Hey BizzleCast fans: here is an exclusive Sneak Peak at my Star Wars new canon book I’m working on, tentatively entitled “Obi-Wan & Ahsoka: A World Beyond Worlds.” I really hope you enjoy it, and all feedback is very much appreciated. Thanks fam!
Obi-Wan & Ahsoka: A World Beyond Worlds
by Jesse F. Brenner
Obi-Wan was sweating.
The fever hadn’t abated in weeks, seemed liked months. Being a proud Jedi – once proud? – his instinct was initially to ignore it and try and power through it. But as his temperature grew, his Force abilities became nearly impossible to access, and his self-healing capabilities became inaccessible.
Soup broth and water, that became his life. It was about all he could keep down. And it wasn’t exactly easy to get a lot of water on Tatooine. Obi-Wan chuckled into a pathetic cough at how stupidly obvious this was, having narrowly escaped Tuskens and worse in his ten year-and-counting “watch” over the hidden child of Anakin Skywalker, now known as the terrifying and evil Lord Darth Vader, apprentice and slave of the Emperor himself. Obi-Wan’s instinct was to spit in disgust, but no saliva was to be found.
It’s fascinating how the randomness of life inexorably forces one to reexamine one’s circumstances and purpose, pondered Obi-Wan. Before the illness struck, Obi-Wan had already begun to experience a combination of complacence and unsureness about his mission. Luke still had many years to grow before Obi-Wan could even begin to assess whether the son of the supposed Chosen One could be chosen himself to balance and hopefully defeat his father as the Skywalker of the light side. But now that “Old Ben” was living up to his otherwise inaccurate nickname and had been sidelined against his will by nature, he actually felt a renewed vigor about the importance of the mission. More likely, it was actually a combination of guilt and the helplessness of paralysis, but crisis in life can become an opportunity for an individual to evolve themselves and make the important choices ahead of them in a way that hadn’t been previously revealed. Hate may lead to suffering, but suffering can lead to clarity and wisdom. Obi-Wan wondered what Master Yoda would think of that notion.
Only three times in his life had Obi-Wan considered giving up or just running from his problems and duties. The first time was in the moments following the brutal death of his beloved and now-legendary mentor Qui-Gon Jinn at the hands of the twisted, evil Darth Maul, leading to a shock and depression that only lasted seconds before Obi-Wan struck back and then struck down Maul with a level of ferocity that still scared him to this day. How far into the Dark Side did I have to reach to summon that level of hate and power to defeat my foe?
The second time Obi-Wan almost let the horror of the galaxy take him away from the ways of the Force was, of course, his final battle with Anakin. I should’ve killed him, Obi-Wan thought for the thousandth time. Instead, I created a monster with endless rage that remains the biggest threat to his son Luke and the future of the Force and the galaxy.
In the haze of hallucination, Obi-Wan’s weakened but still activated Force-sense detected a disturbance in the Force… in this very cave. It was an extremely powerful and distinct warping of the fabric of the Force, uncannily familiar, but somehow it was disguising itself against him. Unsure that even in his healthy state he could have fully untangled the web of Force defenses this thing … or person… had weaved to block his mind and psychically tie him down, a man already beaten down almost to the very dust the covered every inch of what passed as a home.
It is too dangerous to do nothing, Obi-Wan decided immediately, even if it kills me. Indeed, doing nothing will probably kill me, so it’s not like I have much of a choice.” Obi-Wan desperately grasped his lightsaber that was always by his side – at least some of my discipline is left, he thought sadly – and instantly fell off his bed and flat on his face. The lightsaber clanked hard to the floor, rolled to the opposite wall, sounding like a meteor blast in his current state, ringing through his ears and further disorienting himself.
He spit up blood and vomit, all at once. He had never been this weak, this vulnerable. If there was indeed a person approaching, even if they weren’t as strong in the Force as he suspected, he was beyond an easy mark – he was instantly dead. His final thoughts before the end were not of Luke, however, despite his guilt at failing in his mission to see Luke to maturity and hopefully train him one day. They were not even of his great masters, Yoda and especially Qui-Gon Jinn, who had shaped his entire life from before he could remember, provided him with meaning, purpose…. Destiny.
No. He thought of the third and final time he almost gave up, about the death of the only woman he ever loved and the only person who might have gotten him to leave the Jedi Order, which was generally unthinkable for him and remained so after her tragic death. That person was the late Duchess Satine of Mandalore, and he would never get over her brutal death at the hands of his most hated enemy. How life could have been so different…
He desperately reached out one more time for the lightsaber that was well beyond reach, and then…. it flew across the room, into what he could only make out through blurry eyes as the hand of an alien creature… perhaps a Twi’lek? He couldn’t help but laugh darkly to himself at his need to determine such a completely irrelevant detail. He rolled over onto his back, and was suddenly compelled to start laughing… loudly and and with a touch of insanity… as he waited for his very untimely ending. *I might as well face my final enemy – death – with a grin, like the great Jedi of old.
“I’m glad you find this funny, Master Kenobi,” came a dry, youthful, but somehow soothing voice of a fairly young woman. Her long, lustrous head-tails were indeed lekku, but this was no Twi’lek. Obi-wan’s heart started pounding in fear, but then, even through this vicious hail of pain and paralysis, began to see a face that appeared to be smiling ruefully at him.
