My new friends came to visit me each and every day after that, keeping me company whenever Anakin had to go and do other things and I must say it’s nice to have other girls to talk to. Even though I can’t tell them a quarter of the things I told Anakin. The other thing that had made the first few visits awkward was the fact that my face is exposed. The first time we all met, neither of them could see my battered face and now they can, yet neither of them commented on it except to say that they like my crystal blue eyes.
However after all the coughing I do my throat is so sore that talking is difficult and Anakin has told me to keep it to a minimum, so Jenifire and Lorryn do most of the talking now. They tell me great stories of what other Jedi have done and the missions that have helped our side of the war, along with the powerful evil of the Sith.
‘I knew there were people who wielded lightsabers who aren’t the picture of a hero, but I always just thought they were Jedi that had turned bad and went against the Order.’ My voice was croaky.
‘No.’ Lorryn shook her head. ‘Most of the Sith have never been Jedi, they are trained to use the dark side of the Force.’
‘While the Jedi use the light side of the Force for peace and justice, the Sith use the dark side for power and revenge. Their strength is fuelled by their fear, anger and hate which they use to control and hurt others for their own personal gain.’ Jenifire explained.
‘They are the true enemies of the Jedi.’
‘They sound terrible.’ I replied.
‘They are, but that’s why the Jedi are there to protect people from them. Dooku is the one who started this war.’ Jenifire sneered.
‘Who?’ I asked confused. The other girls looked at each other shocked that I hadn’t heard of this guy.
‘His name is Count Dooku, he used to be a Jedi, but he fell to the dark side and became a Sith. Now he controls the Separatists and commands their armies. It’s his fault that there is a war.’
‘He’s killed millions with his evil plans.’
‘Why don’t the Jedi stop him?’ I asked.
‘They’ve tried, but he always escapes.’ Lorryn replied. ‘Your Master fought him.’
‘Yeah, Dooku cut off his hand.’
‘Of course, I’d wondered why he had a robotic one.’ I mused before launching into a fit of coughs, causing my friends to wince.
‘Hey Alexa.’ Anakin’s head then popped out through the curtain and he flashed me a smile. ‘I hope you’ve been resting that voice of yours.’ I nodded mutely.
‘It’s true Master Skywalker; we’ve been doing most of the talking.’ Lorryn agreed.
‘Good. I really owe you girls my thanks for keeping Alexa company, even though I know she’d much rather be up doing things, it seems like you two have been just the people to convince her to stay and heal.’
‘Well it hasn’t been easy, she’s not the easiest person to entertain.’ Jenifire joked.
‘Well thank you both.’
‘You’re welcome, Master Skywalker.’ The two girls smiled.
‘I’ll be off again now, I trust the two of you can hold down the fort a little while longer?’
‘Yes Sir.’ They nodded, he chuckled and left.
‘So Alexa, do you have a lightsaber yet?’ Lorryn asked. I shook my head.
‘Really? All padawans are supposed to have one.’
‘Well I didn’t become a padawan under normal circumstances.’ I reminded her.
‘So how do you get one?’
‘You have to make it.’ She replied. I stared at her in shock.
I suck at building things!
The girls laughed at my expression, before Jenifire began explaining the process.
‘First you have to attend the Gathering; it’s where a group of younglings are taken by a more experienced padawan or Jedi to the Crystal Caves on Ilum. Once there the younglings have to go into the caves by themselves to find their Crystal.’
By themselves? Isn’t that dangerous? What does she mean by “their” crystal?
‘The Force will lead them to their specific crystal, which they have to find out of all the thousands that are in there.’
‘Did you guys do that?’
‘Yeah.’ They nodded.
‘The caves are really beautiful; all of the crystals glow and sparkle like twinkling stars in the night sky.’ Jenifire smiled as she recalled the memory of her trip there.
‘It was fun too, the amount of challenge we went through to find our crystals was awesome. I had to scale an ice wall that was at least a mile high!’ Lorryn grinned. I smiled back even though I had the feeling she was exaggerating a bit.
‘Once you have your crystal you have to get out of the cave as quickly as possible because you only have one rotation of the planet to go in, find it and get out because the door freezes over with ice so thick you can’t get out.’
‘If you get trapped you have to spend a whole night in the caves by yourself!’ Lorryn added.
‘What?!’ I asked horrified.
‘Yep, that’s how it works, but Master Yoda will remind you when you go to do it.’
That’s insane! You’d freeze to death!
‘Don’t worry, it hasn’t happened to anyone yet....... Or at least not that we know of.’ Jenifire shrugged. ‘Still, once you’ve done all that and you start flying on the ship back here to Coruscant they give you the parts and teach you how to build your lightsaber.’
