“Yannis Kitsou Dooku: Jedi Master Extraordinaire, Count Dooku of Serenno, and (Briefly, Due to a Minor Fit of Grief-Induced Insanity) Darth Tyranus of the Sith”0 Reviews
SUMMARY: This is one hundred and one random (but essentially chronological, if with some occasional overlap and a few memories deliberately placed out of order, due to their increased significance ...
Author’s Notes: 1). For anyone interested, this not-quite-a-story is compatible with my SW AU trilogy Thwarting the Revenge of the Sith/, in my SW AU series /You Became to Me/, if you squint at a couple of things sideways and view a few others solely through the (somewhat biased and limited in scope) lens of Dooku’s eyes. 2). Although this is technically modelled on two different combined prompt sets that I snatched up from somewhere or another on the LJ (I really don’t recall from where, though if someone would like to set the record straight, I’ll add the info and a link to the community in question here in my notes. I combined two sets so I could have more prompts, thereby rounding out his character a little bit more), it’s not actually meant to function as a response to whatever the challenges really are that’s associated with said prompt sets on the LJ. I just used the prompts to give me a reason to string together a (rather limited ) backstory of sorts for Dooku, adjusting for names/concepts that wouldn’t fit in the GFFA as I went, and filling in my own ideas for any/all prompts labelled as a /writer’s choice/! 3). Readers who’re interested in knowing who the physical models are for Expanded Universe characters (who never actually make an appearance in the film saga) like Xanatos, Master Cerulian, etc., should /please consult the latest versions of my posted lists of cast original and EU characters and for handmaid(en)s and other important Nabooian characters, which are available on my LJ! [/Please also note that, generally, I only cast characters I think are important enough to a specific story that readers need to be able to envision them clearly. This means that Metanmis N’draskil and Cuidoneryas Fierial, two original characters I’ve created to help round out Dooku’s character, currently are not cast; however, this may change in the future, if the muse decrees that they’re going to be playing larger roles within my AU series! 4). I realize that some of my dates/descriptions for when some things happen (such as when Dooku speaks for Qui-Gon, the color of Lorian Nod’s hair, etc.) don’t fully jive with information given in the EU. If readers would please keep in mind that the EU is /not/ canon material and that I /am/ writing in an AU of the GFFA rather than dwelling on things like how old Qui-Gon was when apprenticed and whether or not Lorian Nod should be a blond (obviously, given that I see him as a greenish-hazel/brown-eyed Frank Langella, I think not, personally) and how old Qui-Gon was when apprenticed, I’d dearly appreciate it (especially since the author of the EU material in question can’t even seem to keep her own blasted ideas and years straight, as she tries to indicate that an eighteen-year-old Qui-Gon Jinn is ready for his Trials and Knighting, after completing one two-year mission after having had his first encounter with Lorian Nod, at age sixteen, and then proceeds to leave an entire freaking decade off of his life)! 5). Note: speaking of the EU, there is a huge discrepancy in the EU regarding when the Battle of Galidraan takes places. Various dates offered up for this battle cover a range of roughly ten years: the battle was originally placed at 34 BBY in Open Seasons/; later, /The New Essential Chronolgy placed it at 40 BBY; The Cestus Deception gave it an implied placement of around 43 BBY; and then Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force and the Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide both placed it at 44 BBY. As it visually seems to place during the winter, I have chosen to place the mission surrounding the battle and its aftermath early in 44 BBY (the same year of the Stark Hyperspace War and also the same year that Obi-Wan Kenobi turns thirteen), and tried to account for all of the other dates associated with the struggle by having turmoil on Galidraan continue well into the following year (43 BBY), with a failed attempt at rebellion in 40 BBY, and a successful attempt to overthrow the corrupt Governor of Galidraan (who arranged the massacre of the True Mandalorians by portraying them to the Jedi Order – with evidence conveniently provided by the Mandalorian Death Watch – as assassins brutally slaying political activists and their families) finally occurring in 34 BBY (with some clandestine help provided by Dooku and Serenno). Given that Komari Vosa is roughly eighteen during the actual battle, that would place her birth in my AU at around 62 BBY (approximately eleven-ish years after Xanatos and about four to five years before Obi-Wan, meaning that Dooku technically could have spoken for Obi-Wan soon after losing Komari, if Yoda had only permitted him to do so). 6). Readers should be aware of the fact that Jocasta Nu’s particular kind of near-humanity tends to have a shorter life span and to age somewhat faster than human norms do, which is why she looks as old as she does in the canon films (despite the fact that the Force tends to preserve the youth and health of Jedi and essentially slow down their aging, just as the taint on the Force typically known as the Dark Side tends to destroy the youth and health of Dark Jedi and Sith and to speed up their aging process [hence, Dooku’s apparent age, in the canon films, despite being younger than Jocasta Nu and to have a life-span much more like that of the longest-lived of human norms, in my AU series]) and that I picture her as having the blue eyes the SW Wiki claims she has and russet/reddish hair, when young. 7). Readers should be aware of the fact that the notion that Qui-Gon Jinn is a near-human is inspired in part by my reading of ’s lovely SW fanfic (the first fanfic ever where I came across the notion that Qui-Gon might be near-human, rather than human norm) “Slow Down My Love; You’re Confusing Me” (as well as other SW stories by this author), which can be found at http://quigonejinn.livejournal.com/13708.html for those who are curious! The near-human variant I’ve chosen for Qui-Gon is physically quite different than ’s, but I’m not sure I would have arrived at the notion of making him near-human in my own work if I hadn’t read such a memorable story in which he’s specifically written as near-human. I am providing this information and a link to the story here with the author’s generous permission!
“Yannis Kitsou Dooku: Jedi Master Extraordinaire, Count Dooku of Serenno, and (Briefly, Due to a Minor Fit of Grief-Induced Insanity) Darth Tyranus of the Sith”
01.) Elite: His people are highly advanced, extremely elite (some would say snobbish, fully of themselves, condescending of others, though he would merely say discerning and aware of their own worth) aristocrats, and they tend to purposefully breed among themselves for intelligence, beauty, ability, and overall excellence and superiority of health and talent, though they’ve never gone quite so far as the poor doomed residence of Vjun (with their mad, disastrous genetic experiments, meant to cause excessive Force-sensitivity in both their adults and their children), and Dooku is routinely held up as a paragon of their kind, a sort of perfect example of all that they deem most worthy and desirable in one of their own (or indeed in any other being), even though for most of the years of his life he is a Jedi and so not truly one of them.
02.) Gravity: The populated worlds of the associated systems centered around Serenno (once upon a time, a strongly united kingdom of worlds rather than just a strongly allied grouping of systems within the Outer Rim Territories of the Republic) all tend to have slightly lower than normal gravities, and this kind of lower gravity, in combination with such things as an excellent diet and certain constants of breeding, tends to encourage greater than normal vertical growth and much less rigid ossification in the support structures of the beings born to these worlds: Dooku, though quite tall for a human (and for most near-humans, as well), is actually only mid-sized for one of his kind (generally known as Serennoians, given that most of the beings who originally populated these worlds came from Serenno or the group who originally colonized Serenno, though they are technically not all always classified as near-human rather than human norm), for he grew largely on a world with a less forgiving/encouraging gravity.
03.) Strength: His peers at the Jedi Temple find him cold, arrogant, driven by an all-consuming kind of implacable curiosity, mesmerically charismatic (despite his coldness of mien), and gifted with an uncanny (many claim a patently unfair) amount of talent coupled to a Force-sensitivity so strong that there are murmurs he could one day rival (perhaps even surpass) Grand Master Yoda in terms of both raw power and the ability to channel that strength (if not necessarily as much subtlety or wisdom in the use of it).
04.) Warmth: Thame Cerulian, one of the few ever willingly given up Nabooian recruits – a man of immense strength in the Living Force, enormous charisma and warmth, and an odd combination of playfulness and sincerely sharp intelligence – the last of Master Yoda’s own Padawans and a man already having surpassed his two-hundredth year, takes notice of Dooku almost as soon as the boy is placed in the crèche, and it is a widely accepted fact that Master Cerulian will be Dooku’s Master, even though no one knows for sure if the aged Jedi Master is yet young enough to survive seeing even someone as talented as Dooku through to Knighthood.
05.) Clear: Dooku wants, approves of, clear rules, concise instruction, things that can be known by their definite, unbending boundaries, which is why (even though he cannot help but impress upon and so love Master Yoda, like any and every other youngling would and does for one of the few present parental figures in life) he sometimes intensely dislikes/despairs of the trickery, the riddles, the hidden meanings and lessons, and the sheer uncertainty of some of Yoda’s training methods . . . and why Yoda approves of a match between Dooku and Maser Cerulian, for he believes that Thame Cerulian’s tendency towards improvisation will be good for the slightly too unbending boy from Serenno.
06.) Nod: Lorian Nod (a dark-haired boy with changeful eyes a mix of amber, green, and brown that always make Dooku think of forests in dappled sunshine) is half friend, half mutually agreed upon ally and useful resource, a boy a few years older than Dooku and so routinely granted access to certain kinds of information about various aspects of the Force and ways to use it (information he passes on to Dooku in return for what amounts to Dooku’s patronage and friendship and the added status that it lends him, to have Dooku be seen so often at his side and known to be willing to go along with certain of Lorian’s experiments and schemes), and, though they are certainly not anything so juvenile or emotive as bosom buddies, they have an understanding between them, a bond of shared loyalty, that Dooku, at least, believes to be of meaningful value . . . right up until the day when Lorian betrays him.
