatience and anger had hurt him in the past, and didn't want it to happen again. Bruck hoped to fuel his rage so that Obi-Wan would not be as open to the Force. It was definitely attempted sabotage...
Obi-Wan had been raised in the safety of the Temple, shielded from the outside world for his whole life. He hadn't seen true greed or hatred, but at this moment he could feel true hatred and ruthlessness in Bruck. The dark emotions flowing from his rival were purely of the dark side, and should be felt by a Jedi.
Obi-Wan didn't want to let Bruck know how important the visit from Qui-Gojn was to him. He just couldn't let Bruck know that he'd caused the fear of not getting a Master rise in him, fear that his life would go downhill very quickly. Bruck wanted nothing more than to make Obi-Wan fearful and angry, and Obi-Wan could not give Bruck that satisfaction.
Obi-Wan smiled. "Burck, three months from now, when you turn thirteen, I hope you make a great farmer." It was one of the worst insults a Jedi trainee could use on a peer, it was suggesting that not only would Bruck not find a Master, but all he was suited for was farming, a very lowly job.
Bruck charged at Obi-Wan, lightsaber waving, giving a strong attack for how weary he was. Obi-Wan spun to meet his attack with a cry of surprise, then hoped he hadn't made too much noise. They traded blows for a long time, gradually slowing down as time went on. Eventually, both were so tired that they could hardly move, and neither won. They exited the training room slowly, heading toward the bedroom chambers.
Both had lost. Bruck had let hate take him over, and Obi-Wan had been baited into battle and lost his own control as well.
As Obi-Wan was heading for his chambers, Bruck took a detour up a lift tube, down a hallway, and toward the medical wing of the Jedi Temple. Bruck limped slowly into the medical chambers, pretending to be hurt much worse than he really was. When the medics saw him, their first question was "What happened?"
"Obi-Wan Kenobi..." Bruck panted, and pretended to black out. The healers stared at him for a moment, then one of them ordered a droid to go notify the Council immediately.
Obi-Wan Kenobi was placing bandages upon his burns, thinking of ways that he could impress Qui-Gon the next morning and perhaps be chosen as his apprentice. He considered different strategies, ways to improve his fighting skills, things he could possibly say that would make him seem worthy of being Qui-Gon’s apprentice.
He was hoping beyond all hope that he would be chosen. He was the oldest trainee still in the Temple, and therefore needed to be chosen before anyone else if he was to succeed as a Jedi.
He heard a knock at the door, and got up and opened it. Docent Vant, a Jedi Knight, entered the room. She had a sullen look to her blue face, and her Twi’lek head tails were twitching nervously. She handed Obi-Wan a data pad, and suddenly all of Obi-Wan’s hopes and dreams were shattered.
He read the data pad three times before it could completely sink in. He was being ordered to report to a transport to the planet Bandomeer—a planet he had never even heard of in the Outer Rim—to join the Agricultural Corps. He realized that his taunts of Bruck had just slapped him in the face.
“Hey, it isn’t that horrible…” Docent Vant said. She was trying to comfort Obi-Wan, but it wasn’t doing any good. Obi-Wan was upset, and there wasn’t anything that anyone could do to change that right now. He needed to work this out on his own time.
“I just don’t understand,” he said. “I still have four weeks until my birthday.”
“I know,” Docent said. “But the ship you are to leave on tomorrow, the Monument, leaves tomorrow morning, with a thousand miners aboard. It can not wait just because it isn’t your birthday yet.”
Obi-Wan slowly started looking around his room, too shocked to reply. Overhead, three model Verpine fighters droned near the ceiling, models he had made himself. They were held up by repulsorlift fields, and their lights were flashing blue and green as the fighters floated about. Miniature, insect-like pilots swiveled their heads, as if they were looking around the room. Books, charts, and other personal objects were piled on his study table. His lightsaber was hanging in its usual spot on the wall, easily in reach in case of some strange emergency.
It was his home. He could never imagine leaving the Temple to work in the Agri-Corps, his whole life had been here, how could it be taken away from him unfairly? The only way he could imagine leaving it was for the life of an apprentice. But certainly not to become a farmer!
Obi-Wan knew he would never become a Jedi Knight now. Bruck was right, he conceded bitterly. Yoda really had been trying to make him feel better. There really were plenty of more highly qualified students than Obi-Wan. It just wasn’t fair!
