Obi-Wan Kenobi stumbled. His vision swam and he could
barely tell which way was up. Leaning against the wall of
a house, he felt the sun-warmed adobe heat his cold hands
A moment ago he had been so hot he thought he must be
on fire, but now he felt colder than a Hoth night.
He didn't have much longer now and he knew it. He
pushed himself onward because his mind told him he must try
to find Qui-Gon, but it was beginning to matter less and
less. His illness was overcoming him at last and soon
nothing would matter...
Qui-Gon hurried along at an urgent pace. He did not
even bother telling himself he should relax, or try to be
calm. His Padawan was lost somewhere on this extremely
primitive, backwater planet, dying of an incurable disease.
There was no way he could be calm or rational about that.
He had to find Obi-Wan before it was too late! Qui-
Gon stopped himself, his heart wrenching. There was no too
late, it was already too late. There was no cure for the
unique strain of the deadly Yukuta virus that his
apprentice had contracted.
The best medical minds in the Galaxy could only shake
their heads apologetically as the disease ravaged Obi-Wan's
young body, leaving the formerly strong seventeen-year-old
frail and ailing.
Qui-Gon had felt his heart broken piece by painful
piece as he watched the teenager's body fail him slowly,
watched Obi-Wan slide gradually down the long, painful hill
toward the death that waited for him.
Yet Obi-Wan's spirit had remained strong, even in the
face of this cruel destiny. As his body failed him he
turned more and more to the Force. Qui-Gon had marveled at
how the boy had still been able to laugh, and joke with
him; even about his own impending death.
When Obi-Wan's hands started trembling so badly he
could no longer hold his lightsaber steady he had told Qui-
Gon wryly, "Well, you always were trying to teach me about
searching for the peaceful solution, now I guess I really
need to learn that." Qui-Gon had laughed with him on the
outside, but inside he cried.
Obi-Wan had had angry moments at first, but he had
come to accept his destiny with far more grace than Qui-Gon
was able to manage. Somewhere deep inside, Qui-Gon was
still angry that this had happened. Obi-Wan was so bright,
so strong, so wanting to do right! He deserved better than
Obi-Wan had grown far too weak to continue training,
there was little point to that now anyway, but still Qui-
Gon stayed by his side. He stayed by the apprentice as the
illness devoured him, stayed with him through the long,
sleepless nights of pain that neither drugs nor meditation
could seem to alleviate. Stayed by him through the weeks
of draining examination and testing, through the
hopelessness of every doctor's diagnosis. He would stay by
his Padawan until death did them part. Unfortunately, Qui-
Gon knew that day was very close at hand.
Then this happened.
Obi-Wan had resigned himself to his fate some time
ago, but Qui-Gon still refused to give up. He supposed it
was his fault they had ended up here on this forsaken
planet in the middle of an unknown galaxy.
Qui-Gon had taken Obi-Wan to a well-known healer on
the very fringe of the outer rim. She had done her very
best for him, but in the end, she could do no more than all
Obi-Wan was going to die.
On the way back, a hyperdrive malfunction had sent
them billions of light-years in the wrong direction.
Qui-Gon had no idea where exactly they were; it was
far beyond the reach of any star maps that had ever been
made. They needed to get back, but they also needed fresh
supplies for the long journey. The ship had not been
stocked for so far a side-trek. When they found this
planet, the only one in its solar system that had life,
they put down to re-stock the ship. That's when everything
The people on this planet were very primitive. They
knew nothing of space travel, worlds besides their own, or
even of technology of any sort. Some herders saw their
ship put down and ran away in terror.
Obi-Wan remained on board while Qui-Gon went for the
supplies. However, when Qui-Gon got to the nearest town,
he found that no one here spoke Basic, or any other
language that he recognized. The Jedi was pretty astute at
picking up new languages, but he barely got the chance to
figure this one out before the herdsmen they had frighten
showed up and the whole city turned against him in
He escaped, but barely. He could not reason with
people he could not speak with. When he got back to the
ship, Obi-Wan was gone. There were no signs of a struggle,
but he wasn't sure his Padawan could have put one up
He had almost nothing to guide him but trying to feel
Obi-Wan's presence and touch him through their bond, which
had become so much stronger over the course of this
illness. Obi-Wan's pain made him easier to locate. Qui-
Gon followed it as best he could. That was how he ended up
This city was much larger than the little village he
had entered before and blending in was much easier. The
place already seemed to be teeming with people from all
over the region.
