Dak and Shorcuk guided the ship into the atmosphere of Dantooine. I had been to the planet before, but the lovely brown, green and blue hues of the planet still managed to make my breath catch, as I watched us approach.
Aiden was insistent that the Jedi council know about Sinka and all that we had discovered so far, which in my opinion, wasn’t nearly enough to tell anyone about yet. As we came in closer, grassy hills covered with lavenders and yellows took shape, along with the short spiky outlines of blba trees. I walked to the cockpit just in time to see the Enclave come into view. I unconsciously placed a hand over my stomach, which threatened to burst with a torrent of butterflies. I didn’t want to do this, I didn’t want to be here. In the back of my mind, I knew that Aiden was right; we did need to inform them and we could definitely use some assistance, but something about this place, this Enclave, made me anxious.
Shorcuk gracefully landed the ship on a landing platform near the enclave inner courtyard. We exited the ship and entered into the low walls of the courtyard, following Aiden’s lead. The sun was low in the sky, the native sounds of the night creatures could be heard beginning to stir.
“I will go in and speak with the council. I informed them of our arrival just before we entered the atmosphere. Wait here in the courtyard; I will return shortly.”
Aiden walked through an archway and disappeared down a corridor. I looked around nervously at the people milling about. Robed Jedi moved gracefully around each heading to some unknown destination, none of them even pausing to look at us. There were two traders set up in the outer edges of the circular courtyard, some of their wares set up outside to entice customers.
“This place is something else, Na’sha! I have never been this close to so many Jedi before.” Dak cocked an eyebrow. “Na’sha, are you alright?”
I snapped out of my dazed state and answered. “Sorry. I am fine. Just taking in the view.”
“Have you been here before?”
“To the planet, yes, but not here in the Enclave. This planet is where I first met Vel. He was living in the grasslands with a band of my vode.”
Dak reached out and placed a hand on my armored shoulder. “I know that it was hard for you to lose him. I know that I can’t replace him, but I hope you know that I am here for you.”
I smiled. “Dak, you don’t have to replace him. You are your own person and though you greatly differ from him, you are equally my family, my brother.”
Aiden stepped back into the courtyard, his cloak billowing behind him with each step. He looked every inch the Jedi today and totally at home. I envied that.
“The council will see us in the morning. Rooms are being prepared for us. Follow me.”
Aiden led us all into the building. A silver protocol droid led us down the twisting hallways and into another courtyard. A large blba tree stood in the center. Fountains and calm pools of water decorated the area; benches and small gardens lining the waters’ edges. It was a place of peace and contentment and I immediately loved it. The sunset gave it a look of mystery and I couldn’t wait to see how it looked in the morning light.
The droid led us into the next set of hallways and into the guest quarters. We each had been given our own room. It felt strange to me to have one of my own and I found myself wishing Aiden was with me. He stopped by later to see how I was and to fill me in on what to expect in the morning.
“Na’sha, I will go to the council tomorrow and speak with them on the matter of our mission. I will tell them all about you and Sinka and the artifact. I will need you to wait outside of the chambers until you are sent for.”
“What will I be needed for if you are going to tell them about everything?”
“They will definitely want to see you, cyar’ika. They will need to gauge your character for themselves. They may have questions for you and they certainly will want to know more of Sinka and the mind trick she used on you.”
Aiden walked over to the bed and sat down beside me.
“Aiden, I take it that you didn’t tell them about us?”
“No. I have not.”
“They would disapprove?”
“Yes. I am afraid so. We are taught not to have entanglements, attachments. I do not want how we feel about each other to weigh on their decision to help us. This is too important.”
“I know that you are right, Aiden, but..”
Aiden wrapped his arms around me. “Why do you fear this place? The Jedi are no threat to you. We are not the enemy. Why do you act as if we are?”
“I don’t know. What you have, what you are is strange to me. It is a culture, a belief that I do not understand.”
“I can help you understand it if you will let me. Tomorrow when you meet the council, just be the Mandalorian that you are. Let them see you as you allow me to see you.”
“Now, no more worrying. Get some sleep. Tomorrow will take care of its self.”
I stood and walked to the doorway and turned, waiting for Aiden to head for his room.
“What are you doing, cyar’ika?”
“I thought you wanted to let me get some sleep.” I looked at him quizzically.
“You can’t do that with me here?”
“Yes of course, but you have your own room.”
“Na’sha, they may have given me a room to myself, but they can’t make me stay there.”
I smiled and locked the door.