07.) Second: He realizes, of course, that Lorian is reaching the second half of his twelfth year and so drawing near to the traditional cut-off date of thirteen, by which age a human or near-human initiate must be spoken for (if not bonded outright as the Padawan of a specific Knight or Master) or else end up being sent away (as a failure) from the Temple, generally to some branch or another of the Jedi Service Corps, but Dooku’s not worried about the fact, for Lorian is, after all, clever, capable, charismatic, relatively strong in the Living Force, and, moreover, associated with Dooku: that the preteen might not be chosen as a Padawan is a possibility that simply never crosses his mind.
08.) Regard: He knows Lorian is somewhat taken with Thame Cerulian, but his regard for the man is such that he finds it perfectly natural that people should find him fascinating, admirable, worthy of devotion and even of love, so it simply never crosses his mind that Lorian might be so foolish as to truly hope that Master Cerulian might actually choose him instead of Dooku, and so he both misses Lorian’s increasing unhappiness and desperation, when rumors about Master Cerulian petitioning the High Council for the right to apprentice Dooku earlier than normal begin to circulate through the Temple, and the change in Lorian from near-despair to hardened resolve, as he begins to plot his treachery: if he hadn’t all but stumbled upon Lorian with the stolen Sith Holocron himself, the very day after Lorian had convinced him to sneak into Master Cerulian’s living quarters in the Temple for a look around and they had stumbled upon a guide to the use of that Holocron, he’s not entirely sure how things might have fallen out.
09.) Young: In all honestly, he is, perhaps, somewhat distracted from his friend by the fact that he does, actually end up being spoken for so very young (after Master Cerulian has petitioned the Council and a special dispensation has been granted on the grounds that, first of all, there’s little more Dooku can learn, in the crèche, and, secondly, that Thame Cerulian wishes to try to see the boy through to his Knighting and, due to his advanced years, will be more likely to be able to do so if he can start training Dooku a bit earlier than normal) – barely ten, in fact – but having been spoken for certainly doesn’t keep him from worrying about what Lorian seems to have done, when the Sith Holocron comes up missing; though everyone seems to think it impossible that he should not succeed (including Dooku himself, most of the time, as he’s quite certain he shall do very well and end up being Knighted young, too), until Master Cerulian has returned from his mission and actually physically claimed Dooku as his Padawan, Dooku realizes that there is still an element of uncertainty surrounding his fate, and this is why he goes in search of Lorian . . . and how he ends up discovering that Lorian has, indeed, betrayed him.
10.) Truth: It doesn’t occur to him not to tell the truth about the stolen Holocron – the theft of such a valuable and potentially dangerous artifact outrages him; Lorian’s ridiculous hope of either finding information in the Holocron that will allow him to make Master Cerulian choose him and not Dooku or else somehow implicating Dooku in its theft, if necessary, so that Lorian won’t be blamed and Dooku will be thought unfit to become a Padawan apprentice, feels like treachery of the blackest sort; and Lorian’s clumsy attempts first to cover up what he’s taken, then to dissemble about why he’s taken it, and finally to try to blackmail Dooku emotionally (by referring to their “friendship”) into letting him get on with using the Holocron so he can figure out a way to win himself a Master frankly offends and infuriates Dooku – and Lorian’s outraged fury over Dooku’s supposed betrayal of him will, for decades to come, sit squarely in Dooku’s mind as both a prime example of pure hypocrisy and a warning against getting too close to so-called friends, as they are likely seeking only their own best interests and advancement and actually care little for the supposed bonds of loyalty and mutual respect binding them and their so-called friends together.
11.) Active: Initially, his and Master Cerulian’s missions are purely diplomatic in nature, with very little threat of (and even less actual) fighting, but his extra studies have made him particularly adept at all things relating to diplomacy, law-making, governing, etc., and so they soon move on to more active missions, to try to give Dooku the most thorough kind of practical education possible.
12.) Slide: He knows that Master Cerulian is on a downward slide, health-wise – the man is approaching two hundred and thirty-four years of age, when he speaks for Dooku, and that elaborately carved white staff he use isn’t just wholly for effect – but the man is, in Dooku’s opinion, the most completely knowledgeable Jedi in existence, when it comes to both the Force and to the history of organized Force-use (save, perhaps, for Yoda, and that venerable Master unfortunately no longer takes on individual Padawan learners), and therefore the best possible choice for him, for a Master; besides, Yoda has promised that the Council will see to it that Dooku’s education is completed and that he reaches Knighthood, if Master Cerulian dies first and Dooku in fact proves to be worthy of becoming a Knight, so it’s not like he’s risking his future, by accepting Thame Cerulian’s offer.
13.) Spool: Eventually, a day comes when Master Cerulian has to declare that he can take on no more missions – he knows that he is dying, that the spool of his days has nearly spun out to its end, and he wishes to be in the Temple when the time of his ending comes, not out gallivanting somewhere and possibly stranding Dooku in the middle of a potentially dangerous mission – and, though Dooku is grieved, it is a quite, inevitable kind of sadness, mixed with a certain level of empathetic relief for his Master, who he knows has been exhausted and feeling the weight of his years quite heavily on his increasingly fragile bones, of late.
14.) Twenty: Dooku is barely nineteen when his Master peacefully passes on into the Force’s final embrace and his training is taken over by what amounts to the whole of the High Council, by proxy: after a year of solo missions occasionally (and somewhat irregularly) monitored and commented on by various members of the High Council (who only rarely/infrequently actually accompany him), Yoda declares that there is little more he has to learn that cannot be learned as a independent Knight, and, though some of the High Council members feel as if he has performed less than perfectly during his Trials and it is highly irregular to Knight one so young (most near-humans and humans are Knighted between the ages of twenty-three and twenty-eight), Dooku is nonetheless shorn of his Padawan braid and declared a full Knight of the Order less than a month after he turns twenty.
15.) Will: He has been keeping semi-regular tabs on a couple of promising initiates in the crèche – especially Qui-Gon Jinn, a near-human of Hydarian descent, with their peculiar rates of aging and rapid maturity and a boy with a shocking amount of talent with the Living Force (levels that frankly remind Dooku of his deceased Master) – and, after having observed Qui-Gon’s talent with a lightsaber in one of the Temple’s regular Exhibition Day Tournaments and completed a year of highly successful missions as a solo Knight, Dooku is contemplating a way of broaching the subject of his interest in the boy when Yoda suddenly takes it out of his hands, expertly maneuvering them together in such a way that he finds himself speaking to the boy about his wishes and then soon after declaring for the boy publicly, almost independently of his own will, after which Dooku is somewhat shocked to find himself in possession of a Padawan of roughly twelve years of age with a bad habit of occasionally misjudging where his long limbs are and tripping over thin air at rather inopportune times.
16.) Contrary: Qui-Gon is . . . nothing really like what Dooku has (tentatively) been expecting: the boy is, by turns, insanely stubborn and immovable, and changeful and fickle as a randomly shifting breeze; gregarious and charming and charismatic one moment, taciturn and glum and unapproachable the next; at times light and eerily graceful on his (rather large, given his size – at full adult height, Qui-Gon is tall for a human or near-human, easily coming within one to two finger-widths of Dooku’s own, not inconsiderable height) feet, seemingly tethered to the ground only by the very thinnest of bonds, and yet occasionally also undeniably rough, clumsy, and almost oafish in his fumble-fingered, shambling, uncoordinated way; placid and serene as still water in a pond, and yet possessing such a violent temper that Dooku seriously finds himself worrying about the lure of the Dark Side whenever the boy gets his head up; hugely perceptive of the here and now, the thoughts and emotions and wants of those around him, and yet sometimes also grossly insensitive to the needs and desires of others and seemingly even ignorant of his own wants and needs, his own natural place in the greater scheme of things; almost ludicrously eager to please, eager to learn, eager to excel, and yet also sometimes oddly slothful of appearance, of duty (especially while in the vicinity of “interesting” plant life or wounded animals and/or sentient beings in need of rescuing); extremely knowledgeable about botany, zoology, basic and even some advanced biology, biochemistry, and biophysics, yet blushingly uncomfortable with and unwilling to discuss (much less voluntarily act upon) his own basic physiology and the very real demands of his mature body for at least occasional sexual gratification (and not just mere release but actual physical congregation with at least one other sentient being): the list of contradictions that is Qui-Gon Jinn sometimes literally seems to be without end, and yet, surprisingly enough, Dooku finds himself sufficiently taken with the man-child to be endlessly eager to uncover and to delve the depths of each new set of apparently opposite tensions somehow held in balance by Qui-Gon’s nature, utterly determined to eventually capture all knowledge of that which is his contrary (fascinatingly so!) Padawan learner.
