Jedi Temple Guards were famous for their calm and collected demeanors. They were fluent in knowing how to do their jobs with precision and look intimidating while doing it.
They could handle any and all situations that might arise in or around the Temple itself. From troublesome Initiates and duels that got out of hand, to rowdy civilians and politicians trying to gain entry to the Temple. In short, there was nothing that could surprise them or catch them off-guard. Until now, it would seem.
The temple guards posted at the main entrance to the Jedi Temple glanced at each other, unsure of what to do. The woman standing in front of them crossed her arms and repeated her original statement.
“I said I’d like to see my son.”
The two guards turned to each other and shrugged.
The first guard, Hyren, took a step back to com someone higher up, leaving Tam to deal with the strangely dressed woman. She was wearing a jacket that looked to be older than Tam himself, over a set of armour that looked to be even older. The armour resembled that of a Mandalorian warrior, but not exactly.
This was way beyond his pay-grade.
“Who is your son?” Tam finally asked in an attempt to gain control of the situation.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi,” was the woman’s short reply. “I believe he’s an Initiate here.”
The name sounded familiar, but it did nothing to assuage Tam’s general distrust in the armoured woman.
“What is your name and occupation?” Tam asked.
A small smirk twitched at the woman’s lip. “Mara Miraal, bounty hunter.”
Tam shouldn’t have been surprised, but he had to admit he wasn’t expecting the answer--and not in such a straight-forward manner. Hyren returned to the conversation, much to Tam’s relief. Something about this woman didn’t feel right.
“Master Windu will be down in a minute,” Hyren informed them.
Mrs. Miraal nodded in response, though her formerly easy manner turned tense.
“I thank you,” she said with a barely noticeable bow.
The two guards eyed each other awkwardly, not a clue as to what to do next. They stood that way, barely moving, for another handful of minutes. Mrs. Miraal stayed thankfully silent until Master Windu showed up. Tam and Hyren stood straighter to attention, and Mrs, Miraal stiffened at the sight of the Korun Master.
“What is the situation here, guards?” Master Windu asked, coming to stand beside them.
“Mara Miraal wishes to see her son,” Hyren replied, sounding as bewildered as Tam felt.
Master Windu’s eyebrow raised. “Who do you claim as your son?”
Mrs. Miraal’s jaw clenched visibly, but her answer was amiable enough.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is my blood.”
Tam could tell Master Windu wasn’t convinced. “Tell me, how does a Mandalorian come to adopt a Jedi Initiate that has never left the Temple?”
The bounty hunter’s smile was not kind. “Perhaps I did not make myself clear. I am Kenobi’s mother by birth. Twelve years ago, I left him with a family I believed could care for him better than I could at the time. War is no place to raise a child.”
“And now that the Civil War on Mandalore is at a stand-still, you thought you could take him back,” Master Windu finished.
“I returned to find the people I’d left him with had given him to you--the Jedi.” The last statement was tinged with distaste.
“You would take him from the people who raised him, and train him as a bounty hunter? As a killer?” Windu asked coldly.
Mrs. Miraal shook her head. “I have accepted that your kind have likely brainwashed him into wishing to become one of you. The right to interfere in his life is no longer mine. I simply wish to talk to him.”
Both of the temple guards stayed silent, waiting for Master Windu to reply. The Korun Master stroked his chin, considering Miraal through narrowed eyes.
“You will leave your armour and weapons here with the temple guards. I will locate Initiate Kenobi and explain the situation to him.”
Tam half-expected her to outright refuse. Mandalorians were very touchy about their armour and weapons. But she nodded tightly, and handed her blaster--barrel pointed to the ground--to Tam. He hesitantly took it.
Master Windu disappeared back into the temple.
It took Mrs. Miraal less than two minutes to remove her armour, leaving her in a dark grey flight suit. Her weapons, however, took significantly longer. Aside from the blaster she’d already handed over, there were at least a dozen assorted knives, a few collapsible parts that would turn her blaster into a sniper rifle, three thermal detonators, and what appears to be an EMP device. Hyren ended up leaving to find a box for all of it.
Finally, it looked like she was done. She held her arms out, showing that she was now unarmed.
“Now, can I see my son?” she asked impatiently.
Hyren glanced down at his comm. “Master Windu says Initiate Kenobi is waiting in the Room of a Thousand Fountains.”
“Thanks,” Miraal said flatly, and walked past them into the temple, not waiting for directions.
Tam and Hyren glanced at each other. After a moment, Hyren shrugged. Both guards pulled out their comms. Time to spread the gossip.
The Room of a Thousand Fountains was easy enough to find. But that did nothing to calm her nerves. By any and all logic, she was in the enemy’s lair.
Mara Miraal rubbed absently at phantom pains in her arms as she walked towards her destination.