The shock and despair made him feel nauseous. He raised his gaze back to Docent. “I could still be a Jedi Knight. Somehow…”
Docent touched Obi-Wan’s hand, smiling warmly. Then she shook her head, her expression turning sullen. “Not everyone is meant to be a warrior, Obi-Wan. The Republic needs healers and farmers, too. There are many other ways to be great than by proving yourself in battle. You character is more important than your fighting skills. Your talent will help feed hungry people, not kill them! You’ll be preserving life, Obi-Wan, you should be proud to have that opportunity as well.”
“But— “Obi-Wan wanted to protest, to say he felt cheated out of his future, that he deserved more time. “It’s a job for rejects, failures, those too weak to become Knights. Qui-Gon is coming tomorrow, Yoda said I should fight for him, and there was a chance I could be accepted!”
Docent shook her head. “That was before the Council learned what you did to Bruck Chun. Did you really think you could get away with something like that?”
Obi-Wan sat there, staring in horror. How could have been so blind as to not see Bruck’s intentions on a larger scale? Bruck must have faked being injured worse than he was, faked a story to get Obi-Wan in trouble. It was so simple, and yet so effective. He wanted to say he was innocent, but though he was innocent of true harm, he was guilty of falling into Bruck’s trap. Bruck should not have needed healers—except to support whatever story he made up.
Obi-Wan now knew for sure that he would never become a Jedi Knight. He knew that he had now truly failed, and deserved nothing more than to become a farmer.
“This is not the first time you have allowed your anger to take control of your actions, Obi-Wan,” Docent Vant said. “But I certainly hope it is the last. Now, try not to look so upset. Tonight you need to pack your bags and say goodbye to your friends. I know it will be hard, but it must be done. The galaxy is a large place. Even if you don’t want to see them, they will want to see you.”
She left, closing the door softly behind her. Obi-Wan was now alone with his thoughts, alone with his guilt, and alone with his grief. The only sound in the room was of the model fighters flying overhead.
There was nothing else he could do but to pack his bags. Obi-Wan felt too devastated and embarrassed to say goodbye to any of his friends. Hopefully they would understand his position when he was gone the next day. He couldn’t even speak to his best friend, Bant.
He figured they would be upset if he left quietly, but in the end they would have to understand. His friends would want to know the details, and then word would spread around, and he would be laughed all the way out of the Temple by his rivals.
The truth was that Bruck had set the trap and he had walked right into it. And there was nothing he could to do to change that fact. He had made a bad decision and shown poor judgment, and was now suffering for it. He realized that he may not make a very good Jedi if he fell for such simple traps as the one Bruck led him into.
Obi-Wan threw himself back onto his sleep-couch. He realized he had let Master Yoda down, and had failed the Jedi Order as a whole. His one last chance was now blown, and he had to live with that fact for the rest of his life. However, he tried not to let himself seep into the dark side, as that would only further lead him away from the Jedi. The least he could do would be to keep conforming to their standards, even if he was no longer a Jedi.
Yoda had always told him that anger and fear drove him too intensely, and that if he didn’t learn to control them, they would lead him down a path he didn’t want to follow: the dark path. “Befriend them, you should. Look them in the eye without blinking. Us faults as your teachers, you should. Then, rule you, they will not. Rule them, instead, you will,” Yoda had advised him once. Yoda’s wisdom was in his heart, and always would be. How could he have failed to follow it?
In the outside corridor, he could hear everyone else getting ready for bed. Goodnights were exchanged until finally the lights powered down and halls grew silent. He could feel the peaceful nature of the students all around him drifting into sleep, but it did not help sooth him at all. If anything, it hurt him worse, that all these people could live perfectly happily while he was here suffering.
There was a soft knock on his door. He contemplated whether he should pretend to be asleep or not, but sensing a familiar presence, he opted to get up and open the door. His best friend Bant, a female Calamarian, stood in the doorway looking at him. She wore a green robe that complemented her salmon colored skin. Her clothes smelled moist and salty; she’d just came from her room, apparently, which was always kept warm and steamy to mimic air coming off of a warm sea. She came from the planet Mon Calamari, which was mostly comprised of oceans.
She looked at all Obi-Wan’s bruises and burns, gave him a disapproving look, and shook her head. She then saw his packed bags on the floor, and a very hurt expression crossed her face. “You were going to leave without saying goodbye?” she asked, blinking back tears. “You were just going to leave?”
