Somewhere in Gillikin Country, situated between the forest of the Winged
Monkeys and The Good Witch of the North's palace, lies a sprawling property. When
one approaches this place, he or she cannot gain access; it is that well fortified.
Not with armed guards or sophisticated security systems, but the whole place is
encircled by a forty-foot wrought iron fence. If one should look through that fence,
he or she could not see the huge mansion for it's obscured by dense woods. Then to
actually get on the other side of the fence...Well, that is a feat all its own. To
gain access, one must have a special key to unlock the heavy gate; then, once inside
one has a long walk up a winding path.
So what is so special about this place? It's not the well-appointed house or beautiful well-kept grounds; it's who lives there. Once inside, a visitor will certainly be taken aback, for the residents are not quite what anyone would expect. For this immense estate was known in Oz as Meister Haus or the Hall of Masters. Few had ever visited and for good reason. In those unsettled days leading to the Battle of Emerald City, the ones who lived there had to do so under strict anonymity. Not even Glinda nor Princess Ozma dared to venture there; that honor was reserved for Oz's newest Jedi and a select few from the dinosaur herds.
Of course, that would come quite later, once those herds relocated to the magical fairyland. However, if one should catch a glimpse of the residents, even eavesdrop on snatches of conversation, it would not take long to figure out...
"Many chance encounters today. Madeline meets the dilophosaurus George. Eli and Zelda Mendel meet the granddaughter they've never known. And Jenny Jump encounters the sorceress now temporarily transformed."
"No, nothing is by chance. The Force has willed these encounters."
"As meeting a young Anakin Skywalker, Master Jinn, was not an accident."
Ah, so this place is home to several Jedi Force Ghosts as well as several
special friends. In that circle, many long-dead Jedi meditate on current events
taking place in various places and time periods.
They sat in a circle, meditating in the Force, discussing current matters of interest, much like they did in life in the Jedi Temple. There, in his usual place, Master Yoda meditated on those encounters Qui-Gon Jinn and Bruno Dibon discussed.
Hmm...Hard to see, these future outcomes are. Not as he seems, the dilophosaurus is...but...
"What is it?," asks Mace Windu once Yoda grimaced on events, current and future
in the Jurassic Great Valley.
The highly venerated Jedi Master said, "Hmm...Pain, suffering, fear...Much danger a youngling faces...Not good, another one is."
"Do you think," asked Mace, "it has something to do with the latest developments in Ix? At last report, the compound is empty, save for the yet to be activated droid army. No Sirenna or Varan, no sign of Kaliko."
"But the real power behind the planned coup against Oz is in Emerald City," said
"Already word has come from Dorothy that, while she and Ojo escorted the Herd through the tunnel, she found one of Oz's residents there, just short of the exit. One of the pteranodons is bringing that person here for safety's sake."
"And," rejoined Obi-Wan, "Sirenna has made contact with Jenny Jump. She confessed all, and cautioned Jenny of a possible transformation, perhaps several, of various Ozites. All for the Dark One's agenda."
Master Kenobi felt that ripple in the Force; a memory came to him as he turned to his former Apprentice, asking, "Anakin, have you been in contact with Luke of late?"
Anakin shook his head, replying, "I appeared to Luke moments after Kaliko
Again, getting those odd vibes as if something was about to go wrong, Anakin paused then said, "Master, I sense our newest Jedi may be in danger. Not George but someone else."
Madeline Tasou blinked as if what she was seeing wasn't quite real. No, she thought, this is all too real. For this little creature actually spoke to me! Ah yes, Ricar Tasou, my ancestor, the first Jedi Knight to reach Earth via that time slip, recorded that these creatures have the power of speech. Likewise, the dinosaurs Marbe and Kirel encountered had such power. Is it magic or are these ancient animals truly blessed with Force-sensitivity? Still concealed within the thicket, Maddie looked at the little creature who so suddenly popped out of nowhere. Yes, she recognized the animal as a dilophosaurus, but this one was quite young; perhaps the spitting mechanism has yet to develop. He seemed friendly enough, hardly menacing or dangerous.
"My name's George. What's yours?," it asked again.
Maddie, feeling totally at ease, replied, "My name is Madeline, but you can call me
The young dilphosaurus quickly assessed his new friend, his eyes drifting to the lightsaber fastened onto Maddie's belt. As if he'd seen one before, George exclaimed in his squeaky pre-adolescent voice, "You're a Jedi!"
To this Madeline Tasou nodded, replying, "How observant you are! Yes, I'm a Jedi but still very new. How do you know about the Jedi?"
George, still staring at the lightsaber, said, "My folks met that Jedi Ricar long time ago. They told me all about him, how he visited the Longnecks way before Littlefoot was born."
"I know all about that, George. Ricar Tasou is my ancestor, and he visited here twice. Did you parents know of that second visit?"
The little dilophosaurus nodded then replied, "Yep, but that's way after everyone came to the Great Valley. Littlefoot's auntie died and her husband was so sad that he left and never came back."
Maddie smiled a bit, then said, "Would it interest you to know that Pat is safe and sound in Oz?"