Several Jedi paused to stare or glance at her in confusement, but without her armour, no one tried to stop her or pick a fight. She had to hand it to Master Windu. He knew what he was about.
Mara paused at the arched entrance to the large gardens. Something felt familiar here, somehow. A comforting presence pricked at the edges of her senses. It had been so long. She closed her eyes and let the warmth of that presence wash over her.
No one here could know she was like them. So, she quickly secured her shields, and stepped into the pleasant brightness of the gardens.
Master Windu didn’t know what the proper procedure was. Nothing like this had ever happened in his memory. No parent had ever shown up, asking to visit their child. It just didn’t happen. Especially not a Mandalorian. Why had there been nothing in Kenobi’s file that hinted about an adoption?
“Mysterious, the ways of the Force are,” Master Yoda said beside him.
Mace repressed the urge to sigh or scowl. What proof did they have that the woman wasn’t lying? She could be trying to get her hands on a Jedi to brainwash him. Well, there was always a blood test. Master Vokara Che could find out easily enough if the Mandalorian really was related to Kenobi.
Master Yoda walked beside him all the way to the Room of a Thousand Fountains.
Initiate Kenobi had just arrived.
“You wanted to see me, Master Windu?” the boy asked, equal parts worried and hopeful.
The boy had only a few more weeks before his thirteenth birthday--until he would be sent to the Agri-Corps. He was still trying to find anyone who would train him to become a Knight, but Mace honestly didn’t see much of a chance for the anger-prone Initiate.
“Yes, Initiate,” Mace said, taking the lead before Yoda could jump in. “A woman who claims to be your mother is here to see you.”
Kenobi’s mouth dropped open.
“My...my mother? ” he stuttered. “Is she here to take me away? Am I leaving the Jedi? I promise, Master--”
Mace held up a hand, halting Kenobi's panicked tirade. “Relax, Initiate. She wishes to speak with you, nothing more. You’re not being sent away.”
Yet, his mind added.
Kenobi gulped in a large breath of air. It seemed to have a calming effect on him. “Did she say what she wanted to talk about?”
“Know her intentions, we do not,” replied Yoda. “But offer to take you in, Master Windu believes she will.”
The boy shook his head vehemently. “I’m staying here. I want to be a Jedi Knight!”
“Then I will not stop you, if that is what you wish,” a calm voice sounded behind them.
Mace spun around and frowned. Why hadn’t he sensed her approach? He could sense Yoda’s curiosity at her stealthy entrance as well. Somehow, she had managed to sneak up on them.
“Hello,” Miraal said to Obi-Wan.
“Hello,” he replied warily.
Yoda and Mace stayed silent through the exchange.
“Who are you?” Obi-Wan asked.
Miraal smiled sadly at him. “I am Mara Miraal, though my maiden name was Dredan.”
Obi-Wan’s eyes went wide then, putting together what Mace had already suspected. “I have a step-father?”
Mace sighed. Of course the boy already believed they were related. They didn’t look much alike, to his eye, though there was something nearly identical in their auras--the way they stood, the way they looked at each other in uncertainty, their Force signatures--though Miraal’s was infinitely less powerful. He doubted her ability to feel the Force at all.
Miraal’s eyebrows scrunched. “No. Your father’s name was Miraal.”
“I’m not a Kenobi?” Obi-Wan squeaked.
Miraal shook her head. “No. Well, yes...that is, Kenobi is the name I gave you. It’s your first name.”
Mace was hit suddenly by a rapidly-building shatter-point. It pounded behind his eyes, waiting to either break or lessen. There were some days Mace really didn’t like this ability of his.
“Kenobi Miraal, his name is?” queried Yoda.
“Yes,” Miraal replied shortly. Something cold crept into her manner. She stiffened, as if just realizing there were Jedi in her vicinity. “His temporary guardians gave him the name Obi-Wan.”
They all, except perhaps Kenobi himself, realized the weight of this revelation.
As a last name, Kenobi meant ‘Son of Nothing’, with the full name of Obi-Wan Kenobi meaning, ‘ No-One, Son of Nothing ’. As a first name, however, Kenobi was a much kinder choice. It was a promise to become something, though born from nothing. Mara Miraal had named her son with a promise to become something great. The people who gave him to the Jedi had taken that from him.
“Where is my father?” Kenobi asked.
Miraal took a moment to answer that one.
“We were betrayed by people we trusted. Kenobi--your father--died protecting us.”
Mace’s frown grew deeper as he felt a wave of sadness from Initiate Kenobi. Mace reached out to check if the boy was okay, and he stepped back in shock. He was already creating a bond with her! He was feeling her emotions!
“You killed them,” Kenobi said with certainty.
Miraal glanced back at Yoda and Mace before answering.
“Yes. I did.” It was a statement utterly devoid of emotion. Only her eyes betrayed the betrayal she must have felt.