‘Is it hard?’
‘It is at first, but once you quiet your mind the design comes to you and you will be able to do it.’
‘Does Master Yoda teach you how to do it?’
‘No, someone else does.’
‘We’ll save that as a surprise for you.’ The girls winked at each other.
I growled. Which, annoyingly, started me coughing again.
‘Padawan Arnjard, you’re supposed to be resting your voice.’ A med droid reminded me as it pulled back the curtain. ‘You talk to much, then I’ll have to ask your friends to leave.’
‘Oh shove off.’ I rolled my eyes and Force-pushed it back. My friends giggled and we (or rather they) continued talking.
Eventually they had to go for dinner and I was once again left on my own, however that didn’t last for long as they sneaked me back some desert. I smiled, this might just turn out to be a long lasting friendship. That smile soon turned sheepish as Anakin turned up just as I was almost finishing it.
‘Hello Lexa. I was just coming to see if you were alright, but clearly you have been well taken care of.’ He smirked.
‘Yeah.’ I nodded.
‘Are you feeling any better?’ He asked taking a seat.
‘I’m glad to hear that.’ He gave me a kind smile and I smiled back as I saw the last rays of light that filtered through a small gap in the curtain sparkle in his eyes.
He is so different, I wonder why he’s not on the Jedi Council? He’s kind and considerate, he actually cares about me. Something that not many people have done......... Still that’s why I escaped. So I could be normal. Yet even now I’m not normal, but I feel........ Good.
‘How was your day?’
‘It was alright, but I think I’m getting a bit restless. I want to be where the action is, much like you.’
‘That’s true, but I doubt I’d do well in a battle at the moment.’ I rasped.
‘Maybe not, but that’s why we need you to rest and get better.’
‘Right.’ I nodded and lied down as he pulled the covers up under my chin.
‘You need to get some sleep now.’
‘But it’s still really early, the sun has only just set.’
‘So you have plenty of time to tell me about what you and your friends talked about.’
‘That’s private.’ I replied narrowing my eyes.
‘Alright, I can understand that. So what do you want to talk about?’
‘I don’t know.’ I shrugged.
‘Well what’s this I hear about you pushing a medical droid halfway across the room?’
‘Oh....... Um....... Wait, halfway across the room?’ I asked, somewhat in awe of myself. He nodded as a smile played at the edge of his lips. ‘I........ I didn’t think it did it that hard.’
‘Don’t worry, you’re still getting used to using the Force for moving objects, it will take time to know how much effort to put into it.’
‘I know. Still how much longer before I can get out of here?’
‘I don’t know, it depends on how long you take to get better.’ The I sighed.
That could take forever at this rate, besides I hate doing nothing!
‘Hey........um........ Jenifire and Lorryn were telling me about how they built their lightsabers and I was wondering.......... Can I see yours?’
‘Sure, Lex.’ He handed me the hilt of his deactivated saber.
Lex? He really is trying to push the whole “where friends now and I know you’re secret so lighten up” thing.
The metal was cold in my small hand and as I moved it I realised it wasn’t heavy in fact it felt pretty good to hold, but it just wasn’t quite right. It was almost like there was one or two things that needed to be changed and it would suit me, but it was enough to make me give it back to him. I told him that it was nice and it was, but it did make me think about my own.
I wonder if I’m gonna get to go to these caves and find a crystal so I can build a lightsaber. What am I thinking? You can’t be a Jedi without a lightsaber; so of course I’m gonna get to do all that and make one and I just know it will be awesome.
After talking for a while I felt my lids grow heavy and it got harder to keep my eyes open, eventually I gave in and let myself become shrouded in the dark, soft, velvet blanket of sleep.
I smiled at my padawan who was now deep in a peaceful slumber, before silently getting up and walking over to the curtain. I then turned and glanced at her one more time.
‘Goodnight Alexa.’ I whispered and left.
After retiring to my room I sat down to meditate; I know that I should be careful about how much I care for Alexa, emotional attachments are banned here in the Order and I don’t want the other Jedi to think that I’m too close to her.......
I cleared my mind and focused on feeling the Force around me, allowing it to guide me in my actions for the future. However I soon became tired and decided it was time to sleep, so I climbed into bed and drifted off to dreamland.
Several weeks later and things with Alexa seemed to be improving, the majority of her illness seems to have gone with only an occasional cough remaining. Therefore the Council is making preparations for us to leave soon and I am worried about her, she hasn’t done any training for weeks and she hasn’t been a padawan for that long. She’s never fought a clanker and...... When I told her we are going back to her home planet she wasn’t that happy, especially because of the reason we’re going. Either way this could prove to be too much for her. Unsure I went to someone I knew would understand.