Pulling his dark brown robe closed tighter around him,
the big Jedi strode quickly down the crooked, dusty
streets. If he spoke to no one, they did not notice that
he was a foreigner.
Many people were dressed much like he, in one fashion
or another. Even his long hair and beard fit in quite
well. Now if only he could find Obi-Wan!
He knew the boy's time was running out. There was
nothing he could do about it, but if Obi-Wan was going to
die, he did not want it to be alone on this forsaken
planet, surrounded by people that neither knew him, nor
Qui-Gon sidestepped to move out of the path of two men
who looked like soldiers, which rode on a kind of animal
that Qui-Gon was unfamiliar with. They were wore red capes
and their shiny uniforms glinted in the sun. Qui-Gon had
seen a lot of soldiers in this city.
*"Obi-Wan,"* he called. *"Obi-Wan..."*
Obi-Wan felt alone and lost in the midst of the
teeming crowd. He was too weak to contact the Force, too
far gone even to hear his Master's call. His mind was
cloudy and he was unsure how he had even gotten here.
The illness that had so far ravaged only his body had
now gone into its last stage and attacked his mind.
Obi-Wan didn't know why he had left the ship. He had
felt from a distance that Qui-Gon was in danger, but there
was no logic in his leaving, there was little the weakened
apprentice could have done to help. But Obi-Wan was not
operating rationally anymore. Once out of the ship he had
become lost and confused in the seemingly endless
wilderness. He didn't know how long he had walked until he
came to this city.
Everyone moved about busily, as if they were all
preparing for something, but Obi-Wan neither knew, nor
cared, what for.
A few people had noticed him, or at least that he was
not looking well. They had tried to speak to him, but he
could not understand them. Whether that was because he
could not speak their language or because his illness had
robbed his brain of the ability to understand speech the
apprentice knew not.
He wanted to find his way back to Qui-Gon, but he
realized now that he never would. He was still enough
aware of his body to know that it was going fast. He sank
to his knees on the edge of the street, unable to go
farther. Darkness clouded his vision as people swirled
about him like a river. The crowd seemed to grow thicker
and more excited but he barely noticed. The time had come,
and he was ready.
He heard someone speaking to him, but did not
understand what they said. He couldn't see them. He
couldn't see anything. His world had gone dark.
The man bent over the boy in concern. This young man
was obviously very ill. "He must have come to see the
Master," the man said to his friend when he could get no
response from the lad.
"He'll never make it through this crowd in his
condition," the man's friend shook his head. "Let's help
Obi-Wan felt hands under his armpits, lifting him up,
half dragging, half carrying him. They bore him for a
while, shouldering through the crowd and then stopped.
There was more talking that he did not understand, but it
was sounding farther and farther away. He was so tired, so
A warm hand touched his head. Obi-Wan felt instantly
electrified by the power that came through that hand. It
was unlike anything he had ever felt before. It was so
strong, so fiercely bright, and so wonderful.
He felt it enter his body in an instant, burning up
4his illness, making it evaporate like water on a hot day.
He felt the power move through his every molecule, not only
destroying and removing the virus, but also restoring and
rebuilding all the damage it had done to him.
Obi-Wan opened his eyes. His vision was clear, his
body was strong. He was completely healed. The apprentice
could not understand how, or why, but it was wonderful.
The first thing Obi-Wan saw when he opened his eyes
was the man who had touched him. A man who must have been
in his thirties, but something about him felt timeless to
the young Jedi.
Obi-Wan met the man's eyes and found himself lost in
their incredible depth. He knew in an instant that this
was the most powerful man he had ever met, or would ever
hope to meet, yet he saw no pride, no desire for worldly
power. It was as if this man knew he possessed a stronger,
higher power, one that had nothing to do with the things of
the galaxy, one that was better.
Obi-Wan felt as if the man was looking inside him,
straight at his heart, but it was not an intrusive, or
The Force centered around this man like nothing the
apprentice had ever seen before. Obi-Wan could not exactly
say that the man was strong in the Force, he was beyond
that. It was more like he controlled it, or originated it.
