Destiny Speaks In Soft Tones
Whispers in the dark. Faint voices speak from the pitch-black nothingness. Their words are garbled, unintelligible. They echo from a long distance, miles and miles away. Silence. The voices begin again, but the noise is closer; a buzzing chatter, like radio static all mixed together. Closer. Closer. Closer. The noise becomes deafening, yet complete darkness remains and there seems to be no escape. Trapped inside a cramped box until the whispers become clear. They weren’t whispers after all.
They were screams.
Horrible shrieks of terror coming from all sides. The dark box lifted and flashes of violence stormed in waves. Armored men charged across the plains with their blades raised. Prisoners with feline faces were lined up and men with blasters aimed at their backs and gunned them down. Many fled in horror, wailing as they ran with the roars of the victorious dread behind them. Mechanical beasts crawled with multiple durasteel legs. The robotic monster spat fire and death in all directions. Craters in the dirt. Fire bloomed upon homes and the smoke rose to the skies.
Blaster bolts, fire, smoke, screams, death, blood… And then, silence. A lone figure stood amongst the corpses littered across the battlefield. Dark robes and an unseen face. The figures head rose and looked directly ahead, and a blood-curdling voice whispered with words that dripped onto the air and coiled around the listener with the cold touch of a serpent.
With a piercing scream Aria burst out from underneath her sheets with cold sweat pouring down her skin. She breathed hard, glancing back and forth from one side of her room to the other. Lights out, no one there, just her in her room back on Dantooine. She pressed the button next to her bed and the lights flickered on. Again, she scanned every inch of her living space. Aria’s breathing began to relent, her heaving chest slowed down.
“Just a dream.” She said to herself softly.
But, it didn’t feel like just a dream. It wasn’t like any normal nightmare that woke her up and then faded away into nonexistence as she passed back into a comfortable sleep. No. The terror felt real, tangible, so powerful that the horror still lingered inside of her mind. She could still hear the screams of the slaughtered echoing around her. The walls of her room felt too close and too tight, so the young Jedi stood up from her bed and threw on a pair of robes before going outside.
The cool night air of Dantooine’s gentle breeze brushed her with a welcoming touch. Walking through the Enclave alone during the late night hours made her feel better, but even as she finally stood on a balcony overlooking the farmland fields; the ghost of her dream still lingered. Not as loud, but still and present. A spectre of death standing alone with ghostly presence. She leaned against the railing and looked up. Was it all a dream?
She stared at the vast expanse of stars, uncertain.
I know that it’s been a while since we’ve last spoke, but despite the abrupt ending of our training together and my own harsh words: I cannot apologize for deciding to learn from other masters. It’s something I as an individual must do. Listening to only those I agree with would be like living inside of an echo chamber closed off to any new piece of knowledge. But, I am sorry for the things I did not mean.
This message is not sent for this only…
I had a dream last night. Not of the screaming kath pups, this was different. It’s hard to put in words what it was that I saw but it didn’t feel like a manifestation of my own mind. This felt real. I’ve read small pieces about visions and premonitions, but it’s hard for me to believe that I would have one so strong. I’m nothing but a padawan learner.
It was death that I witnessed. Endless death and so much fire and screaming. Men with blades and hard armor. Even now I’m shaking at the thought because the sounds still linger. I can taste the smoke, still. I’m not sure how to interpret this dream, or vision. Everything about it leaves me restless and uncertain. I know you are at Couruscant, but if you would allow it I would love to see you here on Dantooine. If I must go to Coruscant, I will. I wish to continue my training with Zhar, Dorak, Vrook, and Vandar but I still seek to learn from you as always. There was more to the things you said then, things I didn’t understand or could not until now perhaps.
Anyway, I must be going. Take care, I hope to see you soon.
Aria pressed the send button at the Enclave library terminal, the message sent to her first Jedi Master Arren Kae. Being trained by more than one master was an unusual thing for most Jedi. They tended to learn from a single master until they were ready to become knights and eventually be apart of the council. Aria, however, sought a new master in the aftermath of her original training. She did not always see eye to eye with Arren, and the cryptic messages were hard to solve though at points she felt empowered the days her master’s words were understood; a rewarding feeling that she hadn’t felt since under any other master.
Even so, Aria needed to expose herself to different viewpoints. Sentinels and Consulars, and even Guardians despite her aversion to combat. All topics of learning were important to her as they created a well-rounded Jedi with a full understanding of the force and the universe she inhabited. A healer, a champion of protection and nurturing; that’s how she always viewed herself. For the first time, Aria wondered if her positioning in this world was correct after all. She never dreamed that a simple nightmare could knock her off of her balance.
