"Master Yoda. We have just received a transmission from Naboo." Master Windu knelt by my side while I gazed out of the windows high above Coruscant.
"Felt it I did. Death comes to us all." A heavy sigh and I turned to my friend. "Sith Lord it was. Just as my old friend said."
"Obi-Wan killed the assassin. This is a blow to all Jedi's. Qui-Gon was my friend as well, Master Yoda. Should I go to fetch them both back?"
"No. My place it is. The boy there is to consider also. Obi-Wan's trials to see to. Headstrong he is." I could feel my ears droop ever so slightly and I let my voice fell to a whisper. "Like his Master."
Mace Windu patted my back gently and nodded. "I'll make the arrangements for a transport."
"The Senate you must watch, my friend. Currents strong with this upheaval. Odd it is that turmoil they raise right now."
Mace was already on his way to the door but he stopped and turned to gaze at me leaning on my cane. "At the same time as the resurgence of the Sith? None of the Senators have the brains or the balls to interfere with the Force."
"Balance is all. Be restored it must." I never turned my eyes from the play of lights across the city.
"I'll watch." Mace bowed and left me alone to contemplate the future.
"Master Yoda, we are ... honored by your presence."
I bowed to the young queen while thinking that honor was not quite the word she was thinking. "Come I must. Qui-Gon, my Padawan once was."
"I see." Her dark eyes looked at me appraisingly and I gave her my most innocent look. She beckoned a tall dark warrior to her side. "General Panaka, will you please show Master Yoda to the Royal Chapel. And have you seen Anakin today?"
"Your Highness, the boy is with the pilots, pursuing his lessons." The deep voice was pleasing to my ears. He looked like a good man in a fight and if our intelligence served me right, he'd been right at her side during the invasion and the battles that followed.
"I'll have Padme find him and then I'll bring him to the Chapel myself. Has Obi-Wan eaten today?" Not about food was she thinking.
They exchanged a long look and he answered slowly. "His appetite is ... unchanged, Your Highness."
I got another appraising look and felt the currents twist and turn about the three of us. Something here had changed. Glad I was that I had insisted on coming alone. This trembling in the Force was unlike anything I had felt before in all my centuries.
"I will inform Obi-Wan of your arrival, Master Yoda. Qui-Gon's body is resting in state in our Royal Chapel with his apprentice to watch over him." Her youth was overlaid by the maturity she'd had to assume too soon and I bowed to her before turning to follow her general.
Casting open my senses, I felt the broken bindings of power being slowly mended all around us. Queen Amidala, excellent steward of her people she was. Noting the presence of the Gungan on the palace grounds, I slowly nodded to myself. For all her people, it seemed.
We passed down a corridor and suddenly I felt a memory reach out for me. Not one of mine but rather of the events of two days before. The Force had been torn apart here and I stopped to experience it all. Motioning to General Panaka to halt for a moment, I settled over my cane and opened myself to the emotions that had erupted here.
The events unfolded themselves before my closed eyes. The Sith in all his red and black with the double light staff attacking the two of them. The pulsing energy fields that separated the Jedi and left Qui-Gon to his fate. Obi-Wan's fear and denial of his master's death. The furious fight between the two ... ah-h-h ... apprentices.
Not the Master Sith but his apprentice then it was. I sighed, unable to gain any clues from the currents of power surrounding the dark lord's death to the identity of his master. Clouded still which told me something of our opponent's ability. Strong with the Dark Side he was. A manipulator who hides in plain sight perhaps.
I stopped to consider that then shook my head and continued on down the corridor with the General at my side. More information needed there was. The gardens shimmered in the afternoon sun and I soaked up the heat, my ears reaching straight out to expose more of the surface to the warming rays. Coruscant never seemed to have enough sun.
Chuckling to myself, I decided I spent too much time inside. Needed to get out more, I did. Ahead, the Chapel glimmered among the flowers. For a moment it seemed surrounded by a golden haze. Blinking, I focused on the currents that flowed about the whole area.
No pain or anguish or suffering. Unexpected it was.
Two guards stood silently by the great door sheltered under the overhanging ledge of pure rose crystal. Old it was, centuries old. Older even then myself. Good it felt to find something still standing from before the Republic. But the golden glow did not come from the building. Could not contain it, the old stones could not.
