“Kenobi!” Mace Windu’s voice cut through Obi Wan’s reverie, bringing him back to the council chamber in the Jedi Temple. “Master Kenobi, is something bothering you?” Master Luminara asked, a look of concern on her face. Every face in the room had the same look on it, making Obi Wan wondered how many times it had taken before they had gotten his full attention.
Knowing what the council’s reaction would be to what he had on his mind, Obi Wan Kenobi –ever the diplomat– dodged Luminara’s question. “We are at war with an army who seems to never tire Master Luminara. I have many things which call for my attention and contemplation,” Obi Wan responded quietly, to the raised eyebrows of some of his fellow council members.
“Hmm, yes, tireless they seem. Every day, harder the war becomes. A step ahead, the Sith Lord always seems. Find an answer, soon we must.” Master Yoda stated.
“We were discussing the youngling that got exiled just before the Count left. We believe she may be the answer to ending the war. However, we have no way of finding her. The last place she was seen was in a small village on Naboo, but that was several years ago. Our spies have long since lost track of her altogether.” Windu added, watching Obi Wan’s face for a reaction. None came however.
“We were wondering if you had any leads on her location. That is why we interrupted your pondering.” Master Mundi finished.
“I have several leads. The main lead being the fact that the young one you speak of is to meet me today in a square near the senate building.” Obi Wan replied calmly, as if it was an everyday thing for him to have scheduled a meeting with an exile for no apparent reason.
Some of the council members were clearly shocked, while others had on their why-am-I-not-surprised expressions.
“We would not ask for her help, but there is no one else we know of with her powers.” Master Luminara said hesitatingly after a moment of silence.
“Unique, the youngling’s powers are. Exiled on false charges, no doubt she was. Knew of and feared her powers, the Sith Lord did. Find her we must, if to end this war we are. Try to prevent her return, the Sith will. Dangerous this mission will be. Skywalker and his young Padawan, help you they will.” Yoda told him, not seeming to have heard Luminara.
A few short minutes later, Anakin and Ahsoka listened to Obi Wan explain their mission. “If you already have a meeting scheduled with her, then why were we assigned to help you Master Kenobi?” Ahsoka inquired, asking the question that was on all their minds.
“I am not sure, young Ahsoka. Nevertheless, you have been assigned to help me by the council.” Obi Wan replied, examining the map of the buildings around the senate building. “However, I think it would be best if I go to the meeting place alone. I will leave my commlink on, so that you can see and eventually hear the exchange.” He explained, bringing his hand to his chin in his standard thinking position.
”I agree. She would probably not approach you if we where to accompany you. But, by letting us monitor the exchange we can come to your rescue if it goes south.” Anakin finished.
“Yes, but there is one thing. I believe that the only reason she would risk returning here is likely a matter of high secrecy. No one but the four of us must now what was said, unless we agree otherwise. Acacia is not one to take risks of this nature without good reason.” Obi Wan cautioned his friends.
Acacia leaned against a building, watching the sea of people walk by her on their various errands. She loved to just sit and observe the world around her while she let her mind settle. The last few weeks had been full of both the stress of her job and unbelievably real dreams of being a Jedi again.
Her attention was turned from her dreams, when a caped figure walked into her sight line. He was on the far side of the square, but even from that distance she recognized her old mentor. Part of her was surprised that he had answered her call so quickly, for her sources had told her the council was in session. However, another part of her had known that he would come. Master Kenobi was not one to ignore a friend, no matter when they called or why.
“It is good to see you young one. Though, I have to admit I was a bit surprised at your audacity in coming here.” Obi Wan said leaning against the wall next to his young friend.
“Some things are worth the risk, Master. And the information on this disk is one of them. It should have everything you need to take down most of the main droid operations and cripple the Separatist advance.” Acacia replied calmly, slipping the small disk in question into his hand.
Obi Wan nodded his acknowledgment. He was silent for a moment before he spoke again, choosing his next words carefully. “The Jedi council is looking for you. They have come to the conclusion that you are the key to defeating the Separatists and ending this war. Upon being asked, I told them that I was meeting you here.” Obi Wan informed Acacia.
Before she could respond, Acacia noticed two Republic Guards sweeping the area. She quickly moved into the nearby alleyway with Obi Wan following her lead.
“Considering that I am here on a secret mission, I would rather not have a confrontation with the Republic Guards right now.” She said inclining her head in the guards’ direction, “It would not do for me to have to explain to the senate why I was here without their knowledge.” Acacia was silent for a moment, apparently trying to decide how to react to the council’s offer.
However, it only took a few minutes for her to weigh her options. Obi Wan was watching her face closely and saw the look of determination that crossed her face when the decision was made.
“I am willing to discuss the matter which you spoke of with the Jedi Council, but I don’t want to risk the Mandalorian government or my mother being connected to this disk. For the safety of my spy, the disk’s origin needs to be kept a secret from everyone, even the Jedi Council. Inform the council of my official position as the head of security for the government of Mandalore. If they truly want me return to the order, they can come and find me.” Acacia said in a very decisive, end-of-discussion, tone.