“You were angry and hurt, and you killed them,” Kenobi continued. Miraal didn’t answer, prompting the boy to finish. “That’s why you left me behind. You wanted to protect me from your enemies...and from you.”
She stepped forward, and Obi-- that is, Kenobi--met her halfway, arms outstretched. They met with a fierce hug. Miraal sank to her knees, nearly matching Kenobi in height.
“I am so, so sorry,” she whispered.
“I forgive you,” Kenobi replied, just as quietly.
The shatter-point broke.
Shards of pain ricocheted through Mace’s mind. Whether the shatter-point was good or bad remained to be seen.
Another jolt of pain shot through him, coming from his leg. Yoda had hit him with his gimer stick.
“Leave them alone, we must,” his former Master ordered.
“Master,” Mace said warningly. “She is a Mandalorian.”
“Hurt her child, she will not,” Yoda said, then waddled off.
Mace gave one more glance at the Mandalorian, and followed the green Master.
Obi-Wan led his mother to his area in the creche. His mother!
He fought a smile and picked up the pace a little. He wasn’t sure if knowing her--if having her here in the temple was a good thing yet or not, but by the Force, it was the coolest thing to ever happen to him.
Apparently, he must have formed a bond with his mother when he was really little, because he could already feel it waking up.
“Do you get your own room?” his mother asked.
“No, but as an older Initiate, I only have to share a dorm with a few other boys.”
His mother nodded in approval. Oh Force, what was he supposed to call her? How was he going to introduce her to his friends?
“That’s good. It’s nice to have your own space,” she said.
Her answer opened up a whole lot of other questions he wanted to ask. Where was she from that she considered sharing with half-a-dozen others as ‘having space’? Maybe she grew up in a big family. Maybe he had uncles and aunts and cousins! He thought of a subtle way he could question her about it.
“Did you have to share a room when you were a kid?”
His mother nodded. “Yeah, I shared a room with my brother and sister. It’s a shame you’ll never get to meet them. Jalian would have loved you.”
Did that mean her family was dead?
“But now I sleep in a camp full of sweaty, snoring Mandalorians, so I count it a good night if I can get a few hours of quiet.”
His mother knew Mandalorians? She lived in a camp full of Mandalorians?!
“You know Mandalorians?” he asked in open awe and apprehension.
His mother grinned and looked at him like Bant often looked at him--in fond exasperation.
“ Ad’ika , little one, I am a Mandalorian.”
Obi-Wan stopped dead.
“What?!” he squeaked.
Mandalorian? That couldn’t be the truth. Mandalorians hated Jedi. They killed Jedi! Did that mean his mother hated who he was--who his friends were? He had noticed how stiff she was around Master Yoda and Master Windu, but he didn’t think much about it. A lot of people didn’t like or understand Jedi.
“Your father was Mandalorian, too,” his mother continued with an oblivious smile, unaware of her son’s internal crisis.
“Hi, Obi-Wan!” Garen’s cheerful voice shouted from down the hall.
Obi-Wan whirled on his friend with wide eyes. His mother was a Mandalorian! His friends were Jedi! He was a Jedi!
“Who’s that with you?” Garen asked, strolling up. Siri and Bant were with him.
Obi-Wan watched, frozen, as his Jedi-hating, armour-wearing, blaster-loving mother walked over to his best friends.
“Hi!” she said brightly. “I’m Ken...Obi-Wan’s mom.”
That threw the gathering of Initiates and Padawans through a loop.
“His mom,” Bant said dully.
Siri narrowed her eyes at his mother. Obi-Wan gulped. Could Siri tell how dangerous his mom was?
“I guess you’re Obi-Wan’s friends?” his mom asked.
Garen recovered quick enough to be his usual self. “That would require this dork being friendly enough to get friends.”
Obi-Wan quickly glanced at his mom, half expecting her to reach for a weapon then and there. Mandalorians were infamous for their quick tempers. But a small smile twitched across his mom’s face.
“What’s your name, kid?” she asked.
“Garen Muln,” he replied with his trademark grin.
His mother glanced at the others expectantly.
“Siri Tachi,” Siri relented with a grumble.
“So, Mrs. Kenobi,” Garen began with another grin. “What brings you to the Temple?”
“I decided it was high time I met my son,” she replied.
Obi-Wan decided he wanted this meeting to be over.
“You guys go ahead. I’ll meet you in the cafeteria.”
Garen snapped a jaunty salute, and Siri and Bant followed him back down the hallway, Siri still watching suspiciously all the way.
“So,” his mother began once they were out of sight. “That Siri Tachi really likes you.”
The Jedi Council was not supposed to convene again until late this evening, but a single word from Mace Windu had them all rushing to their seats in the Councilroom.
