All three hailed from Haruun Kal, home of the great Jedi Master Mace Windu, and they had the privilege of knowing Master Windu and held him in high esteem. Now, what would Mace say to this latest development? Surely, they knew of the ancient prophecy that a descendent of Ricar Tasou and the daughter of a Jedi, would defeat the Dark One who escaped to Earth to spread evil among innocents. They also knew of a possible coup against Ozma, and of the grand army the sorceress Sirenna and the Nome Kaliko supposedly built in a hidden compound in the neighboring fairyland of Ix.
However, all three had misgivings of Madeline's Jedi potential. To be sure, she was far too old, much older than Luke Skywalker when he received training from Masters Kenobi and Yoda. In addition, like Luke's father Anakin, this woman still had much anger and hate within. They knew of her circumstances as a child, born into a loveless, abusive marriage which caused the mother to move several times to get away from the brutal husband. Young Maddie spent her formative years hating the man who gave her life. She also had the propensity to dig herself into fits of deep depression. Hey, aren't all those years of psychotherapy and the off-and-on taking of prescription antidepressants proof enough? That she is simply not Jedi material? Then there was that episode during her youth, when she lost her best friend in that freak accident. Come on, she harbored – still harbors – much guilt about that. Just dwelling on the fact that she, in some way, caused that accident that deprived a mother of her only child, proves Maddie cannot fight off those negative feelings. Such thoughts can be picked up by a Sith Apprentice in a heartbeat. The woman could be doomed to the dark side for life. So why take the risks? Just let us take on that army ourselves. We don't need a woman who, mind you, is a musician by trade.
So voiced Deke who said the same to Major Spikeblade, only the old Winkie soldier had his reasons why Maddie will make a fine Jedi.
"As I said, she's too old." said the hulking, copper-haired Deke to Rath, a still fine looking man who appeared in his late fifties. Despite the blindness, Rath harbored no ill will against the battle droid whose ill-timed blaster bolt singed Rath's retinas, burning them to uselessness. Rath simply accepted his situation as a part of life. He spent those closing days of the Clone Wars on Haruun Kal, nursed back to health by his sister Mariah.
Mariah and Rath, like Marbe and Kirel, and Luke and Leia, were twins, and both could have trained as Jedi. However, the parents refused to give up their only children, opting for both to develop as Force Users. In time, the twins, so intuited with the Force, demonstrated abilities which nearly rivalled those of the Jedi, but neither entertained using their Force gifts as competition. They were, if not expertly, quite adept at lightsaber combat. Deke, on the other hand, though gifted in ways of the Force, had, as one Jedi Master put it, a big mouth. He was too outspoken and often expressed overwhelming pessimism, a quality that often put off his fellow Force Masters and Jedi. Even his friend Master Windu urged Deke to meditate on the potentially harmful affects of his words and thoughts. Of course, being an independent-minded man of innate dour demeanor, Deke never quite made the effort to change his ways. That negligence would, in time, cause much trouble for him and those who supposedly rubbed him the wrong way.
At the close of the Wars, and the impending Order 66, the three Force Masters, upon receiving the warning from Master Kenobi, left Haruun Kal for the Unknown Regions. Obi-Wan, in his last transmission, revealed to Mariah that time slip, that the breach may be their only hope in permanently escaping Palpatine's clone troops and spies. Many Jedi and Force Users have already penetrated that slip, finding themselves on a planet far removed from the home galaxy.
What Obi-Wan didn't tell them, and this fact he never learned until much later informed by a handful of displaced Jedi, the space breach had a unusual property. Not only did it provide a quicker transport to an unknown planet in an uncharted star system, it sent the travellers to totally different time eras. While the bulk of the Jedi ended up on Earth during the early 1800's, two or three arrived during the late Middle Ages, some landed in pre-Columbian America, and only one found herself the Age of Antiquity.
The latter, Ardana Zian, a Twi'lek from Ryloth, actually landed in Thessaly just before the Trojan War. Ardana was the first to land on Earth and interact with humans. Though Ricar Tasou was the first Jedi to penetrate the breach, he landed on Earth during the Jurassic Period. Ardana's specific circumstances and interactions with the ancient Greeks was a fiercely guarded secret, and subsequent Jedi and Force Masters on Earth gradually became privy to her situation. What transpired during her exile in the ancient world? What role, if any, did she play in the war? Did she aid Menelaus' army, or did she side with the Trojans? After the Trojans' defeat, what other circumstances forced her to live complete anonymity? What great secret did she harbor? Only one of the three Force Masters – Deke, Rath, and Mariah – knew as this was the very time and place they arrived.
So how did they end up in Oz? That was the secret revealed shortly after they make contact with Ardana. It was not far from Mt. Olympus, near the temple of Athena, where the Twi'lek Jedi and three Force Masters met. Apparently, she told them enough of her adventures, but not everything. The one human she initially encountered swore Ardana to secrecy, something about a powerful item given to her by one of Athena's high priestesses. It was via this item the three Force Masters found their way to the magical fairyland, when Oz itself was still in its infancy. That item would soon find its way from Ardana to Glinda, then to Dumbledore and, ultimately, to Madeline Tasou.