Obi-Wan thought about his answer for a few seconds before replying. He didn’t want to hurt yet another friend’s feelings. “I’ve been assigned to the Agricultural Corps,” he said, hoping that she’d understand. “I wanted to say goodbye, Bant, but it’s just too hard…”
She shook her head. “I heard you were being sent to a planet called Bandomeer.”
So, everyone knew already, Obi-Wan realized. He nodded to Bant, not sure what to say now. She stepped forward and embraced him a hug, tears streaming form her eyes.
“Yes, that’s where I’m going,” Obi-Wan said. He returned the hug. He realized his destiny had already been laid out for him in the last few hours. He was to be a farmer for the rest of his life. What a great destiny, he thought.
“Did they tell you it could be dangerous?” she asked.
Obi-Wan shook his head. “No. Its just the Agri-Corps. How dangerous could it be?”
“I don’t know, Obi-Wan. We are not to know.”
“We are to do,” Obi-Wan added, completing a phrase that both he and Bant had heard many times from the Masters, usually when asked to do tasks that the trainee did not understand the importance of.
“Miss you, I will,” Bant joked, mimicking Yoda’s unique speech pattern. She blinked back more tears, looking deeply into Obi-Wan’s own eyes.
“So sorry, I am,” Obi-Wan answered. He tried to smile, but could not force himself to do so. Bant hugged him again, and then left hurriedly out of the room, trying to hide her emotions.
The next morning when Obi-Wan woke up, his minor wounds and burns had healed, partly due to the self-healing techniques performed by Jedi, and partly due to the large quantities of medicines the Jedi Temple kept in stock. No matter how quickly his body healed, however, the wounds in his heart would take a much longer time to heal.
As he exited his room and went into the busier areas of the Jedi Temple that morning, he couldn't help but think it would be the last time he would see the Temple. He headed into the dining room, where many Jedi students were already eating breakfast. He got some food, and sat down with some of his friends; Bant, Reeft, Garen Muln, and a few others.
All throughout the meal, his friend Reeft kept asking everyone for their food. Reeft had an unnaturally large appetite, and therefore was hungry almost all the time. Whenever mealtime arrived, even after having his own share of food, he was always scouting for food donors.
Even though Obi-Wan had not eaten anything the night before, he was still not hungry, mainly due to the mood he was in because of the situation. He was afraid to eat because he wasn't sure he could keep it down, and nothing really sounded appetizing to him anyway.
"It won't be so bad," Garen Muln said to Obi-Wan. "At least you're going on an adventure of sorts." Garen had always been restless, which Obi-Wan believed was the basis of this comment. Garen was always wanting to go somewhere, do something, be in the action. He had even received stillness exercises from Yoda when he was younger to ease some of his energy.
"And you'll be around food," Reeft added, obviously still thinking about the meal.
"Who knows where each of us will end up," Bant commented. "Each of us has a different path ahead of us."
"And each of them will be unexpected," Garen said. "That's what Yoda has always said. Not everyone is meant to be an apprentice."
Obi-Wan nodded distantly. He knew his friends were trying to cheer him up, but at the moment it was only making him feel worse. The fact that as of right now, all of them still have plenty of time to become an apprentice made him feel worthless. No matter how friendly they tried to be, they all still knew that his hopes and dreams of becoming a Jedi Knight had been crushed the night before.
Obi-Wan looked around, noticing the general flow of the students around him. Many would glance over at him, look away, then either continue eating or make a comment to a friend. It seemed that the news about what had happened to him had spread pretty quickly. He could tell that while many felt sorry for him, they were all glad that it had happened to him and not to them.
He could hear loud conversation from Bruck and his friends, all making loud comments about Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan's gaze caught Bruck's, and Bruck's gave him a daring look, begging him to start another fight.
"Just ignore him," Bant said. "He's just trying to make you look bad."
Obi-Wan turned away to finish his meal, and about that time a rather large, orange Barabel fruit landed right on his tray, having been thrown from across the room. Juices squirted all over those at the table, but they all tried to ignore it. Obi-Wan looked around to see what was going on, and saw that Bruck had gotten up and walked partway across the room to throw it.
"Plant it, Oafy," Bruck taunted. "I hear they grow just about anywhere."
