Well, since I don’t have a new chapter of Battlefield of the Soul, but I do have a hard drive full of little gems such as The First Time, You Never Know, and I Called Him Wormtongue, I decided to post another one of my never-before-seen short stories. Enjoy!
Author’s Note: The Shi’len are a creation of mine. They’re a human race–not quite a separate species–with a much longer lifespan. 😉
Walk by Night
Jillayea’s measured pace turned up the Temple, step by step. She could not sleep. She had not slept for nights.
It was peaceful here, in the Temple precincts, when the sun had gone and the Jedi were resting. Jillayea followed the tiled floors down toward the Room of a Thousand Fountains. It was refreshing, more so than sleep.
“Do you often walk here by night?” a voice asked, softly. Jillayea looked around, startled, for the owner of the voice. It was a nice voice, she contemplated, with an upper-class accent that was almost a brogue; a clear tenor, ringing, lilting, almost brassy, yet with an understated richness that surprised her. It carried something more than gentleness, something not quite remorse; though young, it was ancient, and rich with memory.
Jillayea did not see the voice’s owner at first, then she spotted him, standing in a corner. She hadn’t seen him before, though something about him was vaguely familiar; she couldn’t place exactly what. He was perhaps in his late teens, with a compact, sturdy build, and of only mediocre height. It was his eyes, though, that caught her attention. They were not quite blue, not quite gray, not quite green, but a strange balance of all three; continuously changing, but somehow at rest, at the same time. Ancient eyes, that had seen more than many a Jedi.
Somehow, Jillayea tore her eyes from the young man’s eyes and took stock of his appearance. Handsome, with a cleft chin and dimpled cheeks, square jaw, broad but shallow cheekbones, straight nose with perhaps a miniscule break, thick, slightly ruffled auburn hair. Jillayea self-consciously straightened her somewhat rumpled tunics. A slight humorous twinkle of amusement lightened those strange eyes. Something about the eyes made Jillayea feel that, despite his appearance, she should be calling him ‘master.’ “Well?” he continued softly. “Do you often walk here by night?”
“Not often,” Jillayea said slowly. “Do you?” The young man shrugged.
“I live here,” he said quietly. It seemed like a somewhat strange answer to Jillayea. “What are you looking for, young one?” There was a world of experience in the words, and, strangely enough, for once Jillayea did not object to being called young.
“I don’t know.” she said quietly.
“The answers are simple, aren’t they?” he continued. Very soft-spoken, but Jillayea had the feeling that he could be intimidating, if he wanted to be. “Peace of mind, hope, dreams which won’t break, release from grief or sorrow, or even escape from nightmares. It’s harder to tell which one you are seeking, though.” His eyes still held a faint whisper of innocence, somehow, though it was tempered by harsh trials in the school of life. “Perhaps, meditation might help. Wandering the halls of the Temple by night, not so much. Go back to bed, child.” He smiled at her. Jillayea smiled back. It was a good night…
The next thing Jillayea knew, it was morning.
“Master Skywalker?” Jillayea asked.
“Yes, Jillayea,” Luke Skywalker replied, looking up from the book he was perusing.
“I wanted to ask you about… well, a Padawan I met, or perhaps a young knight…” Jillayea blushed furiously. Here she was, dithering over someone whose name she did not even know, and she didn’t even have romantic feelings for him.
“Of course. What was his, or her, name?”
“I don’t know. He was smallish, well-built, a bit taller than you perhaps, but not quite as tall as Captain Solo… Ruddy hair, piercing eyes… Oh, and one more thing… his eyes seemed to change color.” An odd expression crossed Luke’s face. He turned back to his desk and pulled a few books and papers out of the way, lifting a piece of canvas with a painted portrait of a young man on it.
“Is this him?” Luke asked. Jillayea nodded, eyes going wide.
“Yes! How did you know?” Luke smiled slightly.
“I know him well, very well.”
“What’s his name? I would like to contact him…”
“His name is Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
“Is he currently in the Temple?” Luke, inexplicably, did not directly address the question.
“He was my father’s mentor, and eventually mine as well…”
“So… he’s Shi’len?”
“Jillayea, Obi-Wan Kenobi has been dead for almost twenty years.” Jillayea gasped.
“Yes. But I don’t think Obi-Wan was the type to ever retire.” Luke smiled. “It’s good to know that he’s still around, helping us.” A faint shimmer gleamed upon the still, dust-sparkling air. Neither of them actually heard a voice, but they could have sworn that they did.
Always, old friend.