Chapter 3. Heart of Fire
Part 3. Clarity
Everybody in the cave was asleep, save for one of the youngest among them. With her arms wrapped around her knees, Shamila sat upright in a corner of the cave and looked around at the sleeping Jedi. She yawned. Although she was tired, she had trouble sleeping as she thought of all that had happened, in what had seemed like an eternity but in fact had only been ten days. Master Loria’s death at the hands of the Separatists, then a week later this Order 66, the declaration to purge all Jedi from the galaxy. All of a sudden she had been presented a new Master and before she knew she had made a journey from Talus to Cato Neimoida and all the way to Zaloriis in a mere three days! Only now did she realize how hard the travel had actually been for her, even with her years of intense Jedi training. And then, just when she thought she had seen everything, he appeared. The feelings she felt ever since their meeting less than half a day ago were unlike she had ever experienced and although they made her feel warm inside, she couldn’t help but somehow feeling scared and uncertain. Shamila sighed and stood up. Careful not to wake the others she quickly grabbed her short lightsaber from the floor, put her hood over her head and tiptoed out of the cave.
Outside she closed her eyes when greeted by a small gust of wind suddenly blowing in her face. Upon opening them again she could see a lone figure sitting in the distance. Strengthening her eyesight Shamila looked closer and gulped as she could now distinguish a single wing on the person’s shoulder. She started shaking softly and as she clipped her lightsaber to her sash and turned around to run back to the cave she heard a soft thud next to her. Looking in the sand she could see a small sack that had fallen from her sash. A shiny, red glowing stone stuck half out. Shamila quickly picked up the stone from the sack and held it carefully with both her hands. This was the stone Master Loria had received from her Master, a Kiffar from Kiffu, when she was a Padawan and had later passed on to her own Padawan. On Kiffu, as Master Loria had told her apprentice, it was tradition to give such a stone, called a Heart of Fire, to a person you loved or cared about very much. Shamila had always kept it as her most cherished possession. A sparkle appeared in her dark eyes as she looked at the stone in her hands and then over her shoulder to Nillanthir. So, is this what these strange feelings mean? Should I… She swallowed, unsure of what to do for a moment. Wasn’t this wrong for a Jedi? But then she suddenly made a firm nod and decided. Yes! She took a deep breath, turned around again and, now holding the stone close to her in the opened palm of her hand, she started walking until she stood next to Nillanthir. Not really knowing what to say, she just shortly said, “Hey,” and smiled shyly at the one-winged Jedi Knight at her side.