The ride to the mountains was long and uneventful. As the countryside sped by around me, I tried not to get nervous about what was to come. Find the shrine and retrieve what is there. That certainly wasn’t much of an instruction. I only hoped that the coordinates were precise enough to get me to the cave entrance, but that would be too easy.
The sun was sinking low in the sky when I stopped at the base of the mountain. I looked up at the towering pile of rock with a frown. A jet pack would come in handy about now. I hoped against hope that I could find the cave entrance before sunset. It would be damn hard to locate in the dark.
I climbed over a few low boulders and scouted about, looking for a path deeper into the rocks. It all looked the same. Rocks and brush, trees and leaves. I sat down on a small ledge and closed my eyes. The Jedi were a strange bunch with all of their rules and tests. Why did I even want to be one? Until today, I doubt I ever would have admitted it, but I wanted this for Aiden. I wanted him to be proud of me. I wanted to be able to stay with him, even if I had to care for him in secret. I also wanted to belong to something. I had been on my own for so long, I missed being part of a clan. I wondered if those reasons were the right ones to be doing this for. I hoped so.
Just as I started to open my eyes, I heard a distant sound; the sound of running water. I stood up and carefully made my way toward it. By the time I reached the source of the sound, the sun was almost gone, the stars one by one beginning to peek out from the darkening sky.
Nestled behind a large cliff, was a narrow waterfall. I squinted into the darkness, trying to tell how high the water fell from, but I couldn’t make out the top. I skimmed across the mounds of rocks and jumped across a small crevice. The water poured into a pool, its impact against the surface causing a fine spray of mist to hit me in the face. I lit a small glowlamp and eased my way down toward the bottom of the falls. I don’t know why I needed to get to the pool, other than I simply felt drawn to it. I held the glowlamp out before me, as I eased into the pool. I stayed close to the edge, in the shallows and waded toward the cascade. I shivered in the thin robes. The water was cold and the slight breeze of the night made it that much cooler. I stopped just before the falls. I held out the lamp in hopes of seeing through the rippling waters, but there was only reflection. I felt as if something was calling to me, pulling me to the other side. I took a deep breath and stepped beneath the wall of water.
I sputtered and coughed, wiping the wet strands of fiery hair out of my eyes. It took a moment for them to adjust. The glow lamp once again before me, I could make out the entrance to a cave. My heart leap in my throat, I had done it I had trusted in the Force and it had led me where I needed to go! It gave me a new batch of encouragement. Maybe I could do this.
I stepped into the dark mouth of the cavern, my eyes slowly beginning to make out the walls in the darkness. I stepped carefully and remained as quiet as I could, not certain of what creatures called this place home. The slightest step, the tiniest of pebbles scattered by my boots seemed to echo loud enough to wake the dead. So much for being stealthy.
The cave seemed to go on forever on a single path. It twisted and turned, rose and fell, but never branched off. I found that to be a bit strange. I would have made it more confusing, to keep people from finding the shrine.
“This is too easy.” I whispered into the darkness.
No sooner had the words escaped my mouth, I hit a wall; literally. The path just ended. I reached out my hand and ran it along the jagged edges of the stone wall. The glow lamp gave me enough light to see that it was solid and stretched across the entire path. I pressed my head against the coolness of the rock. Me and my big mouth.