Hello, Star Wars fans! I have finally gotten on with Star Wars week (which has been extended!) and written a Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan piece! Believe it or not, pre-Phantom Menace is really my era. All this angsty Anakin and Obi-Wan stuff is really Anakin’s fault. He’s the one who’s been pestering the life out of me and completely tearing up the mind palace while he’s at it. Naughty Ani.
Anyway, I thought I would write a short story about Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, a lesson on trust, and (gasp!) Obi actually enjoying the sensation of flying. It might have an unfinished feel to it, but that’s intentional, and we all can decide (or guess) how it concludes; Obi-Wan makes a safe descent, or Qui-Gon just catches him.
Make an appeal.
Trust the Force.
It sounded easy, and yet like so many things that sound easy, it was not.
This was a trial, fourteen-year-old Obi-Wan Kenobi knew. And at the moment, he was failing.
His mentor, Qui-Gon, turned back towards him and smiled. Obi-Wan offered a wan smile in return. Qui-Gon frowned. “Padawan, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” It wasn’t an intentional lie, but a knee-jerk reaction, and also a result of deep embarrassment. Jedi apprentices didn’t fear silly little things like spiders, snakes, the dark. Or even larger things, like fire.
Still, he was afraid.
Arriving on the planet, Qui-Gon led him up the steep trail. Obi-Wan was grateful for the silence. It felt good, to simply walk among the trees with the scent of living things all around him. Deep within, Obi-Wan missed hearing the fairytales told in the crèche, stories that reminded him of a distant sound of water, of wind in the trees, and the green, rich lilac, mild rose, and golden smells of the water. One of the few things he remembered of the home which he had been born to was the smell of roses and lilacs, a hint of pine mingling in the background, and the sound of wind chimes on the porch in the remoteness. He even missed the deep velvet black of the nights, untarnished by light pollution, and the thousands of stars above.
“I can sense your inner trepidation about this exercise,” Qui-Gon remarked at last. Obi-Wan blinked; he had almost forgotten about it. Qui-Gon put a reassuring hand on the apprentice’s shoulder. “What’s wrong?”
“I…” The words were at the tip of his tongue. He didn’t know if he had the courage to say them. “I—I’m scared of heights.” The last bit came out in an embarrassed whisper, almost a squeak. Obi-Wan shut his eyes, hard, feeling certain that Qui-Gon would laugh. It was not very Jedi of Obi-Wan, after all.
“Oh, Padawan.” Qui-Gon said, his voice compassionate. “Most people are.”
“Yes, but not…” Obi-Wan searched for the words, then settled for, “One time Bruck locked me in a cable car that went across from the interior spire to the upper-level galleries. I was in there all night before one of the Masters found me. I’ve never been comfortable with high places since.”
“You didn’t seem very afraid when the Initiates were trapped in one of those cable cars,” Qui-Gon said softly. Obi-Wan considered this for a moment.
“Adrenaline. I didn’t have the time to… think about it. Now, though, I know what I’m going to do… what if I freeze up?”
“Obi-Wan, the time when you feel as if you’re going to freeze from fear is the time to stop thinking. Your fear does not define you; you control it. I know this sounds like a platitude, but that’s because it’s true, and people have known that it was true for years. It can be hard to trust—especially for someone like you. Obi-Wan, remember Melida/Daan?” Obi-Wan nodded slowly. It was something he could never forget. “Well, on the way there, I was almost afraid you would have your apology speech mapped out on cards.” Obi-Wan couldn’t help perking a small smile at that. At times, his master had a wicked sense of humor. Qui-Gon smiled in reply. “Obi-Wan, you are the most courageous person I know. I think that you really know how to sidetrack your fear; it’s being afraid that you’re really afraid of. When you’re afraid, Obi-Wan—and this is simpler than it sounds—breathe, relax, trust the Force, and then jump. You may just find yourself flying.”
Now, on the cliff top, Obi-Wan couldn’t help looking over the edge. He swallowed at the sight of the shadows that fell away with breathless depth below. He looked back at Qui-Gon, who nodded. Obi-Wan didn’t let himself look over again. He simply took Qui-Gon’s advice.
Make an appeal.
Trust the Force.
He was completely safe.
It was the only time in his life that Obi-Wan ever truly enjoyed the sensation of flying.
What say you, readers? Does the story end on the ground below or the clifftops? (It ends happily, either way. :-P)