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Chapter 16: The Story of Reeca
“Feeling any better, lad?” Jolee asked.
“Still rotten, but better,” Talin breathed quietly.
“‘Better’ is better, we’ll take it,” Jolee replied. “You should be up and back to normal in a few days.”
“Wish I could believe that,” Talin said, eyes closing slowly.
Jolee chuckled slightly, “When you’re planting flowers, it’s hardest to imagine their beauty when you’re up to your eyeballs in the poo-doo fertilizer.”
Talin just shook his head slightly and sighed.
“That’s very…picturesque,” I noted, lifting an eyebrow in irony. A yawn escaped before I could stop it, and Jolee looked me over with a critical eye.
“Talin, I’m sending Jae back to our suite, and I’ll stay here.”
I protested, “Jolee, I need to be here in case--”
“No, you need to go rest. The masters who are strongest in the Force don’t have unlimited healing power, and neither do you. We all have to sleep sometime. The only one who I’m convinced doesn’t sleep is Vrook, and look how crabby it makes him. There’s a Li’adan outside who will take you back to your room." When I made no move towards the door, he added, “They now also have these amazing new-fangled devices we call comlinks,” Jolee said dryly, displaying his. “It’s a novel concept. We can talk to each other at any time if we have an emergency. What will they think of next?” Jolee said with an acidic drawl, though he tempered it just a bit with a smile.
“Go. Sleep.” Talin made a weak dismissal motion with a bandaged hand.
I crossed my arms and stated, “Fine. But I’m going to come back as soon as I get a short rest.”
“You must be really tired,” Jolee said. “You sound like a two year old. All you need to do now is stomp one of your feet. Get going.” He made a circling motion for me to turn and then pointed at the door.
I sighed, turned, and made sure not to stomp on my way out.
The dream tendrilled like one of the poison vines of Dxun, trying to strangle any good around it….
The Sith Lord laughed loudly, watching my attempts to block his lightsaber blows, a look of haughty disdain darkening his face. Jolee was there, lying on the ground, struck down in battle. Talin, lying on the ground next to him, twisted by the horrible plague of blisters. Those same blisters covered my hands, but I couldn’t stop fighting. I had to save my friends. I watched in horror as the Sith Lord raised his lightsaber to bring it crashing down on my head, realizing my block would never reach up in time to protect me from being killed…
I woke up fully in a start, taking a moment to realize I was in my room in the suite, the dampness from the sweat trickling down my neck and making me cold. I had only slept a few hours, but the dream made my heart race, and I knew it would be a while before I could get back to sleep. I found some caffa in the galley and picked up the holocron from the pile of Jolee’s datapads of notes. Turning it over in my hands in study, I thought about the dream and the masters’ mantra, ‘the future is always in motion’. Maybe studying the holocron could make a difference. Sitting down on a sofa, I started the meditation.
The shift in the air and the light weight draping over me woke me up. Jolee had come back to the suite, and had covered me up with a blanket.
“Well, I was trying not to wake you up,” he said.
“Sleeping like a baby. He’ll be that way for a while—his body is starting to heal itself now. Tarm’ad promised to call us if he woke up. I came back to get some shut-eye before I fell asleep walking. I was surprised to see you out here, though. I didn’t know you’d taken to sleeping on the sofa with holocrons and caffa. No wonder you’re having strange dreams lately.”
Brushing the hair out of my eyes, I said, “I wasn’t trying to sleep, I was trying to meditate.” I pointed at the holocron.
Jolee sat down across from me. “Using the Force at full bore is pretty exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to channel that much power. Sometimes, there’s just no substitute for real sleep, and your body lets you know that by checking out for a while. Even masters don’t meditate forever. So why were you out here trying to study the holocron when I told you to rest, hmm?” He tried unsuccessfully to put a strict look on his face—the frown was there but the eyes contradicted it.
“It was that nightmare vision again. You’re down, Talin is lying on the ground with Scourge, and I’m battling the Sith Lord and can’t get my lightsaber up in time to make the block. It woke me up and I couldn’t get back to sleep right away. I thought if I came out and studied this holocron some more, I might be able to change something or at least stop the dream.”
He rested back in his chair and considered the situation for a few moments, rubbing his chin. “I don’t think you’ll be able to stop the dream. The Force is funny like that. Once it gives someone a vision, it usually doesn’t make it go away until it’s completed.”
“Oh, wonderful,” I said, too tired to stop the sarcasm. “I can’t wait for more sleepless nights.”
