SUMMARY: Obi-Wan is dying.
Qui-Gon is just so very exhausted.
Satine is defeated.
The Force will be with you, always.
Heaven forgive me! Nearly 2 months since an update?? That is shameful. Sorry to keep you all waiting. My personal life is so busy it’s hard to find time to eat much less post new chapters :( But here is the next chapter. I hope you enjoy!
“No,” Satine pleaded desperately. “No, no, no!” She ran to the tarn’s edge and stared out over the empty water. “There has to be something.” They had endured too much and had traveled too far for things to end this way. The waves lapped at her feet as a crisp breeze burned her cheeks.
Nothing. There was nothing.
She turned to Qui-Gon whose shoulders slumped like a conquered man. He didn’t look at her as he slowly lay Obi-Wan on the ground before walking to the water’s edge; he sank to his knees with his feet tucked under him. The Jedi Master closed his eyes and bowed his head.
Bewildered, Satine watched him for a moment, but when he neither spoke nor moved, she gave up and went to Obi-Wan. He lay completely still and unresponsive, his breathing shallow and weak. “This is all my fault,” she whispered, looking down at Kenobi’s bruised face, his lacerated neck, his mangled arm. Satine pulled him into her lap and held him protectively. “I’m sorry, Obi.” She didn’t know whether to feel angry or desperately sad. “I’ve failed us.”
Lost in her emotions, Satine did not notice that Qui-Gon no longer knelt in silent meditation. His eyes remained closed, his brow furrowed in concentration, but now his right arm extended out toward the tarn, his bicep tight and contracted as his fingers reached forward. His breath remained steady as he waited for the Force, never willing the sacred energy to do his bidding, never demanding that it reveal its secrets. Qui-Gon Jinn knew that he served the Force, it did not serve him. As he released his fear and calmed his heart, he felt something thrumming over the water. He took another deep breath, letting go further. There is nothing but this moment, he reminded himself. Slowly, he lifted his head and opened his eyes.
A large wooden skiff appeared on the water, effortlessly cutting through the waves, as though it materialized out of thin air. Qui-Gon rose to his feet and watched the vessel approach; a muscular oarsman rowed in the stern and a tall, cloaked figured stood at the prow.
The Duchess looked up just as the boat came ashore. Her jaw dropped in awe as a lithe woman hooded in an ornate black cloak stepped onto the sand while the oarsman dragged the boat around, readying it to re-launch. The mysterious characters did not speak; the woman simply looked in the Jedi’s eyes and Qui-Gon knew he must go with her.
“Satine,” he said quietly. “Stay here with Obi-Wan.” The Duchess moved to stand but the Jedi Master stopped her by raising his hand. “No,” he said firmly. “Stay where you are and hold him. If our request is granted, someone will return for you.”
The young lady felt a huge lump form in her throat. The thought of being separated from Qui-Gon filled her with fear. “But…” she mumbled, totally perplexed, “how do you know someone will come back for us?”
“Trust me, young one.”
“What if you never come back?”
His expression betrayed that he shared her concern. “Then I will have truly failed you.” He took one last look at his dying Padawan. “I must do as the Force commands.” Right now, the Force required his faith, and if it demanded his life, he had to accept that as well. He didn’t know what dangers, if any, awaited with these strangers from the water, but everything in the Force insisted he go with them.
Satine watched as Qui-Gon turned and followed the hooded woman, helping the oarsman push the skiff back into the water before climbing aboard.
The Duchess suddenly tightened her grip on Obi-Wan as her breath froze in her chest. Like a flame being snuffed out, the skiff vanished, neither a flash of light nor a puff of wind signaling its departure. It simply disappeared in a blink, as though it had never existed, as though Qui-Gon had never existed.
Satine had never felt so helpless and alone.
Holding a lifeless boy in her arms, she scanned the horizon. Nothing but rocks and water and wind surrounded her.
Hours passed and still Satine refused to move; she made a pact with herself that she would stay on that beach until either Qui-Gon returned or Obi-Wan died. Her limbs grew heavy as her body became cold. She let her head droop forward as she hummed a Mandalorian waltz, allowing her eyes to close as she sleepily bobbed her head in time to the tune.
She must have drifted off to sleep because she jerked awake, startling herself. “What?” she gasped.
“I said come, child.”
Satine looked up to find the tall woman in the black cloak staring down at her.