Elven Jedi - Chapter #4
The sudden rush of cool water suddenly surrounded Obi-wan. At first he didn't understand what had happened. But, as he swam to the surface, he began to put the pieces together and solved the puzzle. Instead of falling to the ground and dying, they had landed in the river that ran alongside the Capitol. He looked about for Ninde and caught sight of her just barely bobbing out of the water. Quickly he swam over to her and wrapped an arm around her, pulling her back against his body. She wasn't moving and her eyes were closed. And, as though that were not worrisome enough, there was a large gash just to the side of her left eye. This indicated that she had hit something with her head while descending.
The current began to sweep them down the river to the woods and Obi-wan decided to let it. After all Ninde was wounded, their master had been drugged and taken away, and Obi-wan could not fight the enemy entirely on his own. He'd just have to be patient for the time being, and wait to have Ninde's council. Obi-wan just hoped that she would wake again to be able to give it. For all he knew she might already be dead. He didn't know, to be honest. He couldn't feel her breathing and if she was it was extremely shallow. The only thing that made him even believe she was still alive was the fact that he had not felt her life force leave her body. He was sure that if she had died he would have felt something like that.
As they were being swept away Obi-wan reached into Ninde's utility belt and pulled out a portable breathing mask. After carefully fitting hers to her face Obi-wan put on his own. It was at about this point that armed men appeared at the riverbank and started to fire their blasters at the padawans. This forced Obi-wan to submerge under the water, pulling Ninde under with him. He took them down as far as he dared and allowed the current to carry them from there.
Ninde slowly awoke to the sound of a crackling fire and the smell of something cooking. She slowly sat up and looked about. Obi-wan sat not too far away, tending to a fire. He looked over to her and grinned lightly. "It's nice to see you're finally awake."
"How long have I been out of it?" Ninde asked as she sat up. She had a splitting headache and felt somewhat dizzy.
"You've been out of it for the past two days. Apparently you hit your head on something while we were falling. So don't be surprised if you feel a bit dizzy and have a killer headache. I did what I could for your wounds, but that wasn't much considering the lack of supplies and material. It was better that you entered a healing trance."
Ninde crawled over to where he was sitting and sat beside him, pulling her knees up to her chest and hugging them. "So my `no hazard' fall didn't work out then? Shame..."
"I take it you knew the river was actually there right? I swear you are one of the most reckless people I know."
A grin came to Ninde's face as she looked at him. "Well thank you Obi-wan. I have worked hard to become what I am."
"Do you know what you hit with your head?"
"Well I remember most of the descent. If I am correct I believe we landed in the more shallow regions of the river. I might have hit a rock under the water. Thankfully the water slowed my speed just enough to keep me from bashing me head so hard it would kill me."
"Thankfully the Force wouldn't do that to you. Are you feeling up to rescuing Qui-gon, or should we wait a little longer?"
Ninde looked at him and sighed lightly. "We're going to have to wait a little longer."
"No, longer. We're going to have to wait for a while."
"For how long then? And why might I ask?"
"Honestly Obi-wan we cannot fight all the men they have on our own. We have to contact the temple and request back-up."
"But they have Qui-gon Ninde! What if they kill him during our wait? No, we have to go in and save him while we have the chance. Come on Ninde! They won't be expecting it! We should go now while we still can!"
"No Ninde, Qui-gon needs us. I doubt that they'd bother keeping him alive. Besides how are we going to contact the Temple in the first place? Surely by now they have guards about our starship, or have dismantled everything in it. They won't want us getting off planet or sending for help."
"We could use the Force Obi-wan."
"We are in the Outer Rim Ninde! No matter how powerful you are I doubt even you'd be able to reach out to anyone. We're too far away from the Core to be sure anything could get through."
"What about our long distant comlinks?"
"We're still too far for those Ninde. Perhaps if we were closer we could use them, but they're useless this far out. Besides the people here might have put up comlink jammers. We wouldn't be able to get anything out to the Temple."
Ninde sighed lightly. "Either way we are going to have to wait. Once the council realizes something is wrong they will try to contact us. When that doesn't work they contact the governments and demand to know where we are. When they figure out that we truly are in danger they'll request that the Republic sends some sort of team to investigate and find us."
"No, that'll take too long. We can't waste months of our time. And I don't want Qui-gon in their hands for that long. By the time he could very well be dead."
"You must have patience Obi-wan."
Obi-wan shot to his feet and began to pace back and forth. He threw glances at Ninde occasionally. This had been one of the few arguments they had ever had, and it was turning out to be perhaps the worst so far. "Our Master's life hangs in the balance and you say patience! You may have all the time you want but it's different for Qui-gon and myself. We cannot simply wait like you can. If you won't go in to save him then I'll go alone. I don't need your help anyway. This is your last chance Ninde...are you going to accompany me or not?"
He stopped pacing and stared down into her green eyes. He had almost expected to see some sort of feeling in them, but they were two voids of nothingness. "Obi-wan...sit down." Her words were cool and calm, and Obi-wan almost instantly felt whatever shards of anger in him leave. He sat down and waited to hear what she had to say.
Ninde sat there a bit longer, along the silent to endure, before speaking. "Obi-wan I don't have all the time I want. Mine is probably more limited than yours. So when I choose to say patience you should sit and listen to my reasoning. They want us all, Obi-wan. If we go in there lightsabers blazing then they're bond to catch us. We could put up a heck of a fight yes, but the two of us alone cannot beat the odds before us. Besides our Master is drugged, he can barely move. We can't get him out now. And even if we could what use would he be to us until the drugs wore off? At this point in time all we can do is let him know we're safe. He may have a plan to help us rescue him, and maybe even get us off this planet alive. They're counting on the fact that we'll rush in to save him. They won't kill him because they need the two of us as well. So now do you understand why I say patience?"