17.) Tolerate: The manling’s fickleness in certain matters Dooku can easily tolerate (or learn to tolerate), at least until he’s managed to pare the rough edges successfully off of the boy, but Qui-Gon’s gaucheness about his sexuality is something that Dooku cannot and will not tolerate: desirability and the willingness to not only flirt but if necessary seduce (or allow oneself to be seduced) are all far too valuable tools of negotiation and statecraft for him to tolerate a Padawan who is essentially a prude, and he is firm and persistent in his instructions about learning to take one’s pleasures and becoming comfortable with the idea of regularly tending to the needs of the flesh (even finessing a trip to Serenno so he can hand the boy over to a set of proper courtesans for two weeks of patient, thorough, professional instruction, bot in the giving and the receiving of satisfaction, both with women and – after the initial assessment of the boy by the head concubine of House Serenno and her strong recommendation that the group of instructors chosen for Qui-Gon contain both females and males, though the knowledge sits a bit uneasily in Dooku’s mind for reasons he cannot even begin to fathom, given that fact that he patently refuses to be confined to one species in his predilections, much less one gender – men), until finally Qui-Gon becomes sufficiently more used to his own physicality to be truly comfortable in and with his flesh.
18.) Maturity: Though generally quite useful, in terms of their missions, the boy’s maturity is also occasionally slightly disconcerting: on the one hand, it makes many things much easier, for his Padawan is both in appearance and mentality essentially a full-grown adult; yet, on the other hand, it is also a bit odd to look at the boy and see a man who seems either quite close or equal to Dooku’s own age instead of an adolescent of twelve (or thirteen, fourteen, etc.), and occasionally he finds himself oddly uncomfortable with the way Qui-Gon regards him, the level of intimacy between them, even though he knows, logically, that his young Padawan merely adores him in much the same fashion he venerated his aged Master (or indeed any given Padawan apprentice might love his or her or its Master) and regards him as a fount of knowledge and the one being he most wishes to emulate and grow to resemble.
19.) Attentive: If he has any true cause for complaint about Qui-Gon, it is, perhaps, that the boy is occasionally almost too attentive to certain of his lessons: he has, for example, become such a suave negotiator and smooth-talking, talented diplomat that Dooku almost misses the awkward, gangling, enormous foot-in-mouth boy he first apprenticed; moreover, he is, so very vigorous and all but religious about taking his pleasure whenever and wherever he can (so long as it doesn’t endanger a mission) that Dooku more than once wishes he’d been a little bit more tolerant of the boy’s backwardness, for Qui-Gon is both an embarrassingly vocal /lover as well as prone to, well, loudness along their bond, too, especially when he is with a man or is exceptionally pleased (and he is quite often one or the other, if not both at once): there are nights (and days) when Dooku frankly despairs of being able to do anything useful himself, when /that is either obviously going on next door or their bond is hummingly replete with Qui-Gon’s pleasure and satisfaction or both things are occurring at the same time, and, though he staunchly resists the notion for nearly three years, in the end, he finally has to just give in to the necessity of adjusting things so that their schedules more closely correspond, though the very idea of such a congruency tends to make his skin prickle and crawl with ill ease.
20.) Revenge: He has no desire whatsoever to ever waste any of his precious time by thinking of or speaking of that lowlife traitor Lorian Nod ever again, and he is therefore both shocked and incensed first to discover that the man apparently not only blames Dooku for getting dismissed from the Order and wishes to take revenge against him for that and then to find out that the idiot has become a criminal – a pirate and kidnapper who deals with greedy security companies whose profits come partially by swindling and double-crossing their clientele and partially by forcing children to work in their toxic and patently unsafe factories – in the process of working towards the seizing of that vengeance.
21.) Surprise: Dooku will tell himself for a long time afterwards that it was merely surprise, over recognizing Lorian Nod in the midst of the fight, that made him hesitate against pressing the battle, but the truth is slightly more complex, and it is the dashing of his hopes (for a moment, old instincts, old ways of thinking, believing, /feeling/, kick in, and he assumes that it is his old friend, somehow come to help him discover a way to get to the bottom of the conundrum facing him), when he realizes that this strangely golden-haired (it looks good on Lorian, but the dark eyebrows and eyelashes give him away, and Dooku cannot help but see the ghost of the dark-haired boy he knew in the shadow of this fair pirate), handsome man – all lean muscle and oddly clean-cut lines, his thick gold hair cropped short enough to throw into relief the bold lines of his angular face and the green highlights of his otherwise amber-brown eyes – is the true cause for his mission, that so quickly turns him to rage, throwing him back into the same state of raw helpless fury (and hurt. And rage, at feeling such hurt) that had clenched him so tightly when he first realized what Lorian was intending to do, by stealing the Sith Holocron.
22.) Hurt: He’s surprised by Qui-Gon’s apparent hurt – that response to his demand that Qui-Gon name the most important thing he’s learned from their mission (that Dooku will withhold facts from Qui-Gon that he needs to know) seems deliberately calculated to sting Dooku into remorse, more than to act as a serious response to his question – but the teen apparently actually believes that Dooku should have told him all about Lorian Nod (preferably long before he could ever become a possible target of one of their missions) simply because Dooku is his Master and therefore everything pertaining to his life (even a betrayal over a decade old which shouldn’t have ever had any impact on Dooku’s life ever again and certainly wouldn’t have, if the Senate weren’t so damned corrupt, the various police forces and agencies responsible for seeing to it that factories and corporations operate according to the letter of galactic law were actually any good at doing their jobs, and the blasted Agri-Corps were able to hang on to those sent to it to work) is of immediate importance to Qui-Gon and should be shared with him, and it takes Dooku a long time to get Qui-Gon to accept the fact (however grudgingly) that Dooku simply had not wished to speak of such a distasteful subject as the first of his more serious lapses in personal judgment (i.e., the absolute, unquestioning trust he had once placed in Lorian Nod and their association), not that he was in any way questioning Qui-Gon’s judgment or trustworthiness or attempting to slight the silly boy!
23.) Rage: Later, though he rationally knows that killing Lorian Nod while in the midst of a blood-curdling rage would have been a very bad idea, the thought will return to him, again and again, that it nevertheless might have been better for everyone (including Lorian himself, his potential future victims, and the galaxy at large) if he’d killed the man anyway, say, later on, after arranging to take the man prisoner, when Qui-Gon wasn’t right there/, bound and helpless on the floor, gazing at him with such a /look and nattering at him about how he needed to stop what he was doing, when the act could be done as one of calm and mercy (when he could, for example, have offered a painless death to Lorian as the honorable way out of the mess he’d gotten himself into) rather than mere blind fury.
24.) Thirty: Dooku is thirty when he finds himself in the shockingly unforseen position of knowing that he is about to become a father and that the mother is not just some random stranger he met while on a mission who wished to share his bed for a time but rather a fellow Jedi by the name of Jocasta Nu – a red-haired beauty perhaps seven years his elder who’s being trained as a Jedi Historian as well as specifically groomed as a possibility for the position of Chief Librarian for the whole of the Archives for the Jedi Order, and with whom he relieved a certain eminently pressing need to be doing something to drown out his damned Padawan (apparently rutting quite frantically with a certain lovely pair of fraternal male and female twins who had been hired to work in one of the Temple’s many storerooms, to judge by the frankly blatantly graphic thoughts, images, and sensations flooding their Master-Padawan bond) by rather indiscretely taking the quite willing archivist on a table (and one of the chairs. And the floor. And up against the wall. And splayed across yet another table. And . . . well, multiple times, in various different and inventive ways, places, and positions) in one of the back workrooms attached to one of the research facilities – and so in need of helping to arrange a mission for Jocasta to a Serenno world for at least a year, so she can safely have the baby, give the baby up, recover, accomplish her supposed mission, and be back to her old self again before needing to return to the Temple again.
25.) Arrange: The mission for Jocasta is easy enough to arrange – a relative of his happens to “discover” a treasure trove of documents dating from the second Sith war (the Jedi Civil War, as it is more often called) and asks that the Order send its bright young rising star of an archivist out to document, sort, and duplicate the records so that the original collection can be housed properly and the Order will be able to have a fully copy on file, and the High Council quite gleefully tells Jocasta to take anywhere from twelve to fifteen standard months, if necessary, to get the job done to the satisfaction of the Dooku clan – but managing to be there for the birth (as is only proper!) without letting Qui-Gon know what is happening (and therefore making him complicit in their lies) is a whole other matter entirely, and he can’t help but feeling both slightly aggravated by his Padawan (on whom he blames this whole sordid business!) and somewhat let down the by the entire process of knowingly becoming a father when the primary attendant Healer finally offers him a rather scrunchy-looking, crimson-faced, wailing baby girl with a shock of violently red hair plastered wetly to her still somewhat squashed-looking skull.
26.) Child: They decide to name the girl Demara Gaida Nuenno and give her over to one of Dooku’s cousins to raise up properly, and, though he arranges to keep track of the child’s progress, Jocasta just seems happy enough to be rid of the bellow-lunged baby, asking to be told nothing unless it should somehow happen that their child perishes before she does (in which case, oddly enough, given her relative disinterest in the rest of the girl’s life, he gets the feeling that she will personally see to it that the responsible parties, if there are any, pay dearly for their part in the girl’s death).