‘Hello Anakin, what can I do for you?’ He asked, a look of intrigue on his distinguished face.
‘Hello Obi Wan.’
‘What’s the matter? Why do I sense conflict in you?’
‘It’s about Alexa. I fear that since she has been sick and hasn’t done any training in a while that she might not be up for the mission.’
‘Well Anakin, the Council seems to think she’ll be able to go.’
‘But I know that she’s unsure of returning to her home planet, not to mention that she’s never even seen a clanker before.’
‘That’s true, but she’ll never learn how to fight them unless she experiences it first hand. I mean Ahsoka never got to train with you before she met us on the battlefield and became your padawan.’
‘Ahsoka was raised here at the Temple as a youngling, Alexa wasn’t. Besides she’s two years younger than Ahsoka.’
‘All the more reason for her to try. You know me, Anakin. You know I normally approve of learning things in a classroom before trying them out in the field, but look at Alexa. She enjoys a challenge, she’s eager to fight, train and be active. She’ll probably enjoy doing it, but you’ll never know unless she tries.’ He reasoned. I nodded in agreement.
‘You are right, as always Obi Wan.’
‘You flatter me Anakin, you know as well as I do that I am not always right.’
‘Maybe not, but you are in this instance.’
‘Thank you for your advice.’
‘Any time, my friend.’ He smiled.
After that I knew there was one more person I had to talk to; Padme. She doesn’t know that we’re going on a mission and she always gets grumpy when I don’t come and visit her before leaving, well if I can. Which in this case I know I had time so I slipped out and drove over to her place.
I was lucky enough not to get spotted going up to her apartment and I quietly knocked on the door. Her face lit up as she opened the door and let me in, throwing herself in my arms as soon as the door was shut and locked behind us.
‘I’m so glad to see you Ani.’ She smiled.
‘And I you, my love.’
‘So what brings you here?’
‘I had to tell you that we’re going on a mission in a couple of days.’ I explained feeling a pang of guilt as her face fell.
‘Oh no. Where to this time?’ She asked sighing.
‘Don’t tell me the Separatists have attacked there too.’
‘I’m afraid so.’ I nodded and looked out her large window at the sparkling city lights. I felt my spirit drop as I pictured Ahsoka standing at the window looking out over the city in awe of its beauty.
‘What’s wrong?’ Padme asked following my gaze.
‘I can still picture her there. Like she never left.’
‘Oh Ani.’ My wife wrapped her arms around my waist. I pulled her close, but AI couldn’t feel her touch. Instead I felt numb from missing my beloved padawan. As if sensing that Padme excused herself to give me a moment alone.
It’s been almost a year since Ahsoka left the Order and it doesn’t matter what I do or where I go it’s like all the memories I have of her keep flooding back and I can feel her with me. I can’t help it; I miss her. I sighed and sat down on the couch, smiling at the love of my life as she came back and sat with me.
‘I’m sorry.’ I sighed.
‘It’s alright, you should miss her, it’s natural.’
‘But it shouldn’t come between us.’
‘It’s not, I don’t feel any differently about you now because you miss Ahsoka than before when she was still here.’
‘Thanks.’ I whispered giving her a peck on the cheek.
Despite having a good night sleep last night I honestly feel tired, but I think that’s probably because I’m tired of doing nothing! Especially since no one came to see me yesterday, not even Anakin. It did surprise me that he didn’t come to check on me last night, but meh he probably had other things to be doing. Unlike me.
I have been in the Halls of Healing almost a month and while I am getting better I fear that not doing any training will leave me weak, despite the fact that I have done all of the physiotherapy they told me to. I still limp when I go for a walk and my shoulder still pains, but the sickness seems to have passed.
Things are always quiet around here, obviously since people are trying to get better, but I miss the action and the stupid med droids refuse to pull back the curtain so that I can interact with the other patients in the ward. The only time I ever get to look around is either when the droid comes to give me my medicine and moves the curtain so he can come in, but I don’t get to see much then, or when I’m allowed to go for a short walk to the bathroom.
Every time I get to see something though my eyes always land on a young blue-skinned girl, she has yellow markings on her face and keeps her purple hair tied back in a ponytail. She couldn’t be any more that seven or eight, so she is still a youngling and she smiles at me whenever we catch each other’s eye. I can’t help wondering why she’s in here, but at the same time I’m almost afraid to find out. Still we’ve never actually talked, since the droids are monitoring me almost all the time and they don’t want me to infect anyone else.
Today though I am sitting in my bed expecting a visit from my friends, I turn and smile as the curtain moves aside, but it’s not who I expect to be standing there looking at me.
‘Rendal?’ I asked seeing Obi Wan’s new padawan.