“No one ever promised you lots of beauty sleep when you’re a Jedi, you know,” he grinned. “Still, the future is pretty fluid. Just because you see it one way in a vision doesn’t mean it will be that way. You never know what might change it. Studying the holocron may not do anything, and then again, it might just be the thing that saves everyone. I’d rather bet on it helping, and the knowledge is never wasted. And since we seem to be in a lightsaber battle, we’ll make sure we study solid technique. It’s always good to be prepared for these things. You know, this reminds me of this lass, Reeca. It’s a good story, but I need some tea first before I tell it. Doesn’t matter what planet I’m on, damn infirmary air is always dry.”
He went to the galley, and came out with two cups of hot tea, handing one to me. I sat up to sip the fragrant drink, watching the steam making lazy swirls upwards.
“Alderaan grey tea. Supposedly helps people to relax,” he said, sitting down with his cup. He continued, “Reeca and I were made Padawans about the same time. Fine girl. Brilliant scholar. Always had her nose stuck in holocrons. Last I heard, she was one of the master archivists in the Jedi library on Coruscant. Anyway, she kept having this vision that she was falling off a cliff or something, landing face up on a ledge 100 feet below and dying. She did everything she could to avoid high places after that. Finally, her master made her go on a hike in the mountains with him. He took a couple of us Padawans along for exercise and herb training or something like that. ‘You can’t run away from destiny’, he told her. If it was going to happen, the Force would make it happen. If not, at least she’d get over trying to escape her destiny all the time.”
“I take it she didn’t fall off any cliffs during that trip, then?”
“No, Reeca did fall off a cliff—it really was her destiny that she saw in her dream. The future didn’t change that much from the vision. We were walking on a narrow path, and I was leading. I stopped short to keep from stepping on a snake. She kept going, ran into me, and lost her balance. I tried to grab her to keep from falling, but I couldn’t catch her in time. She fell off the side of the cliff and landed on a ledge about 100 feet below, just like in her vision.”
“How did she survive, then?”
“Well, she put in extra study on levitation techniques. Probably studied till her eyeballs fell out, knowing her. All of us used our levitation skills to stop her fall, but she really didn’t need it. She’d managed to stop her fall pretty well by herself, and she just floated above the ledge for a few moments catching her breath. Once she got up and realized she was still with us in the land of the living, she pulled out one of those monofilament lines and made her way down the rest of the cliff. She beat us to the campsite and was sitting in front of a nice little fire by the time the rest of us made it back. I’ll say one thing for her, she was definitely prepared. She didn’t even have a scratch. Her master made a point that night to discuss teamwork, how fluid visions can be, and the value of study. I’m not quite sure why he kept looking at me every time he mentioned the word ‘study’. I didn’t skip that many of his classes.”
“I doubt that there’s any super-secret Force power to protect us from a Sith Lord, though.”
“Ha! That’s a good one. No, I don’t know of any anti-Sith powers, or I’d be using them myself. That doesn’t mean we can’t try to come up with a couple different strategies that will stop this guy in his tracks.”
The tea must have been working, because I could no longer suppress the yawning.
“Hey, my stories aren’t that boring, you know,” Jolee said.
“I think it’s the tea. You must have spiked it with something to put me to sleep.”
“Now would I do anything sneaky like that?”
I grinned back at him without a response and headed to my room.
“I’ll wake you up if anything changes,” he promised.
* * *
Much later that day, I found Jolee in the galley sipping caffa and studying the holocron.
“Why did you let me sleep so long?” I asked.
“Maybe because you needed it?” he retorted, lifting his eyes to me.
I shot him a dark look. “We need to go see if Talin’s OK. I should have been up hours ago to check his condition.”
“Tarm’ad called me a couple times with reports. He’s doing fine, and he’s still asleep. I didn’t see any point in waking you so you could watch him snore. However, I know you won’t be satisfied until you see your patient for yourself, so let’s go.”
We arrived quickly at the infirmary, and Jolee and I walked over to Talin’s room. I was relieved to notice that he was starting to wake up, and all the monitors showed normal or near-normal values.
“Hey, how are you feeling now?” I smiled down at him.
“Do you know how many times I’ve had to answer that question today?” he asked, his face scrunching up in an irritable look.
Jolee chuckled a bit. “Well, if you have enough energy to be grumpy, you must be doing better.”