27.) Keep: Demara is the second of three secrets he deliberately keeps from Qui-Gon: the first, Lorian Nod, revealed himself to the boy roughly four years into their time together as Master and Padawan and therefore invalidated Dooku’s attempt to avoid speaking of that old betrayal; and as for the third, well . . . that he manages to keep secret even from himself for almost eight years of their partnership, and, when he finally does figure it out, is so horrified by the realization that he goes to extreme lengths to keep it to himself, generally striving quite hard to erase all awareness of it even from his own conscious mind, for the knowledge that his Padawan is indeed eminently desirable and that he would very much like to strip him bare and bend him over the nearest flat surface (table, counter, couch, whatever and wherever happens to be most handy! And not just once or twice, but whenever and wherever he gets the notion for it, from the present moment through until the day that one of them finally passes into the Force’s final embrace) is a bit more than just merely disturbing, to him!
28.) Tender: It is extremely . . . difficult to stop noticing how hugely desirable someone is, after noticing it enough to become wholly conscious of it, and even harder to control one’s impulse to admit love once such an attachment has crept into the picture, but Dooku certainly does his best, lying to himself quite convincingly about the absurdity of such tender feelings (a person either is or is not of use, period, end of discussion!) and the possessive rather than protective nature of his own emotions, repeating to himself over and over and over again that Qui-Gon merely essentially belongs to him and that this is why it angers him to see others pawing at the young man, and etc.
29.) Flaunt: It is next to impossible to stop wanting someone who seems utterly determined to flaunt his availability, prowess, and lusts and every single gorram given opportunity: when Qui-Gon catches some exotic virus on Jouleirya VI that makes him deliriously horny and repeatedly makes inappropriate (and increasingly desperate) advances on Dooku, Dooku is fairly certain that he’s going to have to do violence to someone (possibly himself), and, in the end, is forced both to knock his Padawan unconscious and to physically restrain him, to keep Qui-Gon from trying to accost him (and himself from returning the favor with interest), though even that doesn’t entirely succeed: the damned fool somehow manages to regain consciousness long before he should, break free, sneak into Dooku’s private quarters (where he is sleeping the sleep of the truly, deeply exhausted), restrain Dooku (both physically and with the Force) while he is still asleep, and, well . . . damn all, but Dooku refuses to be held accountable for what happened, and counts it as a blessing that Qui-Gon doesn’t seem to remember anything about his behavior during the eighteen days the virus was running its course, once the sickness has passed out of his system, and that Dooku himself is also somewhat fuzzy on certain of the details regarding what happened (and why shouldn’t he be, after twelve sleepless days of being locked in a quarantine suite with his infected Padawan and being both mentally and physically barraged with increasingly explicit thoughts, suggestions, proposals, images, feelings, sights, etc., and after having had a little too much wine to drink to make sure that he stayed in his own bed, when he finally got to go to it?)!
30.) Stretch: There are some days when he sincerely wonders if he’s offended either the Force itself or the lingering spirit of some random powerful (and prudish) Jedi Master of old, and the mission where he and Qui-Gon are forced to pretend to be bonded lovers to even get access to the planet they need to be on certain qualifies as a whole damned stretch of such days, though at least Qui-Gon has the decency to keep his hands (and the rest of his body, including the rather provocatively displayed naked whole of it) to himself, this time, once they are out of the public eye or otherwise alone in their quarters, which makes the masquerade somewhat easier to bear.
31.) Lose: He doesn’t want to lose Qui-Gon to the Order, as a Knight, desperately does not want to ever have to give him up, as his Padawan and partner, but as Qui-Gon passes the twentieth anniversary of his birth, Dooku knows that the time is approaching when the’s going to have no choice but to think about the prospect of broaching the subject of the Trials, not if he wants to avoid the scrutiny of a suspicious High Council and the confused hurt of Qui-Gon himself.
32.) Reprieve: Yoda issues him a reprieve, of sorts, when (almost a year later) Dooku finally manages to goad himself into privately approaching the subject of his Padawan’s Trials for Knighthood, for though the Grand Master agrees that Qui-Gon is a gifted diplomatic and talented ’saberist, he also notes that he believes the boy to still be uncertain of his abilities, because of his relative isolation from his peers, while growing up in the Temple, and, in the end, declares that he thinks Qui-Gon’s self-esteem would benefit from another few years of training (and excelling) under Dooku’s tutelage before they should consider him ready for his Trials.
33.) Potential: To make up for the fact that Yoda (and, by extension, the High Council) believes he needs a few more yeas of training to make him ready for his Trials, Dooku suggests that Qui-Gon might benefit from a small solo mission of his own – an idea that Yoda agrees to, though he makes it clear that he is doing so only to prove to Dooku that Qui-Gon is nowhere near ready for his Trials yet – and, to Dooku’s satisfaction, Qui-Gon manages the assignment handily enough (though Yoda points out with a triumphant cackle that he took nearly three times as long as he really should have and that he nearly sparked a nasty conflict between Crion of Telos and the Order by rather less than diplomatically suggesting that the King’s first son, Xanatos, should be given to the Temple for training – hence, taking nearly three times as long as he should have to complete the mission, given how many ruffled feathers he had to smooth and that he also had to sweet-talk Crion and his wife into willingly agreeing to give the boy up to the Order), though, to Dooku’s surprise, he also returns to the Temple with a cherubic raven-haired toddler in tow, cheerfully presenting one Xanatos of Telos to the crèche Master and basically ignoring all of the High Council’s snide remarks about his apparent need not only act as a savior figure but to bring strays back to the Temple, too, though he does seem slightly startled (even as Dooku himself is) by his Master’s apparent interest in the little boy he rescued (whose presence sings, in Dooku’s awareness of the Force, with potential and with rightness).
34.) Eager: In truth, though he claims to enjoy the occasional odd solo mission, Qui-Gon seems no more eager to take his Trials or to leave him than Dooku actually is to lose him – when he rather delicately attempts to broach the subject, his Padawan bluntly declares that he feels like he still has much to learn from Dooku and would just as soon remain with him until they’ve completely exhausted every last scrap of knowledge that Dooku could ever possibly impart to him – but as their thirteenth year together dawns, Dookus knows, logically, that they aren’t going to have much more time together before the necessity of the Trials intervene.
35.) Retreat: Early on in their fourteenth year together, Qui-Gon contrives to save Dooku’s life during a rather nasty confrontation with the private forces of a would-be gangster and black arms dealers who’s gone into business surprisingly successfully against the notorious Black Sun cartel – a small army (well, not too terribly small. It does have upwards of a thousand strong warriors) of Fallen all essentially immune to mental tricks using the Force – in the process getting a vast majority of the bones in his body shattered and, needless, to say, nearly getting himself killed; thus, he and Dooku end up spending the next seven months on a medical retreat, in the Jedi chapterhouse on Alderaan, and Master Yoda rather flatly declares that “another year together you need, to see if learn how to teach your Padawan the value of a strategic retreat you can!”
36.) Propose: Late in his Padawan’s twenty-seventh year, Dooku finally has to propose Qui-Gon’s readiness for his Trials before the High Council, and, unsurprisingly, after a slight show of humming and hawing and harrumphing over the matter, Yoda agrees that “ready, Qui-Gon is” and the Council motions to schedule the Trials as soon as possible; even less surprisingly, Qui-Gon passes his Trials with flying colors, and tearfully presses his newly shorn Padawan braid into Dooku’s ever so slightly trembling (despite his most careful control) hands.
37.) Alone: Dooku rattles around the galaxy for nearly two years by himself, after Qui-Gon’s Knighting, trying to get used to the idea of being alone again, and the one spot of true brightness in his life (aside from the soothing glow of the Force) remains his now former Padawan, who eagerly comms to share the details of his solo missions and to arrange lunches and dinners and shared meditations in the Temple gardens and practice sessions in the training salles whenever they both happen to be in the Temple at the same time.
38.) Responsibility: A little over two years after Qui-Gon’s Knighting, Dooku volunteers to take responsibility for a twenty-two-year-old part-Theelian (half-Theelian, half-near-human, or half-Morganian, to be exact) whose Master has unexpectedly succumbed quite early on in his sickness to a rare genetic wasting disease, and, though Metanmis N’draskil is certainly not Qui-Gon Jinn, the boy is bright and gifted and (once he’s gotten over the shock and grief of losing his Master) eager to learn, and they have a solid good four and a half years together before the young man is ready for (and easily passes) his Trials.
39.) Trend: Metanmis seems to be the beginning of a trend: over the next decade, he takes on and sees to it that two other orphaned Padawans successfully make it to and through their Trials – another half-Morganian, also half-human, by the name of Cuidoneryas Fierial, and another half-human, also half-Theelian, by the name of Binn Ibes – and beings to enjoy a reputation as one of the Order’s finest training Master, as his two previous Padawans go on to accomplish great things in their time as Knights (and, in Metanmis’ case, as a fairly early Master, as he follows in Dooku’s footsteps and takes a Padawan himself only about two years after being Knighted).