At that moment Obi-Wan felt as if this man controlled
everything. And as he looked at the Padawan it seemed that
he knew everything as well. Obi-Wan felt as if this man
knew all about him, who he was, where he was from,
The man reached out his hand and Obi-Wan took it,
rising slowly to his feet. For the first time in months,
his body felt strong and sure again. "Thank you," he said
in awe, although it seemed terribly inadequate. "Thank
The man smiled. Just looking at his smile made Obi-
Wan want to laugh with the joy that bubbled up inside him.
The man moved on again, the crowd moving with him, but
Obi-Wan could not take his eyes off that man. Falling in
with the crowd, he followed him.
Qui-Gon stopped, stricken. He had felt Obi-Wan's pain
rising steadily as he struggled to pinpoint him. Suddenly,
the pain had stopped altogether and he got no reading from
his Padawan whatsoever.
Qui-Gon leaned against a wall, his heart breaking. He
was too late. Slowly, he pushed off the wall and forced
himself onward. He would not leave Obi-Wan's body here.
He would find it and bring him back to Coruscant for a
proper Jedi funeral. It was the last thing he could do for
Obi-Wan spent the rest of that day, and the next
following the man who had healed him. He did not forget
his Master, but he could not bring himself to leave the
Healer. He knew Qui-Gon would be looking for him. When he
found him, then Qui-Gon could meet the Healer too! Obi-Wan
wanted that very much.
Sometimes crowds gathered around the Healer to listen
to his wisdom, sometimes he was accompanied by only a small
group that Obi-Wan came to regard as his apprentices from
the way they interacted.
Obi-Wan loved to listen to the Healer teach. He had
come to realize that no one here spoke any language that he
knew, but when the Teacher spoke, he understood every word
Everything the Healer taught rung so true, yet there
was much that Obi-Wan did not understand. Obi-Wan realized
that the Master's apprentices did not understand it all
either, but Obi-Wan had learned long ago that some lessons
did not make sense at first, or until the time to
understand them had come.
The other apprentices loved their Master, but Obi-Wan
could feel many conflicting emotions in the group and a
hint of darkness in at least one of them. He wondered if
the Master knew, but how could he not? He seemed to know
everything, yet he seemed very close to the apprentice that
Obi-Wan felt the darkness in, so Obi-Wan supposed that
perhaps he was wrong.
As dusk fell over the city the Master and his
followers made their way to a small, two story house on a
Obi-Wan followed quietly, as he had been doing all
day. He made himself unobtrusive and no one questioned him
as he followed them in. Indeed, they hardly realized he
was there. Obi-Wan had a feeling that the Healer knew, but
the older man made no move to keep Obi-Wan away.
Obi-Wan trailed up the stairs behind them, beginning
to wonder if he should be doing this. The Padawan knew he
was probably intruding. He just wanted to be near the
Teacher... but he respected him too deeply to want to make
a nuisance of himself. Obi-Wan paused outside the door to
the upstairs room and did not follow them in.
For a few moments he watched quietly from the doorway.
The Master was trying to teach his pupils about having a
humble heart, made to serve. Obi-Wan watched in
fascination. This man was so powerful, yet he spoke of
being the servants of all. Obi-Wan understood this concept
well, it was the Jedi purpose; but it seemed even more real
to him now, even more meaningful as the Master sought to
make his students understand.
The apprentices in the room seemed to be having a much
harder time grasping the concept, but Obi-Wan was sure that
they would get it eventually. With such a teacher, how
could they not?
Obi-Wan could feel that somehow, this was an important
time for the Master and his pupils, one he did not wish to
intrude upon. Reluctantly, he tore himself away from the
door and slid quietly back down the stairs and out of the
house. He would wait for them out here.
Night was falling and the stars were beginning to
twinkle. Qui-Gon looked up at the unfamiliar firmament and
Millions upon millions of stars dotted the sky in a
way that one could see only in places like this where there
were no streetlights, traffic, or glowing neon signs to
overshadow and obscure the brightness of the heavens.
High overhead, a shimmery band, like a translucent
scarf made of stars snaked its way across the raven sky.
One never had nights like this on a huge, city-planet like
It was a beautiful sight, but Qui-Gon's heart could
feel no wonder at it. He could feel nothing but sorrow.
Despite his best efforts, he had been unable to locate his
Padawan's body. This city was huge and unfamiliar and the
Jedi was unable to communicate with the people in it.
If nothing came of his efforts tomorrow, he would have
to accept defeat. *"I'm sorry Obi-Wan. I have failed
you,"* Qui-Gon thought sadly.
