Ever on the look out for suitable babysitters and possible future masters, Aura Ta’var has arranged for Zoe Ta’var to be watched by Elyon de Neverse. The two adults had arranged to drop her off at a nearby wildlife preserve. A hover car descended and the two Zeltrons strode out to meet their fellow Odanite. Little did Zoe know she would soon be left alone with the fellow Jedi.
Elyon de Neverse was already waiting for them. Dressed in a delicate green robe, she sat on a huge rock. As soon as the hovercraft landed, she got up and jumped down to greet them.
She approached them and bowed to them after the Jedi tradition.
“Master Aura, thank you for the opportunity to visit this nature reserve with you,” Elyon said to Aura and then looked at Zoe.
“You young lady must be Zoe, nice to meet you.” She said and smiled at her.
“Pleasure is on our side,” Aura replied with a smile, motioning for them to disperse toward the reservation. Zoe looked at Elyon and then said, “Nice to meet you, too, Elyon.”
And all three ladies stepped forward.
“Zoe, this is my friend Elyon. She likes animals a lot too.”
“Really? I have a pet wolf. Maybe you’d like to meet him some time.”
“I would love to. We might meet some more soon. What’s your favorite animal?” asked Elyon.
“All of them,” the young girl said with a smile. “You know I can talk to them?” she asked, trying to impress the older Jedi.
“Well done,” replied Elyon as the group continued walking up the dirt path to the first enclosure. “Have you ever met this creature before?” the Jedi asked as she gestured to a four-legged repativan herbivore called a Varactyl.
The green and blue plumage along with its aquamarine scales reflected in the early day sunlight.
“Ooo. No. What is this? Can we go near it?” asked Zoe.
“This is Varactyl. It comes from the planet Utapau,” Elyon told her as they approached the paddock.
“I think so, if we’re careful,” Elyon said, looking at Aura.
“Good, but be careful,” Aura said, motioning for them to approach the creature. Zoe walked to the gate of the paddock and stepped carefully, followed by Elyon.
Elyon watched Aura, who didn’t move and stood still. That’s why she turned her full attention to Zoe and the creature in front of her. She opened herself carefully to the Force so as not to frighten Vatacryl, but at the same time she was ready to take control of him if Zoe was in danger.
The young girl was almost at the creature when she stopped, and Elyon watched as she raised her right hand. At that moment, she felt how Zoe try to make a connection between her and the creature. Elyon walked slowly past her, where she stopped and waited. Because she wanted to be close in case of conflict and at the same time be able to watch Zoe’s abilities.
Zoe closed her eyes and reached out to the Force as her hand reached towards the creature. She could feel the animal in front of her, somewhat scared but curious all the same. She could feel her new friend, Elyon, patiently waiting for her but alert. She could feel her mom, trying her best not to be scared. The young Zeltron rolled her eyes under her eyelids and smirked as her cape caught the breeze.
I can do this.
Breathing in she reached out and touched the Varactyl with the Force, saying a pleasant hello as she introduced herself. Zoe focused on calming emotions as projected them outwards, letting them wash over the animal itself. She could feel it calm down finally. Smiling, she spoke to it through feelings. Hello there, can I be your friend. I promise I won’t hurt you. Maybe we can ditch these two and go have some fun, she added mischievously.
A heartbeat or two went by and finally the Varactyl approached, lowering its head so the young Zeltron could pat it on the head. Zoe smiled and willingly obliged, carefully stroking its feathered head. The animal purred contently. The Jedi padawan smirked.
“See. It was easy,” she said to Elyon with a grin.
Elyon watched Zoe with interest. Her new friend was the daughter of two Jedi, which Elyon found unbelievable. Because she was always exhorted that Jedi should not fall in love, be dependent on anyone, or even have children.
This is a different time and different rules apply. She thought as she watched young Zeltron stroke the creature’s head.
“Good job, Zoe. You have talent,” Elyon said, smiling as she walked slowly to Vatacryl and repeated the procedure her young companion had used.
For a moment they both stood beside the creature, stroking its armored head. “We should move on so we can see more creatures,” the young Jedi said, waiting for Zoe to say goodbye. Then she bowed to the creature and followed the girl back to Aura.
“Elyon, could you watch Zoe for the rest of the trip?”, asked Aura referring to their zoo outing.