40.) Affinity: Xanatos is a brilliantly gifted boy and the Force all but audibly sings with rightness when they are together, so Dooku is that much more shocked (and hurt. And angry. And as betrayed as he ever felt, over that whole debacle with Lorian Nod and the stolen Sith Holocron) when Qui-Gon – who has no real affinity for the boy and apparently merely feels responsible for him because he’s the one who persuaded the boy’s parents to give him over to the Temple for training – speaks for the boy (insisting that he be the one to become Xanatos’ Master, in defiance of the advice of Yoda and the combined High Council, as it later turns out) literally hours before Dooku is scheduled to speak to Yoda about doing that exact same thing, himself.
41.) Back: Force take it, but Xanatos was meant for him, and Dooku will not cheapen that or seek to turn his back upon the truth by simply picking a different Padawan at random, willy-nilly, no matter what Master Yoda seems to think he should do!
42.) Abide: Though he cannot but respect the amount of knowledge and power held within the small, wizened form of the Grand Master, there are, nonetheless, days when he simply cannot abide Yoda, and the day when that little green goblin tricks him into agreeing to take Komari Vosa on as a Padawan learner, if none other speaks for her by the thirteenth anniversary of her natal day – the day that he also finally returns to the Temple, after half a dozen solid years of solo missions away from Courscant and the possibility of seeing the apprentice who should have been his, tagging along obediently at the heels of another – is definitely one of those days.
43.) Replace: The very thought that this – this – this girl could in any way replace the Padawan he should have had, the Padawan he lost to his own former Padawan learner, is such an outrage to his sense of decency and moral justness that he is almost surprised that the Force itself does not rise up in rebellion about the prospect and strike Yoda down, for apparently believing such a thing, and he is relieved that it will be another five years before the girl is ready to be claimed as a Padawan, for it gives him time to try to find a way out of honoring the promise that Yoda so blatantly tricked him into making.
44.) Destruction: When he hears about what Qui-Gon has done to Xanatos, his first instinct is to track down and beat the idiot within millimeters of his life and then order him to go and make things right again, irregardless of what it may take to do so, but Qui-Gon refuses even to see him (probably convinced – and rightfully so! – that Dooku won’t be very happy with him for what he’s done and, childishly, unwilling to deal with any criticism of his appalling actions), and, when he attempts to approach the High Council about it, he’s flatly ordered to hold his peace and not to try to interfere with the will of the Force (as if the Force would ever countenance something as wholly unnecessary and barbaric as the essentially maliciously wasteful destruction of a light as bright as Xanatos!) so, unfortunately, the only thing he is able to do (aside from ordering his cousins on Serenno to support Xanatos and Telos in any good business ventures that might arise – ventures that Dooku is convinced will eventually come about, when Xanatos has recovered enough to begin to try to make a new life for himself) is to arrange to send a holo recording to the orphaned and abandoned eighteen-year-old, wherein he lambasts both the Council, his idiotic former Padawan, and the Order as a whole for allowing what they’ve permitted to take place, and giving Xanatos as much encouragement as he can manage.
45.) Interest: Disaster piles upon disaster as insult is heaped upon injury, for no sooner has Dooku been forced to resort to sending Xanatos a holo recording in an attempt to comfort him for the life that has so wrongfully been stolen away from him (and by the last person Xanatos should have ever suspected of such a treacherous deed) when he is sent word of yet another (if, granted, far less knowingly given) insult that has been offered up by the self-same thief and traitor: Qui-Gon and Xanatos, it seems, stopped over on Serenno on their way back to the Temple after the mission they completed, just previously to the disastrous mission in which Qui-Gon would take Xanatos to Telos and there proceed to orphan and then abandon him, and, in the course of that two-week stay, Qui-Gon caught the eye of a certain fair young woman with fiery red hair and bright blue eyes by the name of Demara Nuenno; thus, as a result of that shared interest, Dooku is informed that he can expect to be made a grandfather within approximately half a year’s time.
46.) Pay: He absolutely refuses to have anything to do with this child: if Demara wishes to repay his generosity in seeing to it that she is raised in splendor and comfort by behaving like a slattern and reproducing with any random wanderer who drifts into town from the spaceport, then she can damned well pay to have and to raise that son of a Sith’s bastard child as well!
47.) Fortunate: The girl is fortunate: her fostering family is far more forgiving of her loose ways than Dooku, and they swiftly arrange for a marriage with a member of the one of the lesser noble houses allied with the Demici, wedding her to a young man infatuated enough with her beauty and graceful ways that he is, as it turns out, quite willing to overlook the fact that little Arica Marellis Jade has been born far too early for it to be physically possible for the child to be his.
48.) Spare: Dooku, on the other hand, seems destined to suffer indignity heaped upon indignity, and, though his relations were Qui-Gon were strained before, because of the way his former apprentice essentially stole the Padawan learner he meant to speak for right out from under his nose, and have swiftly frayed almost to the point of essential nonexistence (given the way that Qui-Gon essentially single-handedly ruined Xanatos and drove him out of the Order and Dooku’s discovery that his erstwhile former apprentice had also deflowered, impregnated, and abandoned Dooku’s own daughter, Demara, by Jocasta Nu), Dooku is, unfortunately, soon rendered far too busy to spare any time for regretful (or vengeful) thoughts, given the fact that he is, all too soon, saddled with the unwanted responsibility of caring for and training Komari Vosa.
49.) Trick: He is convinced that Yoda found a way to keep someone far more suited to gentling Komari Vosa’s rough temperament from speaking for the child solely as a way to spite him, as a kind of punishment for the way he tried to fight against the High Council acceptance of Qui-Gon’s hideous treatment and eventual abandonment of Xanatos, on Telos, after killing the boy’s father right before Xanato’s eyes, but unfortunately, his word is his bond, and he, unlike others, is unwilling to break that bond simply because he has been wrongfully tricked into giving it to one undeserving of such a mark of trust and respect.
50.) Chit: However, after suffering through Qui-Gon Jinn, there is no way in Sith hells that Dooku is going to tolerate sexual advances from some little blonde chit of a female Padawan he hadn’t even truly wanted, and, though he feels a certain amount of remorse for constantly hurting her feelings by continually rebuffing her, he absolutely refuses to put up with such foolishness, especially considering the fact that he is roughly forty years older than the little nitwit!
51.) Discipline: Komari is . . . well, she is certainly quick (mentally and physically), and her Makashi is surprisingly good (though she seems to lean towards the dual-bladed subform of Niman known as Jar’Kai, and her proclivity speaks to him of far greater potential talent in that style of lightsaber combat), if rather wilder/more violent than he approves of, but she has no /discipline/, and, though she is certainly powerful sensitive, her anger and her neediness so often cloud her reasoning and her actions that Dooku frankly accounts it a minor miracle that the girl didn’t get her foolish neck broken attempting to pull off some damn dumb idiotic stunt in the crèche, trying to win the attention and accolades of others.
52.) Protest: Unfortunately, he isn’t exactly known for being a stickler for the rules, so it’s not as if he can lodge a formal protest about her increasingly inappropriate behavior, unless/until she actually does something that is blatantly contrary to the Code instead of just hinting that she’d like to essentially throw half of her vows out the nearest window, or even do much of anything about her ridiculously aggressive and startlingly nonstandard clothing, until/unless someone else notices it enough to fuss about it to the Council; lamentably, attempting to either reason with or rebuke the girl for her ridiculous behavior and inappropriate clothing seems to do not a bit of good, aside from making her either sulky and mutinous or teary-eyed for short periods of time, and the few times Dooku has attempted to broach either subject with Yoda he merely gets a cackle and some variant on what a handful /he /was, as a child, and how he should be used to rebellious adolescents by now, all things considered: thus, he’s mostly forced to simply grit his teeth, scowl at the girl darkly, and attempt to ignore both her and her propensity for wearing ridiculously skin-tight leather clothes (often covering up a sleeveless, extremely tight, very brief leather vest-like top with more appropriate Jedi tunics while on Coruscant and then stripping out of her tunics as soon as they’ve left the Temple) as much as humanly possible.
53.) Believe: Dooku cannot believe that the Jedi Order has degenerated so far that it has fallen to the point where it merely finds it “lamentable” (but evidently not nearly important or unfortunate enough for the Order to actually do anything to try to rectify the situation!) to have had its High Council tricked by a lying, corrupt politician (the Governor of Galidraan, Lobidan Ikayesus, a supposedly democratically elected planetary ruler who quite plainly turns out to be in power only because of his money and power and ruthlessness) into allowing some of its own members to be used by the tyrant to help ensure his continued dictatorial, authoritarian rule, by essentially killing off a population of innocents and political dissidents in order to trick the Jedi into slaughtering a group of honorable individuals brought in by that tyrant through even more trickery and deceit to stand as scapegoats for the atrocities of his own immoral hirelings, and Dooku, for one, is not at all sure he will ever be able to expunge the stain on his soul, not only for his part in this heinous miscarriage of justice, but for his active role in the massacre of the innocent True Mandalorians.
54.) Pander: He has already stated a deep disapproval of the Republic’s policies and increasing occupation with bureaucracy (and, thus, its increasingly obvious corruption) and the Jedi Order’s seemingly increasing willingness to pander to the politicians, and, as far as Dooku is concerned, the Galidraan debacle is the absolute last straw: after that, he considers the gloves to be /off/, and he proceeds to speak out against and to openly oppose both the Order’s pandering ways and the Republic’s morally bankrupt bureaucrats at every turn.
