There was no news from the Council the next morning and I found myself restless. Aiden suggested that we all meet in the outer courtyard and explore the planet a little. I had been to Dantooine once before, while hunting a bounty, but back then, I hadn’t been too concerned about the scenery. Maybe Aiden was right, maybe I just needed to get my mind off of things; get some fresh air.
I sighed as I entered the courtyard and looked around for the others. People were everywhere. Some stood in small groups, talking, while others sat on benches; eyes seemingly glued to the enclave doors. I wondered what they were waiting for. Aiden and the others were nowhere in sight, so I stepped over to a low wall, leaned over the railing and stared out at the tall grasses waving in the wind. It was a truly peaceful landscape.
I heard my name being called and turned my head in the direction of the sound. Dak, Shorcuk and Aiden stepped out of the enclave and waved as they started in my direction. I smiled and returned the wave. As I did so, I felt something hard smack against my armor.
“What the kark?”
I turned to see a small, shriveled old woman with a twisted cane. I moved slightly to the side as she swung at me again.
“Hold on there lady! I think you have me confused with someone else.”
She looked so tiny and brittle, that I simply kept moving aside to avoid her blows. I didn’t wish to hurt this old and obviously confused woman.
“You will pay for what you did. The Jedi will stop you!”
She flailed her cane wildly at me again. By now the entire courtyard had stopped to stare at us. The others reached me and I backed away, as Aiden stepped toward her.
“Ma’am, what seems to be the trouble?”
The woman seemed to calm instantly at Aiden’s question and leaned heavily against her cane, as she prepared to speak. I cocked my head to the side at her sudden look of innocence and frailty. She wasn’t fooling me. She had come at me like a baby rancor. If I had not been wearing my armor, that cane would have left marks, maybe even broken a bone! She could be dangerous under the right circumstances.
“Master Jedi, I am so glad you are here. Arrest this… this MONSTER!”
Aiden raised a brow as he turned to stare at me briefly. “Surely you are mistaken, Ma’am. I can personally vouch for this woman and she is definitely not a monster. What has she done to you?
The woman’s eyes became slightly misty. “She and her consorts killed my grandson, that’s what! She is a murderer and should be brought to justice.”
I held a hand up in protest. “Now just wait a minute, lady! I haven’t killed anyone, least of all your grandson.”
Aiden reached out and placed a hand on the woman’s arm. He led her to a nearby bench and softly pushed her onto it, taking a seat beside her.
“We have only just arrived here. This woman is my companion. Her name is Na’sha and I can assure you that she has not caused your grandson any harm. Please, take a breath and tell us what happened.”
“She is crazy. That’s what.” I muttered under my breath.
The old woman glanced at me uncertainly and then to Aiden. She took a deep breath and told us her story.
“A week ago, my grandson, Roland, and I started home with supplies for our farm. We had barely left the town, when we were attacked by Mandalorians. My grandson tried to fight them off, long enough for me to get away, but I am old and slow. They killed him and took the supplies, leaving me alone. I don’t know why they bothered to leave me alive. I eventually found help and some of the other farmers went after the outlaws. They never came back.”
Aiden rubbed her shoulder gently. “And so you are here hoping that the Jedi will help you. That is understandable.”
I walked over and knelt down in front of the woman. “Ma’am, it is true that I am a Mandalorian, but I had no part in killing your grandson or robbing you. Just as you can not be blamed for something that others of your people have done, I ask that you not blame me for what mine have done. I am sorry for your loss, but I had nothing to do with it.”
The woman sobbed quietly into her open hands. I couldn’t help but feel badly for her. It must have been a very traumatic experience. She sniffled and rubbed her dampened eyes with a white handkerchief.
“I am sorry, girl. I couldn’t see past your armor. I should have known that if you were an unsavory person, the Jedi would not have allowed you to stay here. Forgive an old woman?”
I reached up, pulled off my helmet and looked deeply into the old woman’s eyes. “There is nothing to forgive.”
Aiden stood and bowed. “Now, if you will excuse us, we have things to attend to.” We turned to leave.
“Wait, Master Jedi. Will you help me?”
Aiden stopped and looked at her. “What can I do?”
“Get my supplies back. I don’t have money for anymore. Stop them from hurting anyone else.”
“I think you would do well to talk to the Council and let them handle it.”
“I have been here everyday since the murder and they haven’t gotten around to talk to me yet. You are my only hope for justice.”
I felt compelled at that moment to say something that would take away the look of helplessness in the woman’s eyes. I knew what it was like to feel helpless, to feel like I was alone in the world. It was a very unpleasant feeling.
“Ma’am, I can’t promise that we will be able to get you the justice that you deserve, but I can promise that if we come across them, I will do my best to help you get some sense of closure. You have my word.”
She smiled slightly at me and I could see a small glimmer of hope in her tear streaked face. “Thank you, child. Thank you.”
As we walked away from the enclave, Dak stepped in close beside me. “I thought we were just going to explore, while we wait for the Council’s decision; now you want to look for more trouble to get into?”
I shook my head. “We are exploring. There is no guarantee that we will come across those Mandalorians.”
“And if we do?”
“Then, we do what we can to help.”
Dak shook his head. “I hope you know what you are getting us into.”
“I hope so too, Dak, I really do.”