The entire tale surrounding Ardana and her ancient acquaintances wouldn't be revealed for centuries; however, Ardana did tell Mariah of the prophecy first told by the dinosaurs Gotoma and Sarama, which was echoed by Lysandra, Ardana's first human contact and an avid devotee of the virgin goddesses Artemis and Athena.
However, this was not the time to rehash past encounters with one displaced Jedi. Whatever ultimately happened to Ardana was not on Mariah's mind. In a way, she actually wanted Maddie to begin training as it was, after all, foretold eons ago that this woman was the key in defeating the instrument of an impending invasion. Rath echoed those sentiments, and urged that Maddie begin her training post-haste. Deke, however, had to be persuaded by other, more potent, ways.
"You must and will train her!"
Rath and Mariah knew that voice and face at once: the Force Ghost of Jedi Master Mace Windu. Mace didn't have to worry about the first two; it was Deke who proved, once again, that his innate stubbornness and potentially destructive tendency towards pomposity threatened to derail the one defense Oz had against the forces of darkness.
Master Windu said, "I, along with the other Jedi who came before, have watched over Madeline Tasou all her life. We've quietly counselled her, cheered her on in her triumphs, and witnessed how she deftly rises above adversity. Despite the supposed animosity she feels for her father, and the abject guilt brought on by the loss of a friend, she has proven to fight off those negative feelings. As Master Jinn explained to her, she has the potential to become a full Jedi."
Deke still was not swayed. He looked Mace squarely in the eyes, and protested, "But she's too old. Way too old. And she's too set in her ways. Besides, she's a musician, and that's hardly a pre-requisite to become a Jedi. Even if she is a descendant of Ricar Tasou, she's not fit to be trained."
Mace Windu shot back, "But she has, as Anakin Skywalker said himself, touched the Force through the music. How can you explain the sudden grasp of technique and theory at an early age, far before she began serious study? There is a potential within, and the Council has agreed she be trained. Besides, the prophecy..."
"Prophecy?," shot back Deke. "Something uttered by a couple of dinosaurs, mind you. The daughter of a Jedi...You heard Wogglebug's introduction. You heard what he said. She's Marbe Tasou's great-great-great granddaughter, nothing more."
Now Rath had to speak up. Too long he remained silent as Deke verbally damned Ms. Tasou's Jedi potential. Even in faraway Quadling Country, even if he could no longer see, he could, just by listening to the recital, how Maddie concentrates on the moment. She feels the music, not merely thinking of what's she's playing. It's as if she's summoned the spirits of those long-dead composers, channelling their energy into her fingertips.
"No, Deke," he said, "This is one time I'll have to disagree with you. Mariah and I have already given our consent, and Madeline will be trained, whether you like it or not."
He turned to Mace Windu, sensed the Jedi Master's presence, adding, "Sir, it will be done."
Then, a curious Mariah asked, "Wogglebug was right, wasn't he? She is a Jedi's child?"
Mace nodded, replying, "Yes she is, but that fact is not to be revealed – yet. She will learn it after her visit to the Great Valley, after she brings her Jurassic family to Oz. There is one more thing: That platinum medallion Lenore gave her once belonged to the priestess Lysandra. You have seen it before. It is a portkey to be used not only to transport between Oz and the Great Outside World but to travel within time portals. She will visit the very place the first Jedi encountered human civilization. There the Twi'lek Ardana Zian will reveal much more."
Sensing a sudden shift in the Force, Rath commented, "It's the music, isn't it? What the girls are playing now is triggering many memories. In several places, in several time periods, individuals hear that death theme of the second movement. One thinks of the sibling who so mysteriously disappeared. Another, millions of years later, sees the little one sheltered within a safe house. In a faraway city, in another time, three women face certain death. And, in that same Valley, one will burst into song, a perfect rendition of German lieder which will leave the daughter dumbfounded. Then her sleep stories will begin. Still, there will be many unanswered questions, but it all begins to fall into place the moment a war criminal slips through Death's door."
He turned to his sister, asking, "That other medallion, the wooden key to the Hall of Masters. It was fashioned by a friend of the woman who gave Madeline that woven mat, at the request of Ardana Zian and Neo Govin. She will use it once the dinosaurs relocate, and just before she receives that composition from Glinda. That score, actually a treatise of Jedi on Earth, reveals exactly how the Dark One will be defeated."
Waving his hand towards the Holonet transmitter, Rath told his sister, "Transmit a message to Ozma. Tell her it will be done. Nick can bring her any time."
To Deke he issued this warning, "And if you interfere, hamper her training in any way with your nonsense, your pettiness, you will find yourself in dire straits – with me! And you know, even without my eyesight, I can still take you out!"
Copyright©2007 by PRP