55.) Seduce: Komari’s uncalled for viciousness throughout the mission to Galidraan and her attempts to seduce him on the final blood-soaked battlefield (and, when rebuffed, her attempts to essentially drug him into pliability, by spiking his drink with a compound that tends to destroy one’s will to tell others “no” and to act as an aphrodisiac) are the absolute last straws: when he reports to the High Council about the entire damned mission – one enormous snafu after another, so far as he is concerned – he demands that they either remove the girl from his care, or else be prepared to see him leave the Order entirely and return to Serenno both as an enemy of the Jedi Order and the so-called democratic Galactic Republic.
56.) Menace: For once in her life, Komari relieves him of the onerous duty of having to try to deal with her infractions: when they return to the Coruscant after Galidraan, there are already rumors flying about that the High Council intends to remove her from Dooku’s care and turn the eighteen-year-old out of the Order, as unfit for further training as a Jedi, and so she, evidently furious, hurt, and determined to prove both the High Council and Dooku wrong, takes off with a team of Jedi bound for Baltizaar, where a combination cult and criminal cartel known as the Bando Gora is terrorizing the local civilians, hoping to prove herself ready for the Trials by playing a pivotal role in defeating this menace; unfortunately, though, the mission is a dismal failure, and all five of the Jedi (including Komari herself) are declared to have been killed in action by the High Council (even though only two of the five are known to have been killed outright, the other there having merely gone missing).
57.) Loss: Dooku is far too busy being outraged with the state of the galaxy to spare any time for regrets about someone as self-destructive as Komari Vosa, and besides, in a way, the loss of her at such a juncture is surprisingly helpful, for there is a certain other initiate in the crèche whom he has been keeping his eyes on for some time, now, and, with Komari out of the way, this means that Dooku will be able to speak for Obi-Wan Kenobi, as he has long desired to be able to do.
58.) Notice: Every now and again, a child will come to the crèche so gifted, so purely suffused with the power of the Force, that the entire Order will collectively pause and take notice: Dooku was one such, and yet Obi-Wan so far outstrips him that it makes the breath catch in his chest, just to be around the boy and the sheer amount of concentrated Light and energy that constantly floods his presence, and the sense of rightness he feels in the boy – the brightness, the purity, of his spirit – makes old hopes and dreams and beliefs battered and all but broken through the many years of disappointments and betrayals rise up and surge through him, moving through mind and body and soul alike in a surging tide of renewal and promise.
59.) Close: He comes as close as he has ever come to striking Yoda, when the Grand Master quite arbitrarily informs him that Obi-Wan Kenobi is not an initiate considered to be free for the choosing by anyone in the Order aside from Qui-Gon Jinn, and, from the look in the ancient Jedi Master’s face, Yoda would have almost preferred to have been struck, than to have been forced to suffer through the indignity of being quite thoroughly ritually cursed in High Serennoian and spat upon as one “in connivance with the Darkness that devours and destroys the souls of men and makes them as animals, fit for nothing but the slaughter.”
60.) First: The first time Dooku ever deliberately strikes Qui-Gon in a cold-blooded rage is when it becomes clear to him that Yoda both fully intends for that precious boy, Obi-Wan, to go either to Qui-Gon or to no one and that his bungling former Padawan both has absolutely no intention of attempting to even try to behave as one worthy of being Master to such a luminous soul, and that he simply does not care if or how much his behavior ends up hurting the child, so selfishly concerned is he with the wrong he has convinced himself he suffered, in losing Xanatos (having twisted things around in his mind so that he can tell himself that he is the one who was betrayed, not his poor Padawan); yet, though three rapid open-palmed blows are, on Serenno, a deadly insult and a declaration of challenge, and he knows that Qui-Gon is fully cognizant of this fact, all Qui-Gon does is stand there, unmoving and immovable, and it is in that moment that Dooku first truly, fully regrets ever being Master to such a self-centered cowardly villain.
61.) Few: One of the few truly good things Qui-Gon ever did, when he was Xanatos’ Master, was to rescue Obi-Wan Kenobi from those slavers on Tatooine, and the idea that Qui-Gon could be so thoroughly prepared to negate all of that good, in treating Obi-Wan in such an uncaring fashion, makes him absolutely livid with fury.
62.) Effect: Xanatos adored Obi-Wan, once the Healers finally let him out of quarantine (where he’d been for over a month, accounting for the reason why he was not with Qui-Gon, when Qui-Gon went to Tatooine and ended up rescuing Obi-Wan in the process of completing his mission) and allowed him to meet the youngling, and it breaks something in Dooku, to think of his former Padawan treating Obi-Wan the way he did Xanatos, ruining and abandoning him, and he means every word he says, when he promises Yoda that he will personally see to it that Qui-Gon is unable to ever hurt another youngling ever again, if he so much as seems likely to do with Obi-Wan as he did with Xanatos, leaving him behind and in effect casting him out of the Order.
63.) Fool: After the way Qui-Gon has behaved, Dooku has a hard time believing that the High Council can fool itself into believing that the self-centered hypocrite could ever possibly be a good Master for Obi-Wan; yet, he’s beginning to suspect that the High Council will do the one thing that makes the least amount of actual sense, in almost any given situation, and so he’s less surprised than he might have been, when not a single member of the supposedly compassionate and wise High Council will protest what is being done to the boy (because of Yoda’s insistence that he belong with no one but Qui-Gon), though that does not make him any less furious about it all, and he only hopes that they can tell that he fully means it, when he flatly declares that, if Qui-Gon screws up as badly with Obi-Wan as he did with Xanatos, then, after dealing with Qui-Gon himself, he will find that boy and he will take him and run with him to a place where not even the full might of the Jedi Order will ever be able to touch them.
64.) Together: If he could be sure of what he suspects, he would kill Qui-Gon Jinn with his own two bare hands; yet, though Dooku thinks – /knows/, with the kind of sick certainty that cannot be ignored or gainsaid – that Qui-Gon must have done something to the boy, that he must, in some way, be responsible for the fever and delirium that burned through the boy and seemed to eat him alive, leaving him pale and comatose for over a year before he finally woke again, so changed that it was as if he were a completely different person – the timing of the whole thing, beginning on the very day after Qui-Gon came back to the Temple, after breaking and abandoning Xanatos, far too telling to be mere coincidence, no matter what the High Council and the rest of the Order might say or believe – he cannot prove that his former Padawan learner actually did anything to Obi-Wan that would make him obviously unfit enough for even Yoda to be able to convince the rest of the High Council that Qui-Gon and Qui-Gon alone must become the boy’s Master, and so he is forced to stand by, helpless, and watch as Yoda’s machinations circuitously but inevitably bring those two together.
65.) Blame: The High Council (and, thus, other members of the Order as well) seem to blame the boy’s oddities – his stunted growth, impenetrable mental shields, and odd mix of sheer effortless grace and power and fumbling, clumsy hesitancy on the sickness he suffered approximately from between the ages of four to five and the kind of childhood he likely had, before coming to the Temple, considering where and how Qui-Gon found him (as if anything could explain the way Obi-Wan’s once blazing presence in the Force has seemingly shut itself up inside of him, so that only occasional glimmers of brilliance sometimes irregularly escape, like rays of light escaping from behind closed and barricaded doors! – and, though a part of him is almost afraid of finding irrefutable confirmation for what he suspects that Qui-Gon did, it does not keep him from quietly attempting to research methods of blocking the Force, convinced that his criminally ignorant former apprentice must have tried to sever the boy’s connection with the Force, in some kind of insane reaction to losing Xanatos.
66.) Business: The Stark Hyperspace War is a bad business, from start to finish – the Stark Commercial Combine, the Trade Federation, and the bacta-supplying company, Xucphra, all combining forces in an attempt to topple the Republic by seizing control of that most precious resource, bacta, and neutralizing its space forces through the widespread use of a navicomputer virus – one that Dooku accounts as yet another irrefutable sign of the sickness poisoning both the Republic and the Jedi Order, and he is unabashedly grateful to discover that, when it is all over with, that Obi-Wan and his new Master have, somehow or another, managed to survive it not only intact, but virtually unscathed.
67.) Corruption: Finis Valorum is one of the few politicians in the Senate that Dooku actually somewhat admires – the man’s family is ancient, distinguished, aristocratic, and quite thoroughly devoted to the ideals of democracy, and Finis is nothing if he is not a Valorum – and so he is glad, in the wake of the Stark Hyperspace War, to see the man win the elections for the chancery, even if he no longer expects someone even as fundamentally noble and good as Finis Valorum to be able to turn the tide of corruption that is swallowing the Senate and the Republic whole.
68.) Lucky: Qui-Gon should account himself lucky: if he had known of what was happening, during that whole Melida./Daan debacle, and if Tahl herself had not hammered away at Qui-Gon until he finally agreed to return for the boy and to take him back under his wing, Dooku would have had no choice, according to the vows he made, than to hunt his former apprentice down, kill him slowly, with his bare hands, and then find the boy and take him with Dooku to a far-distant place of safety, prepared for just such an emergency far out past the borders of the Republic by the combined wealth of the six Great Houses of the Counts of Serenno.