General Panaka held the door open for me and I thumped my way inside the dim interior, following the currents of power to the carved stone altar and the body laid under the energized stasis field. His apprentice stood to one side, almost guarding the still figure.
"Padawan." Testing his shields, bounced I did. Most unexpected this was. Turning my attention to the altar, I searched through the shimmering field and found what I had hoped to find. Reaching out with my mind, I tweaked the Force here ... and here.
General Panaka made his way to my right as if also protecting the man on the funeral bier. Ah, as I had thought. The Queen and the General were both part of this tangle in the Force. "Better now. Needed a bit of Jedi memory it did. Surprised you thought of it not."
//We had to leave something for you to do, Master.// The familiar feel of my old student warmed the cold spot I'd harbored inside since I'd felt him die.
A slight grating sound signaled the movement in the floor. I watched Obi-Wan stand aside and Qui-Gon tread lightly into view. Hope, I did, that my shock was self- contained. The golden glow I'd seen earlier was emanating from the man before me. The energy moved through him instead of around as if he truly was one with the Force.
"How? Know I must why I felt your death but not your rebirth."
He exchanged a long look with his Padawan and knew, I did, that their growing bond was now complete. Still did not explain the crystalline shields I could feel around Obi-Wan.
"It's a long story, Master Yoda. Would you mind taking it directly from my mind?" The young apprentice knelt before me and deliberately lowered those shields. Gazing into those glowing blue eyes, I watched the events unfold from the anger at the Sith's death to his despair before the altar and the joy of the healing of Qui-Gon by the boy.
The boy. The Chosen One. The ancient prophecy made flesh. Strong in the Force was he. Felt it, I did but bowed to the will of the Council I had. Still, had I not, young Anakin would have been in the Temple and not here on Naboo when he was needed.
//I agree, Master Yoda. There is more at stake here than the life of one old Jedi warrior.//
He was still open to me and I felt the chastising thought from young Obi-Wan, hiding my smile. //Not that old, Master.// The images of holding and tasting came in quick succession before being abruptly cut off. "Sorry, Master Yoda. There is something else we need to tell you."
Qui-Gon moved soundlessly, gently placing his hands on Obi-Wan's shoulders. //Perhaps, while you are here, Master Yoda, you could find the time to put my Padawan through his trials? He is ready.//
I snorted and pointed my cane at the pair of them. "Faced them already, he has. Jedi Knight he is in all ways. As you well know."
The slow smile that had so captivated his fellow Padawans when he was my student grew on his face. //General Panaka, if I could borrow the knife in your boot?//
"Certainly, Master Jinn." The sharpened dagger appeared as if by magic and flew through the air in a lazy arc, landing in Qui-Gon's outstretched hand.
//No longer apprentice but now a Knight, my Padawan. May the Force be with you.// And so saying, he cut the braid behind Obi-Wan's ear. The young man stood and faced his former master, dutifully repeating the Jedi Code.
I sighed, never did this grow old. How many Knights had I seen born into the Force? Hundreds. Still made this foolish Jedi feel a tear or two. A disturbance in the currents announced the arrival of the young one and the Queen. Watched I did as the streams of power ebbed and flowed about them. A golden aura intensified where they joined together. The Queen and her general stood and watched young Skywalker run to hug his friends.
"You're a Knight now, aren't you, Obi-Wan?" The voice piped up excitedly. "I can see it. What are you going to do with your braid?"
"Yes, I am, Ani. How about if I keep it and when you construct your first light saber, you can put it in the hilt?"
"Great! Then, even when you're not there, you'll still be with me. I'd like that." He was practically vibrating with energy and I sighed at the task ahead of these two.
Hearing my sigh, he braced himself and walked over bravely. "Master Yoda. May I be trained now? Stay with Master Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan?"
"Stay you may. Train you must." I felt nothing but relief from him. More importantly, the Force sang around us with crystalline clarity. Never have I felt the balance so surely. Whatever these five had done, they had become the fulcrum around which this universe pivoted.
Interesting, it would be. Questions still I had. Answers I meant to get before leaving.
Starting with their bond.
And the golden cords of Force that bound them all together.
Love is still the most powerful manifestation of the Force, I knew. And that emotion colored the very air around them.
The future, unclear is. But what they had begun here would control that future. That much I knew.
Still not too old to learn, was I.
The Universe as we knew it had just changed completely.
End part two