Suddenly liquids were being splashed in his face and poured down his parched throat. He had no choice but to swallow the bitter liquids, but he felt his strength returning, slowly but steadily. Just as his eyes began to focus, his curiosity piqued to the point of bursting at this apparent savior, her dulcet voice said with wistfulness:
“You know, Anakin once said to me ‘you’re reckless, little one. You never would have made it as Obi-Wan’s Padawan.’ I’m starting to wonder if maybe he oversold your legend a bit.” She winked at him. “He certainly worshipped you. And I am beyond thankful to find you alive, even if just barely.”
Obi-Wan had to blink three times before he believed it. Could it be, could this really be, Ahsoka Tano herself?! How could that be? She must have been killed with the rest, during the murderous insanity that was Order 66… or was her outsider status the things that kept her alive. He truly wanted to believe it was her, but he needed to test her, given his current still-vulnerable state.
“Ok, little one,” Obi-Wan tried to smile and barely pulled off a pained wince. “I can’t possibly comprehend at this moment how you are alive, if indeed you are… and indeed it is you. But you have died once before. So before I put my near-dead self in your capable hands – assuming, of course, that you are in fact Ahsoka, the long lost padawan of my padawan, and a person I truly loved – Let me ask you one question: who was responsible for your ‘death,’ and who was responsible for your rebirth.”
Ahsoka pursed her lips, deep in thought, remembering back to one of the scariest and most bizarre experiences of her life. Obi-Wan noted that she seemed not to revisit this memory often… probably best for someone who may or may not be a member of the undead. But once Ahsoka realized Obi-Wan’s little quiz, she brightened with that smile that blazed like a young star across a galaxy. “Come, now, Master Kenobi. That’s a bit of a trick question. Anakin was involved in both my death and rebirth in different ways – if that is what indeed occurred – but it was the Father’s Son who filled me with the death that is the Dark Side and his noble, tragic Sister who saved me.” Ahsoka paused for dramatic effect, then smiled again. “As you can see, you weren’t exactly the all-great Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi that day.”
Obi-Wan tried to chuckle but his side hurt, and he found himself crying tears of happiness, to be alive, yes, but mostly to see Ahsoka and her spirit unbroken. Ahsoka help his head up for some more water, and her face turned darker. “I know you are suffering right now, Obi-Wan, but that all-great Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi? I need him now more than ever. We ALL need you know.”
Obi-Wan finally lifted himself up, his back against the cave wall as his legs extended outwards along the cold, damp cave floor. Ahsoka gracefully moved from standing right into the flower-shaped sitting pose of advanced Jedi meditation, hands resting exactly in place with full relaxation on her thighs, hands up, open to the sky, to possibility, to knowledge, to newness.
She was always the best student we had, and it wasn’t even close.. Then a wave of regret. And then we drove her away. Stupidly, foolishly, we drove her away right when she needed us most, but even more importantly right when WE needed HER most. Obi-Wan wondered if the sins of the Jedi would ever – could ever – be forgiven.
“Master… um, Obi-Wan. I don’t know how to say this, but there’s something that only you and I can do together that’s even more important than your mission her on Tatooine. I know that’s hard to understand but…”
Obi-Wan cut her off with uncharacteristic harshness, especially given who he was talking to, a woman who was more a daughter than a padawan and possibly the wisest person he had ever met her young age. Once again, top of her class. “Ahsoka, it’s wonderful to see you, and the Gods know you have a lot of explaining to do, young lady,” he said with his trademark half-cocked smile. “But trust me when I tell you that my ‘mission’ here is far more important than you realize. I can’t just up and leave.”
“And you have to trust me – trust me that I know more about what you are doing here than you think I do; and furthermore, trust me that the job ahead of us will cause all of your work here to fail if we fail at the task that stands in front of us. Also, trust me that I just healed your sorry self… and I’m not even going to play with your saber just because I can and you can’t stop me!” Silence, and then full bellies of laughter from both of them, as Ahsoka grabbed Obi-Wan around the neck, crying with joy. “Oh, master, I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you alive and your… mark… still under protection. But we need to get you well, make one last check on the boy you are protecting – yes, I know all about it, we an discuss later – and then we need to get out of here as soon as you are healthy enough.”
“Why, Ahsoka? What in blazes is going on? Can’t you just tell me?”
“Unfortunately, Master, this is one of those things that you need to see for yourself, I cannot explain it in a way that would make sense to you… or anyone… who hasn’t experienced it.”
“Ahsoka…” Obi-Wan paused, now fully serious and focused to the extent that he could. He felt some dread at the hushed and frightened way Ahsoka talked about this mysterious place, but for the moment her very presence – her very existence – was bringing him back to life as much as any medicine. “Ahsoka, where are we going.”
“Well… the thing is …. it’s less of a where and more of a when.” Ahsoka’s voice trailed off as she started cleaning up the cave hovel and finding things her Master might need for the trip, so he could continue resting for as long as possible.
“Time to pack up, Master…. We have a long way to go…”