Chapter 22: Broken Wounds Heal
Three days passed since the Council sent for Andros, Miklos and Anakin and three days of trekking through the forest back to the cabin that Ashira went to stay in. All that was there when Obi-wan went through it were the datapads that she had left behind, a made bed; virtually a spotless home. Obi-wan was immediately drawn to the datapads and went to sort through them. Daranka went out to the surrounding area, sniffing out the familiar sights.
The first datapads that Obi-wan glanced at were the journal entries of Ashira from the time that Siri had died to the day before she left the cabin. The entries were in Avalonian and in a strange poetic form. Rusty from lack of use, Obi-wan took a few hours to get through all of them. They were worthy of an artist if they were painted in the poem paintings the artisans liked to do. One went:
The willow tree dances on wind
As the river crosses the bend
The time nears of danger felt
The darkside cinching its deadly belt
They were short and verse like, at least the ones that reflected daily activities or the anticipation of battle. The ones that described battle were a little more lively and had more of a hardness to it. It bordered on the craving for violence. Such as:
Smoke clouds the valley plains
Where upon the enemy is slain
Blood seeps on deadened life
Rise up now and take up strife
It was late afternoon by the time Obi-wan finished all of the entries by Ashira before he started on the next pile, which turned out to be Siri’s. He wondered why Ashira would have Siri’s entries briefly but didn’t dig deeper. He figured that it was more for comfort and just scanned through them. The encrypted one got his attention. Looking at the attempts made to break it he figured that Ashira was curious but not too curious.
Peering closer at the encryption code, he recognized it from when he and Siri were kids. They used to send notes to Ashira encrypted the same way. They were things that they didn’t want to get into the hands of the masters. Why Ashira didn’t recognize it made Obi-wan realize that she must have been completely out of it. He entered the codes and opened up the entry. He read it slowly and found out everything.
“I often wondered if you blamed me. I’ve had plenty of people doing that lately.”
“No I don’t. Why would I blame someone who has been a sister to me?”
Ashira looked at the blue outline of Siri Tachi. For a brief moment she thought how pretty she looked under the Judan trees that were in bloom now that the Festival of New Beginnings had come. After defeating Dragus, she returned to her Belosian home and prepared to live a new life. She decided to leave the Jedi because she felt nothing was left to be had there. She was standing at the bridge overlooking the creek in the gardens after being there for a week when she sensed Siri’s presence. They had been talking for a while, just watching the creek. “I would. There were times I wondered what would have happened if I had just obeyed the Council but I know that the same result would have happened anyway.”
“But you know that it was this Dragus who had done it.”
“He may have been the hand but I was the one who arrived too late. I am much to blame.”
“For what? Trying to rescue me? You know better than anyone that a Jedi’s life is sacrifice.”
“Yet the Council doesn’t tell you how much it aches when the bond you share is severed, at least not accurately.”
“Our bond did this to you?”
“The emptiness did,” Ashira gave a slight smile. She started walking towards the roses and other flowers were growing. Her favorite, the jasilyn was fuller this year. She plucked one of the blossoms and held it delicately and gazed at it thoughtfully.
“Yet you have survived. I suppose it is true that the Avalonian people have a heart strong enough to last until the end of time.”
“Where did you hear that?”
“You said it. When we were kids. Right around the time after you met Xanatos on Bandomeer.”
“I remember Bandomeer. Both times. Funny how things come full circle, well I should know better. Everything exists in a delicate balance, even the Force.”
“I remember that lesson. It’s a good one. That is why you must go back.”
“Don’t start on that,” and Ashira turned sharply.
“How can you ignore the fact that you play a big part in the events to come?”
“If I don’t play my part, then they won’t come.” The response had a sarcastic edge to it.
“Look, I know you won’t be happy. If anything, there is one thing holding you back from completely moving on. I know this and I was surprised that you encouraged it in spite of your own feelings but that reflects your giving nature. Besides I knew my time was near. Now it’s time for you to pick up the broken pieces.” Siri’s image faded from view and Ashira was left alone to gaze at the creek.
The thoughts sifted through her mind as she moved to sit on one of the stone benches nearby. Her amber eyes gazed at the silver sheen that was the surface of the water and watched when the weaverbirds swoop down to catch a meal or bathe themselves in the shallow end. She felt a sense of ease but she knew Siri had been right and that was the only thing that weighed her down and that brought regret. She was so deep into her musings that she didn’t hear the footsteps that came up from behind her. She didn’t realize that the person was behind her until a familiar voice spoke softly, “The water is gentler this year. Perhaps because it is a time to start anew.”
Ashira closed her eyes and opened them again slowly. She replied with equal softness, “It is time for new beginnings but old wounds must be healed before that can happen.” She then turned to look up at the one person that she wanted to speak to the most.
Obi-wan saw the same women he met at the Haida encampment but she possessed a gentle grace that had been absent before. In fact it hadn’t been there in a long time. Her outward appearance was different in that she had permanent highlights and she was thinner and more muscular but she was the same person, a caring one. He knew that she was hurting still so he approached the situation carefully. He replied, “What wounds are so terrible that they remain open in light of new beginnings?”
“Anger, distrust, masks; everything that I did.”
“You did what you thought was right. No one can ask more than that.”
Ashira motioned for him to sit beside her. Mostly it was politeness but also she remembered the plotting they used to do especially when she ‘fixed’ the training droids. Obi-wan sat to her left and waited for her answer. He watched as she held the jasilyn blossom and how she avoided eye contact for the moment. He waited until she replied, “What does one do when they have one foot in the Republic and the other in Avalon?”
It was a difficult question to answer. Obi-wan couldn’t answer it so he changed the subject. It was risky but he had to come out and say it. He gazed down at the ground and replied, “I don’t blame you. I was hurting at what happened at Azure. I didn’t realize that you were hurting too and for that I am sorry.” He glanced at her to see her response. Her posture gave him the courage to continue. His gaze reverted to the water and he said, “I know about your feelings now. A friend of ours pointed me in the right direction and I understand.”
The silence that followed was unnerving and Obi-wan began to wonder if he had said the wrong thing. He was about to get up and leave when a small hand patted his right hand. It was a gentle one like when an adult pats a child but held much more meaning. For the first time after he had sat beside her, she glanced at him and just smiled. He relaxed and just sat with her as she said softly, “I’ll return to the Council. There are some things I have to talk to Petronius about.” She then spoke in Avalonian, “Nelae ah te hah.” He just smiled and responded. They continued to talk much like how they did before, mending the wounds that the war had caused them both.