The girl sighed. “Get a grip of yourself, Aria. There is no emotion, there is peace…” She breathed out the Jedi Code to calm herself down. Surrounding her terminal there were stacks of datapads, and after her message closed down it revealed numerous entries on dreams and visions from the force. With tired eyes and ruffled hair, Aria raised a fist to her mouth as she yawned loudly. It was morning as the sun peered through the window of the library, and she hadn’t gotten more than an hour of sleep.
“I’d tell you to get some rest, but you wouldn’t listen to me.” The tender voice of the old chronicler, Master Dorak spoke from behind her. Aria turned in her seat and gave the strongest smile she could muster. “What has you stirring like this, padawan?” He took a seat next to her.
“I… I couldn’t sleep. I’m in here a lot and I wanted to know more about dreams and premonitions. I find it hard to believe that some Jedi and other figures have been able to witness events far before their closing.” Aria stated.
“One thing for sure is true. You couldn’t sleep.” Dorak gave her a grin that made her sigh and shake her head.
“Am I that easy to read?”
“The force stirs in you, padawan. And your face is rather expressive when you’re lying, though only slightly so. I’m still young as being a master goes, but I can tell a lie from the truth. What’s bothering you, Aria?”
“I apologize for not being truthful. I thought I could handle it myself. It’s, it’s a dream I had last night. More of a nightmare.”
“I saw a battlefield. Fire, explosions, death, screaming. Men in armor. They spoke in a language I didn’t know. All I know is that it wasn’t a normal dream I’ve had.”
“Hmmm. Can you describe these men?”
“Heavily armored. Warrior-like, they didn’t run from anything. It’s like they enjoyed the rush of battle.” Aria felt like she was re-living the dream, seeing the vivid faces and the ghastly terror of it all.
Dorak opened up a window on the terminal and entered something in. “Did they look like this?”
Aria looked, her eyes widened. “Yes, that’s them!”
“You dreamt of Mandalorian warriors. One of the fiercest groups in the entire galaxy. They live for fighting and war as it’s a code to their honor. The Jedi have fought them before. Ulic Qel Droma fought and defeated Mandalore the Indomitable, and the Mandalorians have since been defeated. It was an impressive feat, what he did. He was one of the tragedies of our order, but it is nonetheless important to learn from his mistakes and victories.”
“So, if I’ve never seen a Mandalorian in my entire life why would I know what they look like? How could I dream of them?”
“The force works in mysterious ways. It connects us all, flows through all living things. I believe the wounds of wars past drift around and can still affect us now.”
“A dream from the past.”
“Very good, yes.”
“But, why was it so strong? Why can I still feel it now?”
“An indication of your connection with the force, perhaps. Dreams have been known to be terribly strong in times past. I would not trouble yourself over it too much. If it comforts you to continue reading, I more than welcome it. It makes me happy to see a student so willing to traverse through this library. Read more on the Mandalorians, I’d love to share a conversation about what your opinions are on the histories of the Jedi and the galaxy. I know you read often about the Echani; the Mandalorians are quite similar in certain aspects. Considering visions, you might also be interested in battle precognition.”
“An ability intertwined with visions. You’d enjoy it. If you read further into Ulic Qel Droma, however, there are certain pieces of information that are restricted to padawans and knights. I cannot help you there.”
Aria nodded in understanding, though she’d been able to read restricted materials before. “Thank you Master Dorak. Your words have been comforting.”
“You are my apprentice as much as Zhar’s, it’s always a pleasure to speak with you Aria. I wish more students were as dedicated as you. I suggest you pour yourself a cup of caffa, though.”
“Oh, I intend to. If I fell asleep during a lightsaber training exam with Zhar I don’t think I’d hear the end of it.”
Dorak laughed. “Certainly not. I’ll leave you be, I’ll see you soon.” The master turned and went on his way, leaving Aria to her silence by the terminals and datapads. She wrote down many of the things Dorak said and kept in mind to return to reading about them later.
An hour went by and Aria found herself having finished the food she received from the cafeteria resting upon stone foundation that enclosed a bed of flowers by one of the doorways. Her back leaned against the wall, and her datapad was in her lap opened to her favorite piece of reading she recorded. Echani battle practices and how the race communicated through hand to hand fighting. There was something incredibly intimate and enticing about the concept. She brought a warm cup of caffa to her lips and smelled the fresh brew. Taking a sip, she let out a sigh of relief.
Here she avoided the bustling traffic of students to the cafeteria and remain thoughtful of the words Dorak had shared with her. Aria wanted him to be right, wanted to be calm and relaxed about the situation. But, the presence remained. She stared blankly across the room and zoned out, completely lost within her own mind. And, if she didn’t break out of it soon; she potentially could miss Zhar’s scheduled teaching exam for the day.