He was weary, but sleep was not possible for him so he
let his feet take him out of the crowded city. Passing out
of the city gates, he wound his way aimlessly across the
Avoiding a small knot of sleeping people who must have
been camping out, he slowly ascended a hill, overlooking
the slumbering city below.
The night was dark, and it was more than the lack of
physical light that made it feel so. Something about the
night felt sad and heavy, just like his heart.
Qui-Gon leaned against one of the many trees that were
scattered across the hill. In his mind he recalled
everything he and Obi-Wan had been through together. The
good times, the bad. Bandomeer, pirates, Xanatos, Phindar,
Gala, Melida/Dann, the Reliant, Vu Kaa, Driosnia, the camps,
Vtol Prime, the Voths, the spiders... and so much more.
They had spent a lifetime in their mere four years together,
and now Obi-Wan was gone.
Qui-Gon leaned his head back, the soft, warm breeze
ruffling gently through his hair. He knew he should be
stronger than this. He had told Obi-Wan more than once
that death was part of life. But none of that helped him
now. Alone on this backward planet, light years from
anywhere and anyone he knew, his heart was breaking.
Somewhere, not far away, he became aware of another
heart that was also breaking. He could not see the person
in the darkness, but he could feel them. Somewhere close
by on this hill.
The emotion was incredibly strong, so strong it nearly
knocked Qui-Gon off his feet. The pain, the struggle, the
heartbreak, it was as if one heart was baring the weight of
the whole world this night. Yet, under-riding it all was a
strange sense of peace, an acceptance, and a goal.
Qui-Gon pressed his himself hard against the tree,
making its bark dig into his back. In his current state
the overwhelmingness of this other sorrow was too much for
him to handle.
He turned and left the hill quickly. He wished there
was something he could do for whoever was up there, but he
had the strange feeling that whatever was going on was not
something he could interfere with, or even understand.
As he headed back toward the city he passed a large
group of people bearing torches, heading for the direction
from which he had just come. The emotions in their group
were disturbed, angry and fearful.
Qui-Gon quickened his step. This whole place was
swamped in a tense soup of emotions that seemed about to
bubble over at any time. It seemed this city, this
country, and even this whole world was standing on the
brink of something important, something that seemed to
reach even beyond the confines of this planet. Everywhere
he went he felt it, but he didn't understand what it meant.
All he could understand was that somewhere in this city, he
had lost his apprentice, he had lost his friend.
Obi-Wan shook himself awake. It was dark and the moon
and the stars shone down on him from above, seeming to
scowl disapprovingly at him for having dozed off.
He sprang to his feet. He had not meant to fall
asleep. He had only meant to sit down quietly in the
shadow of the alley across from the house where the Healer
was, but weariness had crept up on him and he guessed it
must be nearly morning now.
He looked to the house, but there were no lights in
the windows and the entire street was swamped in shadowy
darkness. Everyone must be asleep. The Master and his
followers as well.
The young Jedi scolded himself for dozing off without
meaning to, but no real harm had been done, so he settled
down once more with his back against the wall. He might as
well go back to sleep now; there was nothing to do until
Morning. The light woke Obi-Wan once more. He rubbed
his eyes and got to his feet. It was still very early and
the last shadows of night were just beginning to melt under
the bright rays of the sun.
He made his way across the street to the house to see
if anyone was up yet. However, when he checked it out, he
found that no one was there. Not the Master, not his
apprentices, not even the owners of the house. They must
have all left earlier still, and Obi-Wan reprimanded
himself once more for sleeping so much that he missed them.
He did not know why, but he felt uneasy. The air
seemed to crackle with tension around him and when he
reached out to the Force he found that it was disturbed and
The street was nearly empty, so he made his way
towards the center of town, hoping to find the Healer along
The closer he got, the more crowded and noisy the
streets became. Anger and fear mingled and clashed in the
air, so strong that they seemed almost audible to his
Something was going on, something very wrong. Anger
pulsed in the air like the hum of a lightsaber, filling
Obi-Wan's body with urgency. Without understanding why,
Obi-Wan broke into a run.
Qui-Gon battled his way through the crowd. They were
angry, upset about something, that much was clear, but he
did not know what had caused this outbreak of hostility, or
what it was about. They all seemed to be heading towards
one of the gates, out of the city.
As he struggled to make a path for himself through the
turbulent sea of people he glimpsed a procession making
it's way slowly down the street.