“I would love to,” replied Elyon.
“Thanks, Elyon. Teikhos says there is an emergency back at the house. I’ll be back in a few hours,” said Aura before she quickly hugged Zoe, who was mildly embarrassed, and taking off for the shuttle.
Zoe sighed. Her new brothers got all the attention lately and she wanted to spend more time with her mom. She had thought the zoo was the perfect place but clearly next time she would have to chuck her mom’s comlink out an airlock or perhaps her pet wolf could eat it for a few hours…
“Zoe, you okay?” asked Elyon with a slight smile.
“Yeah, sure,” the girl said somewhat dejectedly. She had hoped to show off her skills some more.
“Which animal would you like to see next?”
“I don’t know…,” said Zoe.
“Hmm, how about the Stroilik? It’s very much like your pet wolf,” offered Elyon.
Zoe thought about it for a moment and then nodded yes. Elyon showed the young Zeltron the way there, probing the Force around the child to see if she could find a way to get that charming smile back.
Elyon walked beside Zoe, still thinking of a way to cheer her up. But it was clear to understand her feelings about this problem even though Elyon had no siblings herself. Both girls came to the Stroilks enclosure.
“These creatures inhabit the icy moon Kaerls,” Elyon said, explaining the domed shape of the enclosure.
“Do you want to look inside,” she asked her companion. Zoe nodded silently and followed Elyon inside.
A chill of cold passed through Elyon, forcing her to shake a little.
“We should be quick or we’ll freeze here,” she said, turning to Zoe. But young Zeltron was already paying attention to the creatures walking toward them.
Elyon touched the area around the creature lightly to sense the problem, but she didn’t feel anything. And that is why she stood closer to her new friend. Zoe repeated the same procedure as Vatacryl. And everything seemed to go smoothly. The opposite was, but true. Other creatures rushed at them from both sides and ran to them. Elyon and Zoe did not quickly repel the attack and began to back away from the paddock.
After several more throws, they managed to get out of the paddock. They both sat on the stone beside the entrance, breathing faster.
“Ice welcome,” the young Jedi smiled, but Zoe frowned.
Elyon took off the top of her robe and threw it over her friend.
“Zoe …” she began cautiously, “I understand your feelings. You miss your mother, but believe that she still loves you and she tries to divide time between you and your brothers as best she can. Your brothers are small and they need more care.” Elyon paused for a moment, watching her reaction. Zoe continued to sit, looking ahead.
"Then we’ll take it differently. You said you wanted to show off, but I believe it’s not necessary. Your mother knows that you are capable and that one day you will be a strong and proud Jedi like herself. Every time she is forced to leave you unattended knows that you are strong enough, handy, and that you can take care of yourself. " The young Jedi soothed Zoe.
“But she asked you to keep an eye on me,” the young Zeltron countered.
“If something happened that you wouldn’t know how to deal with, I am here for you to give you advice or help you. I see it as I have a wonderful new and capable friend next to me and that we’re on a trip. And that we can still enjoy it together. What do you think?” Elyon said, looking at Zoe.
Zoe avoided Elyon’s eyes for the moment and crossed her arms in silent annoyance. The young girl felt as if she had too many emotions coursing through her. There was righteous anger, sadness, and a gnawing sense of doubt that crept towards her from the shadows of who knows where. She cried silently for a moment or two, not sure how to react. She did her best to look away from her new friend. Crying was for babies, she insisted to herself mentally.
Elyon merely sat by her side and said nothing, casting a warm glow in the Force, a glow that Zoe could acutely feel like the sun’s rays on warm summer’s day. It was a glow that reminded her of her mother and father. The young Zeltron focused on it and breathed in and out, letting the Force wash over her. She eventually calmed down enough and a new emotion set it, boredom. Wiping her face discreetly with her Jedi padawan sleeve, she looked up at her smiled new friend and couldn’t help but slightly smile back.
“Yeah, I’d like that. Can we try to say hello to those stroliks again? Can you teach me how to make them like me?” asked the young padawan anxiously.
“We can try our best. Follow my lead this time, okay?” asked Elyon.
“Alright. I’m ready,” said Zoe with renewed energy as she hopped back up on her feet and bounced towards the enclosure’s entrance.