Obi-Wan started to get up and retaliate, but Bant put her hand over his and held him down, attempting to calm his nerves. Obi-Wan looked Bruck in the eyes and smiled, keeping himself in complete control for once. He's just trying to make me angry...how often in the past have I been played like this? I won't lose my chance to become a Padawan this time… Though, underneath his calm outlook, rage was still burning deep down within him.
Just then, Reeft muttered, "I don't mean to be greedy, Obi, but are you going to eat that Barabel fruit?"
Obi-Wan nearly burst out laughing at this. "Thank you, Bruck," he said. He scraped the fruit off the table and placed it in a cup. "The people of Bandomeer should be very happy with your kind gift—the gift of one farmer to another."
In the upper room of the Jedi Temple, Master Yoda was arguing with the other members of the Jedi Council that Obi-Wan should still have a chance to prove himself in front of Qui-Gon Jinn. They were in the Room of a Thousand Fountains, where fountains, waterfalls, and small brooks streamed through an emerald forest. Outside, a thunderstorm was going on, lightning flashing and thunder booming.
"Allowed to fight before Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi must be this day," Yoda said. A bolt of lightning flashed outside the window, followed by a clap of thunder. Yoda resumed speaking. "I have foreseen something in those two's future…"
"What?" Mace Windu asked. He was a strong, dark skinned man with a shaved head. He collected his thoughts before speaking again, making sure his statement would truthfully reflect his thoughts. "What would be the point? Obi-Wan has only once again proven that he cannot control his anger or impatience in a responsible manner. And Qui-Gon Jinn is not ready for or in need of another reckless apprentice."
"Agree with you on that, I do, Mace," Yoda said. "Neither Obi-Wan nor Qui-Gon are ready for each other. Yet bring them together in time, the Force still may.
Mace asked," And what of last night, the beating that Obi-Wan gave to Bruck?"
Yoda waved his hand, and as he did so, a referee droid appeared from behind the bushes.
"Advanced Jedi Training Droid 6, last night, the fight you saw. Tell us of it," Yoda demanded.
"Obi-Wan's heart was beating at sixty-eight beats per minute," the droid reported. "His torso was faced northeast at twenty-seven degrees, with right hand extended down, clutching his training saber. His temperature was--"
Mace Windu sighed. If allowed to continue, the training droid would take more than an hour just to describe Obi-Wan crossing the room.
"Just tell us who provoked the fight," Mace Windu said. "Who said what, and then what happened?"
The training droid gave an indignant buzz at being hurried along. But after a stern look from the masters, it began telling the story of how Bruck had provoked Obi-Wan into the fight. At the conclusion, Mace sighed. "So, we have one very deceitful boy, and one very foolish one," he said. He looked at Yoda. "What do you suggest?"
Yoda blinked. "Give them both another chance to fail, we should."
Bruck’s red lightsaber crackled and hissed through the air as Obi-Wan desperately made an attempt to parry the blow. For the fourth time in less than a day the two were again pitted against each other in combat, grunting and struggling to keep the fight going as long as possible.
Obi-Wan’s muscles ached, sweat drenched his tunic, and his breath was increasing steadily throughout the duel. Bruck’s strength, determination, and endurance were surprising to Obi-Wan. Had Bruck went easier the night before because he knew that Obi-Wan would be tired today? No, Obi-Wan thought. Even Bruck wouldn’t do that. Bruck was fighting desperately, as if his life depended on this battle. His future certainly depended on it, that much was certain. At that moment, Obi-Wan realized that Bruck was just as worried about not becoming an apprentice as he was.
Even with all his weariness, Obi-Wan could still match Bruck’s toughness with his own. Obi-Wan continued to push harder and harder, never allowing himself to give up. This was his last chance to become a Padawan, he couldn’t give up now.
Bruck’s blade hummed as it angled toward Obi-Wan’s throat. A touch to the throat would signify a killing blow, and Obi-Wan would lose the match. However, he was able to bring his saber up in defense quickly enough to block it.
A murmur from the crowd followed this. All around the match, students and masters were watching. Obi-Wan could not even see them; his every thought focused on the battle with Bruck.
“Fool,” Bruck muttered quietly enough that only Obi-Wan could hear him. “You should never have agreed to fight me. You can not win.”
Bruck’s white hair was tied in a ponytail, and sweat stood out in droplets on his forehead. He wore heavily padded black body armor, which would protect him from any saber slashes made by the training sabers him and Obi-Wan were dueling with. The opponents had both managed to nick each other, but the strikes had not been firm enough to warrant a victory.