69.) Embrace: A part of him dies, when he learns how Xanatos has chosen the deadly embrace of an acid pit over capture by Qui-Gon Jinn, and his heart bleeds, for the anguish he can so easily read, surrounding Obi-Wan Kenobi like a dark shroud.
70.) Retrospect: In retrospect, he supposes that Yoda must have desperately been hoping that Obi-Wan’s light would be able to lead Qui-Gon back to true harmony with the Force, that the boy would somehow heal the hurts Qui-Gon managed to either get inflicted upon himself or to personally inflict upon himself, in the years that passed since he wrongfully took Xanatos as his apprentice (and then even more unjustly cast the boy aside); yet, while Dooku cannot help but to occasionally be selfishly glad to see glimmers of the bright spirit and enchanting personality that initially so captivated him, in Qui-Gon (capturing his heart and refusing to give it up, he now realizes, for, despite everything, a part of him still desperately cares for Qui-Gon Jinn), returning now, he cannot but be aware of the fact that the boy is being made to suffer the agonies of a hundred thousand hells for every faint glimmer of light (of /Light/) he wins and/or rekindles in Qui-Gon, nor can he quite avoid the conclusion that (love Qui-Gon still though he does) the price being paid, the sacrifice being made, far outweighs the worth of what is being gained, thus.
71.) Gesture: Dooku isn’t sure which of them is more surprised – himself, that Qui-Gon would attempt to make a gesture towards reconciliation, or his former apprentice, to have made the gesture, but when the boy is hurt and the Healers aren’t being forthcoming about his condition and he can see how thoroughly distraught Qui-Gon is (and how much it would hurt him, if Obi-Wan were to turn out to be seriously injured . . . or [Force forfend!] even worse), there seems little else that matters, other than being present for one another and waiting for news of Obi-Wan’s condition.
72.) Suffer: For the sake of the boy, he is willing to tolerate much, and, for the sake of the one being he once would have gladly given his life for (and would still, perhaps, give his life, though he absolutely draws the line at offering up the life of another in order to save Qui-Gon Jinn and so remains uneasy with the way in which the High Council has, essentially, sacrificed much of Obi-Wan’s life in an attempt to save him), Dooku is willing to suffer even more, and so perhaps it should not be so surprising after all, that Obi-Wan should be the bridge between them and the one link that manages to bring him and Qui-Gon back (slowly, hesitantly, with much uncertainty and several false starts, on both of their parts) together.
73.) Criminal: Dooku is both unsurprised and, distantly, a little disappointed, when he learns that Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon have crossed paths with Lorian Nod (on Junction 5) and, having found him to be as much of a criminal as ever, been forced to see to it that he is captured, tried, and once again incarcerated for his crimes.
74.) Smile: According to Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan mastery of Shyriiwook is surprisingly good, even for a Jedi (good enough to please even Attichitchuk and Chewbacca, neither one of whom are Wookiees one might truthfully refer to as easily impressed), and, given what Dooku knows about how highly capable Qui-Gon’s oversized, bellow-like lungs are in producing the roars, growls, grunts, moans, barks, and howls of the Wookiee language, he takes it for the thinly veiled boast that it is, and so gifts Qui-Gon with a thin sliver of approving smile.
75.) Conscience: This Jenna Zan Arbor woman his disturbs him greatly: if Dooku did not know better, he would swear that the woman were a Sith, given how utterly without conscience she is, and he swiftly makes arrangements for the woman’s incarceration to be so strict as there to be no hope of her ever escaping (unless, of course, someone with an extremely talented and highly mobile army or the might of a strong Jedi Master – something he considers not all that likely to ever occur, all things considered! – were to deliberately break in and free her).
76.) Upstart: He could of course squash this upstart Vox Chun and his lawyer, Sano Sauro, like the cockroaches they are, but he wants to give Qui-Gon the chance to save Obi-Wan, to prove that he understands just how precious Obi-Wan is, and so he waits . . . and is, for once (Force be praised!), not disappointed in his former apprentice.
77.) Paranoid: Dooku is of course saddened by Tahl’s death, for she has been an excellent Jedi Knight and Master and a talented archivist, working closely with Master Nu to keep the Jedi Archives running smoothly, if unfortunately also somewhat indiscreet in her closeness with his former apprentice (her liaison with Qui-Gon making the man so paranoid that he apparently even began to suspect his own Padawan of being clandestinely romantically involved with a fellow Padawan learner by the name of Siri Tachi, despite the fact that Obi-Wan Kenobi is – quite regretfully, in Dooku’s opinion – one of the few living Jedi who has chosen to live bound by a vow of chastity enforced not by his own, potentially fallible will but rather by means of certain uses of the Force, itself, which essentially shut down all bodily functions related to sexuality); however, he is more concerned by Qui-Gon’s obsession with avenging the young Jedi’s death than the unfortunate event itself, and he is, therefore, unabashedly relieved to learn that Obi-Wan has succeeded in turning Qui-Gon away from the dangerously dark path of vengeance . . . much as Qui-Gon himself once did, for Dooku, in the matter of Lorian Nod.
78.) Two: Two more half-trained Padawans he volunteers to take responsibility for, in the years that Qui-Gon is Master to Obi-Wan, and both apprentices (though clever, and quick, and gifted, and easily enough qualifying for and passing their Trials, to become Knight) leave him feeling empty, as if he is merely marking time, now, waiting for the day when the one who is meant to be by his side will come into his life; yet, even though Dooku strains his prescient senses and his strong connection to the Unifying Force as far as he can (as much as he dares), he cannot catch a glimpse of who this person might be, and, every time he closes his eyes, it is the oddly still faces of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi who fill up his sight.
79.) Rumor: He has been hunting the rumor of Sith for decades of his life – it is what Dooku does, when he is not otherwise engaged in lecturing initiates, teaching young Padawans the finer point of lightsaber dueling techniques, or helping to raise up orphaned apprentices) – and he does not like the tenor of the whispers haunting the collective unconsciousness of far too many of the Republic’s worlds, from the Inner Rim Territories all the way out to the Outer Rim Territories, is deeply unsettled by the evil murmurings of coming war and chaos and bloodshed and vengeance, lurking in the blackest shadows of so many planets, and cannot help but be moved to warn Qui-Gon that he should beware of that darkness, for he can almost clearly see the shape of the dark shroud dropping over the galaxy, and he fears that Qui-Gon (headstrong, reckless, stubborn, and determined to get involved in matters that he should steer well clear of) will somehow manage to get tangled up in that falling curtain.
80.) Twelve: Roughly twelve years pass, between the massacre at Galidraan and the invasion of Naboo, and, when the Jedi Order seems as utterly unwilling to actually do anything about what corporations like the Trade Federation are doing all over the galaxy, to worlds like Naboo (if, granted, much more violently and obviously, on Naboo) than it had been to take a stance against tyrannical bureaucrats and politicians like Lobidan Ikayesus and his ilk among the Senate, Dooku can no longer ignore the fact that the dark times are not merely /coming/, but instead are already actively /here/.
81.) Stop: There are days when Dooku wonders if he should have refused to let Qui-Gon take the Trials when he did or somehow insisted that he take them far earlier, if that could have somehow altered things enough to stop him from claiming (and then carelessly ruining and casually casting away) Xanatos, kept him from being such an awful Master to that poor boy, Obi-Wan (who so manifestly deserved and deserves far better) . . . even prevented him from getting his foolish self killed by a Sith Lord in a melting pit on Naboo.
82.) Danger: The fool promised to be careful, swore that he would be wary of possible treachery and of the gathering of dark forces, and then, like a blindly stubborn, bullheaded idiot, willfully ignored every warning sign – even to the point of brusquely, even rudely, dismissing prescient glimpses of a chaotic and dangerously uncertain future, as glimpsed by his Padawan (whose power in the Unifying Force dwarfed even Qui-Gon considerable power in the Living Force) – turned his back on every hint of danger, all but scoffed and sneered down his nose every time the possibility that there might be more to what was happening than was apparent, on the surface, was brought to his attention, and, in the end, quite unsurprisingly, went rushing headlong, helter-skelter, to his death.
83.) Right: He should have insisted that Qui-Gon wait for him, should have demanded that he be allowed to accompany him and the Nabooian party back to their beleagured, overtaken planet, should have known that Obi-Wan would not be wrong and trusted in his insistence that Darsha Assant and this Lorn Pavan person were telling the truth and that there was not only at least one Sith Lord caught up in this whole Nabooian debacle but that this Sith was, moreover, the same tattooed Zabrak warrior who’d engaged Qui-Gon in a vicious lightsaber duel in the dessert on Tatooine, should have known that the hideously cold feeling that gripped his heart with dread when he looked on the face of Anakin Skywalker meant that the boy’s presence signified the approach of some horrible doom, if Qui-Gon persisted in this insane folly of insisting that this lowly former slave was the Chosen One of so many prophecies, but instead he allowed Qui-Gon and his stubbornness (and, to Dooku’s endless shame, his own fascination in learning more about the supposed Sith from Darsha and Lorn, before they departed Coruscant together for a life of anonymity somewhere in the Outer Rim) to bull right over him, and didn’t fight long enough or hard enough to make Qui-Gon understand how dangerous the fire with which he was playing actually was.