‘What are you doing here?’ I asked, trying to turn my head away so that he wouldn’t have to stare at my face.
‘Um..... W-Well Jenifire sent me to tell you that she and Lorryn wouldn’t be able to come until later this afternoon because of extra training with their Masters.’
‘Right.’ I nodded, feeling a small pang of sadness. ‘Now, you’ve delivered your message so you can go.’
I studied the brunette boy for a moment, his ash brown hair sat neatly on his head and his nordic blue eyes seemed to shine with......... Something I couldn’t quite read and he took in the features of my own appearance. It was strange that he didn’t seem to pity me or show disgust at the mark my history have left on my face. However it soon began to freak me out and I cleared my voice as a reminder to go. He shook his head slightly and snapped outside of his gaze, giving me a slight nod.
‘Of course.’ He murmured, then he left me alone to my thoughts.
The news of the mission keeps praying on my mind, it worries me that my people are in trouble and it concerns me that my ability to help them is limited. I want to make my people proud, which is odd considering that I’ve never really cared what other people think about me before.
I sighed, so much has changed since that night when Anakin found me. I have become a padawan learner, I have gained friends, I have trusted someone enough to tell them about my life and I have moved on enough to accept the Jedi code and call someone “master.” Something I didn’t think I would ever do. Yet I have and I don’t know if that shows weakness or strength.
It was then that the med droid known as 2-1B, came in and brought me back to reality with his deep robotic voice.
‘Your report shows that you are well enough to leave.’
‘However you still need to take it easy with your training, your wounds still need time to heal.’
‘Right.’ I rolled my eyes. ‘So can I have my change of clothes?’
‘Of Course, Alexa.’
‘Master Unduli?’ I asked as the Mirialan Jedi came over holding the new clothes I bought the day this had all started.
‘Hello again Padawan Arnjard.’ She smiled, but her expression then changed as she was startled when her eyes took in my disfigured appearance.
‘I......um....... Don’t look at my face.’ I growled and turned away from her. ‘If you would be so kind as to hand me my clothes.’ I stuck out my hand, waiting for her to mutely place the outfit in my hands, which she did.
I then in a rash decision Force pushed Unduli out into the corridor, ignoring as she protested and tried to stop herself and allowing myself a small twisted smile as a thud sounded when she hit the wall. Getting up, I got changed, trying to hold back the groans and hisses of pain that came with my wounds, before reemerging in my new outfit with the addition of my old cloak.
‘Wait!’ Someone shouted before I could leave. I looked around to see the blue-skinned youngling holding a small teddy bear. ‘Take her with you.’
‘Pardon?’ I asked not understanding the little girls request. She ran over to me, still holding the bear and held its out to me.
‘Take this.’ She smiled.
‘I can’t accept this.’ I said handing it back, but she put it back in my hand and pushed it to my chest.
‘I want you to have it, you need her more than I do, she’ll keep your company on your missions.’
‘What’s her name?’ I asked shocked by her gesture of kindness.
‘My friend said her sister called it Lelo.’
‘Your friends sister?’
‘Yes, just take it and go.’ She pushed me out the door, I flashed a smile at her which she returned and murmured my apologies to Master Unduli as I raced past her on the way back to my room.
‘Padawan Arnjard! Be careful with your leg!’ 2-1B called after me. Rolling my eyes I ignored him.
It feels great to run! The pain from where I was shot was still there, but I had no intention of letting it slow me down!
I was just on my way back to the Halls of Healing, having spent the night at Padme’s, when I saw Luminara pushing herself off one of the walls and she didn’t seem very happy.
‘What happened?’ I asked as she shook her head.
‘Your padawan just forced me out of the ward and into this wall.’
‘What?!’ I shook my head and took a step back, my eyes winded till they were the size of tennis balls.
‘I came to give to give her back the clothes she got when we went to the plaza and I saw her without her cloak on....... Anakin........ Her face...... It was just-’
‘I know. So what happened then?’ I asked, my heart beginning to race as I saw where this was going.
‘She must have sensed my shock and she told me not to look at her face, then wanted me to hand her the clothes. I did and the next thing I know I was blasted out of the room and smack bang into the wall. She told me she was sorry as she ran past and that was it.’
‘Hold on, you’re telling me that she running around? Outside of the ward without permission!’
‘Actually General, I told her she was fine to leave.’ 2-1B came forward.
‘Why didn’t you tell me first?’ I asked outraged.
‘No one could find you, Sir.’
I growled. This was all because I went to stay with Padme, but how was I supposed to know that she would be released today? Argh. She could hurt herself, I need to find her.
‘Which way did she go?’
‘That way.’ Luminara pointed up the hall.
‘Thanks.’ I replied and sprinted off.