It is a truth galactically acknowledged, that a single being in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a spouse.
At least, so it was believed by most of residents on the upper levels of Coruscant. The planet was the galaxy’s centre for politics and, in this age, who married who was as important as any other alliance made of whispered words and traded favours in the Senate halls.
Obi Wan hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, truly. He had stolen away to the library hours earlier, conveniently having forgotten his comm in his quarters, with the sole intent to continue his research for his paper on the long term effects that a congregation of force users had on the flora and fauna of various continents on planets that had once housed force temples.
His careful sneaking of various tomes and holodisks from the shelves were a risk. Madame Jocasta Nu did not like people to simply invite themselves into her library and borrow whatever they liked from her shelves without her explicit knowledge and say so. But Obi Wan had discovered a rather well-hidden spot in the gap between two towering bookshelves and the wall of a study room. There was a tall panel at the end of that row, half hidden by the bookshelf, that, when one pressed it and lifted it up with a little application of the Force, it would sink backwards and sideways into the wall to reveal a secret space. Over the years, he had managed to discreetly fill it with several comfortable cushions, a meditation mat, a partly broken kettle, a few boxes of tea, and a power port to keep his datapad charged.
It was simply a matter of not being seen entering or leaving his hideaway and Obi Wan could spend his day as he liked, without anyone able to find him.
Only today, Obi Wan had left the entrance panel slightly off-centre, causing it not to seal properly, so when Master Yoda followed Madame Nu and Master Windu through the shelves to speak with them, Obi Wan heard every word.
“Master Nu, heard you have, of the 500 Republica estate being leased, hmm?” Master Yoda waited barely a second for a response before continuing, “Indeed, spoke to Senator Taa I have, told me, he did.”
There was the soft sound of shuffling robes and the shush of books being slid back onto their shelves, then Windu sighed deeply. “Who has rented the estate, Master Yoda?”
“Taken it was, Senator Taa did say, by a representative, hmm. Wealthy young woman, she is, from the mid-rim, former Majesty Amidala of the Naboo. Arrived only three days past, she did, on a series of yachts with a full delegation of personelle. One whole ship, just for her wardrobe, Senator Taa said. ”
Obi Wan quietly put down his pen and shifted to lean further towards the door and listen better. His own Master Qui Gon had been instrumental in saving the life of a former Naboo monarch in the year before he took Obi Wan on as his Padawan. He wondered it this Amidala was that same former Queen. Yoda had called her young, but he term meant very little from him since everyone was young compared to the ancient Master.
“Did Senator Taa tell you what Amidala’s intentions in leasing 500 Republica are, Master Yoda?” Obi Wan thought he caught a hint of amusment in Madame Nu’s tone, but Master Yoda responded in all seriousness.
“To seek an alliance, it is, of course, single, she is. A fine thing for our Order, it is.”
Another silence, Obi Wan could picture Madame Nu and Master Windu’s exchange of tired glances.
Madame Nu spoke, “And what does this possible alliance have to do with us, Master Yoda? Does she intend to grant us a generous donation? Shall we perform party tricks at the events she hosts? If you are seeking our advice on the matter, Master Yoda, you know very well that all fundraising is overseen by Master Mundi and the accounting droids.”
The Jedi Order lived off the generosity of the galaxy’s donations and whatever funds they could accumulate for themselves. Obi Wan had come across a historical account once of the votes on a Senate bill that was presented, agruing to ensure fiscal support of the Order to maintain optimal functioning and slow growth, but the bill had either been recinded shortly after it’s application, or never submitted to the floor at all. In the past two centuries, things had become harder, the metaphorical tightening of belts had gotten close to literal. With fewer funds came fewer resources, so the Order accepted fewer children and every year more Knights perished out in the wider galaxy, under-equipt for the tasks demanded of them and with nothing in the way of backup. Their dwindling numbers left too few able to truly undertake the task of serving the galaxy as Jedi, and even fewer able to properly train another generation.
Numbers dwindled voluntarily too, many were not willing to give so much for a galaxy that seemed not to care a whit for them in return. The old masters were left with the hefty task and responsibility of raising their few children. The Order had, in days gone by, once dedicated whole missions just to finding new members. Obi Wan couldn’t imagine it now; whole ships and weeks worth of fuel just to search for young force sensitives. Now they could barely afford to take a few of the children that were offered by their parents for training.
“Our representative in the senate, you are, Master Windu. Inappropriate it would be, for me to seek introductions before you have made them.”
“I am not at liberty to spend time doing such a thing, if you wish to know her so much, seek her out yourself.”
“Consider, you should, the benefits of the connection. A match could be made, hmm?” Yoda sighed deeply, “A marriage this temple has not seen for many centuries.”
“A marriage,” Madame Nu’s voice was bland.
Obi Wan froze. A marriage. He had never heard of such a thing, even in the earliest records of different Jedi sects and temples, marriages had been rare, and never for political clout or contracts.
In the wider galaxy, the practice of marriage alliances had fallen out of fashion with planetary leaders more than five millenia ago. Certainly for building political alliances it was far better for galactic leaders to base trade contracts on purely professional relationships, and so few planets had heriditary leaders these days that the matter of suitable spouses didn’t hold much political sway unless some senator was discovered to have married a spice trader or other such nonsense. Although the gossip holo channels still considered too many intiment details for famous persons relationship to be vitially important to the public.
“Good for the Jedi, it would be, hmm,” Yoda said.
Obi Wan heard Windu sigh heavily. “Is Amidala coming to Coruscant in order to find a partner?”
“Yes, hmm. Why else, come here, would she? Go see her you must, make introductions for our finest knights.”
“And what will make her more likely to fall in love with a Jedi than any other eligable being on this planet?”
“Indeed,” added Madame Nu, “Master Yoda, how can you be so sure of Amidala’s preferences to be certain of this? Has she been involved with a Jedi before?”
“Obvious, it is that Amidala must marry a Jedi.”
“Good Force, Master Yoda, how is it possibly obvious?”
“Feel it in the force I do. Such an excellent senate representative we have, to make this relationship with Amidala’s party so favourably.”
Obi Wan thought he could feel Master Windu and Madame Nu’s exasperation permeate the force like a dust cloud.
“I don’t suppose you have a list of eligable knights,” Windu said.
“So few there are now, send them all, hmm?”
“Amidala will be spoiled for choice,” Madame Nu muttered.
Gazing unseeingly at the days research notes, Obi Wan wondered if the Jedi Order had truly been so reduced that the Grand Master wanted one of their knights to marry a politian for the positive attention it might bring. Master Yoda had not sounded sad about it at all, encouraging Windu to parade knights about like prizes at a fair.
Feet heavy and head buzzing with the new gossip, Obi Wan gathered up his borrowed holos and tomes, and went over to the door, listening to check if the masters were still there. When he only heard silence, and felt no presences in the force, Obi Wan crept out of his secluded space and as inconspiciously as possible marched over to the nearest holotable to search everything there was to be found about this Amidala on the net.