84.) Anger: His anger, at Qui-Gon’s rough treatment of Obi-Wan throughout the whole of the Nabooian mission and his ridiculous insistence that his strength in the Living Force somehow translated to a better judge of danger than Obi-Wan’s far greater ability in the Unifying Force, and his sheer incredulity, at the way Qui-Gon endangered and all but abandoned his mission in order to free this one puling, ragged slave-boy, who he insists (insanely enough) must be trained as a Jedi (despite clearly being far too old to begin such training safely, seeing as he is nearly ten rather than almost two years of age) because he is the Chosen One, blinded Dooku to what was truly happening, to the very serious reality of the danger Qui-Gon was gearing up to charge into pell-mell, without even so much as a shield, and so for a long time he blames himself for Qui-Gon’s death, though eventually he realizes that his fury and self-disgust are mere diversions, to keep him from directing his emotions at their most rightful targets – i.e., Qui-Gon himself, the Sith Lord responsible for his death, and the Sith Master he somehow knows is responsible for this entire awful mess.
85.) Lost: With Qui-Gon dead and Obi-Wan lost to him, tied as he is by his own sense of honor to that damned slave child, there is no place left for him in the Temple, no room left for him in the Order, and so he does the only thing that he knows to do: he leaves, joining the ranks of those who will later be known as the Lost Twenty, ignoring every attempt that Yoda and the High Council make to either induce him to stay or to at least tell them why it is that he feels called so strongly to depart.
86.) Frozen: Anger transmutes to grief transmutes to blind fury transmutes to . . . numb coldness, darkness, despair, a sort of frozen, razor-edged certainty that he will not be able to succeed, even if he does manage to find and challenge the Sith Master, and so he does the only thing that he can do: when faced with Sidious and the truth of who and what he is, he lowers himself down to one knee, bows his head, and vows, “I am yours to instruct . . . Master.”
87.) Fear: Sifo-Dyas is supposed to be his test of worthiness, but Dooku finds the Jedi Master surprisingly easy to manipulate and betray, the man’s prescience and his fear of the war that he can see coming making it all but laughable easy for him to first trick his former friend into being the one to arrange to order the armies of clone soldiers that Master Sidious foresees will help to bring the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic alike to its knees and then quietly kill him in his moment of triumph, when Sifo-Dyas believes that he has succeeded in a dangerous task that will help to protect the Republic against the coming darkness and is least expecting to be struck down, and Dooku can’t help but feel as if the whole thing is a bit . . . anticlimactic, even though he still has to find and deliver the template for the troops the Kaminoans have agreed to produce.
88.) Leverage: Dooku had used his influence on the Dooku clan and the other Great Houses of Serenno to clandestinely help fund the attempt at rebellion that eventually freed Galidraan of its dictatorial Governor, Lobidan Ikayesus, some two years before the Trade Federation’s temporary invasion and occupation of Naboo, and he uses that as a point of leverage, to get the last two survivors of the True Mandalorians to agree to The Hunt, a supposed bounty for the destruction of the leader of the Force-worshiping, Dark Side Bando Gora cult that, in fact, doubles as a test of skill, to discover the most worthy template possible for the clone soldiers that will, according to the his new Master, play a vital part in the conflict to come, especially regarding the eventual destruction of the Jedi Order.
89.) Lovely: Komari is . . . still beautiful, still deadly, still controlled by her emotions . . . still so fatally flawed that he has no choice but to be the one to close her lovely eyes forever, though this does not keep him from taking her twin lightsabers with him, when he leaves her citadel with Jango Fett at his side, as the declared winner of The Hunt and the one who will become the genetic source for the future Grand Armies of the Republic.
90.) Please: It does not please him, to use Sifo-Dyas’ blood to help create a monstrosity like General Grievous, but Sidious desires it and Dooku has no grounds on which to protest the operation, and, oddly enough, in the end, he actually finds that the process is less distasteful to him that his part in the wholesale slaughter of the army in service to the Wookiee Trade Guild.
91.) Free: As Count of Serenno, he needs neither an army nor his considerable skills as a Jedi Master to free Jenna Zan Arbor, and, as Darth Tyranus, he can almost ignore the whisper of unease in the back of his skull, murmuring away about danger every time he crosses the conscienceless scientist’s path.
92.) Prelude: Though his Master insists that there is no reason why the war cannot begin with Ansion, Dooku thoroughly expects Ansion to be but a prelude to Geonosis, once he finds out that Obi-Wan Kenobi is the Master in the Master-Padawan team being sent to Ansion to help back Luminara Unduli and Padawan Barriss Offee, and it pleases him so thoroughly (entirely out of proportion with what it should, all things considered, according to a scowling Sidious) to be proven right that he nearly manages to get himself into serious trouble with his Master, before he can finally diver the Sith’s attention to the deliciousness of sparking the war with Padmé Amidala rather than using some minor backwater world as a lynchpin to tear the Republic apart.
93.) Disgust: He finds it ironic in the most painfully razor-edged of fashions, that it should be Padmé Amidala who will, without doubt, most directly contribute to Darth Sidious’ eventual control of the whole of the known galaxy, and the delicacy with which he must hold on to the sharpness of the knowledge without allowing it to cut him is almost enough to distract him from his disgust with the girl, for allowing herself to be turned away from a very real and extremely strong (and wholly natural) love for Obi-Wan to an infantile lust for Anakin Skywalker.
94.) Want: Dooku wants Obi-Wan Kenobi – not in any puerile sexual fashion, but with the same kind of single-minded focus of intensity that a plant will want for water, or light, or sufficient soil through which to push its burrowing roots – and it is wholly in response to this want that he agrees to reveal himself so openly to the boy, in the hopes that his attempts to sway Kenobi’s loyalties (as ordered to, by Sidious) will actually cause him to waver enough to join him, so that they two of them may rise up together and rid the galaxy of the pestilence that is Darth Sidious!
95.) Brat: That damned Skywalker brat is a menace, constantly showing up where he is least wanted and somehow or another unfailingly manage to ruin even the soundest of plans, just by his mere presence: Dooku will be pleased beyond measure, when the boy is finally dead!
96.) Obsession: Asajj Ventress is excruciatingly painful for Dooku to be around, reminding him (in her stubbornness, in her anger, in her swiftness, in her grace, in her undeniable beauty, in her deadly dangerousness, in her devotion, in her need to excel, in her need to be chosen by him – marked as worthy by Dooku, specifically, through his willing choice of her as an apprentice over all other possibilities – in her insistence on her obsession with Obi-Wan Kenobi, despite multiple orders from both him and his own dread Master to seek after and destroy Kenobi’s apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, instead of going after the Sith Killer) of every single fault, every true mistake, he has ever made, from Lorian Nod and Qui-Gon Jinn and Xanatos through Komari Vosa, Obi-Wan Kenobi, that damned Skywalker brat, and his own flawed decision to become a Sith Lord rather than to attempt to fight against the lowering darkness.
97.) Rot: Yoda’s attempt to seek Dooku out, to reason with him, to beg him to return to the Jedi and the Light, at once strike him as laughably piteous, infuriating, and indicative of the extent to which weakness and rot has spread within the Order, for the Jedi Grand Master himself to seek to make overtures of peace with a proven Sith Lord.
98.) Observation: Kenobi (the poor beautiful brilliant boy) is the one who points out how telling it is, that he, himself, as well as so many others should continue to refer to him as Count Dooku, rather than Darth Tyranus, and it is that quietly calm observation, more than any of Yoda’s attempted manipulations, that begins to haunt his thoughts and dreams.
99.) Turn: Despite his Master’s displeasure with the way Saleucami turns out, he finds himself quietly impressed, by the way Quinlan Vos manages to turn Khaleen Hentz to the Light Vos himself has so nearly abandoned and Vos’ former Jedi Master, Tholme, and former Padawan apprentice, Aayla Secura, manage to get both the two lovebirds and themselves out of Separatist volcano base in one piece, even helping the Republic’s forces destroy both the base and the clone army of Morgukai assassins the CIS has been growing there all at the same time.
100.) Certainty: Sidious has ordered him to kill Obi-Wan Kenobi, so that they can turn Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side, and he knows – /knows/, with the same kind of absolute certainty that can no more be ignored than gainsaid – that he cannot do that, that he will betray Sidious and return to the Light before he could ever possibly do such a horrible thing, and so he is oddly unsurprised, in the end, to find himself kneeling, caught between the scissoring vise of two lightsabers held in the shaking hands of a furious Anakin Skywalker.
101.) Light: He does not know which of them is the more surprised – Qui-Gon, that Dooku managed to shake off his own skin voluntarily, before the Sith could force Skywalker to cut him down, or Dooku, that he should fly into the Force and yet not only remain whole but immediately come into the presence of his former Padawan learner – but with Obi-Wan’s life and the fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance, he knows which road it is that he must choose, and so he does as he is told he must, lets go of his suffering (pain and anger alike), and falls willingly into the fullness of both the Force and himself, becoming a Force spirit in one endlessly long, instantaneous plunge into Light and whiteness at the core of all being.