For the rest of the day, Scrapper chattered excitedly about becoming a Jedi. I smiled and listened; silently praying that his life as a Jedi would be all that he imagined it would be. By nightfall, Scrapper was led away by his new master to spend his first night in the padawan quarters. A knot formed in my chest as I told him goodnight. It was in that moment that I knew my heart had claimed him as a part of it. No matter what the future held or where our paths led us, we were forever connected. Aiden approached me in the corridor, as I slowly walked to my chambers. I swiped my hand across my face, as a tiny teardrop trickled down my cheek. I refused to cry.
“Where is Scrapper?”
“He is in the padawan quarters.”
“So that is why you look so depressed. You are going to miss him aren’t you?”
“Is it that obvious?”
Aiden smiled as he joined me in my walk.
“We will be able to leave as soon as the supplies arrive and Scrapper has a wonderful life ahead of him, you should be happy.”
“I am. It just seems that people are always dropping in and out of my life. No one stays for very long.”
“Things are always changing. It is the way of existence, but each person that touches our lives, makes our journey richer; gives the breath in our bodies meaning. We are better people for meeting them and we carry them with us always.”
I raised a brow. “Sounds like attachment to me. Thought the Jedi frowned on that.”
“Not attachment, compassion. If we do not have compassion for our fellow sentient beings and even for the creatures of the universe how can we call ourselves Jedi? To be Jedi is to help and to serve. How can we do that with no compassion? We would be without soul or purpose. “
I pushed the button on the door panel as we reached my room and we stepped inside.
“You are very passionate in your beliefs, Aiden. Don’t the Jedi frown on passion too?”
Aiden chuckled. “You are full of questions this evening. My interpretation of that is this: you do not need to let your feelings and passions rule your decisions.” Aiden’s eyes took on a more serious expression as he spoke. “Emotion has a way of distorting things, warping them from their true shape. If you allow your emotion to rule your actions and decisions, then you are more likely to fail in your endeavors. You leave yourself open to distraction and loss of focus. Losing focus can cost you your life, or in some cases; your soul. I have emotions and passions just like any other man, Na’sha; I just choose to keep them where they can do no harm… that is the life of a Jedi.”
“It seems that the life of a Jedi is so focused on helping others that you risk losing yourself.”
“Is that how you see it? Na’sha, in the short time that we have been traveling together you have rescued a man’s daughter, took down a swoop gang, chased a Sith and took in an orphan. Not once have you rested or taken a thought for yourself. Your actions are no different than ours. You have just been conditioned to be biased against our beliefs. You are the strangest Mandalorian that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.” Aiden sat down on the edge of the bed and tilted his head. “You look at yourself and see an armor clad warrior; I look at you and see a bright and fearless woman fighting to remain what the people who raised her, told her that she should be; instead of embracing what she knows in her heart that she could be.
Before all that he had said could sink in, there was a knock at the door. I walked over and pressed a button, allowing the door to slid back. A golden droid stood in the doorway.
“Excuse me, madam, Master Zhar Lestin requests you bring Master Aiden and meet him in his office.”
I turned to Aiden and back to the droid. “We will come immediately.”
Aiden stood as the droid departed. I looked at him nervously.
“What do you think he wants?”
“I don’t know, but let’s not keep the man waiting.”
I tried not to fidget as we waited in Master Lestin’s office. It was mere minutes before we were called in. I cleared a lump from my throat. I hoped it was good news.
The Twi’lek master stood near a low window overlooking the main courtyard. He turned as we entered the room. Aiden and I bowed. Master Lestin returned the bow and spoke.
“I will not keep you long, my friends. I know that the hour grows late, but there is something that we must discuss.” Master Lestin placed his hands behind his back and walked across the room. “The other Masters and I have decided that we need to test your skills and your ways, Na’sha. We have devised a test for you.”
“A test, Master?”
The Twi’lek Master nodded. “Indeed, one that you must take alone. “He handed me a small scroll, rolled tightly and sealed with an official looking mark. “All of your instructions are inside, along with the coordinates to the test’s location. When you return we will be able to see your path more clearly. Now, go and rest. You leave tomorrow.”
The walk back to my quarters was a blur; my mind was swimming with thoughts about the test. Once inside my room, Aiden and I opened the scroll. It was a map of the more mountainous region of the planet. The note simply read: Find the secret cave entrance to the Jedi shrine and retrieve what you find there.
I looked curiously at Aiden. “Couldn’t they be more specific?”
“No. It is a test. You will know what to bring when you get there. Just be focused and let the Force guide you. There are certain to be dangers, you must be prepared.”
He walked toward the door.
“Wait, aren’t you going to stay with me tonight?”
“No. You need to meditate. Clear your mind of thoughts and worries that could get you killed.” He stepped close to me. “Come back to me safely, cyar’ika.” He placed a soft kiss on my lips and disappeared out the door.
I stepped over to the bed and sat down. Clear my mind? Yeah, like that was going to happen.