Qui-Gon averted his eyes, overcome by a sorrow he
could not explain. The sooner he left this place, the
"No! You can't do this! You can't!" Obi-Wan shouted,
even though he knew they could not understand him.
The Padawan struggled fiercely with the soldiers who
attempted to subdue him. Had he had his lightsaber with
him he would have made a fairly easy escape, but he had
left that back on the ship when he had wandered off in
delirium the day before yesterday. As it was, he held his
own just fine anyway.
Flipping away from his assailants, Obi-Wan landed by
an archway and swung himself up. Leaping off the other
side he landed on the ground twelve meters away from them.
More soldiers were appearing, attempting to box him in.
He had to get out of this, he had to get by them and
stop what was happening! He had to! Obi-Wan had almost
never felt so desperate before. This was all so wrong! He
didn't understand why it was happening, but he had to stop
it! He dodged a blow from one of the soldiers' sharp
weapons, twisting around to-
Sharp, horrible pain shot through him. Stabbing agony
lanced through his hands and feet, but no one had touched
him. The shock of it sent him to his knees, stunned. He
knew the pain was not his.
He felt the soldiers' blades press sharply against his
throat as they bound his hands tightly behind his back.
His head spun and his heart ached fiercely. He couldn't
believe this was happening.
"What have you done?" he whispered in shocked horror
as the soldiers pulled him to his feet. "How could you do
this? How could you be so blind! What have you done?"
But the soldiers understood him no more than he understood
A soldier whom Obi-Wan guessed to be higher ranking
than the others because of his more elaborate uniform came
upon the scene.
"What do we have here?" he demanded of his men,
looking Obi-Wan over from head to toe.
"An insurgent sir, tried to disturb the proceedings.
When we attempted to arrest him he resisted capture," the
soldier on Obi-Wan's left reported.
"Trouble maker hmm? What do you have to say for
yourself boy?" the head officer said, tipping Obi-Wan's
chin up on the point of his knife. He slapped Obi-Wan
across the face when the young Jedi did not answer.
"Insolent scum!" he scowled. "Give him a flogging to
teach him better manners," he stared into Obi-Wan's icy
blue eyes. He saw no trace of fear in them. "And do not be
gentle about it," he added contemptuously.
Obi-Wan had not understood a word of the exchange. He
knew the soldier was angry when he slapped him, and knew he
was probably in trouble. Yet all that kept going through
his head was the absolute shock and horror of what he had
seen that morning. How could these people do this thing?
What was it all about? He did not understand.
The soldiers dragged him away.
Obi-Wan drew his breath in sharply and held it.
Pressing his forehead against the wooden post they had
tied his hands to he let his air out and quickly snagged
another breath before the next stroke fell.
He was using all the control he could muster, but the
beating still hurt terribly.
*Snap! Snap! Snap!*
The multi-tongued lash tore his back, leaving it
welted and bleeding. The pain made him dizzy and he
wondered how much longer it could last. The young Jedi
gasped silently as the cruel strokes fell, but he allowed
himself no outcry, much to the consternation of his
Obi-Wan tried to reach out, beyond his pain and find
Qui-Gon, or the Teacher. The Force was strangely
disturbed, swelling and rippling uncontrollably and he
could not harness it enough to reach his Master.
Somehow, even through the turbulence or perhaps
*because* of it, in some strange way, Obi-Wan was able to
feel the presence of the Healer, but the sensation of agony
when the apprentice touched him was too much. Combined
with the pain of the whipping he was already enduring it
nearly flattened him. Obi-Wan cried out involuntarily and
quickly withdrew his mind.
A lone tear traced down his cheek, but it had nothing
to do with the pain of the flogging. *How could they do
that to him? The Healer was so gentle, so wise, so
"Keep it up," one soldier remarked to the other. "I
think we're finally getting to him."
Obi-Wan staggered slightly. The amount of blood he
had lost to the flogging made him a little woozy and the
pain sapped his strength. The soldiers on either side of
him grabbed him to keep him from falling.
Obi-Wan kept seeing the Healer in his mind's eye; he
had been beaten too, worse than Obi-Wan had. *Why?* The
question pounded through his head. *Why?*
The soldiers manhandled the apprentice roughly down
the street. Obi-Wan did not know where they were going,
but he did not care to wait and find out. What he had had
to endure so far at their hand left him less than anxious
to have much more to do with them.
