2. Dantooine: Reflections
“But, Master Vhiran had survived, right? Otherwise, he wouldn’t be here.”
“Yes, he had survived, thank the Force!” Bultar exclaimed. “About a year later, he returned. Word had it he crashed down in the heart of Coruscant, in a Separatist starfighter of all things!” she laughed and shook her head. “All sorts of emotions whirled through my mind. Anger, for him staying away so long without saying a thing. Fear, for how the mission and his long time away might have affected him. But most of all, I felt joy and relief. He was back! And he was alive! Of course I ran to the infirmary where he was right when I heard the news. I wanted to see him, but when I finally did, I was surprised at how different he was. His hair was clearly longer, he’d grown a little beard, but most of all, I noticed how his eyes had changed. It was like, he had turned more hardened, more serious, stern, and there was, something else, something I just couldn’t place. It was almost, like he was a completely different person. It didn’t take long before it became clear that though he had changed, the Vhiran I knew was still there, yet, something about this new Vhiran made me feel uneasy. I started to feel nervous, and have strange feelings when I was around him: pleasant, but at the same time terribly frightening feelings. We were both generals by then, so we did not see each other as often as before and I didn’t have much chance to cope with my strange feelings. When they kept plaguing me, I decided to go to the one other person I trusted beyond any doubt, who I believed would surely have an answer. Nillanthir listened to what I had to say, and then, he revealed to me what these feelings really meant. That, was probably one of the greatest shocks I had ever experienced. I could hardly believe what he was saying. It just couldn’t be true! Those feelings were against the teachings I had grown up with all my life! They went against the Jedi Code! This was wrong for a Jedi! It was wrong for me! I continued with my duty, all the time trying to make sense of it all, suppress the feelings I shouldn’t have, deny them even, but all in vain. I knew Nillanthir’s words were true. I was in love with Vhiran Ashukahwa. I was, terrified.”
With her mouth slightly open, and her eyes widened, Shamila looked at Bultar. Never had she thought that possible! “So, even Jedi Knights and Masters can be afraid,” she gasped in amazement.
“Hard to imagine sometimes, I know. Yet, at times they are, all too often,” Bultar replied, seriously but kindly. “Shamila, can you see where I am going now?”
The girl thought for a moment, then nodded carefully. “I, think so.” She said softly. “Back then, you were afraid. Afraid of what you felt, of what others would think if they found out… You were…” Her eyes widened even further. “You were like me!”
“Yes, you’ve seen that well.” Bultar smiled. “I was so afraid, didn’t speak a word about it to anyone, especially Vhiran. Not even on that dreaded day, when the Republic turned on us, when clone troopers ran rampant through the Temple and death seemed to loom around every corner. Even when my countless blaster wounds nearly proved fatal, or when my fighter threatened to crash down back to Coruscant’s surface, I didn’t tell him. No… Strangely, it took more than even that.” Bultar sighed deeply, resting her head on her hands. “Talus. Less than three weeks ago. We had been careless and an Imperial patrol had spotted us. We hid in a ditch, attempting to avoid them, but the clones were everywhere. And they were with so many, as if Talus had become the new Imperial capital! We realized it was only a matter of time that our becoming one with the Force would be a reality. And then, he held me tight and close. “Bultar, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier, but,” he whispered, did his best to remain strong and not to cry. And as he looked me straight in the eyes, I knew what he was going to say. Before he could speak another word, I said it for him. Finally I told him the truth about my feelings for him. And, to my surprise, it felt better than anything I had ever experienced. Not at all wrong as I had thought. I felt, happy. I would leave this life, but at least it was with this last ray of light, of hope.” Bultar let out a deep sigh of relief and smiled. “And you know the rest.”