In the letters and dispatches General Washington gets from Europe, some from friends and some from enemies, he gathers that the prevailing opinion in England and the continent is that the Jedi in the colonies are just unruly children.
That they’ve been left too long loose from their duties at the feet of the Crown and the Temple.
They point to the loose structure used by the Jedi and Force sensitives in the thirteen colonies, scattered and not beholden to any authority. He can almost hear them snort when they recount how few of them have ever been actually sanctioned by the Order.
There is only one official temple on American land, less than a sixth of the one at Westminster and now laying dusty and empty on a Charleston side street.
And underneath the dismissal there is the pulsing beat of anger, bristling indignation at these so called colonial Jedi, standing in defiance of their King and the Anglican Temple’s mandates.
And at their rough but effective use of the Force, so divorced from classical schooling that they are completely unprepared for it.
They’d been smirking until they’d begun losing. Through that crack, Washington can glimpse their fear.
Fear at their numbers, unprecedented in history. Dread at the reports from the battlefield. Helplessly wondering how it got so out of hand.
Unable to sleep at night, kept up by that single burning question: what comes next?
What world is dawning?
Benjamin Franklin and John Jay tell him of crowded salons, coffee houses and public houses debating the American ‘character’ and motivations. The same discussions take place in royal courts and church sermons, in all the languages of the continent.
Some believe that it is the exotic new foods, or the water, or the air that makes the population so Force sensitive. And rebellious.
Others point to the native peoples. Or the movement of the stars or the currents or tobacco. Especially tobacco.
All of them, he thinks, are rather missing the point.
Even now, despite all the blood spilled before them. Because blood is the point.
The answer to it, to all of it, is simply: family. Jedi come into the world the same way everyone else does; they are born.
On the other side of the ocean, Jedi obey the Temple and do not marry. In some lands, he’s heard, they may beget children, but only that their order’s behest, and they never know the child as fathers.
Their hearts do not move when Force sensitive babes are plucked from their mother’s arms. When children begin to exhibit abilities, their life is forfeit to the law of the land.
It is the way, the only way, taught by the Crown and the Temple. It makes for fine soldiers and loyal subjects.
Except for those who sensed a new life in a new land.
And they were many.
Washington learned the ways of the Force from his brother.
Major Tallmadge goes into battle with a lightsaber once wielded by his mother, and hers before her.
Laurens teaches his men meditation techniques developed by his kin over decades.
They’ve been gently modified by a few wise words from Martha, on her last visit to camp. Martha, who is a good sparring partner and a better wife.
Here, Padawan are called sons and daughters and cousins and sisters and brothers.
The Force is in the hands of their neighbors and friends. No child, no matter how insensitive to the Force, is a stranger to it.
All the men King George has sent, the knights and masters and council members, cannot grasp that.
They think that they are dealing with country bumpkins who have never seen a lightsaber before. Washington’s men might not be able to recite every passage of the Jedi code but they know the ways of the Force.
There was a time, shortly after his brother died and left him a weapon he still can’t bring himself to use, that he’d wished for an order to belong to. For the clarity of a master to follow.
That thought came again during the French and Indian War. He’d been younger than most of aides then.
He knows better now.
It’s something he wishes he could tell them, could make them see. Especially Alexander Hamilton.
He doesn’t think that one feels a pull towards an order. But he can see all too easily how he could be tempted by the dark side. Hamilton didn’t have family to show him the way.
Neither his father nor his mother were Force sensitive, as he understands it, not that either one was in his life long enough for it to make a difference. There was no one to guide him then, not that he’ll allow it now.
Washington sees him in camp sometimes, sparring with Lafayette or watching with quiet envy as Brewster plays harmless mind tricks, usually on Burr, to the delight of the men.
Most of them have settled under the direction of one General or another, even when there is no order to bestow with the title of Master. Some have many, some only a few. Or one, in the case of Lee and Bradford.
Not who he would have chosen, were he still a young man.
Perhaps it would have been Arnold. Perhaps not.
He would certainly not pick himself.
There is a cramped room full of aides that find time in the day to meditate with him in between drilling and frantically copying dispatches.
Young men who look to him, and who make him proud when they Force pull a cloth ball he’s launched at them out of the air. Who swell with pride of their own when he finds nothing to correct in their stance with a saber. And who strike each other with practice blades and a laugh when they think he isn’t looking.
Those are the things that make their character.
That is something no European Jedi, padawan or master, will ever understand no matter how many bloody battles are waged in this revolution. Because blood is the point.
And blood is thicker than water.