Obi-Wan pretended to stumble again, sinking down to
his knees. As the two soldiers bent to drag him up once
more he rose suddenly, striking them both in the face with
the back of his head.
Using the momentary distraction to leap away he made a
break down the street. Only to run smack into a whole
patrol of soldiers who had just turned the corner.
This place was crawling with soldiers! Obi-Wan barely
had time to regret the luck of it all before he found
himself sprawled face down on the dusty street with several
soldiers holding him down.
"You've done that for the last time boy!" one of the
soldiers growled and raised his sword over Obi-Wan's head.
Qui-Gon found the streets emptier now, most of the
crowd had long ago moved out of the city. All that was
left for him to do now was to get the supplies he needed
and head back to the ship.
Once he had chosen to be alone, once he had pushed
away everyone who tried to come near him, including Obi-
Wan, but the boy had somehow found his way into his heart
despite him. Now he was alone again, but he did not want
A sudden flurry of activity ahead of him drew his
attention. A knot of soldiers stood around a young man,
holding him to the ground. The boy had been recently
beaten and Qui-Gon saw him squirm in pain as they held him
down by his bleeding shoulders, pressing his bound arms
against his raw back.
Qui-Gon felt sorry for the lad, no matter what he'd
done to get to that point. He shook his head. The boy
couldn't have been any older than Obi-Wan...
*WAIT A MINUTE!* Something inside Qui-Gon screamed in
recognition. That was Obi-Wan! It was impossible, but
there he was!
One soldier raised his weapon over Obi-Wan in a manner
that there was no mistaking.
Dust coated Obi-Wan's nose, mouth and lungs as the
soldiers held him down. Suddenly utter chaos seemed to
erupt all around him. The sword flew out of his would-be
A familiar hum sprung to life above Obi-Wan, and the
soldiers scattered, their brave fronts shattered by the
unnatural sight of the glowing sword in the tall man's
Obi-Wan looked up to see his Master standing above
him, lightsaber drawn.
Qui-Gon stooped to help his Padawan up and quickly rid
him of the ropes that had bound his hands. Then, before he
could stop himself, he drew Obi-Wan to him in a fierce hug.
"Obi-Wan," he whispered, barely believing it was true.
Obi-Wan returned the hug for a moment, before the pain
it caused his lacerated back and shoulders made him wince
and draw his breath in sharply. Qui-Gon, suddenly aware of
Obi-Wan's injuries, let go at once.
"Can you walk?" he asked Obi-Wan urgently, there was
no telling when the soldiers would be back, bringing more
Obi-Wan had the same thought. He wanted to be clear
of those soldiers once and for all. "How about running?"
he answered and they beat a hasty retreat from the area.
Qui-Gon watched his apprentice closely. Was this the
same boy he had been with not two whole days ago? Obi-Wan
had barely been able to stand when he saw him last and the
illness had left his body wasted and his face drawn.
Obi-Wan was obviously in pain from the whipping he had
received, but otherwise he seemed whole and well. Qui-Gon
could not understand it.
"Look at you," he said when they finally slowed down,
content that they were far enough away. "What happened?"
Obi-Wan suddenly realized that Qui-Gon had not seen
him since his healing. Had it really been only the day
before yesterday? It seemed forever.
Healing... the Healer... they had to help!
"I wondered away from the ship, I don't know why, I
think I must have been delirious," Obi-Wan explained
quickly, a plan forming in his mind as he spoke. Together,
he and Qui-Gon could stop the execution! "I ended up here
somehow. I was dying," his voice dropped a little. "But
then, then this man touched me. He just touched me and,
and I was well. I've never felt anything like it, he had
such power!" Obi-Wan became excited as he related the
story. "Master, I don't know how, but this man is special,
very special. Perhaps the most important man who ever
lived! But, but," tears suddenly sprung up in the young
Jedi's eyes. "This morning, something terrible happened.
I don't know how, or why. Everyone seemed so very angry
and I couldn't find the Healer," Obi-Wan's story became a
little less coherent as he became more upset, but Qui-Gon
was getting the general idea. He had felt the same unrest
and anger in the people.
"Then I found him," Obi-Wan's voice cracked a little.
"They had him, the soldiers. They had hurt him terribly
and then they took him away, they're going to kill him!
He's done nothing wrong! But they're going to kill him!
