Jedi in OZ  
jedi in oz

Chapter 15

       In his and Em's richly appointed suite in the Royal Palace, Uncle Henry lit his pipe and leaned back in his easy chair. The radio, tuned to WOZ – as if Oz had another radio station anyway! – emitted pleasant music, but that was just filler until the eagerly anticipated Live from Pastoria Centre program began. How long had the newly renovated Oz center for the performing arts, named after Ozma's father, King Pastoria, hosted a major musical extravaganza? Too long, and every radio and TV in Oz and the outlying fairy lands was tuned to this momentous event. What made this program so special? Several famous musicians from the Great Outside World would make their Oz debuts, along with a few of the best artists in Oz itself.
       Uncle Henry recalled that chance meeting in Mendels Deli oh-so many weeks ago. That was right after Maddie Tasou visited the valley and had an encounter with Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Master Jinn counselled Madeline, advising her to settle in and make friends, lose herself in everyday routine until the time was right for her Jedi training. That's exactly what she did – Take a trip to Emerald City for a day of shopping and meeting more of the fabulous people of Oz. Her first stop was J4, a recent merger of Jenny Jump's Style Shop and Jana Jazzine's salon.
     Both ladies were half-fairies, courtesy of the leprechaun Siko Pompus. In Jenny's case, Siko left before the job was complete, thus the half-fairy status. Half her body was transformed, not in looks but in power. A mighty stomp on her fairy foot sent her sailing miles away from her New Jersey home, far above the earth, over the Deadly Desert, and straight into Princess Ozma's carriage.
       Many decades later, Jana also encountered Siko and wished to become a fairy, As before, the job was half finished, but for very different reasons. See, it was April 3, 1974, and the weather had turned quite nasty in central Ohio. Siko made a hasty exit, leaving Jana to fend for herself. Her car stalled on the road to Xenia. A quick errand to town to pick up some supplies before heading back to Central State University where Jana was a promising concert viola student. All Jana remembered that fateful day was sitting in her dead car as the ominous funnel cloud descended to earth. Her fairy powers were no use in an F5 tornado; the storm simply picked up the car, sending it flying through the air, far from Ohio. That car landed in the middle of Munchkin Country, much like Dorothy's house did those many years ago in a similar situation, only there was no wicked witch to smash in the process. Jana was met by Scarecrow, Jack Pumpkinhead, and Number Nine who immediately escorted her to Emerald City.      

       The other lady Madeline met was Six, a pretty blonde Munchkin teen and also Number Nine's sister. Why the number name? That family had so many children that the parents simply gave the kids numbers for names. Number Nine, Sister Seven, Six, Brother Two, and so on. Like Maddie and Jana, Six was blessed with the gift of music, her claim to fame was being the best violinist in Oz. No one could match Six in virtuosity and fiery artistry.
      The ladies struck up an instant friendship and soon formed The Emerald Quartet. Okay, how did Jenny, who had no musical talent when she initially came to Oz, find herself in the ladies' little group? Seems Jana, a fine violist, taught Jenny to play violin, and Ms. Jump instantly took to the instrument as if she'd played all her life.
      As Uncle Henry recalled, he and Em were lunching at Mendels' Deli, enjoying chicken stew and homemade rye bread. In walked the four ladies who had spent the remaining morning hours at the Style Shop. Aunt Em commented on Madeline's commanding presence and her way with fashion. Well, said Henry, the lady does have a keen eye for haute couture, as that recent spread in Vogue would attest. However, Uncle Henry knew Maddie came to Oz for reasons that went beyond music or fashion, and that he learned partially from Dorothy.

      "She is a Jedi, Em," he told his wife. "Descended from a long line of Jedi Knights, or so Dorothy and the Wizard said. She has yet to begin her training, but that will come soon. "
       Aunt Em nodded, commenting, "That will make – How many so far, Henry?"
      Uncle Henry stroked his gray beard as if in deep thought, replying before returning attention to his lunch, "If I'm correct, Madeline would be the third full Jedi in Oz. The others, Deke and Rath, are Force Masters. While not Jedi, they possess a telling way with the Force."
      "Don't forget Mariah," countered Em. "She's the one who will have the final word on whether Maddie is suitable for training."
      Uncle Henry shook his head, saying, "No, I don't think she'll refuse the lady. Already, the Wizard has assured me that Mariah will have to approve Maddie's training. Don't ask why, but he knows."


      Twenty minutes until the program begins, and Aunt Em had yet to return from the Cowardly Lion's quarters. She took a soothing tonic to the King of Beasts after the poor fellow suffered another disturbing dream. Seems he's been having those dreams more frequently ever since Maddie's arrival in Oz. Weird coincidence that a Jedi-in-training would have that effect with those she comes in contact. The lady had met Lion only once. Uncle Henry thought of a similar situation that occurred eons ago, when Ricar Tasou's children, fleeing their home galaxy, landed on Earth, in the Cretaceous Period. Those dinosaurs Marbe and Kirel encountered also experienced odd dreams and visions, as if the mere presence of the Jedi triggered such.
      Now, didn't Ozma and the Wizard mention a possible relocation for those ancient beasts? How will they – powerful magic notwithstanding – manage to bring animals who died out millions of years ago to Oz? Perhaps this is why Ms. Tasou is here, to assist bringing those creatures to Oz. Wonderful it'll be to have such gargantuan animals roaming all over. Even more fascinating to witness the dinosaurs' supposed Force abilities. Although Uncle Henry didn't know much about the Force, he knew enough via those Force Masters presently residing in Oz.
      Enough ruminating over what's to come or fretting over one lady's Jedi training. That will happen soon enough.