As the duel raged on, many of the younger trainees cheered, calling our encouragement to Bruck or Obi-Wan. All of them had heard of the fight last night, and were very interested in seeing the rematch. Somewhere in the distance, Obi-Wan heard Bant shout “Courage, Obi-Wan! You’re doing well!”
“You mean that you can’t win!” Obi-Wan countered to Bruck scornfully as their lightsabers clashed again. “Your failure today will prove to everyone that not only are you a loser, but you are a liar.”
The Masters had decided for them that the fight would be without blindfolds. Bruck’s face was close to Obi-Wan’s now, and unlike the sanctioned duel of day before, Obi-Wan could see the hatred glaring in Bruck’s eyes. He saw a future mapped out for Bruck, one in which anger ruled him and he hated everyone who opposed him.
Obi-Wan reached out to the Force, feeling it flowing though him and around him. Bruck was the one who stood between Obi-Wan and his dreams, the one who had mocked him, the one who tricked him. He pushed hard against Bruck, and saw surprise in his opponent’s eyes.
He took advantage of Bruck’s surprise and aimed an attack toward his face, lowering it at the last second and aiming it at Bruck’s chin. Bruck managed to block the attack, and swing low toward Obi-Wan’s feet. Obi-Wan easily jumped over the blade, bringing his own blade back toward his opponent.
As a young child, Obi-Wan had been taught that flashy attacks only wasted energy that would be needed later in the duel. Instead, he had been trained to fight defensively, blocking blows with small movements, or to avoid the attack completely. He tried to take this advice to heart, but at times it was easier said than done.
As Obi-Wan parried more of Bruck’s attacks, he could suddenly feel Qui-Gon’s eyes on him. He remembered that Qui-Gon was sometimes seen as a rebel, and at that point, Obi-Wan felt like he wanted to be seen in the same light.
Instead of waiting to catch on to Bruck’s varying fighting styles, Obi-Wan decided to press the attack, hoping to end the duel more quickly. Bruck tried to block the attacks, but they were just too fast and powerful for him to keep up anymore.
Obi-Wan now held his lightsaber in both hands, further strengthening the intensity of his blows. Bruck fell back, sprawling on the ground. His lightsaber switched off, sliding across the floor. Bruck barely had time to roll over before Obi-Wan’s lightsaber came slamming down to where he was mere seconds ago. Bruck grabbed his lightsaber and turned it on, but it was too late. Obi-Wan slammed his lightsaber down toward Bruck, knocking his lightsaber out of the way and landing the strike right between Bruck’s eyes, singing his hair and skin.
Bruck cried out in pain as the lightsaber burned him, and Yoda yelled “Enough!”
All around the arena, trainees yelled and cheered at the outcome of the battle. Bant’s eyes portrayed her happiness, and Reeft was smiling very widely. Obi-Wan stepped back, bending over to catch his breath. Sweat was running down his face; his muscles aching from exertion; his head swimming with dizziness.
Even among his pain, he had never felt such happiness at having won a duel. He glanced around and saw Qui-Gon Jinn watching him. The Jedi master gave him a brief nod, then turned to speak with Yoda.
I’ve won, Obi-Wan thought. Qui-Gon looks impressed, he’s sure to take me as an apprentice!
He tried to keep his emotions in check as he bowed to Yoda and the rest of the Masters. As soon as the match was officially over, he raised his lightsaber into the air, waving it triumphantly. He grinned and pointed the lightsaber playfully toward several of his better friends. Perhaps, he thought, he’d won not only a lightsaber battle but the battle of becoming an apprentice.
As Obi-Wan walked off toward the dressing chambers, cheers were still ringing from the dueling chamber. He showered and changed into a fresh tunic, and was tossing his dirty tunic into the laundry when Qui-Gon walked in. Even though Qui-Gon was a large man, his footsteps were silent.
“Who taught you to fight like that?” Qui-Gon asked. The Master had rough features, but at the moment his face was sensitive and thoughtful.
“What do you mean?”
“Students in the Temple rarely attack so viciously. You are taught to defend yourself and wear your opponent down, conserving your strength. Yet you fought dangerously. You left yourself open to attack many times, Obi-Wan, and you relied upon your opponent to take the defensive stance.”
“I wanted to it end it quickly,” Obi-Wan said. “I felt that the Force allowed it in this situation.”