We've got to stop them Master! Please! I know we are not
to meddle in the affairs of others without being asked, but
he saved my life Master, and," Obi-Wan didn't know how to
express what he felt. "If only you could meet him Master,
he's, he's wonderful!" Obi-Wan felt like he was babbling
foolishly, but he was desperate to make Qui-Gon understand!
Qui-Gon looked at Obi-Wan. His Padawan's eyes pleaded
with him for action. Qui-Gon had a nasty feeling that the
man Obi-Wan spoke of was the same one he'd seen earlier, in
the procession. He knew nothing of this world, or its
politics, or even why the man was going to be executed.
All he knew for certain was that somehow, the one that Obi-
Wan called the Healer had given his Padawan his life back.
To Qui-Gon, that was worth a few risks.
"All right," he agreed, much to Obi-Wan's surprise.
"They took him outside the city, let's go!"
Knots of people, gathered to witness the executions,
dotted the landscape. Qui-Gon could never quite comprehend
what drew people to morbid occasions like this.
He had slightly outdistanced his Padawan as they ran,
so he saw the hill first. His run slowed to a walk and
then stopped. It was a good thing he was a Jedi, or he
might have gotten sick.
He turned to meet Obi-Wan, running up behind him.
"Obi-Wan," he caught the boy gently by the shoulders,
halting him and half intentionally blocking his view of the
For a moment Obi-Wan looked puzzled, why had they
stopped? Then the look in his Master's eyes told him.
Told him things he did not want to know.
"No, NO!" Obi-Wan cried out, pushing past Qui-Gon. He
looked up... and stopped, transfixed with the horror of
what he saw. They were too late. The execution had
already begun. It was a long and painful process, and a
horrible thing to witness. Obi-Wan was absolutely
speechless. How could they be so cruel?
"I'm sorry Obi-Wan," his Master's soft voice came from
behind him. Qui-Gon meant it. He was sorry. Sorry that
this had happened, sorry they had been unable to stop it.
Obi-Wan had been right. Even now, in the midst of the
terrible agony he was in, there was something deeply
compelling about the Healer.
Obi-Wan's throat was almost too tight for him to talk.
"We can still do something, we've got to!"
"Obi-Wan, it's too late," Qui-Gon tried to reason
sadly. He knew, he could feel that the Healer was almost
"No!" Obi-Wan shouted vehemently. "It can't be! It
can't be too late! You don't understand!" Obi-Wan himself
hardly understood. He turned away. He would go by himself
if he had to!
Suddenly the earth shook beneath them and the sky grew
dark. The crowds milled skittishly about.
"Obi-Wan!" Qui-Gon grabbed the apprentice's shoulders,
trying to reach him through the internal uproar that seemed
to be tearing the very earth itself apart. "Don't you
understand?" he said sadly. "It's over."
"NO! No!" Obi-Wan sobbed. Yet he knew Qui-Gon was
right. The whole world suddenly seemed desolate and dark
and as they headed mournfully back to the ship, Obi-Wan
wondered if the sun would ever shine again.
"Why?" Obi-Wan asked miserably as Qui-Gon treated his
injured back. "Why did he let them do it? He could have
stopped them, I know he could have. He was so strong..."
"I don't know," Qui-Gon answered slowly, even though
he knew that Obi-Wan's question had not really expected an
answer. "Perhaps he had a reason. Sometimes Obi-Wan,
there is more to be gained from dying, than from living."
It did not seem enough, but it was all Qui-Gon could say.
Obi-Wan stared blankly at the far wall.
Qui-Gon shook his head. He was worried about the boy.
He'd been like this ever since the execution. That was
nearly two whole days ago. He was only just beginning to
realize the profoundness of the effect this Healer had had
upon his Padawan.
The ship's supplies were finally restocked. They had
had a bear of a time trying to find any place open today
for some reason.
They planned to leave in the morning and Qui-Gon hoped
that when they left, Obi-Wan would start to become himself
again. "Why don't you get some rest?" he suggested, lying
Obi-Wan lay down, but he couldn't get to sleep, and
when he did finally get to sleep, it was filled with
troubled dreams. Scenes from the execution kept playing
over and over again in his head, tormenting him and leaving
him no peace, no rest in his uneasy slumber.
The Padawan awoke early, long before the first grey
streaks of dawn had begun to break the hold of night.