“Why in the Force above is there a Mandalorian running around the Temple?” demanded Master Oriss Massa.
“Initiate Kenobi’s mother, she is,” Grandmaster Yoda explained.
“Unless I am mistaken, we are not in the habit of allowing Initiate’s parents into the Temple to visit their children,” Master Massa came again. “And family or not, she is a Mandalorian .”
“I do not believe Mrs. Miraal wishes us ill at the present. But it does raise a few interesting questions,” Master Windu spoke up. “Mrs. Miraal, as the legal guardian of her son, had no knowledge of young Kenobi being given to us. And without the guardian's approval, we cannot legally or conscientiously train a child in our ways.”
The council chambers fell silent as everyone considered the weight of that statement.
“Has Mrs. Miraal attempted to convince her son to leave us?” asked Master Ki-Adi-Mundi.
“Not yet. She seems to be honoring her son’s wishes to be a Jedi,” Master Windu replied.
“I feel this issue to be more important than we realize,” Master Sifo-Dyas spoke for the first time. “I don’t know how or why, but this will change the future.”
Once again, the Council fell silent, unsure of what to do.
“So, you’ve only got three more weeks before they kick you out?” his mom asked incredulously.
“Wow,” she breathed. “I knew they were hut’uun shabuirs , but I didn’t think they’d stoop so low as to abandon the ade they stole.”
Obi-Wan frowned at her pointedly. “They don’t steal kids. They get permission from the parents or guardians first.”
She gave him a look.
“This particular circumstance aside,” he added. “And I don’t know what those other words in Mando’a meant, but I can guess.”
She glanced at him sheepishly.
They sat side by side, feet dangling over the balcony to the gardens.
Obi-Wan kicked his feet, trying to muster up enough courage to ask her what he really wanted to know. “You’re a Mandalorian. Does that mean you hate Jedi?”
He felt her stiffen beside him.
“Yes, and no,” she answered after a long minute. “The Jedi killed my family, but...you are my family now. And if there is one thing more important to a Mandalorian, it’s ade-- children .”
Obi-Wan gaped at her. “They-- we killed your family?”
“It was a very long time ago,” she said, almost dismissively. “I’ve no doubt everyone’s forgotten it.”
Obi-Wan stared at his feet in quiet shock. They had killed her family? Were they bad people or something? What could they have possibly done to deserve a Jedi coming after them? Obi-Wan wanted to think about something else--anything else.
“Earlier,” he began. “You said you lived in a camp with other Mandalorians. Do you get your own tent?”
His mother relaxed. “There’s not really enough spare room for everyone to have their own space, but sometimes I can catch some quiet in Jaster’s tent, if he’s not around.”
“My boss, technically. Jaster Mereel is the King of Mandalore. I guess you could say I’m his second-in-command.”
Obi-Wan choked on air. “The King?” Just when he thought it couldn’t get any more complicated, she had to drop this on him? “That makes you, what, the Prime Minister? The Vice-King?”
“ Ka’ra no,” his mom said vehemently. “That’s Jango’s job. I just help out.”
Obi-Wan stared at his mother blankly, and she sighed. “I suppose I should start at the beginning. It all started a long time ago, with the first Mandalorian Jedi: Tarre Vizsla…”
Yan Dooku watched from the shadows, listening to every word the strange Mandalorian woman said. He listened to stories he’d never heard of.
His friend, Sifo-Dyas had filled him in after the impromptu Council meeting earlier. This was by far the most interesting thing to happen in the Temple in recent memory. This was most fascinating: as was the faint sense of darkness that clung to Mrs. Miraal.
The darkness had always interested him. Perhaps if she was allowed to return, he could learn something from her.
Obi-Wan stood at the entrance to the Temple, watching his mother put on an excessive amount of armour and weaponry.
Master Windu had asked her to leave while the Council came to a decision, but he knew that wouldn’t stop her from contacting him. His mother was an interesting person, and he really wanted to know more about his family stories.
“Mother,” he asked, but the word sounded strange on his lips.
She stopped to look up at him, waiting for him to continue.
“What’s the Mandalorian word for ‘mom’?”
Her responding smile made the awkward question worthwhile.
“Buir. I’m your Buir.”
Obi-Wan couldn’t help the smile that stretched across his face.
Mara, his Buir, stood and shoved her blasters back into their holsters. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a piece of flimsi.
“If you ever need anything--ever--I will answer,” she promised, handing the flimsi to him. “And if they decide you’re not good enough for them, I’ll come and get you.”
Obi-Wan memorized the comm numbers. His Buir put on her helmet of intimidating black and dark blue.
“May the Force be with you, Buir,” he called.
“Ret'urcye mhi, ad’ika,” she replied, and walked off into the bustling city-planet of Coruscant
She would come back. Obi-Wan never doubted that for a second.