Sunlight streamed through the window of my chambers as I awoke to the sound of a knock at the door. I felt along the bed next to me for Aiden; it was empty. Wrapping a robe around me, I stood, walked to the door panel and pushed the button; it slid open to reveal a protocol droid.
“Master Aiden asked me to see to your needs this morning, Miss. How may I be of service to you?”
I moved aside and motioned him in, closing the door behind me. I listened to the clinking sound of his metallic feet against the smooth floor as he shuffled past me.
“I don’t require anything. Where is Master Aiden?”
“He is preparing for the meeting with the Council and has asked me to inform you that he will meet you in the courtyard gardens, when you are ready. Perhaps you would like for me to bring you some clean robes to wear?”
I shook my head. “I think my armor will be fine, thank you.”
“Forgive me, but certainly you do not need armor in an enclave of Jedi, Miss. They will not bring harm to you and no outsider would be brave enough to attack this place.”
“I will wear my armor just the same.”
“As you wish.”
The droid shook his head and mumbled something under his breath as he shuffled out of the room, leaving me to get dressed. I slid my armor into place, thinking about what the droid had said regarding my safety. The Jedi may not be harmful to me, but I would face them on my own terms and with my own armor, not some unfamiliar garments, leaving me with a feeling of vulnerability. I felt vulnerable enough already.
The courtyard garden was even more lovely by the light of day. Jedi milled about, some talking quietly amongst themselves, some reading and others gazing at the trickling fountains. I would have loved to simply sit on one of the benches and watch the day go by, but that was not to be. I saw Aiden across the garden and he waved to me.
“Good morning, cyar’ika. Are you ready?”
“Do I have a choice?”
“Where are Dak and Shorcuk?”
“They are exploring the enclave. I saw no need for us all to be present. You and I are more than capable of explaining our mission to the Council.”
Aiden began to walk as we spoke, nodding to other Jedi as we passed. He led me to the entrance of the Council chambers. A droid stood in attendance at the doorway.
“Good Morning, Master Aiden. Please take a seat in the outer chamber. Someone will be with you shortly.”
Aiden nodded and we entered into a small chamber lined with chairs and cushions. I glanced around as we took a seat. The room was more plain than I had imagined, a large Jedi symbol painted carefully onto the floor; its only adornment.
“I wish they would hurry up. I hate waiting.” I whispered.
“Patience. They will come when they are ready for us.”
Moments later, the door in front of us opened and out stepped a Twi’lek Jedi. He approached us slowly; Aiden and I stood, bowing before him.
“Greetings, Aiden. Who have you brought to me?”
“This is the girl I was telling you about. Master Lestin, meet Na’sha Tali. Na’sha, this is Jedi Master Zhar Lestin of the Enclave Council.”
The Twi’lek turned and smiled in my direction. I nodded and smiled in return. “Greetings Master. It is an honor to meet you. Thank you for seeing me.”
The Master bowed slightly. “You are most welcome, child of Mandalore.” He motioned us toward the doorway he had recently appeared from. “Please, let us step inside. It seems we have much to discuss.”
We followed him into the chamber and he motioned for us to be seated. The room was small, definitely not the Council chamber. What was going on here? He took a seat in front of us and I waited for Aiden to speak.
“Master, I do not understand, where are the others? Why are we not in the Council chambers?”
“I understand your confusion, Aiden. You should have been taken to the chambers, but a most pressing matter has arisen that demands the Council’s immediate attention. I have volunteered to come and hear your request and I will then relate the news to the Council at a later time.”
“But Master, this is a pressing matter as well. We do not have much time to spare.”
“I understand, but please know that I will do my best to see that your needs are taken care of. Please, start at the beginning and leave nothing out.”
Aiden and I proceeded to give a detailed account of all that had transpired since he had rescued me on Nar Shaddaa. The Jedi Master listened intently. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his mind as we told our strange tale. When we were finished, Master Lestin sat thoughtfully, watching us.
“There is something else on your mind.”
I wriggled in my seat uncomfortably at the Master’s observation.
“You want to train the girl, am I right?”
Master Lestin sighed. “Aiden, you know that we do not train adults. They are set in their ways, it is hard for them to conform. Their training takes too long. It is just not done.”
“Master Lestin, I mean no disrespect, but rules and codes are made for an ideal society, during ideal times and we all know that these times are anything but ideal. Sometimes we have to be practical and willing to deviate from the trodden path; forge a new one. Sometimes there are just too many reasons to bend the rules and too few reasons not to.”
“Why is she worthy of training, Aiden? Why should we bend the rules for her?
“You know why. I know you sense her abilities. It would be in our best interest as well as hers. I believe she could handle it, I believe in her.”
Master Lestin nodded. “I understand your views on this and I respect them, but ultimately, the decision rests with the Council as a whole. I will inform them of all that you have shared with me and in a couple of days, you should have your answer about your mission and perhaps on the other topic as well. For now, make use of these facilities and wait.”
I had remained silent but chose that moment to speak up.
“How long will it take for you to decide? Time is not exactly on our side, Master. The longer we delay, the farther away Sinka gets and our chances of finding her lessen. We can’t afford to wait long!”
“Be patient. The Force has a way of working everything out in due time. Things of this nature can not be rushed. I will speak to them and soon you will have your answer.”
The Master stood and bowed, leaving us alone in the chamber.
“Aiden, I knew we should not have come here. Sinka is getting away and they want me to be patient! Maybe we should just leave this place.”
“Please, Na’sha, give the Masters a chance. I promise it will all be worth it.”
“You can’t be certain of that and you saw the look in his eyes when you talked about me. You should have left that part out.”
“No, he needed to hear everything, besides, he could feel the Force flowing through you just as I can.” Aiden stood and reached for my hand. “Let us find the others and fill them in. Perhaps we can take the time we have to do a little bit of exploring.”
“Do you really think the Council will help us?”
“Time will tell. For now, all we can do is wait.”
I wrinkled my nose as we walked out of the chamber. Waiting was not on my list of favorite things and Patience was not one of my strong suits.