Qui-Gon studied Obi-Wan for a long moment. “I wouldn’t be so sure of that. You can not always rely upon your enemy to take the defensive stance, especially in the real world. Your fighting style is dangerous and too risky.”
“You could teach me better,” Obi-Wan said evenly. He realized it probably wasn’t the best thing to say in this situation, but it was worth a try. He was openly inviting Qui-Gon to take him as his Padawan.
But Qui-Gon merely bowed his head in thought. “Perhaps I could, young one,” he said thoughtfully. The words caused hope to rise in Obi-Wan. But just a moment later, his hopes were dashed.
“Or perhaps no one could,” Qui-Gon continued. “You were angry with the other boy, and he with you. I could sense it from the both of you.”
“Yes, we had previous conflicts that led to that anger. However, that is not why I wanted to win.” Obi-wan locked eyes with Qui-Gon, trying to imply that he had fought to impress the Master, and to show him how well he could serve him.
Qui-Gon watched Obi-Wan intently for a long moment, still staring at him…through him, it seemed. Hope rose in Obi-Wan again. He’ll ask me now, Obi-Wan thought. He tried not to get his hopes up too high, but at this point it was unavoidable for him.
But Qui-Gon merely said, “In future fights, suppress your anger. A Jedi Knight never exhausts himself when battling a stronger foe. And never expect your enemy to miss an opportunity to do you harm.”
Qui-Gon turned and headed toward the door. Obi-Wan stood there, confused. Qui-Gon was not taking him as his apprentice; that much was certain to Obi-Wan right now. He was merely giving out advice, much like all Masters do. Obi-Wan couldn’t just let him walk away—he couldn’t let his dreams die.
“Wait!” he shouted. When Qui-Gon turned, Obi-Wan dropped to one knee as a sign of humility. “If I was wrong, it only means I need the best teacher. Will you take me with you?”
Qui-Gon stared intently at Obi-Wan for a long moment, then slowly replied. “No.”
“Master Qui-Gon Jinn, I will be thirteen in four weeks,” Obi-Wan said. The truth was tough to admit, but he had to say it. “You are my last chance for me to become a Jedi Knight.”
Qui-Gon shook his head sadly. “It is better not to train a boy to become a Knight if he has so much anger. There is risk that he will turn to the dark side, and I don’t…”
With that, Qui-Gon spun on his heel and walked swiftly toward the door, his cape waving behind him. Obi-Wan stood up again. “I won’t turn,” he said confidently. But Qui-Gon didn’t even slow down. Within seconds, he was completely gone. Obi-Wan’s last hope for a great future had disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
For a long minute, Obi-Wan could do nothing but stare at the spot where Qui-Gon had just been standing. The shock took a few moments to wear off, then turned into deep sorrow. He now had no choice but to leave the Temple forever; leaving for a life of farming, one meant for those unworthy of becoming something great.
His bags were packed and in his room. All he had to do was pick them and he would be ready to leave on his long journey to the other side of the galaxy, a journey to a planet he had never even heard of.
He lifted his head up. Even though he would never become a Jedi Knight, he decided that he should at least leave like one. He stood up, and strode off toward his room. He grabbed his bags and headed back down the long hallway that led to the landing platform.
He took his steps slowly at this point, taking one last look at the Temple. He passed many places that he had spent his whole life seeing, the meditation chambers, the Room of a Thousand Fountains, the classrooms, the dueling rooms. All of them were places he had both triumphed and failed. As he exited the doors to the landing platform, he realized this would be the last time he would ever exit these doors.
He tried to push away his sorrow and look towards the future that had been placed before him with optimism.
But he could not.
Qui-Gon Jinn could not get the image of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s disappointed face out of his mind. He could tell that Obi-Wan had been trying to hide his despair, but it was certainly still there when Qui-Gon had left the boy. He could see it in Obi-Wan’s feature.
Qui-Gon sat quietly in the Temple’s star map room. Among all the rooms in the Temple, this was his favorite. A velvety blue ceiling curved above him in a dome; the only light coming from miniature lights around him signifying stars and planets; all in different colors of the spectrum. He had only to reach up and touch a planet for a hologram to appear, giving details about the planet’s physical properties, surrounding satellites, culture, and government.
Knowledge was easy to obtain here. But when it came to the heart, much was still a mystery.