George looked puzzled. Squinting his very green eyes, he asked, "Where is Oz? What is it?"
Just as Madeline prepared to answer the boy's question, she felt an odd sensation, as if someone had walked into a dangerous situation. That sensation suggested one of the child dinosaurs going to a place in the Valley forbidden to the little ones. It had happened before, and the little one, a fearless sort, in her zeal and bravado...
She's doing it again, now!
"George," she said in hushed tones, "where is this Sheltering Grass?"
"Over there," he nodded in that direction, "on the other side of the sinking sand."
Sinking sand? As in...Without a word, Madeline instantly sprang to her feet and sped to the forbidden place. If anything, that kid has slipped off the rock and plunged into that bog. Her friends, like the last time, would try to save her only to find themselves in a death trap.
"Keep back!," cried Maddie upon approach. "Cera! Stay still! The more you struggle, the more you'll sink. Hold on!"
Then, Madeline Tasou held our her hands and concentrated deeply in the Force. Come on, it worked when I lifted that boat out of the swamp, during my training. Steady, steady...Feel, don't think...
George hung back, well concealed in the thick brush. He knew his kind wasn't
too welcome in the Great Valley anyway, despite his pledge not to harm any of the
peaceful plant-eaters. Old thinking and attitudes die hard in this slice of Jurassic
Earth, and the dilophosaurids with their reputation for spitting deadly venom and
eating small dinosaurs, made George's occasional forays into the Great Valley that
He wasn't a violent sort, didn't even develop that spitting technique; that had yet to manifest itself as his folks died when George was a mere hatchling. However, that talent would, in due time, come in mighty handy someday.
Still well hidden, he stared in awe, mesmerized by this scene. There was Cera, the cute but oftimes hard-headed Threehorn, floundering in the sinking sand, her friends teaming up to help her out of a life-threatening situation. In a stroke of good fortune, divine intervention even, Madeline appeared, commanding Cera to remain as still as possible; she ordered the others to keep out of harm's way. Then she closed her eyes and held out her hands. Not since Ricar Tasou's last visit did George witness such a spectacular sight. Oh, Ricar, on his last visit, performed a similar feat — freeing Petrie who got stuck in a rock crevice — but what this young Jedi did totally blew George away.
And I had heard of a similar Force levitation that took place on a faraway planet long ago, long before I came here...
Within seconds, Cera lifted out of the gooey, stinking mire. Hovering in mid-air, she effortlessly transversed the deadly quicksand pit before landing safely on terra firma. Panting and shaking, she looked at her benefactor as did her friends. Shaking her head, she tried to catch her breath, saying to her rescuer, "Thanks."
The other kids stared in wonder at this new friend, the Longneck of the group
asking, "Are you like that Ricar guy?"
"Yeah," said the other boy, another Longneck but taller and a bit older than the first, "I remember him. He was a Jedi."
The little duck-billed dinosaur, named apropos Ducky, said enthusiastically, "Oh yes, yes, yes! Another Jedi friend."
They gathered around Madeline Tasou, pelting her with many questions, and gratitude for saving Cera's life. George, upon seeing that initial contact with the children, quietly slipped away. He will, he reasoned, be needed at a most crucial time; for now it's off to hunt for insects, small amphibians, or fish for his breakfast. Glancing back at the children getting acquainted with this very new Jedi, George smiled with satisfaction, wondering if he really should tell Madeline the truth.
No, not now...Let her get settled and all. In time, she'll learn...Oh!
He felt that sensation again, as if someone in the Valley means no good. Yes, someone is here, threatening to derail a long overdue family reunion and so much more.
Into the crystal ball he peered, taking in the touching introduction between
the new Jedi and the child dinosaurs. He also observed the concealed dilophosaurus;
he nodded, knowing this creature could be a major key in the Great Relocation of the
valley heads. The crystal fogged over, though, focusing on another player in that
valley, a much newer arrival.
Major Spikeblade blinked. I know all the possible reasons he's there, but how did he pull this off?
Wishing to be there now, in the Great Valley, the retired Winkie soldier went to that secret room and opened the door. Out rolled R2-T9, Marbe Tasou's faithful astromech droid. Until now, R2 spent her days here in the cramped cabin somewhere in the wilds of Gillikin Country. Now she belonged, in reality, to the new Jedi Knight Madeline Tasou. That little droid should be there, in the Great Valley, aiding her new mistress in what could be a most trying ordeal. Not that the major worried that much, but deep within, once he saw that second figure lurking in the darkened corners of the Valley...
He felt a presence not sensed in so many years centuries even. On his hunch,
glancing at the window, Major Spikeblade espied that same Cecropia moth which
earlier made a full confession to Jenny Jump. Now it was here, and it glided
effortlessly into the room. It lighted upon the desk, where the great crystal ball
stood, and spoke:
"Papa, Jenny knows, and now you'll know. In time all of Oz will learn the truth. I had to disguise myself and Varan...Papa, please don't be angry with me, for I've done so many horrible things. Sometimes I wished we and Mama weren't magical, then we would have surely died at the stake. At least, I wouldn't find myself in such an awful circumstance, so let me confess now..."
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