Not far away, in the darkness to his right he could
hear Qui-Gon's steady breathing. His Master was still
Obi-Wan could not sleep anymore. He tried rolling
over, but that didn't help. He was restless. It was as if
something were calling to him from a distance, what he did
Rising quietly he found his clothes and boots by feel
and dressed in the dark, trying to make no more noise than
a whisper. Silently he slipped out of the ship, leaving
Qui-Gon still asleep.
He felt unresolved, and unsettled, but he fully
intended to be back before his Master woke up. All he
wanted to do was say a last good-bye.
Obi-Wan walked swiftly and quietly across the darkened
landscape. It had taken a little longer than he had
anticipated and the first tendrils of dawn were taking root
in the sky above him.
He knew where the Healer had been buried, and he made
his way there now.
Slipping quickly through the garden around it, he
found the tomb where he thought the Healer had been laid.
Several paces away from its mouth, he stopped.
Obi-Wan ran his hand through his short hair in
frustration. After all this, he had the wrong place. He
had been nearly certain that they taken the Teacher here,
but he must have been mistaken, for this tomb was open and
The apprentice was just turning away when he sensed
someone else close by. He heard the person too, weeping
softly. Looking around he recognized one of the women who
had been close to the Healer.
She was bent over, crying as if her heart would break,
or was already broken. Obi-Wan knew exactly how she felt.
He started to move towards her. He knew she would not
understand him, but he wanted only to comfort her, and
Suddenly, he stopped. The air seemed to have become
charged and his breathing caught, he hardly knew why.
A man that Obi-Wan had neither seen, nor sensed
approach, touched the woman gently on the arm.
"Woman," he asked softly, in a rich, mellow voice.
"Why are you crying?"
"Where is he?" the woman sobbed, without looking up.
"Oh please sir, if you have taken his body, tell me where
it is that I may go and tend him!" she pleaded.
Obi-Wan stared intently at the man. He seemed so
familiar, and yet...
"Mary," the man said softly.
The woman looked up, surprise and joy mingling on her
tearstained face. "Rabbi! Teacher!" she exclaimed in
Obi-Wan's eyes went wide as he too recognized the man.
It was the Healer! That was impossible. Obi-Wan had seen
him die. But there he was anyway! He was alive again! He
Mary left, beaming joy, but Jesus remained, seeming to
Obi-Wan to illuminate the entire garden with his presence.
Jesus turned, and his eyes met Obi-Wan's for a moment.
Once again, Obi-Wan felt as if He knew everything
about him, but it was even more so now. As if whatever
limitations the Healer had accepted to accomplish the task
He had come to perform were now gone and He was revealed in
His utter power and majesty.
The contact was held only for an instant, but it could
have been a lifetime.
Jesus smiled at Obi-Wan, then his gaze flickered
upward, as if to catch the eyes of someone standing behind
Obi-Wan turned and found Qui-Gon standing quietly
behind him, his eyes fixed on the man who was no longer
dead. When Obi-Wan turned back, Jesus was gone, but the
light in the garden lingered, brightening the garden,
brightening the world.
Obi-Wan felt Qui-Gon's hand on his shoulder. "Did you
see Him Master?" Obi-Wan asked, still a little awed.
Qui-Gon nodded slowly. "Yes, Obi-Wan, I saw Him."
The Jedi Master understood now what his Padawan had been
trying to explain to him. "He is everything you said He
was, and more."
The next day found them in their ship, heading back
towards the galaxy that they knew.
"I know we have to get back, but I almost hate to go
Master," Obi-Wan confided as they sat together in the
Qui-Gon just nodded. He understood how the boy felt.
Yet he knew that they must return to their lives, their
"What do you suppose it all means?" Obi-Wan ventured.
"I don't know Padawan. I don't know," Qui-Gon
admitted. "Yet, I feel that we have witnessed something of
vital importance, not only to that planet, but to the
entire galaxy." Qui-Gon was silent and reflective for a
"But why should something of that significance happen
in such an out-of-the-way, backward place?" Obi-Wan was
Qui-Gon smiled softly. "I don't have the answers
Padawan, but we must remember that not everything that is
supposed to happen happens in a way that we would consider
logical. Sometimes, there is a better way, and we just
don't understand. This is not an end," Qui-Gon slipped
into quiet prediction. "This is a beginning. That planet
knows something special, and perhaps, someday, when the
time is right, the whole galaxy will know it too."