There was a commotion on the far side of the square as a business owner and a customer argued about the price of a piece of fruit. By the time it was quiet again there was no evidence that either exile or Jedi had ever been in the alleyway.
“Where is she?” Shaak Ti asked Obi Wan as he reentered the council chamber.
“My guess is that she is in her ship on her way home.” He answered, once again surprising the entire council without even blinking.
“Did you tell her of our proposal?” Windu questioned.
“I told her you were looking for her and why.” Obi Wan answered as took his seat in the semi-circle of chairs that went around the chamber.
“What was her response?” Master Mundi inquired, clearly perplexed at Obi Wan’s report.
“If they truly want me to return to the order, than they can come and find me.” The holokron recording of Acacia repeated the last sentence of her explanation.
There was a moment of silence as Acacia’s poke to the council’s motive made itself known to all.
It was in that moment Obi Wan realized that Acacia’s hesitation had never been about whether to rejoin the order. It had been about how to learn the council’s true reason, and to discover why they had such a sudden change of heart.
“She did exactly what any other Jedi would have done in her place.” Obi Wan remarked to Master Yoda and Master Windu as they joined him in a walk through the temple after the meeting was adjourned.
“Not only that, but by testing us in this way she has forced us to approach her on her home planet. It will not be easy to convince the Duchess to let us speak to her.” Master Windu agreed.
“Blinded by pride the council has been.” Yoda stated simply, to the surprise of both his companions. Obi Wan nodded his agreement his mind once again wandering into the past. One thing he knew for certain: he daily fought his own pride. He was glad he wasn’t the only one.
Upon her safe return home, Acacia had come face-to-face with the problem of what to do with the terrorist organization Death Watch. They had been causing trouble since the beginning of the war. Because of the pacifist ideals of the Mandalorian ruler, The Duchess Satine Kryze, confronting the problem with violence had not ever been an option.
“Duchess, I fail to see how we can stop Death Watch without some way of at least defending ourselves.” Sir Ca’azar said, knowing full well what Satine’s reaction would be. However, before the Duchess could speak another voice came from behind them.
“Sir Ca’azar, violence of any kind is not an option and you know it.” Acacia stood, her arms crossed and a challenge in her eyes. She had shed the cape and dark cloths she had worn on her secret visit with Obi Wan and replaced them with the attire that reflected her position as the head of security.
“Lady Acacia, I would think of all people, you with your Jedi training would understand where I am coming from. There is no other way…” Ca’azar began, but Acacia interrupted.
“I understand where you are coming from, Sir, but that does not mean I agree. My Jedi training leads me to believe that once a government chooses violence, it begins to tear itself apart. Power corrupts, and it only takes one bad ruler to destroy the future of a planet. Would you risk the future of Mandalore simply for your own temporary safety? The Mandalorian Wars almost destroyed our planet and I believe only by dealing with this tragedy in a peaceful way will we ensure the future of our people.” She said firmly, not leaving any doubt in the mind of Sir Ca’azar that his suggestion was not going to get anywhere with the two most influential people on the planet.
After he left, Satine turned to her loyal advisor. “I was not aware that you believed so strongly on the matter of peace.”
“The more I watch the war without, the stronger my belief in peace becomes your highness. However, I also can see that not all who fight in the war want the destruction that is being brought. My own father, and many of my old friends are out in the middle of the war zone doing what they could for the hurting people. They are fighting to stop the war, and to end the suffering. Evil will always do its best to destroy us, but only when we drop our beliefs does it truly win.” Acacia replied, looking into her mentor’s eyes.
They walked out onto a nearby balcony over looking the magnificent capitol city. The curtains of the balcony fluttered ever so slightly as the cool breeze danced through as they stood side by side taking in the view.
“Mother, I talked to General Kenobi and delivered the information as you requested. However, something else came up.” Acacia hesitated for a moment. “The Jedi Council wants to reinstate me into the Jedi Order.” It came out in a rush, and by the look on the Duchess’ face Acacia could tell Satine was saddened by the news.
“What did you tell him, dear one?” Satine asked, her concern for her daughter clear.
“I told him, basically, if they truly want me to return they can come find me.” Acacia responded.
Later, as Satine prepared for bed, her thoughts where still on the Jedi Council’s sudden decision to reinstate her daughter into the Jedi order. “Is something bothering you miss?” Naemes, her handmaiden asked in a worried tone.
“For years I have watched Acacia struggle with who she was and what she was to do without the Jedi order. And now, the Jedi have asked her to come back. I fear that by pulling into her the turmoil that surrounds a government at war, the council will start that internal battle all over again. If only there where a way avoid it.” Satine replied, the worry in her own tone and face showing just how worried she was.
The handmaiden nodded her understanding and turned the conversation in a different direction. Satine felt a little better after speaking of her concerns to someone, and slept better than she would have if the conversation had never happened.
To be continued. . .
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