For the longest time Obi-wan just sat there in silence. But then he nodded lightly. "Alright Ninde, we'll play this by your say. So what do you propose we do in the meantime?"
"We need to contact the Temple. We'll have to get the transmitter from the ship."
"And exactly how are we going to do that?"
"Give me time and I'll come up with a plan." The smell of the cooking food was finally starting to get to Ninde. "So what are you cooking?"
"Some fish I was able to snatch from the river. I don't know the plant life here so I couldn't risk accidentally picking a poisonous kind."
"Got any water?"
"Nope, but I can get some."
"Would you please? And another thing...where is my survival pack?"
"Sitting by the river. I had to set everything out to dry after our little swim."
"Ok, thank you Obi-wan."
"Obi-wan grineed, "don't mention it." He stood, picked up a bucket, and began for the river."
Ninde sighed lightly and stared into the crackling flames. Even though it seemed like she had all this under control that just wasn't so. She actually wasn't all that sure if she was right about everything she had said. What if these people just killed Qui-gon anyway? None of them knew why these people had attacked them in the first place, so it was safe to assume they wanted all of them? What if they had just wanted Qui-gon? Ninde had always believed in Yoda's teachings, but was patience always the key to solving problems such as this? Was she making the right decision by sitting and waiting?
Back at the Temple Ninde had been respected for being cool, calm, and smart during trying situations. But, if truth be told, Ninde was always unsure of her actions. Most of the time they turned out to be the best course of action, but Ninde still had her doubts in her own abilities in solving difficult situations. It had never mattered how good anyone told her she was at solving problems, she still lacked that self belief that she was making the best possible choice. And the only people who knew she lacked this was Qui-gon and Yoda. Even Obi-wan didn't know her about her disbelief in her ability.
Obi-wan came walking back over and sat the bucket down beside her. Ninde cupped her hands and dipped them into the water. The cool liquid was gentle and refreshing as she drank it. After she had drank her fill she looked at the bucket. "Obi-wan, where did you get this?"
"It was in the shallows of the river. I figured it could be of some use. It hasn't been there for very long, the wood is not rotting."
Ninde nodded and looked to the river. "How far did that carry us?"
"I don't know to be honest. I had to dive under the water to avoid having the both of us blasted to bits. But I believe it carried us quite a ways."
"And you've seen no patrol boats?"
"No, I haven't. Maybe they don't believe that we would have been swept this far away. Now Ninde how are we going to retrieve the comm from our ship?"
"I've got a plan to get it, but it's going to be highly dangerous. I could sneak aboard the ship during the dead of night and retrieve it. Or I can just send out a distress signal and hope someone gets it. I know that particular model of starfighter like the back of my hand, they're not that hard to enter. But if I do this I believe I should go alone. It'll be to difficult if we both go and try to climb into it. I really don't want to put your life on the line unless I have to."
"Can you do it by yourself?"
"Yes I can. The landing pad is surrounded by trees so my approach up till then will be covered. After I get to the edge I am sure I can sneak over and climb into the ship without causing a sound. My clothing is dark and my feet are light. It shouldn't be too difficult. Do you think you can stay here and guard the camp?"
"Though I really don't want to, yes I can."
"Good, so it's all planned out. Now to contact Master Qui-gon somehow and get an idea of where the starfighter is."
"Can you do that?"
"We'll find out shortly I believe." Ninde closed her eyes, allowing her mind to join with the Force. She merged with it so it was apart of her as much as she was apart of it. The power it possessed flowed through her body. This was how it was meant to be. You didn't need to control it, or have it control you. You allowed yourself to become it's companion and worked with one another to achieve a better standing. Through the bond they shared Ninde could feel Qui-gon. Though their connection was not all that strong, she could still feel her Master's presence. He was just barely there...
Balank walked up to the guards who stood guard at Qui-gon's cell. "How's he doing?"
""We just gave him another dose. He'll be worthless for the next few days."
"Good. Did he give away any information about his padawans before you drugged him again?"
"No sir. Either he's too strong to get the information out of or he truly doesn't know. Perhaps we should resume the search sir?"
"No, they'll come eventually. They are not within fifty kilometers of this place. They'll come to rescue their Master. Surely they are concerned about his health and well being. Besides...they'll probably believe we are going to kill him soon."
"May I ask why we are after this particular group of Jedi in the first place sir?"
Balank looked at him for a very long moment. "Because the two padawans took the lives of my brother and cousin. This is my call for revenge, and I will have the heads of those two padawans. But first I must get my hands on each of them. They must be killed together for my revenge to be complete...just the way my brother and cousin died. I will have my vengeance..."
Manwe looked over at Elbereth, who sat at his side. "What news have you?"
Elbereth's closed eyes opened and looked over to him. "She has finally woken up, but she is still far from danger. I don't know about this Manwe...For the past few years the danger she gets into has increased. It isn't the simple dangers that we thought it might be. We may lose her if we keep her in that galaxy. It is full of perils and horrors beyond that of which we have seen here on Arda. I don't want to see her get hurt Manwe. I want her to come home so she can be safe...and far from danger."
For a moment Manwe was completely silent. He didn't know what to do about this. He agreed with his beloved, he didn't want Ninde getting hurt. But he also knew that to put her in that galaxy in the first place had been the wish of another. "I don't know Elbereth, I have not the foresight to know what to do about this. I, too, would love to bring her back, but it is not up to us to see that such a task is done. She was sent there to learn and bring knowledge back to our planet."
"But I don't want her dying in exchange for that information."
"...neither do I."