Qui-Gon kept telling himself that he had made the right decision; that it was better if Obi-Wan did not become a Jedi. He told himself it was the only choice he could have made that would have protected Obi-Wan’s future. He told himself that Obi-Wan had fought dangerously; with too much anger; that Obi-Wan could be dangerous in the future. Deep down, however, Qui-Gon he knew he was wrong.
“He isn’t my responsibility,” Qui-Gon said aloud.
“Certain, are you?” Yoda asked from the entrance to the room.
Qui-Gon turned, startled at Yoda’s presence. “I didn’t hear you,” he said politely. How long had Yoda been there? How many of his feelings had Yoda picked up on? Even after try to convince himself that he had made the right decision, he still wasn’t sure of himself. And he could tell that Yoda knew it.
The truth was that he was afraid to take on another apprentice after what happened with his last one. He still felt guilt over the situation, and did not want Obi-Wan to turn out with similar results. He was still uncertain if his old apprentice’s problems came from his teacher or the apprentice himself.
Yoda walked further into the room. “Fought for you, a dozen students did, Qui-Gon. If choose one, you do not, the dreams of at least one will die today.”
Sighing, Qui-Gon studied a bright red star on the ceiling. “There will be more trainees next year. Perhaps then I will choose a Padawan.” During Qui-Gon’s long years at the Temple, he had almost always enjoyed time spent with Yoda. Now he just wished Yoda would go away and leave him alone. He did not want to discuss the situation right now, but he knew that Yoda would not leave until he did.
“Perhaps,” Yoda agreed. “Or perhaps still reluctant you will be. What of Obi-Wan? Fought well, he did.”
“He fought…ferociously,” Qui-Gon disagreed.
“Yes,” Yoda agreed. “Like a boy I know long ago…”
“Don’t go there,” Qui-Gon interrupted. “Xanatos is gone. I don’t want to be reminded of that mistake.”
“Not of Xanatos do I speak,” Yoda countered. “Of you I was speaking.” Qui-Gon had no answer for this. What Yoda said was true, and he had no argument for it.
“Strong is the Force is Obi-Wan,” Yoda commented.
“And angry and reckless,” Qui-Gon argued; frustration sounding clearly in his voice now. He knew that Yoda was right, but he could not bring himself to admit it.
“Turn to the dark side, not all angry and reckless students do,” Yoda replied thoughtfully.
“I will not train him, Master Yoda,” Qui-Gon said sternly. He hoped that Yoda would understand the finality in his voice and end the discussion. Qui-Gon was very stubborn, and it would take more than Yoda’s pestering for him to choose Obi-Wan as his apprentice.
“Very well,” Yoda said. “Live our lives by chance alone, we do not. If take an apprentice, you do not, in time, choose for you, fate will.”
“Perhaps,” Qui-Gon said distantly. “Where will Obi-Wan go?”
“Work for the Agricultural Corps, he will.”
Qui-Gon sighed deeply. “A farmer? Were there no other options?” What a waste of potential…
“Too late, it is. He is already getting ready to board the ship to Bandomeer.”
“Bandomeer?” Qui-Gon asked in surprise.
“Know the place, do you?”
“Know it? The Senate has requested me to go there. I’m leaving this afternoon.” He caught an interesting look in Yoda’s eyes; as if there were more to this situation than Yoda was willing to admit. “You set this up, didn’t you?” Qui-Gon asked, looking deep into Yoda’s eyes.
“Hmmm…” Yoda sighed. “I knew it not. But more than coincidence, this is. Strange are the ways of the Force.”
“Indeed they are. But why send Obi-Wan to Bandomeer?” Qui-Gon inquired. “It is a terrible, brutal world. If the weather does not kill him, the predators will. He’ll need all of his skill just to stay alive—never mind the Agri-corps.”
“Yes, thought that way, the council did,” Yoda replied. “Good to grow crops, it is not. Good for a young Jedi, it is. Learn many things about nature, he will. Connect with the Force more easily, he will.”
“If he doesn’t get himself killed,” Qui-Gon responded. “You must have more faith in him than I do.”
“My point, that is,” Yoda said, laughing quietly to himself. “Listen harder, you must.” Qui-Gon returned his attention to the star charts after a moment, trying to shut Yoda out.
“Study the stars, you may, Qui-Gon Jinn,” Yoda said as he left. “Much to teach you, they have. But will it be that which you need to learn?”