Talin snorted. “Yes, I feel better. I still feel rotten, but it’s better than yesterday when all I could do was lie here like a beached jellyfish, while everyone did everything for me. And to me. Have I mentioned how much I hate doctors and hospitals?”
“We’ll try not to take it personally,” Jolee replied dryly, giving Talin’s arm a very gentle pat of reassurance.
“Roll over on your stomach so I can check your back, please,” I said. Talin complied. I gently removed the dressings.
“That tickles,” he protested.
“Healing skin is very sensitive, and I’m trying to use a light touch so it doesn’t hurt,” I noted clinically, looking over all the many cuts and bruises that were starting to heal. “Well, with the combination of Tarm’ad’s treatment and my long rest, I think I have plenty of Force energy to heal this very quickly,” I said, looking pointedly at Jolee.
Jolee beamed at his success.
Talin looked over at Jolee and asked, “How long?” His sharp ears had caught the slight emphasis on ‘long’.
“About 14 hours.”
“Good. You needed it. I suppose I’ll allow you to heal, then,” Talin decided.
“Imperious today, aren’t we?” Jolee drawled.
Shaking my head while smiling at that, I ordered, “Hush now, all of you. I need to concentrate.” Focusing on his back and using the Force, I saw each cut and bruise heal.
Talin shifted his shoulders a bit after I finished, testing for sore spots, and then turned over, sighing. “Ah, it feels good to lie on my back. Much better. Thanks.”
Jolee rechecked all the other injuries to make sure healing was complete. “You and the doctors did a good job, Jae. Talin, I think you’ll be out of here in a couple days.”
“I don’t plan on being here that long.”
“Now, Talin….” I said, raising an eyebrow.
Elin’ad entered the infirmary in brisk strides. They stayed a respectful distance outside Talin’s bay until he saw them and waved them in. “You’re making amazing progress,” they said, smiling wide with pleasure.
“I’m feeling much better today. Thank you,” he replied, managing some cheerfulness.
“Master Bindo, we’d like a moment with you, if you don’t mind,” Elin’ad said.
They left the room, though we could still hear the conversation.
“Certainly. Is there something I can help you with?” Jolee asked, cordially.
“It is a matter that requires urgent attention. We’ve found Dycen’a.”
“Where is he?”
“He just broke through the planet’s shields in a small scout ship. Your ship is the only one fast enough to stop him before he can jump to hyperspace. We’d like to request your assistance in catching him.”
Talin heard the request and looked over at me. “I need to get up and help.” He struggled to sit up.
“You need to rest.”
“I am not staying another night in any infirmary.”
“Talin, no--” I tried to stop him from getting up, knowing what would happen when he got out of bed too fast. Never underestimate Jedi speed. Or determination, I reminded myself.
“Oh, blast it,” Talin said through teeth grit in frustration.
Tarm’ad and I each grabbed an arm when his legs refused to hold him up after he stood, and Jolee rushed back in to help. Some of the monitors started flashing warnings as Talin’s vital signs fell precipitously from his efforts to get up too quickly. His face went white as he nearly lost consciousness. We immediately got him back to bed, and I concentrated in the Force while Tarm’ad injected medication to stabilize him. I tried not to fidget as I waited for the vitals to stabilize and breathed out in relief when they started to climb. A few minutes later, the glassy look left his eyes as he became more alert.
“Jedi or no, it takes time to heal from injuries as severe as yours. You have to stay in bed until you’ve recovered,” I urged him.
He scowled. “Stop looking at me so concerned.” He thought for a moment, and the frown disappeared as he looked at me again. “I’m not going anywhere, I promise. I just hate being incapacitated, and I hate not being able to help you.” His shaky voice told me the bravado was merely a cover.
Jolee locked eyes with Talin. “I don’t appreciate a scare like that because you have some kind of inferiority complex about accepting help. You’re not going to be able to help us if you’re collapsed on the floor. Next time you try to do anything that these four don’t approve, I’ll have you shipped back to Coruscant in a med pod for the masters to heal you there. Is there anything unclear about this?” He kept a bland tone, but the look on his face was as severe as I had ever seen.
“None whatsoever,” Talin sighed, defeated. He laid his head back and closed his eyes, lips tight in frustration, knowing there was nothing he could do to help.
“I’m glad we’ve got that straight, then. Jae, I’m going to see what else Elin’ad has to say about catching our favorite Sith apprentice. We’ll leave as soon as possible.”
Last edited by Jae Onasi; 07-29-2006 at 01:51 AM.