      Uncle Henry leaned back in his chair wondering what was keeping Em. Lion's dreams must be really bad this time, or else Em wouldn't be gone so long. What timing! No sooner did the program of recorded music end Aunt Em entered the room. She was quite concerned as it showed on her face.

      "Is Lion resting better, Em?," asked Henry.
      "Oh yes. Much better," replied Aunt Em. "Dreadful thing, those bad dreams. He wouldn't tell me what they were about. I reminded him that he could always tell me about his dreams, that it would help to figure out what they mean. But no, he won't tell a soul. Poor thing, and he tries to be brave and not let his dreams scare him so."
      Uncle Henry said, "Oh well, let's hope he gets a good night rest. Pour soul, having to miss all this great music. Which reminds me, did you know Zelda Mendel will join the girls in the closing selection? Oh yes, she's guest violist, and the girls will play one of Mendelssohn's string quintets, one of my favorites."


      From his private box in Pastoria Centre's recital hall, Professor H.M. Wogglebug, T.E., resplendent in his navy blue swallow-tail coat, white vest, and yellow knickers, surveyed the stage and audience. Ah, yes, thought the highly magnified, thoroughly educated wogglebug, everything on the stage in place. The nine-foot Steinway concert grand, the dainty gilt chairs for Emerald Quartet and special musical guests. Across from his box was Princess Ozma and her entourage: Dorothy, Nick Chopper, Scarecrow, and the Wizard. In another box sat Madeline's godfather Charlie and his sister Lenore. Rounding out that little group was Lenore's husband, Hank, his brother Uncle Fred, and the visiting wizard Albus Dumbledore.
       My, my...Dumbledore's visits to Oz have certainly become more frequent. It's a certain Jedi that demands the Hogwarts headmaster's presence, but there is more to it than Maddie's upcoming Jedi training. Now, that composer Nick Chopper mentioned...He was a Jedi! Glinda has the composition the Jedi, Helmut Brück, née Bruno Dibon, penned especially for the Mendels' 19th Century ancestors. Why them? What deep secrets do Eli and Zelda harbor to cause someone from their past to steal said composition? Hmm...Yes! Seems young Brück, during his sojourns throughout Europe, met Fantine Larue, another displaced Jedi. Fantine, born Talia Eldin of Coruscant, had the distinction of being Elzire Mendel's widowed sister-in-law. So well-intuited with the Force was Fantine, that she figured out how that time slip was breached in the first place. Even suggested to young Helmut to begin Auf der Sternen in B-flat minor...six notes, but in reverse, and the opening note is in the second of a triad...
      So that's how Dooku did it! He opened the breach with sound! Maybe his Sith Master AKA Supreme Chancellor Palpatine had a hand in it as well. But I believe Palpy most likely didn't know of the breach; nothing in the Jedi on Earth chronicles bear out that fact, but someone else was privy to this delicate information, and he or she knows how to close that slip or keep it open...
       Could that person be the one who torments our Sirenna so? Could he or she be the mastermind behind an impending invasion? I must study this problem much more...

      "Thirty seconds to air time, Professor," called out Number Nine who manned the wondrous apparatus that would transmit the recital all over Oz and to the other fairy kingdoms of Nonestica.
     Wogglebug, bringing himself back to the present task at hand, adjusted his cravat, then turned to the camera and spoke into the mike. In his loftiest voice, he began:
       "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another Live from Pastoria Centre broadcast. On the program tonight is the radio and television premiere of the newly formed Emerald Quartet, featuring the noted cellist Madeline Tasou. Miss Tasou, the daughter of a Jedi, teams with our own Jenny Jump and Six on violin, and Jana Jazzine on viola. They will open the program with Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" quartet for strings, followed by solo performances from each lady. After intermission, the ladies will be joined by Zelda Mendel on viola in the closing selection, a lovely Mendelssohn quintet that I'm sure you will enjoy."

      The lights go down, the stage lights come up. Out comes the Emerald Quartet, each lady dressed identically in a quirky but elegant 1960's "girl group" fashions. The black chiffon dresses boasted calf-length bouffant skirts and lacy bodices. Each lady's hair was styled in a 60's up-do, and even the make-up, all that ubiquitous black eyeliner and rosy lipstick, suggested the girls may, on a whim, break out in a chorus of "One Fine Day" instead of enchanting their audience with fine chamber music.

      Gee, thought Dorothy, too bad Aunt Em and Uncle Henry opted for the radio; they're still too intimidated by the mere presence of the TV. They would love to see these gals all dolled up.
      She leaned over to Ozma and whispered, "They certainly look good, but it's the music I'm looking forward to hear. How did they manage to persuade Zelda to join them?"
       Ozma replied, "Don't you remember what your uncle and aunt reported that day, after their lunch at the deli? Zelda and Eli instantly recognized Maddie, and they heaped praise upon her. Then the conversation turned to Eli's forebears, and that family's friendship with Helmut Brück. Maddie recalled doing her master's thesis on obscure Romantic Era composers, and Helmut was included in the finished paper. That mention sparked Maddie to dig a little more into the Mendels' past, and she learned how they came to Oz. Aided by none other than one of Jean-Paul Beauchamps' later descendants."
      Dorothy gasped, "Alain? The same who later helped Yuri Ostrovsky, Maddie's music professor, escape Stalin's Russia?"
      "The very man, and he soon became privy to a profound secret that may, if someone should carelessly blurt it out, send Madeline to the brink of the dark side."

[Go to Chapter 16]

Copyright©2007 by PRP