Although being one of most active trade centers in the Outer Rim, and despite the sounds coming from the many towering factories and the constantly falling rain, the streets of the city planet Eriadu seemed quieter than anything she had witnessed for some time. Twilight seemed to be upon Old Town Factoryville, one of the planet’s most heavily industrialized cities, though it was hard to see whether it was truly the sun being moments away from setting or if it was the work of the large piles of smoke and gas being spewed from the factory chimneys into the polluted dirt brown sky, blocking much of the sunlight throughout the day. It was quiet. Save for a small number of native six legged rats scurrying about on the mould covered sewer pipes and abandoned vats filled with industrial waste, not a single soul was around. Or was there? Something did feel near. Bultar closed her eyes, leaning against the starfighter with one hand, ignoring the rain that streamed down over her and shoved her soaked hair into her face. The Force presence she had sensed while in orbit became stronger and appeared to be moving around at quick pace. He’s close. She opened her eyes and looked around. Her gaze stopped at one of the more narrow alleys. While moving her hair out of her face, she looked at the ship for a moment with a slight feeling of doubt. Should I just leave it here? This area seemed greatly abandoned, but she didn’t want to run the risk of Imperial troops discovering she was here. As long as I don’t stray too far, it should be alright. She nodded and started walking.
Had the cave on Dantooine provided a small amount of comfort, the conditions on Eriadu were at its best equally bad as those of Nar Shaddaa’s run-down Refugee Sector. ‘Coruscant of the Outer Rim’, it seemed its rulers stopped at nothing to attain for Eriadu that title they longed for so strongly. The towering grey buildings all around, packed closely together to save space for further urbanization and industrialization of the city, kept the foul stench of factory produced waste hanging in its place. If it hadn’t been for the pouring rain offering some refreshment, if only slightly, walking through the mostly narrow streets would have been no less than suffocating. Even Nar Shaddaa would beat this hellhole. She chuckled inwardly, but with some bitterness. Maybe I should have considered coming with Vhiran after all. … Vhiran… Only two days had passed since they had left Dantooine and split ways, but it seemed so much longer to her. Moving on through the grey desolate city, she realized how alone she actually felt. She had been in situations of loneliness before, most notably in the aftermath of her mission to Amaltanna during the Clone Wars, where she had been the only one to walk away, the one lone soul to leave the battle for the Separatist fortress Impregnable and the planet alive. It had been eerily quiet then. The lifelessness, the dead silence of Old Town Factoryville reminded her strongly of that day, of how alone she had felt. In the weeks that had past since the leave from Zaloriis she had been at least with Vhiran and Shamila. Now the only things remotely resembling companionship came from the small animals crawling around the city, and the thoughts of her friends: sweet little Shamila, the shy yet determined young Padawan she met on Talus and who had become like a little sister to her. And then Vhiran, her beloved Vhiran. Never before the execution of Order 66 would she have thought the young Jedi Knight and herself to be more than just friends. And now, it was just as hard to imagine life had ever been any different.
How much she missed both of them, but, much more than she would like to admit, she suddenly realized, as it felt awfully close to the attachment the Jedi Order forbade. And she was still a member of that same Order, a Jedi Knight, no matter what and how much had happened. For a moment Bultar halted and thought it through. Would she have to give up those feelings if she was to continue being a Jedi? Almost immediately she shrugged off the thoughts. “I’m going to forget what I told Shamila myself now?” the Knight asked herself. With a sigh she shook her head. “Don’t forget what he has given you. Light, hope, strength. If it wasn’t for him, you might have already ceased being a Jedi. Don’t doubt your feelings, Bultar, especially in a time like this.” Her words came out softly, audible only to her, but at the same time strict and most of all, determined. With a smile she continued her way, in the direction of the powerful Force presence she had sensed, no doubt the Jedi Master who was here on the planet.